Valiant Sword

Often in fantasy-like settings a character must prove his mettle (or win a medal) with a large piece of metal.

Valiant Sword # Resource # Major Item # 2 MP # 2 CP # +2/(+1)
Hoard item. Weapon. +2 to bearer's prowess to a maximum of 9. Warrior only: +1 to body to maximum of 9.

I chose this card to review, along with several I have done recently or in the near future, partly to look at how well it served me in my recent tourney deck. I was not disappointed.

While this card is in many ways similar to Sword of Gondolin, Valiant Sword makes its way into more of my decks. The main difference is playability: Sword of Gondolin is more playable, Valiant Sword has a better ability. Sword of Gondolin is playable at 43 sites across Middle-earth. Valiant Sword can be played at 9 without the use of other special cards. If you have a choice of both, though, go with a Valiant Sword. Both cards are worth 2 MPs for 2 CPs, decent ratio but not great. Both are non-unique so you can use them as a large staple in your deck and you aren't screwed if your opponent gets his first. Valiant Sword, however, gives its +2 bonus to anybody, not just warriors, often just the people who need a weapon. Consider a Valiant Sword in conjunction with Map to MithrilWarriors also get a nice bonus: +1 to body. This can can make it just that more unlikely to kill someone like Beretar (now 7/9) or Thranduil (9/9). It can also be the saving factor on a man like Theoden or Erkenbrand. If you add a Shield of Iron-bound Ash you've made a somewhat vulnerable character into a 7 (or 8)/8 character, much harder to kill. This turned out to be a very good item in my tourney deck based around dragon country. In testing and play, I never lost a character (primarily Gamling and Theoden) who had a Valiant Sword on him. Its non-uniqueness and the fact that it's a major item allowed for quick and easy play, really making the deck possible. It can also be a nice card when combined with Bounty of the Hoard, effectively a hoard Thorough Search that doesn't require the scout.

Valiant Sword isn't as good as Sword of Gondolin as far as sealed deck goes. While you may get a non-warrior or two in sealed deck (e.g. Peath), if you just have one or two Dragons boosters chances are that you will get a Valiant Sword (or a Habergeon of Silver) but it's less likely that you'll land a site to play them. You are assured of getting a couple sites to play the Sword of Gondolin, though.

So Valiant Sword, while not as playable as Sword of Gondolin, has a better ability and can work really well in the right deck.

Ratings for Valiant Sword:
Isildur: 8.0
Bandobras: 8.5
Farmer Maggot: 7.5
Legolas: 7.0
Strider: 6.5
Fingolfin: 7.5
Beorn: 6.6
Cirdan: 7.0
Merry: 8.4
Frodo: 7.0
Samwise: 7.5
Average: 7.4

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Card names and text copyright 1996 by Iron Crown Enterprises, all rights reserved. This document copyright 1997 by Trevor Stone. Permission given to duplicate so long as no profit is made and the copyright notice is kept in tact, blah, blah, blah.