Fury of the Iron Crown
(Promotional card released in 1995)
Unique. May not be played if The Iron Crown is in play. The prowess of one strike of an attack by an Orc, Troll, Man, or Nazgul creature is increased by +4. After the attack is resolved, if the creature is not a Nazgul: the creature is removed from play (defender receives the marshalling points); and, in addition, if the defender has The Iron Crown in his hand, he may immediately play it with a character in the defending company.
"...and now he was come again, bringing ruin, turning hope into despair, and victory to death." LOTRIII
I know most of you are wondering why I am reviewing this old card, but I will try to make it all clear. Fury of the Iron Crown has been around since the original release of Middle Earth: The Wizards and it has seen some use. However from my experience Fury of the Iron Crown is not used a lot, at least not like Minions Stir or even generic Orcs. Let's face it...itís just not that popular a card to play with. First of all, itís unique, and it gives your opponent the marshalling points from the creature, sometimes.
It used to be that when you used this card, you almost never used it with an Assassin, Rogrog, Olog-Hai or something else that was worth any marshalling points. You know you're going to give the marshalling points to your opponent, but the trick is to make the playing of it worthwhile, so that you are just about guaranteed to wound a character. An Ambusher targeting a Wizard, a keenly played Abductor, or a Pick-pocket are some good examples of cheap MP hazard creatures that could use a good boost.
Let's cover the benefits of this card against a hero player, then move on to the minion, Fallen-wizard and Balrog alignments. The versatility of this card will become somewhat more apparent when we get to those alignments.
Before we go any further, I'll clear a few things up. Fury of the Iron Crown does not work with automatic-attacks, but it does work with agent men attacks and there are nineteen agents that can be affected. Since the timing of on-guard cards are so specific, the agent must attack during the movement/hazard phase for you to have an opportunity to play this card.
Unless you're a newer player and havenít much experience playing MECCG, the man hazard strategy is one of the most popular and consistently solid of the hazard strategies. Men can now be keyed to everything, and here are some examples, Wilderness (Brigands), Border-lands (Thief), Free-domains (Ambusher), Shadow-lands (Lawless Men), Dark-domains (Mouth of Sauron), Ruins & Lairs (Pirates), Coastal Seas (Corsairs of Umbar), Shadow-holds (Sellswords Between Charters), Dark-holds (Mouth of Sauron), Border-holds (Abductor) and Free-holds (Assassin). If those are not enough, there are more than enough Orcs, Trolls and Nazgul to fill in the blanks. What I am trying to point out is the playability of this card is high. The Fury of the Iron Crown's playability gives you some flexibility, and you can decide when is the best time to boost a creature even if youíll be handing your opponent a marshalling point or two or three.
Rank Upon Rank and Minions Stir are vicious enough, but a well-played Fury of the Iron Crown can be the key play in the death of one of your opponent's important characters. Itís easy enough to see the difference between a regular Ambusher attack with 2 strikes at a prowess of 10, and a boosted 1 strike at 10 and 1 at a prowess of 14, especially when you are choosing who gets the strikes.
Nothing annoys me more than someone playing Forewarned is Forearmed when I am about to pound his wizard with my Assassin. You can even the score if you play Fury of the Iron Crown. If they are going to make it only one attack, why not make the prowess a 15 instead of an 11? He may get the points, but by god he had better earn them. Giving up two marshalling points is not such a bad tradeoff if you manage to kill his wizard. All you need to do is force just that one body check. Granted, Fury of the Iron Crown is unique, but card recycling isn't really that much of a problem these days.
Orcs and Trolls also benefit from this card, although Trolls aren't exactly the most playable of creatures. And Nazgul...what can we say that hasnít already been said? Theyíre big, theyíre bad, and even better, you donít give the marshalling points over to your opponent automatically when you use Fury of the Iron Crown with them. I can see the scenario now, a company is moving to Carn-Dum only to face a Witch-King enhanced with Fury of the Iron Crown. This can turn into a nasty attack of one strike at a prowess/body of 21/7. Or just to get things out of hand, add The Pale Sword for an additional +1 and this strike will give the targeted character 6 corruption points for sure! Who doesnít love a nice card combo?
Most of these things can be applied in equal measure against a Fallen-wizard player. Just keep in mind that more than likely, your men hazards will be the most effective. With the advent of the minion alignment however, Orcs, Trolls, Men and Nazgul are considered detainment in just about every case, with a few exceptions. Even if they aren't detainment, minions rarely get marshalling points from such creatures. The most recent errata for Fury of the Iron Crown will help explain:
Orc and Troll characters may use a creature enhanced by Fury of the Iron Crown as a trophy. A player only gains marshalling points from the creature if he would have received them normally.
That means that the minion alignment would never receive the points from a boosted assassin whether or not he defeated the attack. The only way they could receive the marshalling points is if they played Remnants of Old Robberies, which as I recall, is not in wide use these days. Since this is the case, you can detain and attack your minion opponents with Fury of the Iron Crown to your heart's content. As long as you donít use creatures that have an * by their MPs, you should be safe. There are more than enough non-asterisked creatures in the game to play Fury of the Iron Crown without giving over marshalling points to your opponent.
The real purpose of using a card like Fury of the Iron Crown is to make that one all-important strike out of reach to all but the lucky or seriously-prepared. I've seen quite a few minion decks use Tuma, Burat and Wuluag as back-up characters. Why wouldnít you use their characters against them? All three can be keyed to wilderness, which means non-detainment, with the lowest possible prowess now being a 15. Since the card is out of play regardless, that means that they cannot play whichever troll theyíve just defeated. Even if they donít defeat the creature, itís out of play because of Fury of the Iron Crown, and you just get a better chance to wound or discard one of their characters in the process.
Now that the Balrog cards are out, you can probably see an even greater use of this card. All of the characters for a Balrog must be either an Orc or a Troll. Why not try to use Buthrakaur or Umagaur against the Balrog? Let's examine that scenario a little closer. Letís assume that your opponent is playing a Ringwraith. He starts the game with Lieutenant of Angmar or the Lieutenant of Morgul, both of whom have hazard manifestations of Rogrog and Gothmog, respectively. During the course of the game, play Call of Home on either one and then play their hazard manifestation with Fury of the Iron Crown. As soon as you play Fury of the Iron Crown that manifestation is out of play. Guess what? Your opponent just lost a Lieutenant. You can also try that against a Balrog player who uses Buthrakaur and Umagaur. Use Call of Home to return the character to their hand, then use Fury of the Iron Crown to remove their hazard manifestation from the game. Since these manifestations are non-asterisked, you wonít have to worry about giving up marshalling points either. And against both the Ringwraith and Balrog player, most of these manifestations are easily playable. So next time youíre thinking about your hazard strategy, try using Fury of the Iron Crown and see how it helps.
Do remember that minion players get an additional 5 general influence (GI) to use for such hazards as Call of Home, but with good GI management you might be able to catch your opponent unguarded. Try cards like So You've Come Back, Rebel-Talk, and Shut Yer Mouth to make your opponentís GI harder to maintain.
Why aren't more players using Fury of the Iron Crown in their anti-minion/Fallen Wizard decks? Beats me. Itís probably more a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Fury of the Iron Crown is unique and in the manner described versus Ringwraith or Balrog players, you may have to be a bit selective as to when you play the card. The good thing is that you can simply hold either Call of Home or Fury of the Iron Crown in your hand until you get them both together with a manifestation. Not the easiest combo to play, but I would be willing to bet that it can be a truly devastating and unexpected one. Give it a try!