MIDDLE-EARTH: THE WHITE HAND GUIDE
Part 1: Fallen-wizard Characters and Fallen-wizard
Specific Stage Resources
Copyright Pierre Jonas Castillo ©2001
Edited by Nigel Buckle for The Guild Companion
This is the first of a series of three articles covering the cards released in "The White Hand" expansion for the Middle Earth Collectable Card Game. The second article will cover General Stage Resources, Sites and Characters; the third will look at the hero resources, the minion resources and the hazards from this expansion.
While playing as a Fallen-wizard I have discovered a few things concerning each Fallen-wizard's abilities, stage resources and strategies:
- All MPs played by Fallen-wizard players are worth 1 MP each. However, each Fallen-wizard has a "MP boost" ability that depends on his mission. This MP boost automatically gives full MPs to certain resources. Knowing which type of resource can be boosted by your Fallen-wizard can help determine your resource strategy.
- Fallen-wizards have an "area of operation," which is that set of regions in the map where their special abilities work best. It is also where their stage resources will work best. This can usually be determined through their home sites. However, this does not mean that you limit to this area. Your imagination and creativity is the limit as to where your Fallen-wizard will operate.
- Each Fallen-wizard's stage resources are, in my opinion, divided into four categories that help him in advancing his goals: "mind-alterers", recyclers, ability maximizers and the MP stage resource. "Mind-alterers" are those that lower a certain character's mind and increase that character's direct influence. Recyclers are those that allow you to recycle certain resources. Except for Alatar, each Fallen-wizard has two recyclers. Ability maximizers are those that maximize your Fallen-wizard's abilities, further boost his MPs, or makes up for your Fallen-wizards weak spots. MP stage resources are those that give you marshalling points once you accumulate a certain number of SPs and provides your Fallen-wizard the chance grab more MPs. It relies heavily on how much your Fallen-wizard has accomplished at that point in the game when you decide to play this card.
I will divide this review by Fallen-wizard. Under each Fallen-wizard will be his specific stage resources. I have also included each individual Fallen-wizard's description as stated in the MEWH rules insert.
"The fallen Alatar (Lord of the Hunt) is the master of animate nature - he is a hunter. He likes to do things personally. He is more likely to dominate individuals rather than peoples. He is obsessed with defeating Sauron by turning Middle-earth into a well-ordered game-preserve."
ALATAR - Warrior/Scout/Ranger/Sage Fallen-wizard (C)
[GI: 17; DI: 10; P/B: 7/9; Home Site: Any non-"Dragon's lair" Ruins and Lairs in a Wilderness]
Unique. Hazards your companies defeat (even with *) are worth full kill marshalling points. If you have more than 7 stage points, all detainment attacks against your companies attack normally instead. If at one of his Wizardhavens when a hazard creature attacks one of your companies, he may immediately join that company. Alatar must face a strike from the creature (in all cases). Following all of the creature's attacks, Alatar must tap (if untapped) and make a corruption check.
Alatar's Fallen-wizard version is tough. He now has a prowess of 7, and with just a Dagger of Westernesse, he's a whooping 8/9! He still has his teleport ability that can be really maximized with his increased prowess. However, he lost his -1 to opponent's card draw ability. He still has 10 points of direct influence that can be useful to control characters and gathering factions - the latter more especially as Alatar's stage resources do not concentrate on factions. However, your general influence gets reduced to 17 once you bring him in play. His home site is very flexible as well, depending upon your strategy. You can play him at the White Towers and focus on Eriador, or play a Dragon recruiting strategy. With Wilderness being the most common region in the map, Alatar can pop up just about anywhere, just remember you cannot play him at Dragon Lairs.
A thing to remember when playing a fallen Alatar deck is that the bulk of its MPs mainly come from "combat" item MPs, creature kills and allies with prowess. If he and certain specific stage resources are in play, you will get full MPs from these three categories.
Alatar's characters should almost be composed completely of warriors so as to use warrior only resources (especially Risky Blow). Expect combat frequently when playing a fallen Alatar deck, and be sure to make use of it by collecting the kill MPs. Take note that when Alatar is in play, defeated hazards, regardless of having * or not, are worth full kill MPs. Strangely, Alatar is the only Fallen-wizard that has one recycler.
Alatar specific stage resources do not boost your character and faction MPs. However, two general stage resources - Gatherer of Loyalties and Great Patron - make up for this. If Gatherer of Loyalties is in play, Dragon factions can give a maximum of four MPs from each (even dragon factions like Scorba which usually only give 3 MPs to minion players).
ALATAR SPECIFIC STAGE RESOURCES
BOW OF ALATAR - Permanent-event (R)
[SP: 2; CP: 1]
Unique. Alatar specific. Place this card on Alatar if he is in play. If on Alatar, you may tap Bow of Alatar to allow him to face a strike from an attack against his company regardless of the attack's normal capabilities and his status. If such a strike fails, the attack's body is reduced by 1.
This card maximizes Alatar's ability to face a strike from any creature every turn and increases the chances of defeating it. This card works best against one attack, one strike creatures. Just make sure Alatar will defeat the strike so as you get the kill MP.
THE GREAT HUNT - Permanent-event (R)
[MP: 1; SP: 3]
Alatar specific. Playable if you are Alatar and have at least 12 stage points. Your opponent reveals cards one at a time from his play deck or his discard pile (your choice). Any hazard creature revealed immediately attacks Alatar's company. This process stops when 5 creatures or all cards of the deck (or pile) have been revealed. Reshuffle play deck if used. Thereafter, your opponent discards face-up. Whenever your opponent discards a creature during your turn, you may choose to have it attack Alatar's company instead. Cannot be duplicated.
This is Alatar's MP stage resource that is a more powerful version of The Hunt. Don't let this card's 1 MP let you down. You might get more if you play this card right. This card is best played from the sideboard once you figure out what type of hazard strategy your opponent uses. It will definitely hurt most heavy creature hazard strategies and helps Alatar collect those kill MPs. Be careful, though. Your opponent might be playing Nazgûl or the unique Dragons and you might end up losing more MPs than gaining them (I played this card and the first creature revealed was Witch-king of Angmar!). Make sure you have those defense cards in your hand just in case. Plus, it allows Alatar's company to face creatures your opponent opts to discard (by the time he figures out he'll just give Alatar more MPs instead of eliminating him). Additionally, you also get to have non-fallen Pallando's ability of having your opponent discard face-up.
HUNTSMAN'S GARB - Permanent-event (U)
[SP: 1; CP: 1]
Unique. Alatar specific. Place this card on Alatar if he is in play. If on Alatar, you may tap Huntsman's Garb during your end-of-turn phase to take Risky Blow, True Fána, or The Hunt from your discard pile to your hand.
Alatar's recycler card allows you to retrieve Risky Blow, True Fána and The Hunt back. This card works best if you plan to wipe out all of your opponent's creatures one by one, or if you expect to face attacks and strikes instead of avoiding them.
JOIN THE HUNT - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Alatar specific. Your weapon/shield/armor/helmet items in Alatar's company are each worth full marshalling points. Your allies with a prowess attribute in Alatar's company are each worth full marshalling points.
(see Oromë's Warders)
OROMË'S WARDERS - Permanent-event (R)
Unique. Alatar specific. Playable on Alatar if Join the Hunt is in play. Your weapon/shield/armor/helmet items are each worth full marshalling points. Your allies with a prowess attribute are each worth full marshalling points. Your Elf factions are each worth 2 marshalling points.
Join the Hunt and Oromë's Warders are the MP boosters to Alatar. With them, you get full marshalling points to all your "combat" items and all your allies prowess with prowess. Oromë's Warders boost Elf factions' MPs as well.
SQUIRE OF THE HUNT - Permanent-event (U)
[SP: 2; P/B: +1/+1]
Unique. Alatar specific. Warrior only. Playable on one of your warrior characters at one of your Wizardhavens (or in your starting company). +1 to his direct influence. This character requires 2 points of influence to control and may only be controlled by general influence or Alatar.
Alatar's mind-alterer is best played with your starting company so as not waste a turn going to a Wizardhaven just to play it. It can make your weaker warriors stronger through the P/B modifiers and saves influence points by lowering the warrior's mind to 2 points. Or play it on a strong warrior like Celeborn to make him a 7/10 5 Mind 2 Direct Influence character requiring 2 points of influence to control! (you would need Thrall of the Voice to play Celeborn initially).
"The fallen Gandalf (the Careworn) is the friend of peoples, fate, and Middle-earth. He manipulates peoples and their rulers rather than dominate them - he is not an empire builder. He has lost hope of defeating Sauron. He just wants to delay the Dark Lord's final victory as long as possible, and to save as many of the Free Peoples as possible."
GANDALF - Warrior/Scout/Sage/Diplomat Fallen-wizard (C)
[GI: 18; DI: 9; P/B: 6/9; Home Site: Any Free-hold]
Unique. Can use spirit-magic. May untap at the end of your organization phase. Your characters and hero allies are each worth full marshalling points. Gandalf may tap to "test" a ring in his company.
Fallen Gandalf lost his +1 corruption modifier but retains his ring test ability. His ability to untap at the end of the organization phase allows you to test those gold rings if you plan a fallen Gandalf ring strategy. This untappping ability also allows you to tap Gandalf freely during the organization phase to remove corruption cards or to get cards from the sideboard, and start the movement/hazard phase untapped. Additionally, he can now use spirit-magic cards. You need not also play Great Patron as characters and hero allies give full MPs. On the downside, his DI is reduced as well as your GI once he is in play.
Most of Gandalf's MPs are focused on hero resources, particularly characters and allies. His home site can make him gather hero factions easily at the Gondor area. He has a faction booster, which makes him flexible in either a Gondor or Eriador-based muster. If you intend to boost your items, you have to use Legacy of Smiths as there are no Gandalf item-booster stage cards.
His home site makes fallen Gandalf a favorite when playing decks centered in the Gondor area as it contains the most number of Free-holds in the map. Just watch out for Slayers and Assassins - two of the most popular Wizard killers - as this is the area where they are usually played. Alternatively you can turn this threat to your advantage by using Ready To His Will and turning the Slayer or Assassin into an ally. His home site can also make it easier to fulfill the requirement of his stage MP card - turning up to three Free-holds into Wizardhavens using three Chambers in the Royal Court.
GANDALF SPECIFIC STAGE RESOURCES
AWAIT THE ONSET - Permanent-event (R)
[MP: 5; SP: 3]
Gandalf specific. Playable if you are Gandalf and have at least: 12 stage points, two protected Wizardhavens, 4 factions, and 6 characters. Each faction you play after Await the Onset is worth 1 marshalling point regardless of other cards in play (place these factions under Await the Onset). Each of your marshalling point cards in a company not in one of your Wizardhavens when the game ends is worth 1 marshalling point regardless of other cards in play. Cannot be duplicated.
This stage resource can force your companies to stay at your Wizardhavens. Just make sure that before you play this card, either you will not play any more factions as you will only get 1 MP from them, or only play 1 MP factions. Make sure, too, that before the game ends, all your MPs are at your Wizardhaven(s). This card is best played if you are ready to call your Day of Reckoning.
CHAMBERS IN THE ROYAL COURT - Permanent-event (U)
Gandalf specific. Playable on one of your hero Free-hold sites in play. This site becomes a Wizardhaven for your companies, loses all automatic-attacks against your companies, and is one of Gandalf's home sites. Nothing is considered playable as written on the site card. If one of your companies is at this site, all attacks against it are canceled. Other Fallen-wizards may not use this site as a Wizardhaven. Discard this card when the site is discarded or returned to its location deck. It cannot be discarded otherwise. Cannot be duplicated on a given site.
This card is very important especially if you plan to center around the Gondor area, as there are no nearby Wizardhavens in sight. More so if you have a fallen Alatar/Pallando/Saruman as an opponent and they took nearby Isengard for their own. It is best to play this card after you played a resource on it (preferably a faction) and play No Strangers at this Time so as not to discard the site. Plus, this card can help you in fulfilling the requirements of Await the Onset.
GANDALF'S FRIEND - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Gandalf specific. Playable on one of your characters at one of your Wizardhavens (or in your starting company). +2 to his direct influence. This character requires 1 point of influence to control and may only be controlled by general influence or Gandalf.
Gandalf's mind-alterer is perhaps the best among the five Istari. It makes any one of your characters have 1 mind and +2 to his direct influence, allowing you to make up for the lack of Gandalf's DI and your GI.
GIVE WELCOME TO THE UNEXPECTED - Permanent-event (R)
Unique. Gandalf specific. Place this card on Gandalf if he is in play. If on Gandalf, your unique non-character cards normally worth 1 marshalling point are each worth 2 marshalling points.
There are a lot of unique non-character resources that most hero players would not consider putting in their decks because of its low MP. Fallen Gandalf players love playing this card because it instantly boosts those penny resources.
GREY EMBASSY - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Gandalf specific. Place this card on Gandalf if he is in play. If on Gandalf, your unique hero factions normally worth 2 or fewer marshalling points are each worth 2 marshalling points. If on Gandalf, your unique hero factions normally worth 3 or more marshalling points are each worth 3 marshalling points.
A fallen Gandalf player's alternative to Gatherer of Loyalties, even better actually as it boosts his faction MPs.
THE GREY HAT - Permanent-event (U)
[SP: 1; CP: 1]
Unique. Gandalf specific. Place this card on Gandalf if he is in play. If on Gandalf, you may tap The Grey Hat during your end-of-turn phase to take New Friendship, Wizard's Test, or Hobbit-lore from your discard pile to your hand.
Gandalf's recycler allows you to retrieve two important resources in a fallen Gandalf strategy. New Friendship will help him in corruption checks and influence attempts, while Wizard's Test will help him in testing rings. If you plan to center near The Shire, Hobbit-lore will help Gandalf in recruiting Hobbits at Bag End.
RING OF FIRE -Permanent-event (R)
Unique. Gandalf specific. Place this card on Gandalf if he is in play. If on Gandalf, you may tap Ring of Fire during your organization phase to take Narya from your discard pile to your hand.
Gandalf's second recycler allows you to retrieve his power card, Narya and use it almost every turn to make him a very powerful Fallen-wizard. Just make sure you can handle the corruption checks caused by this Elven-ring.
"The fallen Pallando (Master of Doom) is the master of peoples and fate. He rules and dominates peoples. He is obsessed with building his own empire and defeating Sauron by force of arms."
PALLANDO - Warrior/Ranger/Sage/Diplomat Fallen-wizard (C)
[GI: 20; DI: 7; P/B: 5/9; Home Site: The White Towers]
Unique. Can use spirit-magic. Your Man, Dwarf, Elf, Dúnadan, Hobbit, Orc, and Troll factions are each worth 2 marshalling points. You may keep one more card than normal in your hand.
Pallando retains his extra card-in-hand ability - very important for card advantage - which makes fallen Pallando decks cycle quickly. Like fallen Gandalf, he can use spirit-magic. His low prowess will make you think twice if you want to move him or not, but most fallen Pallando decks usually prefer leaving him sitting at his Wizardhaven. His ability to boost a wide range of factions makes him excellent for faction recruiting decks. His DI greatly decreased (usually used for his faction gathering), but his stage resources make up for this weak spot. His home site at The White Towers provides him the opportunity to join a starting company, as this is the usual starting site of most Fallen-wizard companies. Playing the minion Palantír of Elostirion on him (or any sage) will add another card to your hand. His home site is also centrally located in the Arthedain region that is adjacent to a number of regions where faction sites are available.
PALLANDO SPECIFIC STAGE RESOURCES
ARCANE SCHOOL - Permanent-event (R)
Pallando specific. Sage only. Playable on a non-Hobbit, non-Dwarf sage at one of your Wizardhavens (or in your starting company). The character may use sorcery, spirit-magic, and shadow-magic. Cannot be duplicated on a given character.
This card allows a fallen Pallando the opportunity to play various magic cards by his sage character(s). Imagine this sage going to an opponent's company and playing A Malady without Healing or any other wicked magic card. Your opponent will not only be focusing on your hazards, but your "stalking," magic-wielding characters as well.
PALLANDO'S APPRENTICE - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Pallando specific. Sage only. Playable on a non-Hobbit, non-Dwarf sage character at one of your Wizardhavens (or in your starting company). +1 to his direct influence. This character requires 2 points of influence to control and may only be controlled by general influence or Pallando. This character may tap to use a Palantír he bears.
Pallando's mind-alterer is limited only to certain races and a certain skill. On the upside, it allows this character to duplicate Saruman's ability of using a Palantír (preferably that of Elostirion, minion version).
PALLANDO'S HOOD - Permanent-event (U)
[SP: 1; CP: 1]
Unique. Pallando specific. Place this card on Pallando if he is in play. If on Pallando, you may tap Pallando's Hood during your end-of-turn phase to take Gifts as Given of Old, Wizard's Voice, or Eyes of Mandos from your discard pile to your hand.
Pallando's recycler allows him to make full use of his abilities. Gifts as Given of Old and Wizard's Voice are very useful for Pallando's faction recruiting, while recycling Eyes of Mandos maximizes Pallando's card advantage.
PROPHET OF DOOM - Permanent-event (R)
[MP: 3; SP: 3]
Pallando specific. Playable if you are Pallando and have at least 12 stage points and 5 factions in play. Pallando need not be at the appropriate site when making an influence attempt on an opponent's resource or character. Such an influence check is modified by half (rounded up) of Pallando's unused general influence (to a maximum of 10) instead of his unused direct influence. Subtract from the attempt the number of regions between Pallando's site and the site where the influence attempt would normally be made. Discard if you have fewer than 5 factions in play. Cannot be duplicated.
This is Pallando's MP stage resource, and fully maximizes his faction gathering. This is similar to Hour of Need (given that Hour of Need is not usable by Fallen-wizards), and makes Pallando virtually the only Fallen-wizard to have such ability. Just protect yourself from influence attempts by your opponent or Muster Disperses and make sure you have at least 5 factions in play so as to keep this card in the table. This is the only MP stage resource that can be discarded if its faction requirement has not been met.
STAVE OF PALLANDO - Permanent-event (R)
[SP: 2; CP: 1]
Unique. Pallando specific. Place this card on Pallando if he is in play. If on Pallando, you may tap Stave of Pallando during your end-of-turn phase to take a faction from your discard pile to your hand.
Pallando is the second Fallen-wizard to have a second recycler. This recycler is quite different from the other Fallen-wizards'. Instead of resource events, it recycles any faction in your discard pile. So you can bring factions into your discard pile from the sideboard and recycle them, or retrieve a faction you discarded, or even one your opponent influenced away from you.
TRUTHS OF DOOM - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Pallando specific. Your general influence is increased by 6 points. You may only use 2 of these 6 points to control characters.
This is the card to help protect Pallando from influence attempts, Call of Homes and Muster Disperses and other hazards that target general influence, it is also a big boost to your stage point total.
"The fallen Radagast (of the Greenwood) is the friend of animate nature. He looks at Middle-earth as a big garden with people as the gardeners. He persuades but doesn't dominate. He plans to help nature protect itself from the Dark Lord."
RADAGAST - Warrior/Scout/Ranger/Diplomat Fallen-wizard (C)
[GI: 22; DI: 5; P/B: 6/9; Home Site: Rhosgobel]
Unique. Your unique factions that are neither Man, Dwarf, Dúnadan, Hobbit, Orc, nor Troll are each worth 2 marshalling points. Your hero allies each are worth full marshalling points. Hero allies Radagast controls have no movement restrictions. When Radagast's new site is revealed, he may draw one additional card for each Wilderness in his company's site path.
Fallen Radagast loses his +1 corruption modifier, but retains his extra card draw for moving through the Wilderness. This means that many fallen Radagast decks will have him actively moving around the map most of the time to draw cards. However, with the new MEWH rule that Fallen-wizards can only be brought into play at their home sites, Radagast may risk a lot when trying to cross west over the Misty Mountains. Rhosgobel (he is the only one who can use this site - one of his unique privileges over the other Fallen-wizards) does not actually fully support his card drawing ability, that site being in a dark-domain (and very close to Dol Guldur - a favorite Darkhaven of minions); so plan carefully on the turn you decide to reveal Radagast. On the upside, you can play Blackbole at Rhosgobel with ease. His MP stage resource fixes this Wilderness-less problem (see below). His MP boosting ability focuses mostly on "wildlife" factions, except for Elves. (Animals, Wolves, Eagles and Ents, to name a few). He also boosts hero allies he controls, plus he allows the bigger ones to roam Middle-earth. Tom Bombadil can now cross the Misty Mountains, and the Ents can come out from Fangorn Forest to the sea. He has the most GI any Fallen-wizard has, but his DI is also the lowest. That means you need to control your characters with GI, so watch out for Call of Homes, Muster Disperses or influence attempts by your opponent by keeping some GI free. Radagast will almost completely use his DI for getting factions.
Fallen Radagast's stage resources are quite unique: his three stage Shapeshifter cards (similar to the Ringwraiths' mode cards) and the only stage ally. Using the Shapeshifter cards, Radagast's abilities change, depending on what type of mission you want Radagast to undertake. The Black Bird covers up or supports Rad's weak DI by letting the bird to gather the factions instead of him when needed.
A great site for Radagast to focus on is at Wellinghall because it is near to Rhosgobel and you can get the Ent allies. It is also a good place to set up the Girdle of Radagast (see below).
RADAGAST SPECIFIC STAGE RESOURCES
FRIEND OF SECRET THINGS - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Radagast specific. Your companies with a company size of 2 or less may play allies at tapped sites.
This card works best at sites where you can play other resources aside from allies, or contains more than one ally. It lets Radagast's small companies to play usually unique allies at a tapped site. Play this card on Radagast's sized two company at Wellinghall and you now have an army of Ents. Play this at Old Forest and you can have the couple Tom and Goldberry together.
GIRDLE OF RADAGAST - Permanent-event (R)
[MP: 5; SP: 3]
Radagast specific. Playable on one of your protected Wizardhavens if you are Radagast and have at least 12 SP and 6 allies and/or unique factions in play (the factions must be playable at sites in the Wizardhaven's region or adjacent regions). The Wizardhaven's region and all adjacent regions become Wilderness. Cannot be duplicated.
Radagast's MP stage resource automatically converts any given area on the map into one big forest. This helps in making the terrain suitable to Radagast, especially when he tends to travel frequently. Play this in an area near Rhosgobel (preferably Fangorn) and all you'll see are trees. Just be careful from those deep Wilderness creatures that will get the attention this Girdle will create.
GLOVE OF RADAGAST - Permanent-event (R)
[SP: 2; CP: 1]
Unique. Radagast specific. Place this card on Radagast if he is in play. Any non-unique ally with 1 mind (a copy of which he does not already control) is considered playable with Radagast at his site. This ally may be taken from your discard pile or hand.
This recycler allows Radagast to play popular non-unique allies such as Noble Hound and War-wolf straight from the discard pile. It also helps in meeting the requirements Radagast needs to set up his Girdle (see above). Though you do not continuously recycle these resources, it allows you to discard them freely at the earlier part of the game and retrieve them once you get this card into play.
MASTER OF SHAPES - Permanent-event (U)
[SP: 1; GI: 25; DI: 1; P/B: 9/10; Corruption Checks: -2]
Radagast specific. Shapeshifter. Place this card on Radagast if he is in play. Return this card to your hand: when you play another Shapeshifter card or, if you choose, during your organization phase. In addition to adopting the given attributes, Radagast's skills become Warrior/Ranger. Radagast's prowess is only modified by -1 when not
tapping to face a strike. Radagast may bear, but may not use items.
The first of the shapeshifter cards makes Radagast one powerful Wizard. His prowess is high enough for you to take on some of the nastier creatures. His body can only be defeated by a good roll. His ranger skill will make full use of Crept Along Cleverly (recyclable with Pocketed Robes - see below) and can protect his companies from Rivers and Enchanted Streams. However, you can virtually make no use of his 1 DI, which means all your characters will be under GI.
This card's second ability allows Radagast to remain untapped until the site phase because he only suffers a -1 mod, instead of a -3. He need not cower from creatures with a prowess of 10 or lower. However, he may not use items he bears which means he cannot modify his physical stats from items (he can still modify it with short-events, though) and you also have to watch out for his CPs, as that -2 modifier can mean the end of the game.
POCKETED ROBES - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Radagast specific. Place this card on Radagast if he is in play. If on Radagast, you may tap Pocketed Robes during your end-of-turn phase to take Crept Along Cleverly, Wizard's River-horses, or Herb-lore from your discard pile to your hand.
Radagast's recycler can retrieve one of three resources that are all useful in a wandering Radagast deck. It allows you to cancel attacks through Wizard's River Horses and Crept Along Cleverly. Herb-lore can provide an untapping on healing effect without the delay of moving to a Wizardhaven.
RADAGAST'S BLACK BIRD - Scout/Diplomat Ally (U)
[MP: 1; SP: 3; Mind: 2; DI: 3; P/B: 2/8]
Unique. Radagast specific. Playable at one of your Wizardhavens. You may return Radagast's Black Bird to your hand: during your organization phase or if its controlling character leaves active play. Radagast may play this ally at any site (tapped or untapped) and need not tap himself or the site to do so. This ally may attempt to influence factions as if he were a character. He may cancel a strike directed against him - tapping afterwards if not already tapped.
The only stage ally in the game is a very useful pet for Radagast. It can come in and go out of play at will. If it is wounded, just return it to your hand (the only stage card to do so) during the org phase and make it come back during the site phase untapped. It can get the factions Radagast may have trouble to muster, and it may cancel a strike. Plus, it's the only ally Radagast can take along in his Winged Change-master mode (see below).
SHIFTER OF HUES - Permanent-event (R)
[SP: 1; GI: 27; DI: 3; P/B: 6/10; Corruption Checks: -2]
Radagast specific. Shapeshifter. Place this card on Radagast if he is in play. Return this card to your hand: when you play another Shapeshifter card or, if you choose, during your organization phase. In addition to adopting the given attributes, Radagast's skills become Warrior/Diplomat. Radagast may not move. You may keep one more card than normal in your hand. Radagast can tap give +2 to the corruption checks of the characters in one company through your next organization phase (this company must be moving with at least one Wilderness in their site path). Radagast may bear, but may not use, items.
This second shapeshifter card transforms Radagast into a tree and becomes much harder to kill with a body check. He may not move to a new site and his DI is just enough to control a 3-mind, 1 MP character. However, he can help with his companies' corruption checks as long as they are moving through a Wilderness. Similar to Master of Shapes, he can't use his items (he's a tree!) and suffers a -2 modifier to his corruption checks.
WINGED CHANGE-MASTER - Permanent-event (R)
[SP: 1; GI: 19; DI: 8; P/B: 3/9; Corruption Checks: -2]
Radagast specific. Shapeshifter. Place this card on Radagast if he is in play. Return this card to your hand: when you play another Shapeshifter card or, if you choose, during your organization phase. In addition to adopting the given attributes, Radagast's skills become Scout/Diplomat. If no other characters or allies (except his Black Bird) are in his company: Radagast may move to a new site with no region card maximum, he has no site path, and he is considered to move through no regions. Radagast may bear, but may not use, items.
This Shapeshifter card actually allows Radagast to fly from one corner of Middle-earth to another (as long as he's alone or with his Black Bird) with no hassles at all. He has no site path and moves through no regions, which means only creatures that can be played keyed to the sites. His increased DI can only mean that this card is very useful for gathering big MP factions located at different parts of the map. Be careful if you use Radagast for this reason, though. As he will not control characters, they will be under GI, and with it being reduced to 19; you might be vulnerable to various hazards and influence attempts. Also, take note that Radagast's physique is the weakest in this mode. You cannot use items to enhance this, and you cannot use those Warrior or Ranger only cards. Additionally, one well-placed River can leave him twiddling his thumbs during the site phase. As with the other shapeshifter cards, he suffers a -2 corruption check modifier and he cannot use his items.
"The fallen Saruman (of Many Colors) is the master of inanimate nature. He gathers knowledge and makes inanimate objects. He is obsessed with using his own personal power, items, and abilities to contest Sauron."
SARUMAN - Scout/Ranger/Sage/Diplomat Fallen-wizard (C)
[GI: 15; DI: 12; P/B: 6/9; Home Site: Isengard]
Unique. Can use sorcery. Your non-weapon/ non-armor/non-shield/non-helmet items are each worth full marshalling points. May tap to use a Palantír he bears. -1 to all corruption checks. At the beginning of your end-of-turn phase, you may tap Saruman to take one spell or sorcery card from your discard pile to your hand.
At first glance, Saruman seemed to have become weaker in his Fallen-wizard version. He now has a -1 corruption check modifier - a reason to include The White Wizard in a fallen Saruman strategy. His DI is increased by 2, but his GI has been reduced by 5. He primarily boosts MPs from "lore" items: rings, Palantíri, and other non-"combat" items, which, in a game where companies are bound to face combat, may not be of much help. However, Saruman's home site of Isengard allows you to instantly play Palantír of Orthanc on him to allow you to recycle those cancelers (which is usually found in fallen Saruman decks, as he is a scout). If you leave him sitting at Isengard, he will almost always tap during the whole turn either to get a Technology item (using Saruman's Machinery), to tap the Orthanc-stone, or to retrieve a card from the discard pile.
In addition to recycling spell cards, he may now also recycle sorcery cards, particularly White Light Broken, which can help Saruman with his corruption checks (it acts like a backup First of the Order).
His home site can be reached from Arthedain or Rhudaur in one turn, so Saruman can go to the White Towers if he plans to join his companies there or vice-versa. However, the land may be too hostile, so make sure to pack some cancelers. His home site is in reach to gather Anduin Vales, Eriadoran and Gondor factions, as well as many gold ring sites west and east of the mountains.
Saruman is the Fallen-wizard that needs a protected Wizardhaven the most. His two stage resources, Saruman's Machinery and The White Hand, needs this requirement for them to be played. Plus, the other requirement of The White Hand is A Strident Spawn, which also needs a protected Wizhaven. Make sure to include the Keys of either the White Towers or Orthanc so as to make sure you own the place.
SARUMAN SPECIFIC STAGE RESOURCES
THE FORGE-MASTER - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Saruman specific. Playable on a non-Hobbit sage character or a Man. +1 to his direct influence. The character requires 2 points of influence to control and may only be controlled by general influence or Saruman. If at a Wizardhaven during your organization phase, you may tap this character to place a non-unique weapon/armor/shield/helmet minor item with any character at The Forge-master's site. The recipient need not tap to receive this item, and the item may be taken from your discard pile, sideboard, or hand.
Saruman's Mind alterer is limited only to non-Hobbit sages and Men, but reduces that character's mind to 2 mind. It's recycling ability, however, is not that useful as it only recovers "combat" minor items (items Saruman can't boost and items that actually don't have MPs) - used perhaps to retrieve those important minor items discarded by "Rats!" However, it may be useful to fill up Armories if you pan on putting them on your deck. You need not waste deck space for the minor items and no need to tap the character playing it.
MANY-COLOURED ROBES - Permanent-event (U)
[SP: 1; CP: 1]
Unique. Saruman specific. Place this card on Saruman if he is in play. If on Saruman, he may tap during his end-of-turn phase to take Ringlore, Lordly Presence, or First of the Order from his discard pile to his hand.
Saruman's first recycler is very useful if you plan to play either a multiple ring strategy or faction gathering strategy. It can also help Saruman a lot by recycling First of the Order for those nasty corruption checks, thus making his checks for the rest of the turn a +1 instead of a -1. What's unique about this recycler compared to the other Fallen-wizards' is that it you have to tap Saruman, not the card, to recycle the above cards. Not very helpful, especially if you need Saruman to retrieve his spell and sorcery cards. You may want to have some way of untapping him at the end-of-turn phase so as to use his Fallen-wizard ability and this card's ability. Watch out for this card's CP, as it might prove disastrous to Saruman with one bad corruption check dice roll.
MAN OF SKILL - Permanent-event (U)
Unique. Saruman specific. Your permanent-events that require a site where Information is playable are each worth 2 marshalling points.
This MP booster stage resource allows you to turn those 1MP information cards (usually requiring a sage to play) to 2 MPs. Cards to consider include: When I Know Anything, When You Know More, That's No Secret (which doesn't require you to tap the site). His home site is centrally located to 4-5 Information sites, and this card can help you in balancing those MPs and winning the game.
SARUMAN'S MACHINERY - Permanent-event (R)
[MP: 1; SP: 4]
Saruman specific. Playable, if you are Saruman, on your protected Isengard or your protected The White Towers. One Technology item is playable at the site during your site phase whether the site is tapped or untapped. Discard when this site is discarded or returned to your location deck. Cannot be duplicated on a given site.
This card allows you to get those Blasting Fires, Liquid Fires and Vile Fumes at your Wizardhaven without the risk of going to those shadow-holds and dark-holds. Just make sure there's at least one character at the site so as to prevent this card from being discarded.
SARUMAN'S RING - Permanent-event (R)
[SP: 2; CP: 1]
Unique. Saruman specific. Place this card on Saruman if he is in play. If on Saruman, you may tap Saruman's Ring during your end-of-turn phase to take a ring item (other than The One Ring) from your discard pile to your hand.
Saruman's second recylcer is very helpful when playing a pure ring strategy. Using this card, you can save deck space by putting ring items in your sideboard and letting this card take them to your hand. In a One Ring strategy, it allows you to recover tested rings or those discarded by Rolled Down to the Sea. Be careful, though, as this card will add another CP to Saruman.
THE WHITE HAND - Permanent-event (R)
[MP: 6; SP: 3; DI: +2; P/B: +1/0]
Saruman specific. Playable on Saruman if he has the following in play: at least 12 stage points, at least 3 factions, A Strident Spawn, and Saruman's Machinery. Cannot be duplicated.
Unlike the other Fallen-wizards' MPs stage cards, Saruman's MP stage resource only gives Saruman 6 big MPs, 3 SPs, and a boost to his prowess and DI; and with those requirements to bring it to play, it can be difficult to pull it off. Kind of disappointing, too, given that this is the inspiration for this expansion. Saruman deserve something more from this card, but the 6 MPs can be a deciding factor in winning the game. Combine this with a White Tree played on Wizard's Trove and that's a whooping 11 MP gain! Best played if you are ready to call your Day of Reckoning.