To master War of the Ring you must know the Event cards available to you as well as to your opponent. Using the right Event at the right time can make a real difference in the game. Many of the Events are very useful at the right moment but all can be put to good use since they not only function as Events but also as Combat effects. In this article we will take a look at the Shadow’s Event Cards.

The Character Event Cards

The cards in the Character deck can be divided into six categories; let us take a closer look at each category.

The Hunt Tile Cards

"Give it to Uss!", "On, On They Went", "The Ring is Mine!", and "Shelob’s Lair" all allow you to add their respective Hunt tile to the Hunt Pool once the Fellowship has reached Mordor. These tiles not only damage the Fellowship but, more importantly, they prevent them from moving on the Mordor Track! "Shelob’s Lair" can be especially nasty since it can inflict up to six Corruption points in damage, this is usually the tile the Free Peoples player want to negate by using "Mithril Coat and Sting", just remember that the Free Peoples player has to use it before you roll to determine how much damage Shelob does.

The Fellowship Damagers

This category consists of many different cards, the most obvious ones being "Isildur’s Bane", "Orc Patrol" and "Foul Thing from the Deep". Each of these cards allows you to draw a Hunt tile and damage the Fellowship (unless you draw an Eye tile or a Fellowship Special tile) in some way. These cards are tempting to hang on to and play once the Fellowship has reached, or is close to entering, Mordor where there are no possible places to rest and Heal. This strategy can be a gamble since any Eye tile drawn will get discarded, not something you want when the Fellowship is in Mordor, so you need to carefully consider the odds of drawing an Eye tile before playing them. "Balrog of Moria" has the same effect but is limited to Moria and only makes the choice of route a bit more difficult for the Fellowship.

"Nazgûl Search" will force the Free Peoples player to Reveal the Fellowship. Combining this with a card that damages a revealed Fellowship ("The Breaking of the Fellowship" springs to mind) can be particularly nasty, if you manage to play them when the Free Peoples player is unable to hide the Fellowship in between.

In this category we also find "Morgul Wound" and "Candles of Corpses", which will increase the Corruption of the Fellowship, these are quite handy to use once the Fellowship is in Mordor but "Candles of Corpses" is less useful if Gollum is the Guide and "Morgul Wound" might not inflict the maximum damage possible that late in the game. "The Breaking of the Fellowship" and "Lure of the Ring" both has the potential of decreasing the number of Companions in the Fellowship and thereby making Frodo more susceptible to Corruption damage.

Finally we have "Worn with Sorrow and Toil" and "Cruel Weather". "Worn with Sorrow and Toil" can be very nasty if played when there is little chance for the Fellowship to declare in a Free Peoples City or Stronghold while "Cruel Weather" can buy you an extra turn if played just as the Fellowship is able to declare in Mordor at the beginning of the next round.

The Hunt Modifiers

"Flocks of Crebain" will allow you to modify a Hunt roll with +1 and used when there are many dice in the Hunt box this can pose great danger to the Fellowship. Just remember that when the Fellowship declares in a Free Peoples City or Stronghold the card is discarded. It is also useless in Mordor since you don’t roll for the Hunt there.

If you need extra Eyes in the Hunt box "The Lidless Eye" is the card for you. It might be wise to try to hold on to this card until the Fellowship is in Mordor since you might be unable to allocate or roll enough Eyes to put in the Hunt box to make any drawn Eye tiles as damaging as you would like them to be.

With "The Nazgûl Strike" you can either discard a Free Peoples Character card that is on the table or roll for the Hunt. This can be used to get rid of nasty cards like "Mithril Coat and Sting" or "Wizard’s Staff" or to roll for the Hunt after the Fellowship already has moved and the odds for a successful Hunt roll are good.

The Attack Cards

If used on an Army with five Nazgûl "Dreadful Spells" will allow you to score up to five hits on an enemy Army. This card should be used to soften up a strong enemy Army that is dug in behind the walls of a Stronghold before you launch the assault or to finish of said Army when your numbers are wearing down as well.

"The Ringwraiths are Abroad" and "The Black Captains Commands" both allow you to move and/or attack with Armies containing Nazgûl and/or the Witch-king. These cards are useful to maximize your Leadership prior to an attack and it allows you to launch an attack using an Event Action Die result.

Having a big Army made out of Regulars besieging a Stronghold is a slow way to take down the Stronghold but with "Grond, Hammer of the Underworld" you can keep the assault going for three rounds of combat, something the Free Peoples player might not have prepared for. Just make sure that you have enough units to last all three rounds since you cannot call off the attack. Many are the number of times the use of this card has ended in disaster for the Shadow player if the Free Peoples player scored many hits in the first round of combat.

The Political Card

With "Wormtongue" you can prevent Rohan from becoming Active (and thereby also from moving to the “at War” box on the Political Track) until you attack either Helm’s Deep or Edoras. The Free Peoples player can discard the card by getting the appropriate Companion to said Settlements but you should be ready to attack before this happens. If you play this card early you should also contemplate bringing in the Witch-king since the card still prevents Rohan from becoming Active.

The Card Drawing Card

"The Palantir of Orthanc" is extremely powerful. It will give you the ability to get the cards you want since each time you play one with an Event Action Die you get to draw a new card, just remember that this will most likely also force you to discard cards. If you get this card early the Free Peoples player will probably be keen on discarding it.

The Strategy Cards

The strategy deck contains seven categories.

The Dice Card

"The Day Without Dawn" will force your opponent to discard all his Will of the West Action Die results. This can be quite good if he rolled many in one go or to deny him the opportunity to bring in Aragorn or Gandalf the White.

The Stronghold Weakeners

"Return to Valinor" scares the Elves to leave for the undying lands before you conquer Middle-earth completely. This card can be quite useful just prior to an attack on an Elven Stronghold, just remember that you must control at least one Elven Stronghold before you can play this card.

With "Denethor’s’ Folly" you give yourself a better chance of taking Minas Tirith since denying the Free Peoples player the ability to play a Combat Cards in the battle is very powerful. The removal of a Free Peoples Leader is an added bonus.

The Movement Cards

"Shadows Gather", "The Shadow Lengthens" and "The Shadow is Moving" all allow you to move a greater distance or more Armies. This should be used to launch lightning attacks that the enemy is unable to prepare for.

The Muster Cards

The majority of the Strategy Cards are cards that allow you to muster many units quickly. This is you main strength as the Shadow and should be used to swarm the smaller Free Peoples Armies. "Monsters Roused", "Orcs Multiplying Again", "Return of the Witch-king", and "Shadows on the Misty Mountain" allow for mustering in the central and northwestern part of the map. From here you can launch attacks on the Shire, Rivendell, the Grey Havens and Lorien.

With "The King is Revealed", "Pits of Mordor", and "Mustering of a Long-planned War" you can prepare for the attack on Gondor.

"Horde From the East" and "Many Kings to the Service of Mordor" will strengthen the Southrons and Easterlings before their entrance into the War of the Ring, and with "A New Power is Raising" you will get a jump start on the Free Peoples forces in Rohan.

Most of these Muster Cards are also very useful in a defensive strategy if the Free Peoples player is pursuing a Free Peoples Military Victory. To be able to muster defenders inside a besieged Stronghold through the use of Event Cards is not limited to the Free Peoples player .

The Forward Muster Cards

With "Hill-Trolls", "Olog-Hai", and "Half-Orcs and Goblin Men" you can bolster the strength of your armies no matter where they are on the board. This is especially useful when you need to reinforce a siege or a besieged Army quickly.

The Move and Attack Cards

"Corsairs of Umbar" can be used to either move to or attack any Gondor coastal region. Most often Dol Amroth becomes the target for this attack but a quick attack to grab that lone Victory point in Pelargir can also be useful.

With "Rage of the Dunlendings" you can quickly send an army towards the Shire or to Moria, from where Lorien is a possible target.

"The Fighting Uruk-Hai" is the Isengard forces’ equivalent of "Grond, Hammer of the Underworld".

The Political Cards

With "Stormcrow" you can target a Free Peoples nation to make your coming attack a bit easier or to trick the Free Peoples player into thinking that you are going to attack that nation and then head somewhere else as your opponent waists precious Muster dice on that nation.

"Threats and Promises" gives you a chance to maneuver your armies into striking position without the enemy being able to react to it on the Political track. This should be taken advantage of by positioning your Armies so that you can launch the majority of your attacks simultaneously as that will rob the Free Peoples of the chance to muster in one Stronghold of a nation because you activated it by attacking another Stronghold.

Written by Kristofer Bengtsson

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