written by: Ulaire Cantea
Ever since the release of the Lord of the Rings TCG, people have been interested in winning through corrupting the ring-bearer. With the release of the Mines of Moria expansion, the Ringwraiths have become the masters in this affair. With corruption, it is all about adding burdens, so let us look at some of the cards which can help us reach that all important Resistance value:
1. The Witch-King, Lord of the Nazgul: The Witch-King, when he wins a skirmish, can exert to do 2 wounds to the ring-bearer. This can lead to (and generally does mean) multiple burdens (up to 4 if the ring-bearer wears Isildurs Bane) per skirmish. The problem with the WK, LotN is that he is not fierce naturally. This can be compensated with Weathertop (Nazgul are fierce at Weathertop) or Ulaire Otsea (exert to make a ringwraith minion fierce). Just make sure that he can exert after the skirmish. At 8 twilight, he is rather costly, but the cost can be reduced with cards like the Ford of Bruinen (first Nazgul is 5 twilight), Morgul Gates (Play a Nazgul at 2 twilight), The Ring Draws Them (add 1 twilight for each burden you can spot when the fellowship moves).
2. Ulaire Enquea, Ringwraith in Twilight: Basically, he is a mini-WK, LotN. If he wins a skirmish, exert him to do 1 wound to the ring-bearer (or 2 if you can spot 5 burdens). At 11 strength, he is still fairly strong (compared to the 14 of the WK, LotN), has the same vitality as the WK, LotN, and costs 2 less twilight. As with the Witch-King, it is imperative that a) he win the skirmish and b) has vitality at the end of the skirmish so he can exert to wound. Pretty soon, he can easily be dealing those 2 wounds!
3. It Wants To Be Found: For 2 twilight, spot a twilight Nazgul during the Maneuver phase and add a burden. Simple! Just keep in mind that it only works with the twilight Nazgul (found in the Mines of Moria expansion and Ulaire Otsea joins their ranks in Realms of the Elf Lords).
4. The Twilight World: This card from the Fellowship expansion is almost as simple: If the ring-bearer wears the ring, exert a Nazgul to add 2 burdens. As this is a response, this can be done at any time when the ring-bearer puts it on; just keep in mind that you need to be able to exert a Nazgul to play this!
5. Wraith World: This card is a skirmish event where for 1 twilight, you can add 3 burdens if you can spot the ring-bearer wearing the ring and a twilight Nazgul. While this does not require exertion of a Nazgul, it is more limited: need a twilight Nazgul, but the most restricting thing is that it must be played during a skirmish. If all the skirmishes resolve and puts on the ring as a final act, you wont be able to play this card!
6. Blade Tip: When this is on the ring-bearer, instead of doing wounds, it adds burdens. Now, generally it is rare that you will be able to get the Blade Tip on the ring-bearer since very few people will voluntarily stick the ring-bearer in front of one of the Nine. With Ulaire Otsea, Ringwraith in Twilight, if he wins his skirmish, he can exert to transfer Blade Tip to the ring-bearer. (However, I would say to pass on this, for Ulaire Otsea is more valuable in his Fellowship expansion guise, since no twilight Nazgul is naturally fierce.) Generally, Blade Tip is more useful in elimination of other members of the fellowship rather than as a burden adder, since it only adds a burden at the start of the fellowship phase.
7. Resistance Becomes Unbearable: During the Maneuver phase, play this event, exert a Nazgul to exert the ring-bearer or force him to wear the ring. If the ring-bearer puts the one ring on; ah, now here is when you can play all the evil burden adders in your hand! Wait till a skirmish phase, and then use that Wraith World. Or hit him with the Twilight World! But it is strictly forced to getting the ring-bearer to put on the ring. If Frodo, Reluctant Adventurer keeps getting healed by his royal highness in exile, Aragorn, then this becomes more difficult.
8. In the Ringwraiths Wake: This response card is similar to Resistance Becomes Unbearable, in that if a Nazgul wins a skirmish, play this card to exert the ring-bearer or add a burden. Indeed, it is similar, but less powerful. A card that I would advise the would-be corrupter to avoid in most cases.
9. Drawn to Its Power: This condition allows you to add a burden each time a Nazgul kills a companion. While this may sound great, it requires it to be in play prior to the kill, plus that you actually kill a companion. It has been my experience that the fellowship companions just do not die rapidly enough to warrant the inclusion of this card.
Now, would-be corrupter, be aware of the ways of preventing of the corruption:
1. Samwise, Son of Hamfast: This hobbit can exert to remove a burden. This little one can sorely try ones strategy! Make sure he dies quickly or use Helpless to prevent Sam from removing burdens.
2. Pippin, Hobbit of Some Intelligence: This hobbit is rarely seen being brought into play after the fellowship leaves site 1. So fear this hobbit not!
3. O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!: This tale can truly try our attempts to corrupt, as it allows the ring-bearer to take off the ring or cancel a skirmish involving one of the Nine. Make sure it is disposed of with Stricken Dumb, the Pale Blade, or Beauty is Fading.
While there are other means of removing burdens, the three above are the most common against the burdens. I hear the questions now: Master, how are we to make sure the twilight Nazgul are healthy to the skirmish phase? Master, how do we deal with those annoying burning twigs?. Those questions will be answered another day .. Just keep in mind what you have learned today, and you too can be making a 2100+ rated player have 9 burdens on Frodo before he leaves site 4.
Lao of Gondor adds: I would also add His Terrible Servants in order to protect your Twilight Nazgul’s exertion capability from being undermined by a wayward direct attack either by archery fire or event cards such as Release the Angry Flood. Many times when one plays Nazgul, there is always one or two twilight left in the pool – a great bluff many times against the archery exertion or a strategic manuever against the damage +1 capability of the Flaming Brand.
Keeping your Twilight Nazgul healthy at that site will definitely force your opponent to think about moving again.