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Against the Shadow
Strategy Guide - Part 3
Minion Resources and Sites Cards

Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2001

Edited by Nicholas HM Caldwell for The Guild Companion

In this series of articles I am looking at each card in the Against the Shadow expansion for MECCG. In part 1, I considered the hazards, in part 2, the hero specific cards and the minion characters, finally in part 3 (this part) I will cover the minion resources and sites.

I will also include the card text and rarity for each of the cards.

A brief explanation of rarity, with Against the Shadow you get 2 Rares, 4 Uncommons and 6 Commons in each pack. Each level of rarity has a number, this is the number of times the card appears on the sheet, so the higher the number the more 'common' the card (e.g. an R1 is roughly twice as rare as an R2).

Also in this article (at the end) I have given a sample minion resource deck (30 cards), suitable for playing against both Hero and Minion. You would probably want to modify this deck, depending on the cards you own, your hazard strategy and the type of decks you expect to face. I finish the article with a summary of the key cards I believe a player should be looking out to collect from this particular set.

Cards:

Minion Resource Permanent/Short Event Cards

Most of these cards are quite specialized, which means you'd only want to use them in specific decks, or maybe in the sideboard. Of the 32 cards in these categories I only really consider 3 to be essential for a player to own (and fortunately they all common), while another 6 are also generally useful, or essential for certain deck types:

Essential

Above the Abyss (Common)

Dark Tryst (Common)

Tribute Garnered (Common)

 

Useful

Faithless Steward (Rare)

Hail of Darts (Rare)

Hoard Well Searched (Common)

Orders from Lugbúrz (Uncommon)

Tokens to Show (Common)

World Gnawed by the Nameless (Rare)

The other cards are more limited; if you don't have the card then there are a few types of deck you can't build but even if you have all the cards most of the time it's only these 9 you will use frequently.

Above the Abyss

Rarity = C3

Short-event

Playable on a tapped non-Ringwraith character if your opponent is a Wizard and your Ringwraith is in play. Untap target character.

The minion equivalent of And Forth He Hastened. In fact this card is more playable than the Hero version, as the character you untap does not have to be in the same company as your Ringwraith. A generally useful utility card as long as you are playing against a Hero opponent. Being able to untap a character is very powerful, and this card could be easily incorporated into a number of different decks.

Dark Tryst

Rarity = C3

Short-event

Draw three cards and remove this card from the game.

Not only is Dark Tryst probably the best minion card in this set, it is possibly the best card in the game! This card gives any deck a speed boost. Being able to draw 3 new cards is great - you can play this in the Organisation Phase if you are desperate for a character, in the Movement/Hazard Phase if you want a resource, or even in the End of Turn Phase so you can temporarily hold more cards (hopefully hazards) for your opponent's next turn. I would seriously consider 3 copies of this card in every minion deck (and 2 copies of this card in every Fallen-wizard deck).

Driven as by a Madness

Rarity = U3

Short-event

Magic. Spirit-magic. Playable on a spirit-magic-using character facing an attack. All characters in his company receive +2 prowess and -1 body against the attack. Unless he is a Ringwraith, character makes a corruption check modified by -3. Cannot be duplicated against a given attack.

All the magic cards are by their nature specialized, since you need the specific magic user in your company to play the card. If this character is not a Ringwraith, you will need to be careful to prepare for the associated corruption check (power corrupts in Middle-earth). This particular card is useful if you are planning a combat intensive spirit-magic deck, and is best used on large companies (to get maximum use of the bonus).

Eye Never Sleeping

Rarity = U3

Short-event

Playable if you are Sauron. Cancel one hazard creature attack.

The first of the 'Sauron only' cards in Middle-earth: Against the Shadow – I rate all of these cards as very specialized, as you need to be using The Lidless Eye (from Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye) or Sauron (from Middle-earth: The Balrog). This can be a problem for players, since you ideally need 3 copies of the appropriate card (The Lidless Eye or Sauron) to build a 'Sauron' deck, and these cards are both rare. If you are playing a Sauron deck, however, this card is definitely worth considering – it is a creature canceller that requires no specific skills, nor does it require you to tap a character. Unfortunately, it does not work on automatic-attacks, and of course you need to get the appropriate permanent-event into play to declare yourself 'Sauron' before you can play this card.

Faithless Steward

Rarity = R2

MPs = (3)

Permanent-event

Playable on an agent character at a Darkhaven who has a Border-hold or Free-hold as a home site. If target character is unwounded and at one of his Border-hold or Free-hold home sites, no factions can be played at any version of that site and you receive this card's marshalling points.

Cannot be duplicated on a given character.

Before the release of the Middle-earth: The White Hand, I would have rated this card as a specialty card – however with access to Open to the Summons from the Middle-earth: White Hand, this card moves up a notch to generally useful. This card gives you 3 miscellaneous marshalling points just by moving an agent character to his/her home site. Usually you cannot start with an agent as a character, and since they have to be bought into play at their home site, this makes things difficult once your Ringwraith is in play. However utilising Open to the Summons allows you to start with an agent. Then once you've drawn Faithless Steward, move the agent to a Darkhaven, play this card, and then the turn you intend to play Sudden Call (to end the game) move the agent character from the Darkhaven to his/her home site. Alternatively, if you think you can cancel (or beat) hazard creatures keyed to the home site, then move the agent earlier and play Awaiting the Call to reduce the character's mind. All in all, a powerful card in the right deck.

Far Below the Deepest Delvings

Rarity = U3

Short-event

Playable during the movement/hazard phase on a company moving to an Under-deeps site. At the end of its movement/hazard phase, target company attempts to move to an additional site. Another site card is played and another movement/hazard phase immediately follows.

A card for speeding up minion Under-deeps movement (acting like a Forced March). Unfortunately, there is another card in this set which has the same effect, but is vastly superior (World Gnawed by the Nameless). Therefore, you are only likely to use this card if you want more than 3 copies of a card to move to additional Under-deeps sites or you haven't got copies of the rare World Gnawed by the Nameless.

Hail of Darts

Rarity = R2

Short-event

Playable during the organization phase on a company. Each character tapping in support gives a +3 modification to prowess instead of the normal +1. Cannot be duplicated on a given company.

A nice combat enhancer card that works for the whole turn (rather than just for one attack). You are going to get the most use out of this card in a big company (where you have available characters to tap in support), especially companies of Orc Scouts where the hazard limit is significantly less than the company size. Consider using this card in a deck that untaps characters with Where There's a Whip.

Hoard Well-searched

Rarity = C2

Short-event

Scout only. Playable during the site phase on a company with a scout at a tapped site that contains a hoard. A minor or major item may be played.

The minion equivalent of Bounty of the Hoard, with the additional restriction of requiring a character with Scout skill. The Scout does not have to tap, however, which makes this card superior to Catch an Elusive Scent as long as you intend to visit hoard sites and not search for Gold Ring Items. The ability to reuse a site, or play multiple items on a turn should not be overlooked – in the right deck this is a very powerful card, you can even recruit a Dragon faction and then steal an item from under the Dragon's nose on the same turn!

Hold Rebuilt and Repaired

Rarity = C2

Permanent-event

[The following text reflects official errata.]

Playable during the site phase on a non-Dragon's lair, non-Under-deeps Ruins & Lairs. The site becomes a Shadow-hold and all automatic-attacks become detainment. Discard this card when the site is discarded or returned to its location deck.

Before the errata this was a powerful card, as you could play it before facing the automatic-attacks at a site to cancel them – now you have to enter the site at least once (facing the automatic-attacks) before you can rebuild the hold. Useful in the right deck (changing a site to a Shadow-hold allows you to play certain items and factions (such as Blasting Fire and Snaga-Hai), but I would still rate this card as rather specialized following the errata.

Hounds of Sauron

Rarity = R2

Short-event

Magic. Shadow-magic. Playable during the site phase by a shadow-magic using character in lieu of declaring an attack against a hero company. The hero company faces an attack of Wolves - 4 strikes with 8 prowess. Alternatively, playable on a non-automatic attack against a shadow-magic using character. The number of strikes of the attack is reduced to one. Unless he is a Ringwraith, the shadow-magic user makes a corruption check modified by -4.

Another specialized magic card (see Driven as by a Madness). This particular card has one of two possible effects - creating an attack against a hero company or reducing the strikes of an attack. Unfortunately the effect creating an attack against hero companies is fairly weak (Malady without Healing is much more effective), but reducing the number of strikes from an attack to one should not be overlooked as it is a way to get trophy or even kill marshalling points from a creature – just be prepared for the corruption check. All in all, quite useful in a shadow-magic deck if you plan to fight creatures rather than avoid them.

Join With That Power

Rarity = C3

Short-event

Diplomat only. One influence check or corruption check by a character in a diplomat's company receives a bonus equal to the number of characters in the company minus one. Cannot be duplicated on a given check.

This is the minion equivalent of A Friend or Three, but it generally much less useful – for a start it is a diplomat only card, and the bonus is the number of characters minus one. You should only plan to use this card if you intend having companies of size 5 or greater. Otherwise, Crooked Promptings is just as effective (and if your company size is less than 4, Crooked Promptings is better).

Legendary Stair

Rarity = C2

Short-event

During the organization phase, reveal the new site of a company planning to move whose site of origin is untapped. This card is playable if the company's new site is an Under-deeps site. At the end of the turn, the company may replace its new site card with its site of origin card.

A very specialized Under-deeps movement card, which allows your company to drop to the Under-deeps, play resources, and then return to the surface site all in one turn. Since the ability to return to the site of origin is not required, if something goes horribly wrong and the company is unable to play any resources, then the player has the option of staying and trying again next turn. The problem with this card is that it is a combo card – you need it and the resources (ally, item, etc.) you want to play in hand to use it. Yes, moving to the Under-deeps and then returning the following turn is slower, but you don't have to wait to draw the Legendary Stair before moving. As a result, this card is a wasted resource slot in most decks.

Orders from Lugbúrz

Rarity = U3

Permanent-event

Playable on a company. May be played with a starting company in lieu of a minor item. This company may contain a Troll leader in addition to another leader. +1 to all corruption checks by followers of Troll leaders in this company. Discard if Ren is your Ringwraith or when a leader leaves the company. Cannot be duplicated on a given company.

A really useful card in a Troll deck – you can have 2 very strong characters in a company together (such as two of the Troll Lieutenants). The drawbacks are that you lose a minor item (as this card replaces it) and you cannot use Ren as your Ringwraith. Whole decks can be built around this card – and I would have rated it as essential if it let you play any two leaders in a company (rather than requiring that one be a troll), since playing Orcs and Trolls in one company makes you vulnerable to Unhappy Blows.

Our Own Wolves

Rarity = R2

Short-event

Magic. Spirit-magic. Playable on a company with a spirit-magic using character facing an attack. Each wolf ally (War-wolf, War-warg, or The Warg-king) receives +3 prowess against the attack. Following the attack, the controller of each wolf ally faces an attack: (no type) one strike with the ally's normal prowess +3. If the strike of an attack is successful, discard the wolf ally. Unless he is a Ringwraith, the spirit-magic-using character makes a corruption check modified by -3.

Another specialized magic card (see Driven as by a Madness) – this card is probably the most specialized magic card of the game. To play this card you need to build your deck around a Spirit-magic user and Wolf-allies. Furthermore, after the attack the controller of the Wolf-ally gets attacked by the Wolf, and if this attack is successful, then not only is the controller wounded, but the wolf gets discarded too. In my opinion a card for the binder rather than the deck. Fortunately, it's a rare.

Padding Feet

Rarity = R2

MPs = (5)

Permanent-event

[The following text reflects official errata.]

Playable during the site phase on a lone scout minion (no other characters or allies in his company) at the same site as an opponent hero company containing a hobbit. Also playable on a lone minion controlling Stinker (discard this card if Stinker leaves the company). If during a following site phase target character is at the same site as the Hobbit, tap this card (site must be entered). This card never untaps. If then during a following site phase, target character is at the same site as the Hobbit, invert this card (rotate it 180°) (site must be entered). If inverted, this card may be stored at a Darkhaven - only if stored do you receive its marshalling points.

A specialized theme card, that saw some abuse in Fallen-wizard decks until Iron Crown Enterprises issued the errata preventing players from using their own hobbits to make this card playable. Another card that is destined for the binder, since it is unlikely you would ever use it in a deck.

Powers Too Dark and Terrible

Rarity = R2

Permanent-event

Playable if you are Sauron. Once each of your turns, you may choose any character you control bearing a mind ring or special item ring to use sorcery, spirit-magic, or shadow-magic for the purposes of playing one magic card. Additionally, the corruption checks for all hero spells are modified by -1. Cannot be duplicated. Discard when any play deck is exhausted.

A specialized Sauron card (see Eye Never Sleeping) – it is certainly worth including in the sideboard if you intend to play The Lidless Eye/Sauron. This card has two nice effects – allowing you to play magic cards with characters that were never meant to wield such power (such as Troll Lieutenants) and also making spell use much more dangerous for Wizards and Fallen-wizards. This is appropriate, since you can only play The Lidless Eye/Sauron against a Wizard/Fallen-wizard opponent anyway.

Riven Gate

Rarity = R2

Short-event

Magic. Sorcery. Playable on a sorcery-using character when facing the automatic-attack at a Border-hold. All automatic-attacks at the site are canceled, and any influence attempt against a faction at the site this turn is modified by +2. Unless he is a Ringwraith, he makes a corruption check modified by -4.

This is a great Sorcery card in the right deck, one which contains a Sorcery-using character (such as Hador) that intends to visit Border-holds. The drawback is the corruption check; if you intend to play items (such as Blazon of the Eye) you may want someone other than the Sorcery-using character to bear them.

Sack Over the Head

Rarity = U3

Permanent-event

Playable on a Troll minion whose company is attacking a hero company with at least one Dwarf or Hobbit. For each successful strike against a Dwarf or Hobbit, the character is not wounded, but rather placed "off to the side" with this card. Discard if no characters are placed with this card. Target Troll cannot move to a Darkhaven. At the start of your turn, make a roll (draw a #) for each character placed with this card. If the result is greater than 8, the character is eliminated. If target Troll is wounded or removed from active play, discard this card and the surviving Dwarves and Hobbits form a company at the Troll's current site or new site.

A specialized theme card, but since it targets both Hobbits and Dwarves, it is more playable than some of the other theme cards. It is certainly worth considering this card for the sideboard if you are playing a Troll company against a Wizard or Fallen-wizard opponent.

Steeds

Rarity = R2

Short-event

Playable during the organization phase on a moving covert company. The hazard limit is decreased by two (to a minimum of 2). The prowess of any hazard creatures played against the company this turn is modified by +1.

The minion equivalent of Horses – and just as weak. I doubt if you would ever consider this card for a deck, as it increases the effectiveness of creatures played against your company. If there was no minimum to the hazard limit reduction it might be worth it, but as the card stands it is too specialized for most decks.

The Ash Mountain Deeps

Rarity = C2

Short-event

Ranger only. Playable during the organization phase on a ranger. If his company uses region movement, it may move as if the following pairs of regions were adjacent: Dagorlad and Gorgoroth, Horse Plains and Gorgoroth. The company faces a detainment attack at the beginning of its movement/hazard phase: Orcs - four strikes with 6 prowess. Alternatively, if the site moved to is in one of the regions listed above, the hazard limit is reduced by two (to a minimum of two).

The first of the special movement cards for minions in Against the Shadow. This card is the minion equivalent of the Hero Ash Mountains – but as minion companies can pass from Udûn to Dagorland (and back) through the black gate, this card is even less useful than the hero version, all you do is cut out a dark domain and a shadow-land from the companies site path. This card could be used to reduce the hazard limit for a larger company, as the detainment attack is fairly weak, but this card is probably too specialized for most decks.

The Dark Power

Rarity = U3

Short-event

Playable if you are Sauron. +3 to an influence check against a faction. If the check is not successful, shuffle the faction into your play deck.

Another Sauron card (see Eye Never Sleeping) and a useful one at that. It not only duplicates the effects of Gifts as Given of Old, but also recycles the faction for a second try if the attempt fails. If you are playing Sauron and plan to recruit factions, this card should be given serious consideration.

The Great Eye

Rarity = R2

Long-event

Playable if you are Sauron. The hazard limit against all companies is decreased by one (to a minimum of two). If this card is in play, you can discard it to target and cancel the play of a hazard event played by your opponent before it resolves. This cannot be used against an on-guard card.

Cannot be duplicated.

A powerful card – unfortunately you have to be Sauron to play it. The fact that it is a long-event means you can only play it in the long-event phase, rather than as soon as you draw it, but it is easy to discard as you can just cancel a hazard event played by your opponent. It is certainly worth considering including this card in the appropriate deck.

The Misty Mountain Deeps

Rarity = C2

Short-event

Ranger only. Playable during the organization phase on a ranger. If his company uses region movement, it may move as if the following pairs of regions were adjacent: Rhudaur and Anduin Vales, Rhudaur and Wold & Foothills, Hollin and Wold & Foothills, Hollin and Fangorn, Dunland and Fangorn. Alternatively, if the site moved to is in one of the regions listed above, the hazard limit is reduced by two (to a minimum of two).

Another special movement card - this one being the minion equivalent of Misty Mountains from Middle-earth: The Wizards. Of all the minion special movement cards, this is probably the most useful as it allows companies operating out of Dol Guldur to cross the Misty Mountains to use sites in Rhudaur and further west (or companies operating out of Carn Dûm to use sites in Wold & Foothills, etc). Balrog decks might also consider using this card (if any company is planning to move on the surface). However it is still a relatively weak specialized card and not likely to see much play.

The Mountains of Shadow Deeps

Rarity = C2

Short-event

Ranger only. Playable during the organization phase on a ranger. If his company uses region movement, it may move as if the following pairs of regions were adjacent: Ithilien and Gorgoroth, Ithilien and Nurn, Harondor and Nurn. The company faces a detainment attack at the beginning of its

movement/hazard phase: Orcs - four strikes with 6 prowess. Alternatively, if the site moved to is in one of the regions listed above, the hazard limit is reduced by two (to a minimum of two).

This card is very similar to The Ash Mountain Deeps (not surprisingly as both Mountain ranges border Mordor), and would be used in a similar way. Another specialized card that is unlikely to be used in a competitive deck.

The Undeeps of Anduin

Rarity = C2

Short-event

Ranger only. Playable during the organization phase on a ranger. If his company uses region movement, it may move as if the following pairs of regions were adjacent: Rohan and Dagorlad, Anórien and Dagorlad, Lebennin and Ithilien, Lebennin and Harondor. Alternatively, if the site moved to is in one of the regions listed above, the hazard limit is reduced by two (to a minimum of two).

The final special movement card of the set, and again very specialized. You might use this card in a deck that wants to move from Dol Guldur to Rohan, or if you are running companies around in the specified regions and want to reduce the hazard limit.

The Under-roads

Rarity = C2

Long-event

The roll required for minions to move between adjacent Under-deeps sites is decreased by 3. Discards and prohibits the subsequent play of The Way is Shut.

A useful card for Balrog decks (just to prevent the play of The Way is Shut if nothing else), and in minion decks planning to actively move around the Under-deeps (especially to the Gem Deeps and the

The Pûkel-deeps). Not all minion decks use the Under-deeps, so this card has to be considered specialized, but it is quite likely to see play in Balrog decks or any minion deck that exploits the Under-deep sites.

Tokens to Show

Rarity = C2

Permanent-event

Minion characters may store resources (items and events) during the end-of-turn phase as though it were their organization phase. Cannot be duplicated. Discard when any play deck is exhausted.

This is a generally useful card for minion decks, as many minion resources need to be stored (and storing a Gold Ring Item 'tests' it). Normally storing resources takes place in the organisation phase, and this can seriously slow your deck down (e.g., delay you by one turn from playing Sudden Call). There are resources that help store your cards (Messenger of Mordor and News Must Get Through) but you need to hold these cards in your hand until the time is right to play them. Tokens To Show, however, can be played in advance. The only drawback to this card is it may help your opponent if they are also playing with minion characters.

Treason the Greatest Foe

Rarity = R2

MPs = 4

Permanent-event

Playable during the site phase on a minion if a non-Wizard hero is at the same site and the hero and minion have the same home site. Make a roll (draw a #). If the result plus target minion's unused direct influence is greater than the hero's mind plus his player's unused general influence, discard the hero (and all cards he controls) and place this card in your marshalling point pile. Otherwise, discard this card.

This is a fairly unplayable theme card as you are dependent on your opponent playing a suitable Hero character and then moving to a suitable site. If you do want to use this card, you would want to play a hazard strategy that reduced your opponent's free General Influence to maximise the chance of successfully playing this card.

Tribute Garnered

Rarity = C2

MPs = 1

Permanent-event

Playable on a faction in play. That faction gives an additional miscellaneous marshalling point. Cannot be duplicated on a given faction. Discard when any play deck is exhausted.

A free marshalling point, assuming you have at least one faction to play it on – but be wary of the discard effect. To make maximum use of this card you would probably want to bring it (or multiple copies of it) in from the sideboard near the end of the deck cycle, so you can play it on your faction and then play Sudden Call, without having the card discarded when a play deck exhausts. Unless you are desperate for spare slots in your sideboard, I would consider 3 copies of Tribute Garnered in every minion sideboard.

Use Your Legs

Rarity = R2

MPs = (3)

Permanent-event

Playable on an Orc minion whose company is attacking a hero company with at least one Hobbit. For each successful strike against a Hobbit, the character is not wounded, but rather placed "off to the side" with this card. Discard if no characters are placed with this card. Make a roll (draw a #) during your end-of-turn phase. If the result is less than 7, discard this card. If target Orc is wounded or removed from active play, discard this card. If this card is discarded, the surviving Hobbits immediately form a company at the Orc's current site or new site. MPs are awarded if stored at Barad-dûr, and the Hobbits are then eliminated.

A specialized theme card that you might put in the sideboard if you were planning on a deck to use Orcs. If your opponent is playing with Hobbits you could then sideboard this card in and hunt them down. The problem is Hobbit decks are usually packed with cancellers, so the chances are your attack will get cancelled so you won't be able to play this card. Even if you manage to capture a Hobbit, you will want to get to Barad-dûr as soon as possible, since eventually you are going to roll less than 7 and have to discard this card.

Well-preserved

Rarity = U3

Permanent-event

Magic. Shadow-magic. Playable on a wounded character in a company with a shadow-magic-using character. Wounded character becomes untapped with -1 to body. Discard at the end of his untap phase if at a Darkhaven. Unless the shadow-magic-user is a Ringwraith, he makes a corruption check modified by -3.

A quite useful Shadow-magic card especially as the wounded character becomes untapped as part of the effect. I consider all magic cards as specialized, but if you intend to play with Shadow-magic users you should seriously consider including this card.

World Gnawed by the Nameless

Rarity = R2

Short-event

Playable during the movement/hazard phase on a company moving to an Under-deeps site. At the end of its movement/hazard phase, target company attempts to move to an additional Under-deeps site which it has not attempted to move to yet this turn. Another site card is played and a movement/hazard phase immediately follows. Return this card to your hand. All hazard creatures the company faces this turn keyed to Shadow-holds attack normally, not as detainment.

This card is a vastly superior version of Far Below the Deepest Delvings, as you can use this card over and over again (even on the same company during a turn!) As long as your company avoids Shadow-holds (or uses appropriate resources), the drawback to using this card is negligible. If you combine this with a sage and Crack in the Wall, then your opponent can play NO creatures on you as you move through multiple Under-deeps sites. This card is so good in the right deck, I'd rate it as useful overall and possibly essential in decks working in the Under-deeps. (Balrog players can use Gangways over the Fire for a similar powerful effect).

Item Cards

Some of these cards are quite specialist, which means you'd only want to use them in specific decks, or maybe in the sideboard. Whilst only one of the 15 cards in this category I consider to be essential to own, a further 9 are generally useful:

Essential

Helm of Fear (Uncommon)

Useful

Ancient Black Axe (Rare)

Necklace of Girion (Rare)

Records Unread (Common)

Secret Book (Common)

Thong of Fire (Rare)

Thrall Ring (Rare)

Thrór's Map (Uncommon)

Ancient Black Axe

Rarity = R2

MPs = 4

Corruption Points = 4

Special Item

Unique. Playable at any Under-deeps Shadow-hold. Weapon. +2 direct influence. Warrior only: +3 prowess (to a maximum of 11); -1 to strike's body; tap this item to make a character at the same site automatically pass a corruption check. When this item becomes tapped, bearer makes a corruption check.

A 4 marshalling point item! Most minion items don't give that many points, and this one is generally useful too: +3 to prowess (to a maximum of 11 so those big Trolls can have fun), -1 to the strike's body, and also helps with corruption (to a certain extent, as it is fairly corrupting itself). If this were a standard Greater Item (or even a hoard item), I'd rate it essential and you would see it in every minion deck – as it is, I'd expect to see this in most decks using the Under-deeps (and certainly the vast majority of Balrog decks)

Dwarven Ring of Thélor's Tribe

Rarity = U2

MPs = 4

Corruption = 3(5)

Special Item

Unique. Dwarven Ring. Playable only with a Gold Ring and after a test indicates a Dwarven Ring. Direct influence: +2(+7), prowess: +2(+4), body: +1. Values in parentheses apply to a Dwarf bearer. Tap a Dwarf bearer to search your play deck and/or your discard pile for any one or two minor items; place these items in your hand and reshuffle your play deck. Bearer then makes a corruption check modified by +2.

Dwarven Ring of Thrár's Tribe

Rarity = U2

MPs = 4

Corruption = 3(5)

Special Item

Unique. Dwarven Ring. Playable only with a Gold Ring and after a test indicates a Dwarven Ring. Direct influence: +2(+7), prowess: +2(+4), body: +1. Values in parentheses apply to a Dwarf bearer. Tap a Dwarf bearer to search your play deck and/or your discard pile for any one or two minor items; place these items in your hand and reshuffle your play deck. Bearer then makes a corruption check modified by +2.

I've grouped these two Dwarven rings together as they are identical. These are the weakest of the Dwarven Rings, and I doubt anyone ever uses their ability to search for minor items. Most decks would either use these rings for marshalling points and/or for the bonuses they give to a Dwarf bearer, but you are better off using the Dwarven rings from Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye. The advantage these rings have is they are uncommon rather than rare.

Goblin Earth-plumb

Rarity = C2

Corruption Points = 1

Minor Item

Playable only on an Orc or Troll. +1 to all rolls required for bearer's company to move to adjacent Under-deeps sites.

A specialized minor item that you would only consider for decks concentrating on the Under-deeps, and even then there are probably better items you would want to use as starting minor items.

Helm of Fear

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Special Item

Unique. Playable at a tapped or untapped Barad-dûr and only on your Ringwraith (does not tap the site). This item affects a Ringwraith. Tap this item to cancel an attack against the Ringwraith's company. May not cancel combat with a hero company. All body checks against the bearer are modified by -1.

This card is just 2 easy marshalling points – unless you want to actively move your Ringwraith to Angmar, moving to Barad-dûr and playing this card should be straightforward. I would expect to see this card in most minion decks that have a Ringwraith.

Iron Shield of Old

Rarity = C2

MPs = 2

Corruption Points = 3

Special Item

Playable at any Under-deeps Shadow-hold or Ruins & Lairs. +2 to all rolls required for bearer's company to move to adjacent Under-deeps sites. Warrior only: tap this item to make one strike against its bearer ineffectual (i.e., the strike neither succeeds nor fails).

If your deck is going to use Ancient Black Axe, then it's probably going to use an Iron Shield or two. I would expect to see this item included in most minion Under-deep decks (including the Balrog).

Necklace of Girion

Rarity = R2

MPs = 3

Corruption Points = 3

Special Item

Unique. Playable at The Lonely Mountain. Bearer receives +3 direct influence against Men and Man factions. If bearer is at a Border-hold during the site phase, he can make a corruption check, and, if successful, discard this item to play up to 3 non-unique minor and/or major items with this company. Characters need not tap to receive these items.

The minion version of the Necklace of Girion, and it is probably the more useful than the Hero version. Minion characters have less problems with corruption and the bonus to Man factions is not to be overlooked – The Lonely Mountain is not too far from Dorwinion and Horse Plains, both of which have Man factions worth recruiting. The replacing of the necklace for 3 items is not generally so beneficial, as all the non-unique major items are only worth 1 marshalling point, so unless you really need 3 Broad-headed Spears in the company, the direct influence is more useful.

Old Treasure

Rarity = C2

Corruption Points = 1

Minor Item

Hoard item. +1 direct influence. Discard this item to give +4 direct influence to bearer until the end of the turn.

If this was not a hoard item it would be very useful – and I would expect many players to start with one (or even 2). As a hoard item, however, it is just too hard to play. You need to have at least two characters untapped after facing the automatic-attack - one to play the main item/recruit the faction, the other to play the 'bonus' minor item.

Records Unread

Rarity = C2

Corruption Points = 1

Minor Item

Cannot be included with a starting company. Discard: to untap a Shadow-hold or to make Information playable at any Shadow-hold. Cannot be duplicated in a given company.

This is one of the few minor items that are worth including in your deck. Being able to untap a site is a powerful effect. I leave it up to you to work out the various uses of this item, but the Challenge Deck I – Morgol Rallying Cry (The Witch-king's Challenge Deck) is a start. (You can even use certain Under-deeps Shadow-holds to play multiple Iron Shields, etc).

Secret Book

Rarity = C2

Corruption Points = 1

Minor Item

Cannot be included with a starting company. Discard: to untap a Free-hold or Border-hold or to make Information playable at any Ruins & Lairs. Cannot be duplicated in a given company.

Similar to Records Unread, except it allows you to untap Free-holds and Border-holds (or make information playable at Ruins & Lairs). Although using Free-holds and Border-holds is less popular than Shadow-holds, do not overlook this item. It is possible to play multiple items at Border-holds with Come By Night, but you have to hold cards in hand, with the Secret Book you can play it in advance. This item is also useful in ring decks as rings are often playable at these sites. It is somewhat surprising more players don't use it.

Thong of Fire

Rarity = R2

MPs = 3

Corruption Points = 3

Greater Item

Unique. Hoard item. Weapon. May only be born by a character with a prowess of 6 or more. Warrior only: +1 body; +1 prowess; if bearer chooses not to tap against a strike, he receives no prowess penalty.

Despite being a hoard item, the Thong of Fire is very useful – it has a reasonable marshalling point value and a very nice bonus for Warriors. If you are building a fighting deck, then you really should consider this item - there is no prowess limit and it has an in-built Under His Blow effect – put this item in the hands of a big Troll and even Elf-lords Revealed in Wrath are not a threat. If this wasn't a hoard item, I'd rate it essential. As it stands, it is definitely very useful in a number of decks.

Thrall-ring

Rarity = R2

Corruption Points = 2

Minor Item

Mind Ring. -1 to mind to a minimum of 1, +1 to direct influence. Cannot be duplicated on a given character.

This is a useful Mind Ring, as it helps your influence in two ways - it increases your General Influence by reducing the mind of a character and increases the character's Direct Influence (so they can control another character for example). Consider combining Mind Rings with Rumor of the One (so each ring gives 1 additional marshalling point), especially after you've stored them.

Thrór's Map

Rarity = U2

Corruption Points = 1

Minor Item

Unique. Discard Thrór's Map to untap a site with a Dragon automatic-attack.

The minion version of the Thrór's Map, and this is probably more useful than the Hero one, since minion companies can start closer to Withered Heath in Dol Guldur. Dragon Lair sites are useful to minion companies, since you can play hoard items (Major and Greater), Gold Rings, and also recruit high point factions (Roused Dragons, the Ice Orcs, and the Grey Mountain Goblins). Thrór's Map allows you to fully use a Dragon site twice – the alternatives, Catch an Elusive Scent or Hoard Well Searched limit you to Major Items and Gold Ring Items (no Greater Items nor any Resource Factions), and there are additional requirements. Also, you can play Thrór's Map in advance, rather than having to hold it in your hand –but this signals to your opponent you will be visiting Dragon Country at some point, so they may hold onto appropriate hazards.

Troth-ring

Rarity = R2

Corruption Points = 2

Minor Item

Mind Ring. -1 to mind to a minimum of 1, -1 to all body checks against bearer. Cannot be duplicated on a given character.

Similar to the Thrall Ring, but unless you want to use low-bodied characters the Thrall Ring is a better choice.

Usriev of Treachery

Rarity = C3

MPs = 1

Corruption Points = 1

Major Item

Hoard item. Weapon. May only be born by a character with a prowess of 5 or more. Warrior only: +1 prowess to a maximum of 8 (+2 against Elves to a maximum of 9); if you assign a strike to the bearer, you may choose to assign a second strike to the bearer. The bearer faces an additional strike sequence.

This non-unique hoard item has a nice ability, allowing the bearer to take two strikes, but the limitation of being a hoard item and only providing 1 marshalling point means that this item is not going to make it into many decks.

Faction Cards

Most of these cards are quite specialist, which means you'd only want to use them in specific decks, or maybe in the sideboard. Only two of the 15 cards in this category do I consider essential to own, and an additional one generally useful (unfortunately they are all rare):

Essential

Morgul Orcs (Rare)

Orcs of Dol Guldur (Rare)

Useful

Angmarim (Rare)

 

Angmarim

Rarity = R2

MPs = 1

Man Faction

Unique. Playable at Carn Dûm if the influence check is greater than 10. Standard Modifications: Easterlings (+2), Hillmen (+2). Once in play, the number required to influence this faction is 0.

A faction playable at a haven! This means you could move your Ringwraith (using starter movement) to Carn Dûm to play this faction. Less useful than the factions playable at the other havens (the roll required is rather high at 10), you would probably use it in decks operating out of Carn Dûm. The only reason not to use this card is if you want to avoid the North or you have better factions to use.

Asdriags

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Man Faction

Unique. Playable at Nûrniag Camp if the influence check is greater than 10. Standard Modifications: Nûrniags (+2), Variags of Khand (+2), Balchoth (-2).

A nice faction playable at an easy site - Nûrniag Camp has a safe site path and no automatic attack (and being a shadow hold you can pick up other resources there too). An example of a deck using this faction is the Challenge Deck I – Morgol Rallying Cry (The Witch-king's Challenge Deck).

Bairanax Roused

Rarity = R1

MPs = 3

Dragon Faction

Unique. Manifestation of Bairanax. Playable at Ovir Hollow if the influence check is greater than 11. Modifications: influencer discards a major item (+3) or a greater item (+6). All attacks by manifestations of Bairanax against any of your companies are canceled. Any company moving in Withered Heath, Gundabad, Anduin Vales, and/or Grey Mountain Narrows faces one attack: Dragon - two strikes at 14/7 prowess/body (attacker chooses defending characters).

The first of the 'ultra-rare' Dragon factions, and Bairanax is the baby of the bunch. This faction is only worth 3 marshalling points, but the roll required is 11. There is also a very real danger that a well-prepared dragon-hunting hero company or a Wizard (using Sacrifice of Form) will kill this faction. The advantage of this dragon is you are not using a Greater Item site when you play it.

Black Númenóreans

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Dúnadan Faction

Unique. Playable at Gobel Mírlond if the influence check is greater than 8. Standard Modifications: Umbarean Corsairs (+2).

Less useful than the Umbarean Corsairs, as they get no bonus for the Southrons being in play. Probably this faction will see use in the sideboard of appropriate Southern decks.

Corsairs of Rhûn

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Man Faction

Unique. Playable at Raider-hold if the influence check is greater than 9.Standard Modifications: Easterlings (+2), Men of Dorwinion (-2).

This faction is less useful than Balchoth, as you need to roll one higher to get this faction into play. You might consider the Corsairs if you want to include the Nûrniags as the Balchoth give a –2 to the attempt and the Corsairs don't, or if you plan to use Secret Book to untap Raider-hold so you can play 2 factions at the site.

Daelomin Roused

Rarity = R1

MPs = 4

Dragon Faction

Unique. Manifestation of Daelomin. Playable at Dancing Spire if influence check is greater than 12. Modifications: influencer discards a major item (+3) or a greater item (+6). All attacks by manifestations of Daelomin against any of your companies are canceled. Any company moving in Withered Heath, Grey Mountain Narrows, Iron Hills, and/or Northern Rhovanion faces one attack: Dragon - three strikes at 13/8 prowess/body (attacker chooses defending characters).

This is one of the ultra-rare Dragon Factions – and if you intend to use it you need some help with the influence check. The dragon attack this faction creates can hamper minion opponents, but be wary of heroes defeating the attack for marshalling points (and eliminating your faction in the process). Also if you move in the appropriate regions, your faction can still attack if your opponent plays Prowess of Age.

Eärcaraxë Roused

Rarity = R1

MPs = 4

Dragon Faction

Unique. Manifestation of Eärcaraxë. Playable at Isle of the Ulond if the influence check is greater than 11. Modifications: influencer discards a major item (+2) or a greater item (+5). All attacks by manifestations of Eärcaraxë against any of your companies are canceled. Any company moving in Andrast Coast, Bay of Belfalas, Eriadoran Coast, and/or Andrast faces one attack: Dragon - two strikes at 17/7 prowess/body (attacker chooses defending characters).

An ultra-rare for collectors as this is probably the least playable of all the Dragon factions (unless you are a Fallen-wizard), the Isle of Ulond are so far away from the starting havens of minion companies and you can't move there with your Ringwraith.

Haradrim

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Man Faction

Unique. Playable at Southron Oasis if the influence check is greater than 9. Standard Modifications: Southrons (+2), Variags of Khand (-2).

Usually this faction is inferior to the Southrons (it's harder to recruit and gets a negative modifier from the Variags), you might want to use it if you also intend to use the Asdriags and/or the Nûriags. One use for this faction is the sideboard, so you can revisit the Southron Oasis during the second cycle to recruit the Haradrim, after you've played the Southrons, or even straight in the deck if you have a way to untap the site.

Itangast Roused

Rarity = R1

MPs = 6

Dragon Faction

Unique. Manifestation of Itangast. Playable at Gold Hill if the influence check is greater than 15. Modifications: influencer discards a major item (+4) or a greater item (+8). All attacks by manifestations of Itangast against any of your companies are canceled. Any company moving in Withered Heath, Iron Hills, Northern Rhovanion, and/or Grey Mountain Narrows faces one attack: Dragon - three strikes at 18/8 prowess/body.

The big one! This ultra-rare faction is the largest one in the game, but the influence check is also the largest (15). Unless you are confident of making this roll you are probably better of attempting one of the 5 MP dragon factions (from Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye), either Scatha or Smaug. See my comments on Daelomin Roused for other considerations in using Dragon factions in your deck.

Leucaruth Roused

Rarity = R1
MPs = 4

Dragon Faction

Unique. Manifestation of Leucaruth. Playable at Irerock if the influence check is greater than 12. Modifications: influencer discards a major item (+3) or a greater item (+6). All attacks by manifestations of Leucaruth against any of your companies are canceled. Any company moving in Withered Heath, Northern Rhovanion, Iron Hills, and/or Grey Mountain Narrows faces one attack: Dragon - two strikes at 16/8 prowess/body.

See my comments about Daelomin Roused – this faction is very similar, the main reason for picking Leucaruth over Daelomin would be the automatic attack at the site. But Agburanar Roused (from Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye) is just as suitable, and is not an ultra-rare.

Morgul-orcs

Rarity = R2

MPs = 1

Orc Faction

Unique. Playable at Minas Morgul if the influence check is greater than 8. Standard Modifications: Ungol-orcs (-2), Orcs of Angmar (+2). Once in play, the number required to influence this faction is 0.

An Orc faction that is playable at a haven, you have to ask yourself why you wouldn't include this in your deck?! Even if your companies work out of Dol Guldur, it's relatively safe to move to Minas Morgul, and your Ringwraith can move there using starter movement. The only danger is if your opponent is also minion, this faction is very easy to influence away from you.

Nûriags

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Man Faction

Unique. Playable at Variag Camp if the influence check is greater than 9. Standard Modifications: Haradrim (+2), Southrons (-2).

Usually this faction is inferior to the Variags (it's harder to recruit and gets a negative modifier from the Southrons). You might want to use it if you also intend to use the Haradrim. You could use this faction in the sideboard, so you can revisit the Variag Camp during the second cycle, after you've played the Variags, or even straight in the deck if you have a way to untap the site.

Orcs of Dol Guldur

Rarity = R2

MPs = 1

Orc Faction

Unique. Playable at Dol Guldur if the influence check is greater than 8. Standard Modifications: Orcs of Moria (-2),Orcs of the Red Eye (+2). Once in play, the number required to influence this faction is 0.

See my comments on the Morgul Orcs. If anything this faction is even more useful as more minion decks use Dol Guldur.

Petty-dwarves

Rarity = R2

MPs = 3

Dwarf Faction

Unique. Playable at The Worthy Hills if the influence check is greater than 11.

A faction for companies based around Carn Dûm. Since there are better factions to recruit in this area (such as the Dunlendings and the Hillmen), the chances are you would only use this faction if you wanted to avoid Border-holds or intended to squat at the Worthy Hills (and play the Woses of the Eryn Vorn). This is a rare intensive strategy, since both the factions and the site are rare.

Wain-easterlings

Rarity = U2

MPs = 2

Man Faction

Unique. Playable at Easterling Camp if the influence check is greater than 9. Standard Modifications: Easterlings (+2), Nûriags (-2).

Usually this faction is inferior to the Easterlings (it's harder to recruit and gets a negative modifier from the Nûriags). You might want to use it if you also intend to use the Men of Dorwinion. If you have a way to untap the site you can play this with the Easterlings, or use it in the sideboard, so you can revisit the Easterling Camp during the second cycle, after you've played the Easterlings.

Ally Cards

Most of these cards you will want to own (and in the case of the Black Horse you'll probably want multiple copies), of the 6 cards in this category, 2 are essential and a further 3 generally useful:

Essential

Great Bats (Common)

Regiment of Black Crows (Common)

Useful

Black Horse (Common)

Creature of an Older World (Rare)

Great Lord of Goblin Gate (Rare)

Black Horse

Rarity = C3

Prowess/Body = 4/6

Mind = 2

Warrior Ally

Playable on a Ringwraith at a Darkhaven (does not tap the site). Each Black Horse in your Ringwraith's company allows you to play one Ringwraith follower who requires no direct influence to control. If each Ringwraith in a company has a Black Horse, the company is in Black Rider mode and may freely move (using starter movement). You may include up to nine copies of this card in your play deck and sideboard combined. Return its controller to your hand if Black Horse leaves active play.

This ally is ideal if you want your Ringwraith to play an active role in the game rather than just sit at a Darkhaven. It is also ideal for players wanting to gather a group of Ringwraiths together. Including 9 copies of this card in your deck is overkill (the largest number of Ringwraiths you could move as a company is seven) - probably 3 or 4 is more reasonable. I think this is a great card for making theme decks more viable and generally increasing the use of Ringwraiths (and magic cards, as Ringwraiths are ideal magic users).

Creature of an Older World

Rarity = R2

MPs = 1

Prowess/body = 5/8

Mind = 3

Warrior Ally

Unique. Playable on your Ringwraith at a tapped or untapped Barad-dûr (does not tap the site). Your Ringwraith receives +2 prowess. If your Ringwraith is the only character in his company, the company is in Fell Rider mode and may move freely (using starter movement). Tap this ally to: cancel a strike against your Ringwraith or to assign your Ringwraith's strikes against a hero company as you choose before hero strikes are assigned. Return your Ringwraith to your hand if this ally leaves active play.

Similar to the Black Horse, but this card is useful if you want your Ringwraith to travel alone - in relative safety, and it gives a marshalling point. Mode cards (such as Fell Rider) are cumbersome to use because you have to wait for the mode card to move your Ringwraith, and then the card gets discarded once you return to a Darkhaven. If you were considering using Fell Rider cards then you really should include this ally in your deck as well, but be wary of your minion opponent collecting it first, as it is unique.

Great Bats

Rarity = C3

MPs = 1

Mind = 1

Ally

Playable at a tapped or untapped Shadow-hold. May not be attacked. Discard this ally if its controlling character is wounded. Tap this ally to remove the effect of an attack against its controlling character's company that states: "attacker chooses defending characters." Cannot be duplicated on a given Company.

I rate this ally as essential to own, so it is fortunate it is a common. The bats can be played at a multitude of sites (including the Under-deeps). The only reason for not including this ally in your deck is if you want all your companies to be covert, as playing this ally makes them overt.

Great Lord of Goblin-gate

Rarity = R2

MPs = 2

Prowess/Body = 5/7

Mind = 3

Ally

[The following text reflects official errata.]

Unique Playable at Goblin-gate. Orc. Manifestation of The Great Goblin. Tap to give +2 prowess to all Orcs in its company: against one attack or in company versus company combat.

If you intend to play with Orcs then you should really consider this ally as essential. The Great Lord has a reasonable prowess, a great special ability and is worth 2 marshalling points. The only times you might not want to use this ally is if you want to play the Goblins of Goblin Gate, or don't want to visit the misty mountains (maybe you are playing a Snowstorm/Long Winter hazard deck), or you want to use covert companies.

Regiment of Black Crows

Rarity = C3

MPs = 1

Mind = 1

Ally

Playable at a tapped or untapped non-Under-deeps Ruins & Lairs. May not be attacked. Discard this ally if its controlling character is wounded. Tap this ally to cancel a hazard creature attack not keyed to a site and to put the creature's card back into its player's hand. Cannot be duplicated in a given company.

Like the Great Bats, I rate this ally as essential to own, so fortunately it is a common. The crows can be played at a multitude of sites, and its special ability has the effect of reducing the hazard limit – as your opponent can just play the creature card again. The only reasons for not including this ally in your deck is if you want all your companies to be covert, as playing this ally makes them overt, or if you wish to avoid Ruins & Lairs.

The Balrog

Rarity = R2

MPs = 4

Prowess/Body = 13/9

Mind = 6

Warrior Ally

Unique. Manifestation of Balrog of Moria. Playable by a non-Ringwraith character at the Under-gates. Discard this ally if its company moves from a non-Under-deeps site to a non-Under-deeps site. During your organization phase, your opponent makes a roll (draws a #) and subtracts two. If the result is greater than the mind of this ally's controlling character, the character is eliminated.

The Balrog is a specialist ally that is rarely worth the bother to play. The automatic-attack at the Under-gates is rather nasty (2 at 16, and a second attack playable from your opponent's hand) and creatures keyed to the site are not detainment. And once you get the ally in play there is a very real danger the character controlling it will get eliminated. Furthermore, if your opponent is playing as The Balrog you cannot play this ally.

Site Cards

There is no real reason not to include all the sites in your site deck, but if you have to trade for cards then it may be useful to know which sites I feel are the most important, and which are only needed for very specialist decks (or to complete your collection of sites). Also if you intend to use the hazard Whole Villages Roused (White Hand, Rare) you might need the minion version of the hero site, or if you plan to use agents as hazards then you would want most of the non-under-deep sites. Finally if you intend to heavily use the Under-deeps then you would probably want most/all of those sites as the Under-deeps are interconnected and you may have to move to certain Under-deep sites to get to others, such as the Under-Gates, either that or take the slower surface route.

Useful

Eagles Eyrie (Uncommon)

Gold Hill (Uncommon)

Irerock (Uncommon)

The Iron Deeps (Uncommon)

Ovir Hollow (Uncommon)

The Sulphur Deeps (Uncommon)

The Under Courts (Uncommon)

The Under Galleries (Uncommon)

The Under-leas (Uncommon)

Weathertop (Uncommon)

 

Dancing Spire

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Withered Heath

Site Path = Dark-domain Wilderness Wilderness Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks: Dragon - 2 strikes with 11 prowess

Unique among the Dragon sites in having an automatic attack of 2 strikes rather than one, this means you would probably want to visit one of the other sites in Withered Heath in preference to Dancing Spires (unless you wanted to recruit the faction Daelomin Roused).

Eagles' Eyrie

Rarity = U2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 2/1

Region = Anduin Vales

Site Path = Dark-domain Border-land

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Information, Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks: Animals - 2 strikes with 10 prowess (attacker chooses defending characters)

As long as your company is prepared for the automatic attack this is a great site to play major items, and then you can burn it down by playing Smoke on the Wind for an additional 3 points. The short site path ensures you can avoid many of the hazard creatures your opponent could play on you.

Edhellond

Rarity = R2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 5/3

Region = Anfalas

Site Path = Wilderness Wilderness Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Geann a-Lisch

Playable: Information, Items (minor, major, greater)

Automatic-attacks (2): Elves - 4 strikes with 7 prowess; Dúnedain - 3 strikes with 10 prowess

Special: Any company moving to this site has its hazard limit increased by 2. A minion company may not attack another company at this site. A Ringwraith may not move to this site.

A site I doubt you would ever use (unless you were a Fallen Wizard, and then probably not out of choice). The location is too far away from the starting dark havens, and the automatic attacks and increased hazard limit make this site not worth the bother of visiting.

Framsburg

Rarity = R2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/1

Region = Anduin Vales

Site Path = Dark-domain Border-land

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Items (minor)

Automatic-attacks: Men - 1 strike with 10 prowess

Special: The first minor item played at this site each turn does not tap the site. Contains a hoard.

On the face of it this appears as a specialist site that is only useful if you really want to play minor hoard items. However it does have its uses; you can play Hoard Well Searched at this site to play major items, and you can do this even if you've turned it into a Shadow-hold with Hold Rebuilt and Repaired, all of which makes it a popular site for some Fallen Wizards.

The Gem-deeps

Rarity = R2

Type = Ruins & Lairs Under-deeps

Card Draw = 3/2

Adjacent Sites: Glittering Caves (0), The Pûkel-deeps (9), The Under-gates (6)

Playable: Items (minor, major, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks (2): Undead (1st attack) - 3 strikes with 9 prowess; (2nd attack) Opponent may play as an automatic- attack one non-unique hazard creature from his hand normally keyed to a Shadow-hold.

Special: Any Undead creature or Pûkel-creature may be played at this site.

An Under-deeps site that is a little out of the way for minion companies, and the rolls needed to move to this site are quite high. Unless you really want a Ruins & Lairs there are better sites to consider.

Gold Hill

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lair

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Withered Heath

Site Path = Dark-domain Wilderness Wilderness Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks: Dragon - 1 strike with 15 prowess

A reasonable dragon lair site you just need to be prepared for the automatic attack. Gold Hill is the home site of Itangast.

Grey Havens

Rarity = R2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 3/2

Region = Lindon

Site Path = Shadow-land Wilderness Free-domain

Nearest Darkhaven: Carn Dûm

Playable: Information, Items (minor, major, greater)

Automatic-attacks (2): Elves - 3 strikes with 8 prowess; Elves - 2 strikes with 10 prowess

Special: Any company moving to this site has its hazard limit increased by 2. A minion company may not attack another company at this site. A Ringwraith may not move to this site.

This site is about as useful as Edhellond, although it is closer to a useful Haven, another site for the binder (or possibly used by Fallen Wizards).

Himring

Rarity = U2

Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 3/3

Region = Elven Shores

Site Path = Wilderness Coastal Coastal

Nearest Darkhaven: Geann a-Lisch

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks: Undead - 1 strike with 8 prowess, each character wounded must make a corruption check modified by -2

Special: An overt company must tap an untapped character (if available) if this site is revealed as its new site.

Minion companies are unlikely to use this site; with the nearest dark haven being Geann a-Lisch it is just too far east for most decks to bother with. The fact that overt companies have to tap a character to move there reduces its usefulness further. Fallen Wizards on the other hand may use this site in preference to the hero version (if they want an increased card draw or need to play a minion item).

Irerock

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Withered Heath

Site Path = Dark-domain Wilderness Wilderness Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks: Dragon - 1 strike with 14 prowess

Similar to Gold Hill, but this time the home of Leucaruth, the automatic attack is slightly easier and the range of items you can play is impressive.

The Iron-deeps

Rarity = U2

Type = Dark-hold Under-deeps

Card Draw = 1/1

Adjacent Sites: Carn Dûm (0), The Under-leas (5), The Under-vaults (6)

Playable: Items (minor)

Automatic-attacks: Trolls - 3 strikes with 10 prowess (detainment)

A relatively easy under-deeps site to get to (being under a dark haven), this site probably sees the most use as either a way to get to the Under-Leas or as a site for playing the hero special under-deep items (for half marshalling points), as it is easy to return to the surface and store them.

Isle of the Ulond

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Andrast Coast

Site Path = Wilderness Wilderness Coastal

Nearest Darkhaven: Geann a-Lisch

Playable: Information, Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks: Dragon - 1 strike with 14 prowess

Special: An overt company must tap an untapped character (if available) if this site is revealed as its new site.

Another site on the east of the map, and like Himring it is unlikely to be used by many minion companies. The home of Eärcaraxë, Fallen Wizards may use this minion version in preference to the hero one.

Isles of the Dead That Live

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/1

Region = Eriadoran Coast

Site Path = Wilderness Coastal

Nearest Darkhaven: Geann a-Lisch

Playable: Items (minor, major, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks: Undead - 2 strikes with 8 prowess, each character wounded must make a corruption check modified by -2

Special: A covert company must tap an untapped character (if available) if this site is revealed as its new site.

A slightly unusual coastal site as covert companies have to tap a character to move here, rather than an overt company. Again this site is just to far from the usual minion hunting grounds to see much use in any deck apart from Fallen Wizards.

Lórien

Rarity = R2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 4/2

Region = Wold & Foothills

Site Path = Dark-domain Shadow-land Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Information, Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks (3): Elves - 4 strikes with 8 prowess; Elves - 3 strikes with 9 prowess; Elves - 2 strikes with 10 prowess

Special: Any company moving to this site has its hazard limit increased by 2. A minion company may not attack another company at this site. A Ringwraith may not move to this site.

This is the easiest hero haven to reach as a minion, but I still doubt if you would ever visit Lórien. In a theme deck it is fun to try to burn down Lórien with Smoke on the Wind, but in a tournament deck there are better greater item (and gold ring) sites to use.

Old Forest

Rarity = U2

Type = Border-hold

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Cardolan

Site Path = Shadow-land Wilderness Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Carn Dûm

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks: Maia - 2 strikes with 15 prowess (cannot be canceled)

The Old Forest has one of the nastiest automatic attacks in the game, and you cannot cancel it. This is another site that probably only Fallen Wizard Companies might use and only then by the effects of a hazard card.

Ovir Hollow

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Grey Mountain Narrows

Site Path = Dark-domain Wilderness Wilderness Shadow-land

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks: Dragon - 1 strike with 12 prowess

The home of Bairanax, this is a useful Major hoard item site within reach of Dol Guldur and Carn Dûm.

The Pûkel-deeps

Rarity = R2

Type = Ruins & Lairs Under-deeps

Card Draw = 3/2

Adjacent Sites: Dunharrow (0), The Gem-deeps (9), The Sulfur-deeps (9)

Playable: Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks (2): Pûkel-creature (1st attack) - 2 strikes with 11 prowess; (2nd attack) Opponent may play as an automatic-attack one non-unique hazard creature from his hand normally keyed to a Shadow-hold

Special: Any Undead creature or Pûkel-creature may be played at this site.

A similar site to the Gem-Deeps, and if anything even less useful as the rolls required to move are so high.

Rhosgobel

Rarity = R2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 1/1

Region = Southern Mirkwood

Site Path = Dark-domain

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Information, Items (minor)

Automatic-attacks (2): Maia - 1 strike with 13 prowess; Maia - 1 strike with 13 prowess.

Special: If the Wizard card Radagast is in play, the automatic-attacks are removed.

It is highly unlikely you would use this site in most circumstances – facing 2 attacks of 13 prowess for a measly minor item is unwise. However you can play Black Bole at this site, and if your opponent is Radagast then this site suddenly becomes much more attractive, as it is a free-hold in a safe area (Southern Mirkwood), several possibilities open up – including playing the Ally and then burning the site down with Smoke on the Wind, or even Seize Prisoners.

Rivendell

Rarity = R2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 3/1

Region = Rhudaur

Site Path = Shadow-land Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Carn Dûm

Playable: Information, Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks (2): Elves - 4 strikes with 8 prowess; Dúnedain - 3 strikes with 10 prowess

Special: Any company moving to this site has its hazard limit increased by 2. A minion company may not attack another company at this site. A Ringwraith may not move to this site.

Similar to Lórien, but less central to reach, this is another site for the binder – unless you plan to use Elf Agents as hazards.

The Sulfur-deeps

Rarity = U2

Type = Dark-hold Under-deeps

Card Draw = 1/1

Adjacent Sites: Dol Guldur (0), The Under-courts (4), The Pûkel-deeps (9), The Under-gates (4), The Under-galleries (7)

Playable: Items (minor)

Automatic-attacks: Trolls - 2 strikes with 10 prowess (detainment)

Similar to the Iron-deeps, and probably more useful as its surface site is Dol Guldur.

Tolfalas

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/2

Region = Mouths of the Anduin

Site Path = Shadow-land Wilderness Wilderness Coastal

Nearest Darkhaven: Minas Morgul

Playable: Items (minor, major, greater*) * - Scroll of Isildur only

Automatic-attacks: Undead - 3 strikes with 7 prowess, each character wounded must make a corruption check modified by -2

Special: An overt company must tap an untapped character (if available) if this site is revealed as its new site.

Another of the coastal sites but this one may see more play as it is close enough to Minas Morgul and you can play the Scroll of Isildur here. This is a site worth considering if you are using a covert company in the right area.

The Under-courts

Rarity = U2

Type = Dark-hold Under-deeps

Card Draw = 1/1

Adjacent Sites: Barad-dûr (0), The Sulfur-deeps (4), The Under-galleries (4)

Payable: Items (minor)

Automatic-attacks: Trolls - 3 strikes with 10 prowess (detainment)

Similar to the Iron-deeps and the Sulphur-deeps – this site is on the 'safe' loop of the Under-deeps, but you can still play hero special under-deep items as well as Cave Trolls (from the Balrog) as well as Blasting Fire, Liquid Fire and Foul Fumes (from the White Hand).

The Under-galleries

Rarity = U2

Type = Dark-hold Under-deeps

Card Draw = 2/2

Adjacent Sites: Any site in Udûn (0), The Under-courts (4), The Sulfur-deeps (7)

Playable: Information, Items (minor)

Automatic-attacks: Trolls - 4 strikes with 10 prowess (detainment)

My comments about the Under-courts apply to the Under-galleries, and these two sites along with the Sulfur-deeps form one loop of the underdeeps (the part under Mordor). Even if you tap the other two sites you are not stuck at this site as you can exit to the surface site of Cirith Gorgor.

The Under-gates

Rarity = U2

Type = Shadow-hold Under-deeps

Card Draw = 2/2

Adjacent Sites: Moria (0), The Under-grottos (7), The Gem-deeps (6), The Sulfur-deeps (4), Under-leas (5)

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks (2): Balrog (1st attack) - 2 strikes with 16 prowess;

(2nd attack) Opponent may play as an automatic-attack one non-unique hazard creature from his hand normally keyed to a Ruins & Lairs

Special: Non-Nazgûl creatures played at this site attack normally, not as detainment. If a manifestation of Balrog of Moria is in play or defeated, the first automatic-attack is canceled.

One of the nastiest automatic attacks in the game – you could consider playing the Balrog Of Moria hazard just to remove the first automatic attack! Unless you can handle the attacks (cancel them, etc.) this site is probably best used as a crossroads site, to get to the Gem-Deeps loop, the Under-Leas loop or the Sulfur-deeps loop.

The Under-grottos

Rarity = U2 Under-deeps

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 3/1

Adjacent Sites: Goblin-gate (0), The Under-leas (7), The Under-gates (7)

Playable: Items (minor, major, gold ring)

Automatic-attacks (2): Orcs (1st attack) - 4 strikes with 7 prowess; (2nd attack) Opponent may play as an automatic-attack one non-unique hazard creature from his hand normally keyed to a Shadow-hold

Special: When a gold ring is tested in a company at this site, the result of the roll is modified by +1.

Unless you are planning to use Black Rain, this site is crucial to a minion One Ring deck. If you test rings at this site you get a +1 to the roll, and minions need all the help they can get. If you manage to recover the One Ring it's fairly easy to move back to Barad-dûr through the Under-deeps (using World Gnawed by the Nameless), you can also play gold rings at this site too.

The Under-leas

Rarity = U2

Type = Shadow-hold Under-deeps

Card Draw = 2/2

Adjacent Sites: Mount Gundabad (0), The Iron-deeps (5), The Under-grottos (7), The Under-gates (5), The Under-vaults (6)

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks (2): Orcs (1st attack) - 5 strikes with 7 prowess (detainment against overt company); (2nd attack) Opponent may play as an automatic- attack one non-unique hazard creature from his hand normally keyed to a Ruins & Lairs

Special: Non-Nazgûl creatures played at this site attack normally, not as detainment.

A great site for your overt company to play Ancient Black Axe, this site is on the northern loop of the under-deeps and the connecting site between that and the rest of the Under-deeps network. One of the few Under-deeps shadow-holds and a useful site for most Under-deep strategies, you should just be aware that creatures played at this site attack normally, not as detainment.

The Under-vaults

Rarity = U2 Under-deeps

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 2/1

Adjacent Sites: Mount Gram (0), The Iron-deeps (6), The Under-leas (6)

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks (2): Undead (1st attack) - 3 strikes with 8 prowess; (2nd attack) Opponent may play as an automatic-attack one non-unique hazard creature from his hand normally keyed to a Shadow-hold

Special: Any Undead creature may be played at this site.

Part of the northern under-deeps loop, which is more dangerous than the loop under Mordor, you can't play Blasting Fire, etc, so decks utilising this part of the Under-deeps tend to play major items and Iron Shields.

Weathertop

Rarity = U2

Type = Ruins & Lairs

Card Draw = 1/1

Region = Arthedain

Site Path = Shadow-land Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Carn Dûm

Playable: Information

Automatic-attacks: Wolves - 2 strikes with 6 prowess

Another information site for Carn Dûm based companies, you can also bring in the Warg King and War-wolves and War-Wargs at this site, increasing its usefulness.

Wellinghall

Rarity = U2

Type = Free-hold

Card Draw = 3/2

Region = Fangorn

Site Path = Dark-domain Shadow-land Wilderness Wilderness

Nearest Darkhaven: Dol Guldur

Playable: Items (minor, major)

Automatic-attacks (2): Awakened Plant - 2 strikes with 10 prowess, Awakened Plant - 2 strikes with 10 prowess

Wellinghall has a vicious automatic attack for a major item site, and although there aren't any specific enhancers for Awakened Plants there aren't any specific cancellers either. Like that other forest, the Old Forest, it is likely only Fallen Wizard companies will stray into Fangorn.

Sample Minion Resource Deck (30 cards) vs. HERO

With this deck I've tried to showcase some of the cards in Against the Shadow, without utilising too many rares or using cards from the Balrog. It is difficult to include all the good cards from this expansion in one deck as they are designed to enhance a variety of resource strategies.

The idea of the deck is to use the Orcs to gather the allies and most of the items, playing the appropriate resources (I'll report you and Swam of Bats), Dwar moves between Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur to bring in the Orc factions waiting for his horse, then move to Barad-dur to play the Helm and the Creature of an Older World. The covert 'agents' recruit the factions (remember a character can tap to cancel an automatic attack at their home site) and eventually move to appropriate sites once the Faithless Stewards are in play. Sudden Call should be in the sideboard. Use the Orc quarrels to cancel most of the automatic attacks, and use Dwar's ability to boost whichever company looks to be in the most danger. If Dwar is at a haven, move him last so you can react to hazards played on your companies and tap him if necessary.

Starting Company:

(First – Starting at Dol Guldur)

Mauhúr (Rare – Against the Shadow) controlling

Orc Brawler (Common – Lidless Eye)

Ragbug (Uncommon – Lidless Eye)

(Second – Starting at Dol Guldur)

Râisha (Uncommon – Dark Minions) with Open to the Summons (Uncommon – White Hand)

Dâsakûn (Uncommon – Dark Minions) with Open to the Summons (Uncommon – White Hand

Resources (30):

1 x Black Horse (Common – Against the Shadow)

1 x Creature of an Older World (Rare – Against the Shadow)

1 x Great Bats (Common – Against the Shadow)

1 x Great Lord of Goblin Gate (Rare – Against the Shadow)

1 x Helm of Fear (Uncommon – Against the Shadow)

1 x High Helm (Uncommon – Lidless Eye)

1 x I'll Report You (Common – Lidless Eye)

1 x Men of Dorwinion (Fixed – Lidless Eye)

1 x Morgul Orcs (Rare – Against the Shadow)

1 x Nûriags (Uncommon – Against the Shadow)

1 x Orcs of Dol Guldur (Rare – Against the Shadow)

1 x Sable Shield (Uncommon – Lidless Eye)

1 x Swarm of Bats (Common – Lidless Eye)

2 x Faithless Steward (Rare – Against the Shadow)

3 x Above the Abyss (Common – Against the Shadow)

3 x Bold Thrust (Common – Lidless Eye)

3 x Dark Tryst (Common – Against the Shadow)

3 x Gifts Given of Old (Common – Lidless Eye)

3 x Orc Quarrels (Common – Lidless Eye)

Characters for the Deck:

3 x Dwar the Ringwraith (Fixed – Lidless Eye)

1 x Horseman in the Night (Common – Lidless Eye)

2 x Orc Tracker (Common/Fixed – Lidless Eye)

 

Rarity: 21 Commons, 9 Uncommons, 4 Fixed, 2 Common & Fixed, 7 Rares

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