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The Lure of the Ring, Part One

Copyright Pierre Jonas "Pej" Castillo ©2002

Edited by Nigel Buckle for The Guild Companion

Last year I wrote an article covering One Ring decks (in the May 2001 issue). I am here to present and discuss two decks of different alignments –Fallen-wizard and minion Ringwraith - which I have actually played to add to what I said in that first article.

For this issue, I will discuss my Fallen-wizard One Ring deck. Next month will focus on the minion One Ring deck

HE TOOK IT! GANDALF TOOK THE RING!

A Fallen-wizard One Ring deck

INTRODUCTION

I created this deck with the words of Gandalf in my mind:
"Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself."
Wouldn't it be interesting to have the only "good" Istar finally succumb to the lure of the One? Middle-earth: The White Hand's fallen Gandalf provided me with that opportunity.

PREFERRED STARTING COMPANY

Bilbo
Frodo
Halbarad
Robin Smallburrow
Sam Gamgee

 

IN-DECK CHARACTERS

Baduila
Ioreth

 

FALLEN-WIZARD

Gandalf (Fallen) x3

STARTING MINOR ITEMS

Elven-cloak
Star-glass

 

STARTING STAGE RESOURCES

Gandalf's Friend
Hidden Haven
The Grey Hat

For the starting company, the obvious choice of characters are the Hobbits. Bilbo is especially important, as his sage skill will be very helpful during the course of the game. Same goes with Halbarad (and Ioreth). Place Gandalf's Friend on Bilbo to reduce his mind to one, and then have him control Robin to save up general influence. Try to keep Sam alive, too, as his ranger skill will prevent those nasty Rivers and other roadblock hazards from affecting your company. At the start of the game, split Halbarad from the Hobbits and just let him stay at your Hidden Haven, playing Marvels Told on any nasty hazard permanent-events your opponent might play. With a size of 2, your Hobbits are relatively safe wandering the lands of Eriador.

Gandalf is the Fallen-wizard of choice as his ability to untap during the organization phase can be useful. He can tap to test rings, untap, then tap again to test another; or he can use it to get resources from the sideboard, thus saving your Smoke Rings and Weigh All Things to a Nicety recyclers for resources in the discard pile.

I used to play Wizard's Myrmidon before as a starting stage card to protect myself from anti-influence cards, but I replaced it with Hidden Haven as I needed a nearby Information site I can use later to play the A New Ringlord cards. In this case, I chose Weathertop. The Grey Hat is for recycling important cards later in the game.

RESOURCES (30)

ITEMS:

A Little Gold Ring x2
Fair Gold Ring x2
Precious Gold Ring x2
Scroll of Isildur (Hero version)

EVENTS:

A Nice Place to Hide x2
Concealment x2
Crept Along Cleverly x2
Far-sight x2
Halfling Stealth x2
Halfling Strength x2
Marvels Told x2
Smoke Rings x2
Sneakin' x2
Stealth x2
Voices of Malice
Weigh All Things to a Nicety x2

The resource half is particularly made up of the necessary items to get the Ring out, plus some support resources like Far-sight. The rest are mostly avoidance cards to keep creatures and other attacks from harming the Halflings. Four recyclers are included either to recycle used resources in the deck or to get cards from the sideboard. (I highly recommend using them to recycle discarded cards. Gandalf is your Fallen-wizard, remember?) With a wide plethora of avoidance cards available, it was very difficult to choose which will be the most useful. The cards listed above are there as they are the ones I found that are most useful when playing against the folks here, but if you think you should modify it, go ahead.

Gollum's not here, as he does not have any use for a Fallen-wizard One ring player, other than to prevent your opponent playing him.

For the ring test, make sure you test first the Precious Gold Rings as they give you the best chances of getting the Ring out. Take note that you are a Fallen-wizard player, and even with the Scroll, your roll bonus is not as good as a hero player. If you don't get it the first two-three attempts, don't stop. Recycle the rings and test again.

Once you get the One out, play the 3 A New Ringlord cards at your Wizardhaven (Weathertop with Hidden Haven played on it) for the next three turns, then discard Hidden Haven and make the fateful roll. Remember, you need to roll at least a 7 to win; and avoid those double 1's to keep you from losing the game.

(Editor's note: you cannot simply discard hidden haven, to remove it from Weathertop you need to discard the site or return it to your location deck, I suggest playing the Hidden Haven on the Ettenmoors and then move to Weathertop once you have three A New RingLords in play)

 

HAZARDS (30) - vs. Heroes

CREATURES:

Adûnaphel
Assassin x2
Cave-drake x3
Mouth of Sauron
Pûkel-men x2
Sellswords Between Charters x2
Slayer x2

EVENTS:

An Unexpected Outpost x2
Doubled Vigilance x2
Foolish Words x2
Lure of Expedience x2
Lure of Nature x2
Lure of the Senses x2
Rolled Down to the Sea
Siege x2
Twilight x2

 

HAZARDS (30) - vs. Minions

CREATURES:

Adûnaphel
Cave-drake x2
Lady of the Golden-wood
Mouth of Sauron
Orc-watch x2
Pûkel-men x2
Sellswords Between Charters x2
Slayer x2

EVENTS:

An Unexpected Outpost x2
Covetous Thoughts x2
Doubled Vigilance x2
Foolish Words x2
Lure of Expedience x2
Lure of Nature x2
Lure of the Senses x2
Rolled Down to the Sea
Twilight x2

The hazards against both heroes and minions are particularly designed against my fellow players here. As almost all of them just love playing corruption, I decided to join in on the fun. On the upside, they are quick to play, hence allowing you to cycle through your deck much faster. On the downside, I'm getting bored with corruption so I might come up with another hazard strategy to replace this. The important thing to remember is that as a Fallen-wizard player, specially since you're playing a One Ring deck in this case, you tend to play much slower than your opponent, especially against hero decks. That's why you have to tune your hazard deck in such a way that it will slow down your opponent and make your play faster.

 

SIDEBOARD (30) - vs. Heroes

RESOURCES:

A New Ringlord x3
Free to Choose x2
New Friendship x2
Sacrifice of Form
The One Ring (H)
The White Wizard
Wizard's Test x2

HAZARDS:

Alone and Unadvised x2
Knights of the Prince
Lure of Power
Many Sorrows Befall
Mordor in Arms
Muster Disperses
Neither so Ancient nor so Potent
News of Doom
No Escape from My Magic
Reluctant Final Parting
River x3
The Way is Shut x2
Tidings of Bold Spies x2

 

SIDEBOARD (30) - vs. Minions

RESOURCES:

A New Ringlord x3
Free to Choose x2
New Friendship x2
Sacrifice of Form
The One Ring (H)
The White Wizard
Wizard's Test x2

HAZARDS:

Alone and Unadvised x2
Knights of the Prince
Lure of Power
Many Sorrows Befall
Muster Disperses
Neither so Ancient nor so Potent
News of Doom
No Escape from My Magic
Reluctant Final Parting
River x3
Sudden Call (as a hazard)
The Way is Shut x2
Tidings of Bold Spies x2

The sideboard contains the necessary cards that I think supports the resource and hazard halves of the main deck. Of course, you need the 3 A New Ringlord cards to win the game. As I mentioned earlier, try to get the resources in the sideboard using Gandalf.

As for the hazards, they are included to prevent your opponent from gaining a big advantage over you. Two The Way is Shut cards are included in case your opponent is The Balrog or is an Under-deeps strategy deck. Of course, you can modify the cards based in the commonly used cards in your playgroup.

The great thing about playing One Ring decks in general is that you do not need to pack lots of various resources to win the game. With that, the ratio of the hazards over the resources in the sideboard is greater. Hence, you can pack more hazards to counter a wider range of strategies that your opponent might be playing.

ANTI-FALLEN-WIZARD SIDEBOARD (10)

Cruel Claw Perceived
Fool's Bane
Inner Rot
Longing for the West
Power Relinquished to Artifice
Something Else at Work
Blind to the West x2
Ire of the East x2

This deck is nearly immune from anti-FW cards as there are only 3 SPs in play from your starting stage cards. However, once the Ring and the three A New Ringlord cards are in play, be sure to prepare for them.

I played this deck once in a sanctioned tournament. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pull of the victory as my opponents played quick decks. Bad dice rolls were my major bane, so roll lucky.

One disadvantage of this deck is that even with the One out, you won't get enough MPs out of it as you do not have the stage cards to restore it to full MPs. I didn't put in more such cards, as I wanted to stick to the 30/30 deck size minimum. If you want to increase it, however, go ahead and include some more cards.

In closing, I hope you find this deck interesting and fun to play with. I haven't made Gandalf the new Dark Lord yet, but I won't stop from doing so. Go ahead and give it a try and change the course of Middle-earth history!

Editor's Comments: I would add two "Dark Tryst" to the deck to give a speed boost, Pej notes that the deck struggles against fast decks, Dark Tryst will help. I would probably move two of the Scout cards to the sideboard to make room – then a smoke rings or Gandalf can sideboard them in if necessary (that way you also have an option if your opponent plays Bane of the Ithil-Stone and/or Flotsam & Jetsam). Also I would try to include the hazard agent "My Precious" as a defense against your opponent using Gollum's ability on you (to discard the One Ring) and because Gollum is a popular ally (especially for the Balrog).

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