Ask Pineleaf: How do you use a captain in a skirmish?


Pinecreast at Nurz Ghashu

Now let’s look at the captain in a skirmish. For me, the captain runs much more smoothly through a skirmish than a burglar.

Herald or Banner?

The first question is whether to use a herald or a banner? I will start off by saying that I generally run with a herald. I suspect that players that generally run in groups and those that dislike pet classes would much prefer to use a banner.

Damage Output

When you run with a herald, your herald will act as an additional ally and will thus contribute some damage to the combat. When you equip a banner, you receive an equipment bonus to your physical mastery and morale (this is over and above anything you receive from the banner).

I am not exactly the quickest player with the keyboard and mouse. It is not unusual for me to fumble a moment when starting combat or switching targets. This means that having a source of damage that is not dependent on my competency is a plus. For this reason, the bonus from the herald would be more useful for me than a banner.

Why is someone who is hardly swift with the keyboard playing a warden? I must say that I hadn’t thought about that before. Perhaps I should. Today, though, we are discussing the captain.


Heralds require a minimum amount of equipment. You can purchase armaments which can change the appearance of your herald and add to their armor value. The armament’s armor bonus scales to the level of your armaments. The aura generated by the herald’s banner scales to the level of your herald (which is generally your level). The same armaments are usable on each of the three herald types.

There are three different types of banners. As such, you would need to purchase a separate banner for each type you intend to use. In addition, the auras scale to the minimum level of the banner rather than to your level.

I am not exactly one who keeps up-to-date with equipment, especially things such as class items. While researching this article, I found that my level-85 captain had level-80 armaments (surprisingly up-to-date) and level-50 banners. As such, I will currently get a better aura with my herald than with my banners. If you want to rely on banners, you should be serious about keeping your equipment up-to-date.

Brother Skills

I like to place my Brother skill on my herald. Yes, you could place these on our soldier instead but I tend to lose soldiers more often than heralds (this was more of a problem in the past, so I may have to re-evaluate this in the future).

If you generally run in groups, though, this is a non-issue, since you will most likely prefer to place your Brother skill on a fellow player.


I can summon a herald once and they are likely to be with me throughout the entire run. With a banner, I need to replant it at the start of each fight (or every five minutes in an extremely long fight).

Of course, a banner doesn’t get killed, so during the course of the fight you won’t have to worry about your banner disappearing and losing your aura (assuming the fight is less than the five-minute duration of the banner).

In addition, banners just sit there and don’t occasionally go running off and attracting the wrong attention. The banner is thus a safer companion.

Which is Better?

That will depend on the player. The herald fits better with my style, so I have no plans on changing this in the near future, at least not while soloing.

Most of all, a captain is supposed to be leading troops. When I am soloing with a captain, I want to feel as if I were leading my fellows into battle, which means that want as many followers as possible.

Reaction Skills

Captains have three defeat response skills: one to inflict damage, one to buff our damage, and one to heal. These are important in skirmishes seeing that you will face quite a number of opponents and will thus activate your defeat-response skills quite often. In this light, a skirmishing captain will likely want to set their traits and legacies to improve their reaction skills.


If the captain has a significant weakness it is in ranged attacks. Naturally, I make up for this by using an archer. This also means one less melee fighter to get into trouble during the course of the skirmish.

What about replacing the herald with an archer? Yes, that is an option. In fact, I generally do that on the landscape. In skirmishes, though, I prefer to retain the herald’s aura and use my soldier as my archer.


In a skirmish like Tuckborough, you can get into some sizable battles even when playing solo. During the second counterattack at the first control point, you can have six opponents (one hale, four weak, and a lieutenant) against your five (your captain, your herald, your soldier, a bounder, and Hyacinth Took). How’s that for a nice battle?


I have recently been running several skirmishes with my captain to earn some marks on Arkenstone and work on the Skirmisher of Middle-earth title. I am finding skirmishing this a fin experience and expect to be running quite a number of skirmishes with my captain in the near future.

If you have any champion questions, this is the time to send them, as we will be looking into champions next time.

May your shield protect you and your spear never break,

Pineleaf Needles



  1. Malhirviel /

    Thanks for the advice on this. How do I submit a question to “Ask Pineleaf”?

  2. Andang /

    Great article Pineleaf! I can’t wait to hear about the champ!

  3. Thanks for this article, Pineleaf – even though my captain on Arkenstone has reached the “tough” 40s, as you have noted in a previous article, I’m sure this article will suit her well for future skirmish endeavors.

    I generally figured that a herald would work better for a solo play, while using a banner would be better for group play (perhaps unless I would be acting as the “tank” for the group, in which case having an extra hand on my side would be fine, especially if they have that taunt skill).

  4. My Captain is in the tough 40’s and has yet to go skirmish crazy…
    Earlier had no problems at all to solo Tucky tier 2 almost any size of battle will do, sometimes run off and yes do use the hobbits to help out as speeds things up…
    Re banner maybe it is better but having to place each battle can be a real drag 🙁

  5. How about a captain group skirmish guide?
    Banner is used I presume…?

  6. Kaleigh Starshine /

    A wonderful guide, Pineleaf!

    One suggestion I would make for Captains, coming from my cousin, is to use the trait for the Fear Removal skill…oh, I cannot think of the name now, and she is not about to ask. Muster Courage, maybe? But it is a self-heal when traited.

    And that comes in handy, as Captains cannot speak Words of Courage to heal themselves, and are not the best at self-healing.

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