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CardShark Content - Cedric Campbell (9/4/2002)

X+1 is an easy concept to understand but to effectively pull it off and not time out on your games is a different story. Simply put, your opponent will have X companions in play. The goal is to produce one more minion than your opponent. And with Moria being the second culture to become non-roaming (provided Hollin doesn't hit the board). This is a fairly easy task. Use the first sites to set up your conditions. Goblin Armories, They Are Coming, Goblin Swarms, and The Relics of Moria are the best. Basically the two you want to see right away are Goblin Armories and They Are Coming. These will let you set up for a site for slaughter.

You can put a hurt on your opponent in the beginning. You can force him to use directed archery, Rumil, and maybe a bowmen if you're lucky. Don't worry, if you somehow end up with a great deal of archery, your minions still did their job. They were just a little sneakier about it. Each directed archery is a wound and this lets you set up for the double fierce drop goal at site five. This fierce drop will be a near certain dead companion and sometimes two of them. But to pull this off, the goblins usually need a little help from a friend.

His name is Ulaire Enquea. Amassing fourteen pool should not be that great of a feat for Moria at site five, although it is an elusive one at times. You need fourteen pool for obvious reasons, an Enquea/Balrog drop. Your runners add so they don't count. Moria Scouts usually drop out free, but don't count on it. This is where the third and even the fourth armory help. By now you should be able to add in three to four pool by playing a few scimitars. Scavengers are free at this point as well. Ulaire serves a great purpose at this site, even if there isn't six companions or five burdens. He is fierce. Even though ideally you do want to kick out a troll/balrog, its still good to put down Enquea here because if there aren’t six companions by this site there probably never will be.

We can effectively pump out quite a few minions. Most people will pass the maneuver phase or exert Thrarin. The latter can be annoying because that means only one companion will die. But with Boromir becoming more and more of a spotlight stealer these days, you drop Such a Little Thing. This will accomplish many things especially if you are daring enough to run two and have both copies of it in your hand. At least what you can expect to happen is for Arwen, Aragorn, or Boromir to get a little smaller which is enough to do the deed. Ideally though Boromir will just drop off the face of Middle-Earth. Either way score one for Moria. And if there happens to be six companions left after that go ahead and chalk one up for the Ringwraiths as well. Generally Legolas soon follows Boromir this way. This also deals a major mental blow to your opponent.

So with possibly two people gone at most that can leave seven companions on the board and one ally that can cause trouble. The ally will go away with Anduin Conference, so that's a plus. This also leaves only the companions and one should die at this point. Usually Arwen is top choice to decimate at this site, but a Gwemegil can stop that short. Gimli is another good candidate. Especially if you see the Friend of the Shirefolk. Gandalf gets a perma -1 from now on and another when you can take out the Arwen at site six. Remember unless your minion can flat out overwhelm two people on the board he only counts as one and a half minions.

At site six you are looking to do one of two things dependant upon the archery status of your opponent. At this point, Legolas should be dead, but if he isn't he should be exhausted. As well as Rumil, non-existent or exhuasted which barring Aragorns bow leaves you with two random archery which will be sucked up by a cave troll or a couple scouts. Your advantage at this site is that if there is an elf on the board you automatically add two more pool. Flat out you add two more pool. If there is no elven goodness left you still add two more pool with a runner and slap a sword on him for free or add more pool.

It is possible that two to three minions follow from site five, but if you used Enquea's ability, don't count on him. Look for a couple moria scouts to make it through. This is one of the few sites because of the offset where the Keyward can actually be beneficial. So if you got him slap him down here and put a sword on him. At this point your opponent should have one to five maybe six companions. And we had one or two minions follow which is a good thing. So now we have something to the effect of troll, keyward, scout, scout, runner.

That's five and a half minions to your opponents five. Realistically, you can drop a scavenger here for free or another runner. This will top off your X+1 goal and someone will die here. One, they are elves and it cuts down on secret sentinels. Two, if Boromir is still happens to be alive, his main allies will die here. The other option you have is slightly riskier but it will kill companions. In order to match your opponent minion/companion add as much pool as you possibly can, and take advantage of your guard commander's ability. This will knock off one companion. This is especially effective if he has no archery here.

So depending on the route we take, our opponent can lose up to two more companions here leaving him with a minimum possibility of three. But remember that there is probably one more coming out of the deck. And the wounds will disappear. So your opponent does drop his last companion to bring himself back to four. That's okay we already have three on our swarm and more on the way. Site seven for obvious reasons should be void of archery if you can see to it. At this site we are looking to put out at least X+1. Ideally though we should have X+2 with a troll. As you can see we have begun to reap the rewards of a snowball effect that began at site four. And if you manage to have your last Enquea in your hand, this is an optimal site to strive to get him and a troll into play. The double fierce here will either exhaust all companions or kill one. Ideally you knock down a companion and Aragorn will walk away exhausted. This will leave his bow useless and taking away a possible +defender which could really rain on your parade. This is a good site to take down Gandalf if you can't quite knock off Aragorn. And at this point your opponent knows what your site eight is and will be forced to move again or you can skip from site six to seven and stop to deliver another beating leaving him with either Frodo Solo or a badly beaten Aragorn and no one else.

As a general rule your opponents will most likely be overwhelmed at site seven and you win. Site seven is the target site. Most other times it will be site eight. In this example though my opponent found all of his companions at one point or another so site eight became my target. The toughest match up obviously is a big fellowship. Thats where the double fierce drops will help, along with Enquea. The best thing to against them is to decide who you want to die at what site. Be realistic about it and force your opponent into a no choice situation.

Against a choke style deck they tend not to run to many companions so you can capitalize on that. But don't sit on your nazgul all day either in this situation in hopes they randomly pull someone drop him and make him fight along side your trolls or Balrog. Moria done correctly is still a threat. Small fellowships can't handle it. And done properly, neither can a big one. It also gives you the advantage of getting your fellowship quickly to push through your opponents ranks of minions.



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