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CardShark Content - William Kenyon (10/16/2002)

So what's the best way to corrupt Frodo?

Well that's a tough one. There are lots of ways - and your play style
coupled with your local meta game will determine the best way for you, if it
proves possible at all. Here, I'm going to do a quick overview of
all the corruption cards from Fellowship block, determining
each one's strengths and weaknesses - and maybe pointing out a few that are
just crap.

So, here goes:

Cruel Caradhras, In The Ringwraith's Wake: It is my humble
opinion that any card which affords your opponent the opportunity to
choose whether to add a burden or exert Frodo is for this
purpose so much cheap cardboard. Just because they're rare does not make
them viable options.

Can You Protect Me From Yourself?: Now here's a more difficult
choice - exhaust one of the most powerful characters in the game or add two
burdens. Given the popularity of Aragorn, this card could see a lot of
play. Given the relative uselessness of Isengard when it comes to
corruption, maybe not. Nice way to make the Orthanc Berserker's special
ability work, though.

Lost To The Goblins: To be effective, this card requires a lot
of setup. You have to draw through your deck, manage to have mostly Shadow
cards near the bottom, get three or more Moria minions on the table, and
make the Fellowship player assign the Ring bearer an exertion or a wound. A
deck that was quite capable of doing this was one the reasons Decipher
enacted the Rule of Four. And with the Rule of Four in place, Lost To The
Goblins started occupying a lot of space in people's binders. Still, I
think a deck which explored this card might be viable. Imagine dropping
three of these in one turn. That's potentially nine burdens. Wow.

Uruk Spy ( and while I'm at it, Twilight World, Wraithworld and The
Ring's Oppression): You think Lost To The Goblins is a tough one to
pull off. These four cards are nigh on impossible because they require
perhaps the single most difficult think to do in the game: force the
Ring bearer to don the One Ring. While your opponent may do this if you are
playing Uruk-hai (and the Spy isn't in play) or Moria or even
Sauron, he will actively resist it if you're playing Ringwraiths. And if he
sees the Uruk Spy, forget about it (the Spy also has an added drawback
similar to Lost To The Goblins). If you play one of these cards
successfully, the payoff is huge. But good luck.

Worry, Drawn to Its Power: These cards are similar. Worry gets
activated more often because it only requires a Uruk-hai to win a skirmish.
But Drawn To Its Power isn't unique, which means that when it's activated,
its effect can be devastating. Still, it requires that a Nazgul actually
kill somebody in a skirmish. Hmmmm. I think both cards are
viable, mostly because they're conditions - perpetual threats that don't
occupy space in your hand.

It Wants To Be Found, Must Do Without Hope, Gleaming In The
Snow: All three of these require the presence of a certain minion,
and then they can be played to add a burden. Gleaming is probably the
toughest one to pull off because it requires the exertion of a Sauron orc
during regroup. Given the relative high cost of Sauron orcs who'll still
have an extra point of vitality at the regroup... well, whatever. Also,
Gleaming requires the spotting of a Gondor companion - something that
happens 75% of the time, but not always. Must Do is easy to play and cheap.
Trouble with it is that it's useless after Site 5. The most effective of
these three cards - and I think the most reliable burden-adder in the game
- is It Wants To Be Found. It's a little pricey in the Twilight cost, but
it doesn't require your Nazgul to survive the archery and skirmish places.
And it can be recycled with Morgul Skulker.

Verily I Come: This card would have been a hot commodity had
the Rule of Four never been enacted. As it is, it functions less as a
corruption card and more as a deterrent, keeping the Free Peoples' player
from using Elrond, the Book of Mazarbul, Delving, or any of the host of
cards that allow for drawing in the Fellowship phase. Putting
one in a corruption deck might be a good idea. More might be
excessive, unless there's a lot of drawing during the Fellowship in you

Blade Tip: As far as being a constant source for burdens, this
card - once placed on the Ringbearer - rocks. The hard part is getting it
placed on Frodo. Chances are, if he's matched against a Nazgul, he's not
going to lose his skirmish, he's going to cancel it. So how do you get a
Blade Tip on Frodo? Ulaire Otsea in Twilight? Perhaps. But he is the
weakest Nazgul in the game. Bears some exploration, though.

Desperate Defense of the Ring, Thin And Stretched: By itself, I
think Thin and Stretched sucks. There are countless ways to make sure Frodo
gets matched in a skirmish. And this card can only add one burden per turn.
Desperate Defense, however, placed on you opponent's most powerful
skirmisher, can potentially add several burdens a turn. One of each on
Frodo and you've got your opponent ´´damned if he do, damned if he don't.´´
Also, Desperate Defense can be played multiple times on the same character.
Think about that.

Eregion Hills: If you're willing to hang back and let your
opponent leave Rivendell first, and as long as you don't need your Site 4
to do something else special, this is a quick and easy way to add a burden.
Most people who use Thror's Map or Pathfinder aren't going to waste it on
this site, anyway.

And there you have it. Every card that can force the Ringbearer to (most
times involuntarily) add a burden. I don't think a successful corruption
strategy can rely on only one, so a mix is in order. Like I've said - if
you want to try to corrupt Frodo, the cards you choose, and in what mix,
will depend on your style of play and the group of people you play with.

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