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A Fallen Wizard Deck

Copyright Nigel Buckle ©2002

Edited by Nigel Buckle for The Guild Companion

Introduction

This article details a fallen wizard deck that can be used vs. heroes, minions and fallen wizards (with modifications to the hazards). You could try using this deck, or alternatively consider how you would build a hazard deck to stop it. This deck is not typical of many fallen wizard decks in that it doesn't squat. However it can be frustrating to oppose, as there are limited hazards that you can play against it. The deck is described vs. Heroes, but with a different hazard strategy you could play it vs. minions (and possibly minions/fallen wizards). Note the deck is incomplete; if you want to use it, you will have to complete the sideboard and modify the whole deck to suit your play environment and the cards you own.

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.

In this deck I've not worried about trying not to use cards from the later sets. To consider building a Fallen Wizard deck, you need a number of cards from the White Hand, and a reasonable selection of minion cards is useful. As a Fallen Wizard you can only use two copies of non-unique cards, but you can use both hero and minion – so you can in effect have 4 copies of Marvels Told, 2 actual Marvels Told and 2 Voices of Malice the minion equivalent.

Character Draft (10)

Beretar
Boromir
Elladan
Elrohir
Elwen
Eradan
Faramir
Halbarad
Surion
Theoden

Minor Items

Open to the Summons
Shield of Iron Bound Ash

Starting Stage Cards (3 SP)

Gandalf's Friend
Thrall of the Voice
Wizard's Myrmidon

With an ideal starting company being:
Surion with Thrall of the Voice, Gandalf's Friend and Shield of Iron Bound Ash
Controlling Faramir
Elwen with Open to the Summons and Wizard's Myrmidon
Controlling Elrohir

You'd need to play the hero characters first in the draft, Elrohir first, followed by Faramir (Elrohir could be replaced by Elladan, Faramir by Beretar). Start the company at the White Towers.

The idea is to move immediately to the South (Rohan, Gondor, Lebennin etc.). Turn one if you have no playable resources (such as an item you could play at The Stones or The Glittering Caves) move to Isengard, from there you can move on to your area of operations. You should get 2-3 companies as you can easily build a second company with the influence available, and a third under the control of Gandalf. This means you should get 10+ points from characters alone, along with a similar amount from factions – items, allies and miscellaneous points (the White Tree, etc.) will round out the total. Characters are normally going to be played at Isengard, unless you can make another haven further south with the Chambers of the Royal Court – so one problem creature might be Cave Worms (you can always Flatter them). This deck shouldn't have much trouble with creatures – the main problem will be men (Ambushers, Assassins, Sellswords, Thief, etc) boosted with Rank Upon Rank – but the Quarrels, Flatter a Foe, Ruse and Ready to His Will should take the sting out of them. Corruption shouldn't pose to great a problem, as the deck is very light on sources of corruption – but be aware of Lure of Power. Agents could be a problem, but you're using two of the key agents from the area (Elwen and Surion) as characters –denying them to your opponent, if your playgroup favours agents consider some anti-agent resources in the sideboard (such as Withdrawn to Mordor).

Character Pool

Fallen Gandalf (x3), Asternak, plus some unused characters from Draft (ideally you want at least 4 additional characters along with the 3 copies of Gandalf, all worth 1 or 2 MPs).

Resources (30)

Chambers of the Royal Court
Dark Quarrels (x2)
Dark Tryst (x2)
Fireworks
Flatter a Foe (x2)
Give Welcome to the Unexpected
Grey Embassy
Grey Hat
Knights of Dol Amroth
Long Bottom Leaf
Men of Lebennin
New Friendship (x2)
Noble Steed
Orc Quarrels (x2)
Rangers of Ithilien
Ready to His Will
Riders of Rohan
Ruse (x2)
Sapling of the White Tree
Scroll of Isildur
Shadowfax
Voices of Malice (x2)
Wizard's Trove

As mentioned above, this deck gets most of its points from characters and factions – your (ideal) starting company uses just 4 points of GI! (Gandalf's friend for 1 and Wizard's Myrmidon for 3) so it's easy to play new characters at Isenguard (or the new Haven you create with Chambers). Get characters into play as soon as you can – once Gandalf makes an appearance you have to then play characters with him.

Chambers of the Royal Court: Use to turn an appropriate site (such as Minas Tirith) into a haven, you can sideboard in Guarded Haven to protect it (and gain an MP). You need to keep at least one character there to keep the card in play.

Dark Quarrels: Most of the hazard creatures you're likely to face are men – this card deals with those nicely (as does Orc Quarrels).

Dark Tryst: Awesome card, one of the best in the game, used to draw cards – play it at any appropriate time.

Fireworks: Use to untap a site. You could play Riders of Rohan and Shadowfax both at Edoras with this card, or sideboard in both factions playable at Minas Tirith, or if you want more items bring in Keys of Orthanc and Palantir of Minas Tirith (or an item and a faction). You can even play Chambers on Minas Tirith and plant a White Tree there - The White Tree and a second Sapling should be in the sideboard.

Flatter a Foe: Awesome card to cancel attacks and drop the hazard limit – especially as this deck is heavy on diplomats. You can even consider having all the characters controlled by General Influence to increase your diplomats' DI until you have more characters to play. Don't forget you can modify the influence attempt with a New Friendship.

Give Welcome to the Unexpected: Use to make Shadowfax worth 2 MPs. Really this stage card is there as a suitable discard if Echoes of the Song is played against you, but first discard Thrall of the Voice (you don't need it once you have Gandalf's Friend on Surion – but you need the Thrall to play Surion initially).

Grey Embassy: Use to make all your factions worth their full value (you really need to keep this card in play).

Grey Hat: Another stage card suitable for discarding – while you have it in play with Gandalf use it every turn to recycle New Friendships.

Knights of Dol Amroth: Nice 3 point faction, on the second cycle (or if you untap Dol Amroth with Fireworks) you can also play Nenselde the Wingild, assuming you've brought her in from the sideboard.

Long Bottom Leaf: Not that Gandalf needs much help sideboarding (as you can untap him at the end of the organisation phase), but useful if Gandalf doesn't appear – bring in any stage cards or resources you need (such as the White Tree, and possibly a second Sapling or Wizard's Trove, or Marvels Told).

Men of Lebennin: A centrally placed faction – your companies shouldn't need to move much further than Rohan, Anorien, Lebennin and Ithilien - just a quick trip to the Stones or Tolfolas for the Scroll and to the Gap of Rohan for a Sapling at the Glittering Caves.

New Friendship: Staple support card for the deck – use it to help recruit factions, protect from corruption rolls or to boost attempts to Flatter a Foe. Recycle them with either sideboarded Smoke Rings or using Gandalf's Grey Hat.

Noble Steed: Easy ally to play in Rohan, either at a tapped Edoras or Dunharrow, or even at Amon Hen. Bring in another from the sideboard if you haven't tapped all the sites in Rohan.

Orc Quarrels: See Dark Quarrels.

Rangers of Ithilien: Another easy 3 point faction (even use Faramir to recruit them).

Ready to His Will: Excellent way to cancel an assassin (and gain an ally), have a second in the sideboard – but usually once you've grabbed one assassin with this card your opponent will decide to discard them rather than risk playing another.

Riders of Rohan: Another big faction.

Ruse: Great card for Diplomats – who needs scouts for Concealment when you have this card? And it can't be cancelled with Searching Eye.

Sapling of the White Tree: Necessary for planting the White Tree – don't rely on it for your item points.

Scroll of Isildur: Mainly in the deck for anti-one ring – if your opponent is playing One Ring and gets the scroll in play first, consider influencing it away.

Shadowfax: Another ally from Rohan – only play him at Edoras if you've had to discard the Riders of Rohan or you've managed to untap it with Fireworks – otherwise risk the trip to Dunharrow (which is a surface site of the underdeeps).

Voices of Malice: Minion equivalent of Marvels Told – use in the same way, you really have to get rid of hazards like Heart Grown Cold and possibly Foolish Words on your key diplomats. Two copies of Marvels Told should be in the sideboard, and you can get them with Gandalf or the Long Bottom Leaf.

Wizard's Trove: Necessary to play the White Tree, don't use it to store the Sapling – unless you don't intend to play the White Tree.

Key Sideboard Cards (Resources):

Guarded Haven: Use to get an MP on your Chambers of the Royal Court.

Keys of Orthanc: Useful to increase your item MP count.

Legacy of Smiths: Stage card needed to make your items worth full MPs.

Lindion the Oronin: Hero ally playable in the right area.

Marvels Told: See Voices of Malice above.

Men of Anfalas: Faction in the right area – Surion gets a bonus against them.

Men of Anorien: Similar to the Men of Anfalas.

Men of Lebennin: Similar to the Men of Anfalas.

Noble Steed: See above.

Palantir of Amon Sul: Greater Item, should be played at The Stones.

Ready to His Will: See above.

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.

Smoke Rings (x2): Use to recycle resources.

The White Tree: Store with a Wizard's Trove for big points.

Tower Guard of Minas Tirith: Similar to the Men of Anfalas, it's possible to play both factions at Minas Tirith if you untap it with Fireworks.

Weigh All Things to a Nicety: Only necessary if you're desperate to get back your minion resource events (like Ready to His Will, Orc Quarrels or Voices of Malice).

Wizard's Trove: Backup to your in-deck copy.

Hazards (30) * indicates Creatures & ½ Creatures

*Dealomin At Home
*The Mouth of Sauron
*Intagast Ahunt
*My Precious
*Cave Drake (x3)
*Rain Drake (x2)
*Sell Swords between Charters (x3)
*Winged Fire Drake (x2)
Flotsam and Jetsam
Foolish Words (x3)
Power Built By Waiting
River (x3)
Searching Eye (x3)
Shadow of Mordor
Summons from Long Sleep (x3)
The Sun Shone Fiercely

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: Use it to recycle a hazard that seems to cause particular problems to your opponent.

Intagast Ahunt: The big dragon – useful if your opponent plans to move in the north, and fast as you can play it when drawn (also ahunt dragons can hit companies protected by Stealth).

My Precious: Anti-one ring agent.

Cave Drake: Staple double wilderness creature – and playable on Summons from Long Sleep.

Rain Drake: A creature mainly for coastal sea coverage, but often playable, especially against Radagast decks that move from Lorien to Rivendell repeatedly to draw cards. Again you can reserve it with Summons from Long Sleep.

Sell Swords between Charters: Good general hazard creature.

Winged Fire Drake: Another drake to round out the creatures, often hero companies will move through triple wilderness, and one-ring decks usually move through double shadow-lands to get to Mount Doom, and you can reserve it with Summons from Long Sleep.

Flotsam and Jetsam: Mainly anti-one ring (that uses Lucky Search to pull rings at Mount Doom), best to hold it in hand unless you don't need to manipulate your own deck – or your opponent is using deck manipulation more than you.

Foolish Words: Staple anti-influence hazard.

Power Built By Waiting: Simple speed enhancer for the deck.

River: Staple speed bump card – ideally you tap out the opposing rangers (or better wound them) with your drakes, then play a River to delay the company further. Also consider holding them for a flood of water to stop a one-ring deck dunking on the turn they move to Mount Doom.

Searching Eye: Another mainly anti-one ring/anti-hobbit card – it stops stealth, it stops concealment and it stops Lucky Search.

Shadow of Mordor: Anti hero-speed deck card - your companies don't move to sites with high card draws, and the speed of the deck means you can afford to choose to draw just one card, brutal against a Radagast speed deck (and immune to Marvels Told – your opponent will have to find a twilight or a Gates of Morning to get rid of it).

Summons from Long Sleep: Great speed card for drake decks – play this card as soon as you draw it, then you can play a drake on it, speeding up your deck. Additionally you can then use it to attack a company if they move where the drake can attack (with a +2 bonus to prowess).

The Sun Shone Fiercely: You're not using Dwarves – if your opponent isn't too then this is just a card for speed (play it when you draw it). If your opponent is, then unless they're playing with Doors of Night it might be worth holding until you can also hit the dwarves with a creature or two (such as a summoned drake) for maximum benefit.

Key Sideboard Cards (Hazards):

Those of you who regularly read my articles should realise I don't often bother to sideboard in hazards and there is no sideboard manipulation in the hazard portion of this deck. However I would normally include a few choice hazards; either to cover obvious blind spots or as potential cards for adding after a deck cycle. I'll often include a little corruption (Lure of the Senses usually) to add to the deck, just to load up characters ready for the corruption checks at the Council at the game end. Just removing one character that has an item (or controls an ally) can be enough to swing a close game to your favour.

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