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As it so happens, there are some fringe benefits associated with site control. If you are facing the Rohirrim with supporting villagers, guess what? You take control of site 4, and all their villagers are discarded. Facing an Elf deck featuring Haldir, Emissary of the Galadhrim? Control a site and he does not get his strength bonus. These are but two examples of the indirect benefits that one receives with site control.
Now, let’s look at what can hamper our efforts to spread our wave of darkness. Anything which can liberate a site (free it after you have taken control of it) is very bad. As you have seen from the three methods for site control, site control is not lightly done, so stay not thy hand when confronted with any of these threats to the darkness!
1. Forests of Ithilien: This Gondor condition lets one discard the condition and exert a Ring-bound companion to liberate a site during the Regroup phase. Since this only works in the Regroup phase, you should be able to remove it using the Burning of Westfold.
2. Ceorl, Weary Horseman: This Rohan companion is the only card that prevents one from taking control of a site (the others liberate). He must exert and be able to spot a villager, so either exhaust him (or better yet, kill him) or remove any villagers, and he will be unable to stop you. Expect to see him make an appearance, so make sure that he has a terrible “accident” when he does show.
3. Helm! Helm!: This Regroup event requires two mounted Rohirrim to liberate a site. Use Uruk Spears to get ride of their equine partners, and this card will be no threat to the power of Isengard.
4. Theoden, Son of Thengel: This Rohan companion allows liberation of a site in the Regroup phase by exerting him and spotting a Rohan ally. Like Ceorl, he will make an appearance all too often, so mark him for termination as soon as he shows up.
5. Sword Wall: This Skirmish or Regroup phase event requires spotting of 3 Elven companions to liberate a site. With its requirement, you will only see this in a pure Elven stratagem, and thus, it will be a rare time indeed that you will see this be used to liberate a site.
6. Night Without End: This Elf Response event will more likely be seen than Sword Wall, due to the fact that it only requires one elf to win a skirmish and then exert him. Just make sure your Uruk-Hai win against any elves and you will not have to worry about this card.
These are the methods with which the Free Peoples will attempt to turn the tide. With adequate preparation, one can ensure that such efforts will avail them not.
In conclusion, there are many advantages for site control, and with proper preparation, the Free Peoples will be crushed under the surge of power afforded by this stratagem. I wish you well in your efforts to crush the Free Peoples and return Isildur’s Bane to the hand of Sauron.
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