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They are good folk, the Bardings. The grandson of Bard the Bowman rules them, Brand son of Bain son of Bard. He is a strong king, and his realm now reaches far south and east of Esgaroth.
–J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
As the heroes of Middle-earth begin to scour The Hills of Emyn Muil for recent signs of Gollum’s passage, they gain the benefit of a keen-eyed new companion. The Hills of Emyn Muil, the fourth Adventure Pack in the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, introduces an exciting new hero who provides tremendous options for Tactics players and their companions.
A new hero from Esgaroth
Brand son of Bain (The Hills of Emyn Muil, 72) travels southwest from Esgaroth to join the fellowship and aid them in their quest. He arrives steeped in a tradition of archery hailing back at least as far as his grandfather, Bard the Bowman, who slew the mighty Smaug with his black arrow.
Brand is the second hero to feature the Ranged keyword, along with Legolas (Core Set, 5), and like Legolas, he assists the party with a powerful ability that triggers when he defeats an enemy. After Brand son of Bain attacks and defeats an enemy engaged with another player, he can ready one of that player’s characters. This makes him an excellent hero in multiplayer games and the first hero whose text explicitly supports (and relies upon) the game’s cooperative aspect.
Brand in action
Imagine you and a friend are playing the Journey Down the Anduin scenario from Core Set. Your friend is running Gimli (Core Set, 4), and after questing, you’ve exhausted all your heroes other than Brand and Gimli. With two enemies in the staging area, your friend chooses to engage the Hill Troll (Core Set, 82), and the Dol Guldur Orcs (Core Set, 89) chase after him because of his threat. After a brief discussion, your friend chooses to have Gimli defend against the Hill Troll, ready to cancel any lethal shadow effect with a Hasty Stroke (Core Set, 48). Gimli takes four damage, but survives.
In the following action window, you jump in to play Quick Strike (Core Set, 35), have Brand declare an attack against the Dol Guldur Orcs, and defeat them. Now, Brand lets you ready Gimli, and the enraged Dwarf can strike at the Hill Troll for six damage, three of which gets past the Hill Troll’s defense. On his own, Brand can’t fire past the Hill Troll’s defense, but his special ability grants your fellowship enough flexibility to make the best use of each hero’s strengths.
Have you always wanted to use Glorfindel (Core Set, 11) both to quest and attack? With Brand’s assistance, it’s possible. Do you need to use Denethor (Core Set, 10) to manipulate the encounter deck and defend? With a Quick Strike, Brand can help. With his keen eyes, Brand can identify tactical advantages other heroes may miss.
A quiver full of arrows
As a Tactics hero, Brand can help pay for a number of attachments and events that further reinforce your fellowship. With the aforementioned Quick Strike and cards like Feint (Core Set, 34) and Gondorian Spearman (Core Set, 29), Brand and his resources can help control the ebb and flow of combat, letting your allies engage enemies to pull them out of the staging area, then helping your fellowship defeat the enemies other players have engaged.
Armed with cards like Blade of Gondolin (Core Set, 39), Dwarven Axe (Core Set, 41), and Dúnedain Mark (The Hunt for Gollum, 2), Brand can quickly become a fearsome archer, capable of damaging the most powerful enemies on the table, no matter with whom they’re engaged. Then he readies your teammate’s heroes, so they can take additional actions.
As the heroes of Middle-earth seek to recapture Gollum’s trail, Brand son of Bain assists the fellowship with his keen eyes and skilled archery.
The heroes of Middle-earth have nearly reached The Hills of Emyn Muil. Keep checking our website for updates as this Adventure Pack is coming soon!