A Sample Fallen Wizard Deck
Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2001
Edited by Nicholas H.M. Caldwell for The Guild Companion
This article details an actual fallen wizard deck that I used in a tournament in the UK this year. The deck is specifically against minions, although the resource portion could be used against a hero (or another Fallen Wizard) with some modification to the hazards and sideboard. The deck was quite successful winning all 3 games I played, twice 6-0 and the final time 4-2. (In this last game Saruman struggled against Cave Worms and agents and his company got wiped out twice. Fortunately he was only wounded, but it slowed my deck down enough to hold me to a close victory.)
When I see a deck list on the internet or in a magazine, it is not always obvious how the deck should be played or why certain cards have been included (or excluded), so I will also explain how the deck is supposed to work.
Open to the Summons
Starting Stage Cards (3 SP)
Thrall of the Voice
With an ideal starting company being:
Celeborn (with Thrall of the Voice)
Mionid with Black Arrow
Surion with Open to the Summons and The Forge Master
Boromir (controlled by Surion)
Against a minion player you need to draft Mionid first, followed by playing Open to the Summons and Surion, as it is possible for a minion player to play these characters in the draft.
You should use the Forge Master to bring the minor weapons and shields straight from the sideboard into play on the company. Start by getting a Shield of Iron Bound Ash for Surion, then another for Boromir, and then a dagger for any character.
The idea is to use high prowess characters boosted by weapons to defeat automatic attacks, hazard creatures and any minion company that decides to attack.
Fallen Saruman (x3), Gloin, Faramir and Gulla, plus some characters from Draft
Crept Along Cleverly (x2)
Ready to His Will
Dark Tryst (x2)
Elves of Lindon
Gatherer of Loyalties
Great Ship (x2)
Legacy of Smiths
Lindion the Oronin
Long Bottom Leaf (x2)
Men of Anfalas
Men of Lebennin
Noble Hound (x2)
Palantir of Amon Sul
Sapling of the White Tree
That Ain't No Secret (x2)
The Fortress of Isen
Torque of Hues
Voices of Malice (x2)
Wizard's Trove (x2)
The deck is designed to be coastal, concentrating in the regions in coastal seas or adjacent to them. In the first turn the company should move to Isengard, unless a suitable resource has been drawn that can be played by moving south (such as the Torque of Hues at the Isles of the Dead the Live), then the Forge Master can get the second item at the start of the next turn. Saruman forms a second company, with some other characters and collects the sapling, other major items and the cards requiring an information site – only moving in Gap of Isen and Rohan (using Amon Hen, Glittering Caves, Dunharrow, etc), but once The Fortress of Isen is in play you need to keep characters at Isengard to stop it being discarded. This stage card is key to playing several stage cards in the sideboard. Saruman can also be used to tap to the sideboard in appropriate resources playable near Isengard (such as the Riders of Rohan or major items).
Hold your stage cards until you have enough stage points to play them.
Crept Along Cleverly: used to cancel automatic attacks or hazard creatures that you can't defeat for MPs.
Ready to His Will: used to cancel an assassin or slayer (and create an ally).
Dark Tryst: Awesome card, one of the best in the game, used to draw cards – play it at any appropriate time.
Elves of Lindon: Ideally played early – relatively safe site to visit, as long as you can play the hero version of the site.
Gatherer of Loyalties: Stage card needed to make your factions worth 2 MPs.
Great Patron: Stage card needed to make your characters worth 2 MPs.
Great Ship: Perfect card for a coastal deck – use it to cancel most hazards.
Legacy of Smiths: Stage card needed to make your items worth full MPs.
Lindion the Oronin: Hero ally playable in the right area.
Longbottom Leaf: Used to bring appropriate resources from the sideboard – particularly the White Tree, and the sapling if you haven't drawn the copy in the deck, and possibly Marvels Told.
Men of Anfalas: Faction in the right area – Surion gets a bonus against them.
Men of Lebennin: Similar to the Men of Anfalas.
Noble Hound: Ally playable at border holds (after you've played the faction).
Palantir of Amon Sul: Greater Item, should be played at The Stones. This is not in the deck to be used by Saruman, instead store it for the full MPs.
Sapling of the White Tree: Do not store this item, you need it along with Wizard's Trove and a sage at one of your wizard havens to play the White Tree.
Tempering Friendship: Used to help recruit factions (you could use Muster, but Saruman is not a warrior).
That Ain't No Secret: Playable at an information site, and it does not tap the site – combine with Man of Skill stage card (in the sideboard) to get 2 MPs for each!
The Fortress of the Isen: Playable on Isengard, you'll have to leave a character behind to keep it in play.
Torque of Hues: Useful item to cancel automatic attacks (or play it with Saruman's company for more protection).
Voices of Malice: Useful for removing problematic hazards – Marvels Told the hero equivalent is in the sideboard and accessible using Long Bottom Leaf.
Wizard's Myrmidon: Another useful stage card.
Wizard's Trove: Needed for the White Tree, 2 copies are included to increase the chances of drawing it.
Hazards (30) * indicates Creatures & ½ Creatures
*Dealomin At Home
*The Mouth of Sauron
*Lady of the Golden Wood
*Orc Guard (x3)
*Sell Swords between Charters (x3)
*Spider of the Morlat
*Corsairs of Umbar (x3)
Foolish Words (x3)
Power Built By Waiting
Revealed to all watchers
Tidings of Bold Spies (x3)
Troll Purse (x2)
Unabated in Malice (x3)
The hazards are designed to be as fast as possible (play them as you draw them if you can):
Dealomin At Home: Used as a half-creature, you can discard it to increase the hazard limit.
The Mouth of Sauron: Used to 'bounce' the mouth if your opponent plays him as a character, otherwise use it to recycle a hazard that seems to cause particular problems to your opponent.
Itangast Ahunt: The big dragon – and hits areas often travelled by minions.
Lady of the Golden Wood: Used to shut down minion deck manipulation (expect her to be removed with Marvels Told).
Orc Guard: Used to tap characters (detainment) or as additional automatic attacks at appropriate under-deep sites (anti-Balrog).
Sell Swords between Charters: Good general hazard creature.
Smaug Ahunt: Another big dragon, affecting similar areas to Itangast
Spider of the Morlat: Annoying event for minions operating out of Dol Guldur, don't forget it also affects the Sulfur-deeps (anti-Balrog – the attack is not detainment!)
Corsairs of Umbar: Some players would swap these for alternative creatures – I like them as additional protection for my coastal company (any minion company moving to the same areas as my company can be attacked by the Corsairs), 3 Orc Watch for example would be a good swap if you wanted more shadow and dark holds coverage.
Foolish Words: Staple anti-influence hazard.
Plague: Good anti-squatter card – play it on a squatting leader and hopefully you'll roll high enough to wound him, also quite effective against Balrog companies.
Power Built By Waiting: Simple speed enhancer for the deck.
Redoubled Force: You never visit sites with orc or troll automatic attacks, so why not make them worse – mainly used to make detainment attacks very likely to tap squatting companies and also a major headache for many Balrog decks (many under deep sites have Orc/Troll automatic attacks, and those that don't you can usually play Orc Guards as the second automatic attack). Especially effective when combined with Tidings of Bold Spies and Unabated in Malice.
Revealed To All Watchers: A staple card that seems to make it into all my decks – this card gives you significant card advantage, just make sure you don't shuffle your draw pile after you've put the resources back in the order you've chosen (unless of course the resources were useless at this point in the game). I cannot understand why this card is not used more frequently.
Tidings of Bold Spies: Combine this with Unabated in Malice to really hurt companies moving to sites with an automatic attack, especially effective in the under-deeps if you can play a hazard creature to create a second automatic attack.
Troll Purse: Combine this with Redoubled Force, great if you get a chance to play it (usually you should play it on-guard), otherwise discard it. Note this card works against detainment attacks too.
Unabated in Malice: As this card does not count against the hazard limit, consider playing it on a site (rather than on-guard), especially effective if you play Tidings of Bold Spies afterwards.
Some of the sideboard cards should be played each game either directly from the sideboard or brought into the deck (using Long Bottom Leaf or by tapping Saruman). Others are there for the second deck cycle, or as support cards against particular hazard or resource strategies.
A Strident Spawn
Dagger of Westernesse
Dark Quarrels (x2)
Dreams of Lore
Forewarned is Forearmed
Man of Skill
Marvels Told (x2)
Mischief in a Mean Way
Nenselde the Wingild
Rangers of Ithilien
Ready to His Will
Riders of Rohan
Sapling of the White Tree
Scroll of Isildur
Shield of Iron Bound Ash (x2)
The White Hand
The White Tree
Warm Now be Heart and Limb
Wizard's River Horses
Woses of Old Pukel Land
To be played directly from the sideboard:
Dagger of Westernesse, Shield of Iron Bound Ash
To be brought into the deck:
The White Tree, Sapling of the White Tree, Man of Skill, A Strident Spawn (need The Fortress of the Isen in play), Dreams of Lore, Saruman's Machinery (need The Fortress of the Isen in play), Riders of Rohan, Glamdring
To be brought in on the second deck cycle (along with any of the cards in the bought into deck category above):
The White Hand, Half Orcs
Twilight is used if your opponent is using a heavy environment deck (resource or hazard)
The other cards are there if the need arises, the resource events to counteract certain hazard decks, the items and factions if you need more points in either of those areas.
As with most fallen wizard decks you need to be familiar with both the hero and minion resources and sites, and also you need to practice playing the deck. Often fallen wizard decks appear to be doing poorly, with the majority of marshalling points only worth 1 point each – then a couple of key stage cards are played and suddenly your marshalling point count increases radically.
Do not be surprised if your opponent stops playing creatures on your first company – after a couple of turns it could look something like:
Celeborn with a dagger of westernesse (prowess 7 body 9)
Boromir with a Shield of Iron Bound Ash (prowess 6, 7 for 1 strike, body 8)
Surion with a Shield of Iron Bound Ash (prowess 5, 6 for 1 strike, body 8)
Mionid with a Black Arrow (prowess 5, body 8) [And the arrow can reduce one attack by –1 prowess and –1 body]
Furthermore with Thrall of the Voice on Celeborn and The Forge Master on Surion (so he can control Boromir) this company only uses 11 General Influence, and if you play Wizard's Myrmidon on Celeborn then the company only uses up 9. This combines well with the changes to General Influence when Saruman enters play – your GI drops to 15 but Saruman has 12 Direct Influence, so you can easily play characters with him.