Updated: Sep 17, 2019
I remember when it was announced that our next adventures would take us into the mines of moria, I could barely contain my excitement. Throughout my childhood, no other fantasy location really held for me the same appeal as the ancestral home of the dwarves. During my teen years, when we finally got to behold the Dwarrowdelf in all it’s splendour on the big screen it did not disappoint and I spent weeks in my loft building a Mines of Moria gaming table and filling it with dozens of plastic goblins…
Anyway, suffice to say I was looking forward to seeing how Fantasy Flight would treat my beloved Moria and of course, expanding the dwarf strategy that had begun with Dain at the end of the Mirkwood Cycle.
Our first Lore Dwarf Hero is Bifur, cheap enough at 7 threat he can move resources from other Hero pools to his own. With decent willpower and defence he is mostly let down by his low hit points.
Dwalin is one of those oxymoron characters, he’s a spirit hero that powers up during combat. Most Spirit heroes are support, they quest well or provide other effects, like cancelling when revealed. What they general don’t do well is hit people with axes.
Dwalin however, every time he kills an orc enemy he lowers your threat by 2. Unlike most spirit heroes Dwalin’s weakest attribute is his Willpower, meaning you will want to hold him back as a hitter, hopefully powered up by Dain. Of course, as useful as Dwalin first seems his ability is situational. You have to be fighting Orcs and Dwalin has to land the killing blow.
Durin's Song - This is great card, a Dwarf Hero gets +2 to all attributes until the end of the round. The problem here is a general lack of readying amongst Dwarves. Sure you can use unexpected courage if you have a spirit deck and multiple copies of the core set but other than that exhausted dwarves tend to stay that way.
Narvi's Belt - The answer to multisphere dwarf decks is obviously Narvi’s belt. This allows you to choose a sphere and you can spend resources as if you had that icon. Narvi’s belt must be attached to a dwarf, not making it universally useful and it doesn’t provide a resource boost in and of itself, but it does allow you to attach items that would otherwise be inaccessible, like Burning Brand to your non-Lore dwarves.
Ever Onward - This one is costly and pretty situational. After players fail to quest you can prevent one player from raising their threat. This could be the difference between winning and losing but at the same time it costs 3 to play which is the same as The Galadhrim's Greeting which lowers your threat by 6.
Veteran of Nanduhirion - This guy is pretty powerful, no willpower to speak of but 3 attack and two defence. He enters play with a damage on him, which seems a little odd as nothing really combos with damaged allies, why not just make him 2 health instead of 3. Still, he’s a sturdy ally, if a little costly at 4 resources.
Khazad! Khazad! - Gotta love a card that affects Characters and not just heroes. Khazad Khazad cost nothing to play and gives a dwarf character a +3 attack bonus. Tacked on to characters like the Veteran and they can take down boss level opponents.
Dwarrowdelf Axe - Can’t get through the enemy armour? No need to worry, the Dwarrowdelf Axe will at least put 1 damage on them and if you can get get through you’ll do two extra points of damage as the axe gives a +1 attack bonus too. This is definitely worth taking in an all dwarf deck, right alongside the dwarven axe from the core set.
Untroubled by Darkness - Willpower boost for Dwarves, doubled if they are in the dark places of the world. Situational, sure, but worth it if you are running all dwarf decks in the mines.
Zigil Miner - This card provides some much needed resource acceleration for the Spirit deck. In addition it can fuel cards like Dwarven Tomb and Stand Fast which returns the cards you have to discard for the miner into play or to your hand.
Erebor Record Keeper - For one resource the Erebor Record Keeper can be exhausted to ready any dwarf in play. Pretty useful although it rapidly uses your resources and his single hit point means his vulnerable to treachery cards.
Ancestral Knowledge - Great for clearing locations in a hurry, especially useful in Khazad Dum where most of the locations are underground.
Boots from Erebor - This is an auto include for me in any deck with Hobbits or Dwarves. Free to play, unrestricted and bonus hit point, this one goes with me, especially when Bilbo is in the deck.
For me, buying Khazad Dum was never in question. I love the setting and the boxed set is required to play the further Adventure Packs in the cycle. However, even if you aren’t planning to play the other Dwarrowdelf cycle packs I still think that Khazad Dum is a great expansion, especially if you plan on playing the Hobbit Saga where having a dwarf synergy will greatly aid you.
Between this and the core set you will have access to most of the “good” dwarf cards, although picking up Return to Mirkwood will give you access to Dain, who really is the capstone of a dwarf strategy.
Keep checking back for further reviews as we continue into the darkness of Moria as we go Into the Pit.