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Greetings, once again! Today, I will be going over the impacts of the Realms of the Elf Lords (RotEL) expansion will have on the Nine. I will go into both the cards that help and hurt the Nazgul.
First, let’s look at the cards which can aid the Ringwraiths:
1. Gates Of The Dead City – This condition comes into play for the low cost of 1 twilight and forces your opponent to exert a companion whenever your Nazgul culture card adds a burden. This card can be a somewhat useful tool. With four copies of this card in play, you can cause the Free People’s player to exert up to four times. Bear in mind though, that this requires that the Nazgul card add the burden, so it will not work if the Witch-King, Lord of the Nazgul wounds the ring-bearer, and he puts on the ring to convert the wounds to burdens, since the WK, LotN is not adding a burden, the ring is. So, this really is only viable if you can hit them with It Wants To Be Found and have this in play. Not an ideal card in my opinion.
2. News of Mordor – Realms of the Elf Lords introduces a bunch of cards that give benefits for mixing Shadow cultures. This is the Ringwraith one, where a Nazgul becomes damage +1 if you can spot an Isengard minion. This, to me, is far too gimmicky; it requires you to have both an Isengard minion and one of the Nine in play in order for this skirmish event to work. Even if you get an Isengard minion into play, if he dies during the Archery phase, this card does you no good. This is a card that I would advise the would-be corrupter to take a pass on.
3. The Ring Draws Them – This condition adds 1 twilight for each burden you can spot when the fellowship moves. It does come with a price: each Shadow phase, one of the Black Riders must exert, or TRDT is discarded. With the Nazgul, most of them exert to do an action, and with TRDT, you are decreasing your ability for them to perform those actions. Remember: Exerting is not wounding, so His Terrible Servants will not prevent this exertion. As discussed in my previous article, Not Easily Destroyed will heal the Nine, but at 3 twilight per heal, you need at least to be gaining 3 twilight each turn in order to break even with TRDT.
4. They Will Never Stop Hunting You – This Maneuver event, which costs 2 twilight, lets you take a card at random from opponent’s hand and exert a companion with a ranged weapon a number of times equal to the twilight cost of the card you took, if you can spot one of the Nine. TWNSHY only works if you can spot someone with a ranged weapon. Being an archer does not automatically mean he has a ranged weapon, so unless you are going against a dedicated archery deck, this card will do you little good, except to perhaps exhaust Aragorn if he is armed with his bow, but you also must pull a high twilight cost card out of his hand to do this. If you pull out that Goblin Runner, you have pretty much used up 2 twilight that could have been used elsewhere. Bear in mind also that this exerts only; it does not wound! It is impossible to kill with this card by itself. Let’s compare this to Relentless Charge. Relentless Charge lets you deal wounds to all archers, whether or not they bear a weapon, plus has a twilight cost of zero; it only requires you to exert a Nazgul. Thus, I would advise Relentless Charge over TWNSHY.
5. Too Great and Terrible – We now come to THE card of the set that players of the Nine will truly relish! This maneuver event costs zero twilight and just requires you to spot a Nazgul to do 2 wounds to Gandalf! The Istari has been a thorn in our sides for far too long! With his staff, he has cancelled skirmishes, so we couldn’t wield our greatest powers that require the Nine to win skirmishes. With his Servant of the Secret Fires, he has weakened the Nazgul so that mere mortals could vanquish them. With his Sleep, Caradhras, he has discarded our conditions! Now, we can get back at him! The only way to prevent these wounds is by discarding two Gandalf culture cards. This is a win-win scenario for us! Gandalf takes 2 wounds or he gets rid of those SotSF (or Sleeps or some other cards that would harm our plans) that he was holding in his hand. Bear in mind, though, to kill him requires multiples of this card. Unaided, with opponent having no Gandalf culture cards in hand, would require 2 TGTs to kill the Istari. I would advise 3 or 4 copies of this card, because Gandalf can be more of a pain than Aragorn can at times, so make sure he falls into darkness!
6. Ulaire Otsea, Ringwraith in Twilight – Another of the Nine gets a Twilight version. This minion, when he wins a skirmish, can exert to transfer Blade Tip from the support area to the Ring-bearer. While you may feel this is useful, I would advise keeping with the Fellowship version of Otsea, since that version can exert to make a Ringwraith culture card fierce. Bear in mind that no Twilight Nazgul is naturally fierce, so the Fellowship version can be a strong boon to a corruption deck.
7. Eregion Hills – This site at location #4 adds 2 twilight and the Ring-bearer gains a burden. No ifs, ands, or butts about it. For myself, I will definitely being using this location over the Moria Lake I had been previously using. True, I lose the exerting of Frodo or 2 companions and 1 twilight, but I gain a definite certainty that the Ring-bearer gets another burden. (This site would have come in handy in my game against a certain 2100+ rated player when Frodo had 9 burdens on him at site 4. It would have been game over right then and there.)
8. The Gates of Argonath – I can hear the question now “Why this location?”. Here’s why: for 1 less twilight than the Shores of Nen-Hithoel, I lose the penalty if my opponent is playing orcs, but far more important, maneuver events can not be played. I have seen far too many A Ranger’s Versatility rain on my parade. With the fellowship is at this site, I can not have my Witch-King exhausted before he has even had a chance to wield his might. This game text works both ways though; so his fellowship is safe from my Maneuver events as well, but that is a price I will gladly pay for this boon.
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