C – core set
M – Shadows of Mirkwood cycle
M1 – Hunt for Gollum
M2 – Conflict at the Carrock
M3 – Journey to Rhosgobel
M4 – Hills of Emyn Muil
M5 – Dead Marshes
M6 – Return to Mirkwood
K – Khazad-dûm deluxe
D – Dwarrodelf cycle
D1 – Redhorn Gate
D2 – Road to Rivendell
D3 – Watcher in the Water
D4 – Long Dark
D5 – Foundations of Stone
D6 – Shadow and Flame
H – The Hobbit saga
H1 – Over Hill and Under Hill
H2 – On the Doorstep
N – Heirs of Númenor deluxe
S – Against the Shadow cycle
S1 – Steward’s Fear
S2 – Drúadan Forest
S3 – Encounter at Amon Dîn
S4 – Assault on Osgiliath
S5 – Blood of Gondor
S6 – Morgul Vale
Card Draw and Player Deck Management
There is a good reason to use weapons, outside of their own abilities, the reason is called Foe-Hammer (H1) which allows you to draw three cards if you can exhaust a weapon attached to a hero that has just felled an enemy. The weapon doesn’t have to be Glamdring, and the hero shall hardly be called Gandalf.
And if you want weapons, Bofur (H1) can find them for you. He’s got very decent stats for his cost anyway, so adding him to a deck when there are weapons about is sort of obvious.
The Eagles are Coming! (M1) and they can bring any number of Eagle cards one can find among the top five cards of his deck. One who is into probability will probably not like this card overmuch but if luck is on your side, this card can prove crucial, if not to the point the event did (twice) in the books.
Once you have more cards than you can pay for, or – much more likely with Leadership – more copies of unique cards in hand, you can use Erestor (D4) to discard them in order to draw new cards instead. Cost is 4 but willpower 2: certainly a card to consider, especially if Lore is not around.
A Very Good Tale (H1) also works with the top five cards of the player’s deck; it cannot be predicted and non-ally cards must be discarded, still this can be powerful in an ally-heavy deck. And it is an interesting card as some of the higher cost cards can gain advantage through this effect, Citadel Custodian seems especially fit there, the cost is there to use it but one should really pay it in a proper deck.
Being a permanent, if a bit weaker, counter-part to Daeron’s Runes, King Under the Mountain (H2) is currently the best Leadership card for drawing cards; but one needs a Dwarf hero to attach it to.
Valiant sacrifice is perhaps the powerful reoccurring motif in the Tolkien’s universe, whether one would think of the Silmarillion, and of Finrod, Fingolfin or Glorfindel, or the most iconic scenes from the Lord of the Rings, of Boromir, Théoden or Frodo Baggins. In the game Valiant Sacrifice (C) is certainly not one of the most powerful drawing cards. For a resource, and only when an ally leaves, the controller gets 2 cards. It only seems worth it when there’s no better access to card draw (which may easily be the case in Leadership decks) or when there is a strategy employed. Rohan or Eagle allies (though mostly Spirit and Tactics respectively) do have the tendency of leaving play, and when they are to leave anyways, it is better when they do so valiantly.
Campfire Tales (M1), with its very thematic design, is one of those cards which usefulness comes out of more players being in the game. In this case, it only seems worth investing when there are three or four.
You do get a little something for 2 resources when you play Keen-eyed Took (M4). His search ability should be viewed only as a very minor bonus that can be effective at very rare situations.
Taking Initiative (D1) can draw you 2 cards for 0 resources but the condition is so absurd, you may just forget this card exists.
We are not Idle (D6), on the other hand, will always draw you 1 card on top of its main ability; too bad it only works with Dwarves.
Imladris Stargazer (D5) can reorganize top 5 cards of any player’s deck. It is the ground to many a strategy but on its own, it can help drawing the right cards at the right time.
Song of Eärendil (D2) is one of those cards with a bonus effect, in this case drawing a card after playing the Song.
Hobbits were famous for storing Mathom in places fit for it. In the game, one needs no Hobbit to play Ancient Mathom (M3), he needs a location, and then to explore it to draw 3 cards.
One of the choices when successfully applying Renewed Friendship (D1), a feat only possible in coop games, is to draw a single card: not very potent but not entirely useless in a proper pair of decks.
Mustering the Rohirrim (M1) is a strong search card in a Rohan ally-heavy deck; the question is how strong can such a deck be now.
Beravor (C) is perhaps the most reliable hero (or any) card for drawing cards. If you can avoid using her in other ways, this Dúnedain Ranger will draw you 2 cards per round (after errata). There is a temptation/advantage in her stats, however, Beravor being one of the most versatile heroes with printed willpower, attack and defence of 2.
Bilbo (M1) doesn’t share the versatility of Beravor. Unless equipped by attachments (the likes of A Burning Brand or Fast Hitch being very fit for him), he is a mere bonus to your quest or attack, and a very fragile decent defender. The card draw is one card extra guaranteed for first player, making the ability a little unpredictable in multi-player.
Ori (H1) is Bilbo’s equivalent in a Dwarven deck, Dwarves required, self-oriented, better in attacking and general questing. With the very low 8 threat cost, a must to any Lore Dwarven deck, really.
Speaking of which, Legacy of Dúrin (D3) makes drawing cards with such a deck very easy. One needs nothing more than the attachment attached to a Dwarven hero, and each time a Dwarf ally is played from hand, a card is drawn. Powerful.
As Expert Treasure Hunter (H2) can be – but only in either a totally one-card-type-oriented deck or when combined with the ability of say Imladris Stargazer.
And Speaking of Imladris Stargazer, it is more essential here than anywhere so far to get any use of the ability of Hunter of Lamedon (N). The good thing is the Hunter’s stats are quite okay for the cost of 2 and he’s got both Gondor and Outlands traits.
Gléowine (C) does what Beravor does, just half the number, which is quite reasonable for the very reasonable cost of 2, willpower of 1 and 2 hit points on top of the very reliable ability (uniqueness is the only problem here).
Master of the Forge (D6) is generic, on the other hand, but can only draw attachments through his search. Certainly fits a deck with many of those; and makes the reason for having more copies of unique ones less grounded, thus freeing valuable deck slots. The Master seems made for a Tactics cooperation, fetching weapons or the likes of Black Arrow.
Rivendell Minstrel (M1) will guarantee pulling any single song from your deck, when you play her from hand. A must in any music oriented decks.
The announcement of Gildor Inglorion (M4) came almost at the same time as the announcement of Zigil Miner. At the time, when the latter’s text was still official, these two made for one of the strongest combos in the game. They can still cooperate but it often comes to calling for Gildor in time of need of his valuable skills as a quester or defender (and having the ability as a reserve option). The ability is a nice nod to the wonderful passage from the source material, depicting the brief encounter of the Company of the Three Hobbits and the Company of Gildor's Elves.
If one is to brush upon the old Noldor-Dwarf cooperation, Daeron’s Runes (D5) would be a very thematic card. If one is to make a Lore deck, Daeron’s Runes is a good start.
Peace, and Thought (D6) is not so obvious, drawing five cards holds enormous potential but the drawback of exhausting two heroes before the next round begins is not to be taken lightly. Tactics Boromir or Hobbits on Fast Hitch seem great candidates.
There are no drawbacks for playing Lórien’s Wealth (C) other than its cost. Lore resources can be hard to come by to pay three of them to get cards you might hardly afford to afterwards. If the above is not the case, however, this is an easy way to expand someone’s hand.
With all three (printed) Lore heroes, there probably isn't a more obvious card to add to the deck than Mithrandir's Advice (S1). With two such heroes it becomes questionable but certainly better than many of the above or below; it is a folly with a single Lore hero, of course. There's been a promise of a push toward mono-sphere decks, and this card certainly holds true to that.
Exhausting Istari is not something plain and simple. Core Gandalf is a very good candidate when he sticks around till the end of the round (and thus readies before leaving play). Word of Command (D4) can than provide an interesting option but it is certainly not a card to see many decks right now.
Gandalf’s Search (C) is probably seeing even less play than the above. Unless you’ve got some critical resource acceleration, or a cunning combo up your sleeve, you better leave this card out of your deck. One would think a card with Gandalf’s name in the title will do a bit more.
Luckily there is always Gandalf (C) himself to save the day. He draws you three cards if you prefer that to direct damage or threat reduction: a hard (and often critical) choice indeed.