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

Anyway, in it I predicted the ´´rise of the regroup phase,´´ based on the
sheer number of cards with regroup actions which came out with this set.

There was no such rise.

At least not in my local metagame. Isengard orcs just haven't proven
effective enough to become threatening - and they packed the majority of
the regroup actions. And since they didn't constitute much of a threat,
cards like Pursuit Just Behind and Gondor's Vengeance didn't see more
gameplay (which makes me mad, because I traded some good stuff to get four

Realms did impact the game in a way that Mines of Moria didn't however, and
sales of Elf lords product greatly exceeded that of Mines according to my
local retailers. Realms introduced some really useful cards, like Song of
Durin - which shut down the Moria Scav/Scim/Armory combo. Because it stayed
on the table permanently (or at least until your opponent played Goblin
Warrior), it was more effective than the Mines card Golden Light on the

Realms also gave us Gondor Bowmen and a new Legolas, which made ´´bulk´´
archery decks as viable as ´´targeted´´ archery decks. It gave us the rare
Saruman, who more or less replaced both Spies of Saruman and Uruk-hai
Rampage by effectively combining both card's uses at a cheaper cost.

Realms gave us Such a Little Thing. During playtesting for Realms, I
bitched at Chuck and Brian Kallenbach about this card. Now, with the rise
of the Horn of Boromir deck archetype (see below), I'm glad it exists,
although it's not as effective as it might seem.

Certain cards in Realms gave rise to new deck archetypes - or strengthened
old ones. Trust Me As You Once Did decks made the already indispensable
Gandalf into a machine for man-handling minions. Trust Me decks are

One deck archetype and I've already mentioned is the Horn deck. Put the
Horn on Boromir. Play the new Elrond and KAZAAM! You have an 11 strength
fighter who heals himself every turn. Use either the new Boromir or the
rare Boromir from Fellowship coupled with Aragorn King In Exile and Boromir
starts fresh every turn, too. I've actually started playing Fear and the
Anduin Confluence to get around this nonsense.

Finally, Aragorn, Heir To the White City and Bill the Pony are new weapons
in the choke deck arsenal. What good's having three Nazgul or Lurtz in your
hand if you can't play them? The rise of choke decks (already an option
with the Mines version of Gimli, No Stranger To Shadow, etc.) has given way
to a rise in the use of Moria minions - the only Shadow that can
consistently take three Twilight and turn it into fifteen minions....

So, The Two Towers is around the corner. Watch for my predictions on
prevalent strategies that may rise out of that set. Let's see if I'm wrong
about that one, too.

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