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The Eye of Sauron

    Gondor icon Sauron icon

    This Deck was build by Cynthia Hart and was published first on "Lord of the Rings Online (".

    The Eye of Sauron

    Deck listing:

    Adventure path:

    Barrows of Edoras (4 U 337)
    Helm's Gate (4 U 349)
    Hornburg Armory (4 U 354)
    Hornburg Causeway (4 U 356)
    Horse-country (4 U 326)
    Palantír Chamber (4 U 363)
    Plains of Rohan Camp (4 U 333)
    White Rocks (4 U 346)
    Wizard's Vale (4 U 359)

    Starting fellowship:

    Draw deck - "free" cards (32):
    Gandalf Companion (2):
    Gandalf, Friend of the Shirefolk (1 R 72)
    Gandalf Event (2):
    Sleep, Caradhras (1 C 84)
    Gondor Artifact (2):
    The Shards of Narsil (3 R 44)
    Gondor Companion (8):
    Damrod, Ranger of Ithilien (4 U 114)
    Faramir, Son of Denethor (4 C 117)
    Gondorian Ranger (4 C 122)
    Mablung, Soldier of Gondor (4 U 127)
    Ranger of Ithilien (4 C 130)
    Gondor Condition (1):
    Boromir, My Brother (4 R 111)
    Gondor Event (8):
    Swordsman of the Northern Kingdom (1 C 117)
    War and Valor (4 C 135)
    Gondor Possession (7):
    Boromir's Gauntlets (4 C 112)
    Faramir's Bow (4 R 118)
    Ranger's Bow (4 C 131)
    Sword of Gondor (4 C 134)
    Shire Possession (2):
    Hobbit Sword (1 C 299)

    There are no "shadow" cards in this draw deck.

    Hints & strategie notes for this Deck

    Sauron, the Maia with thousands of eyes and weapons at his command, broods upon the success of the Free People of the world. He has watched and waited for his time to act. He festers with hatred and plots the downfall of all who would be free of his will. Now that he feels his time has come to act, his spies are everywhere. Observing, reporting and feeding him information that results in plans to wound and eventually destroy those who oppose him. This strategy reflects the way Sauron tries to uses the information he gets from his spies to destroy the Fellowship.

    Under the Watching Eye and Orc Bowmen were the Shadow conditions in the Fellowship release that convinced people to add Sleep Caradhras to their deck. These conditions weren't restricted to one companion like Blade Tip, Black Breath and Desperate Defense of the Ring but were used against all. While that allowed you to spread out the wounds, it also meant that the death of a companion did not end the usefulness of the conditions. Rather it just kept wounding and wounding and wounding.

    First Under the Watching Eye would exert; then Orc Bowmen would send in the archery. There was nothing like watching your opponent move into site 6, heal 5 wounds and then on the next turn face 3 Under the Watching Eye and 2 Orc Bowmen to deal those wounds right back on the companions he just healed. Add Hate to pick off a couple of exhausted companions and you had a winning combination.

    But the Under the Watching Eye/Orc Bowmen decks had some major drawbacks during the first year. First of all, you needed to get those conditions out early. Orc Bowmen were easily played during the first Shadow phase after being drawn, but Under the Watching Eye could only be played if you exerted a Tracker. So you needed a lot of trackers in your deck to draw one at the same time you drew Under the Watching Eye. But for the first four card releases, trackers were "weenies". Only one of them had a strength greater than 6 (the Orc Scounting Band weighs in at a strength of 8).

    Aragorn or Boromir without weapons could take on most of the trackers - add a weapon and none of the Sauron trackers stood a chance. Low vitality was an also a problem. Not only could your opponent usually move a second time with few to no minions left over from the first skirmish; but after exerting for Under the Watching Eye, they were easy targets for archery.

    An even greater drawback were the roaming charges. Sauron orcs are roaming until site 6, reflecting the greater distance they have to travel to reach the Fellowship. That addition 2 twilight cost made trackers too expensive for their strength and vitality. Even their text "The roaming penalty for each Sauron minion you pay is -1" couldn't totally alleviate the problem. So with the advent of Two Towers and the newer Shadow cultures, Sauron fell to the wayside.

    Enter Helm's Deep and Grishnakh! Once again, Sauron becomes a viable strategy. Not only do you now have two different trackers with base strengths of 11 (Grishnakh and Orc Patrol) but it only takes one Tracker with the correct text ("The site number of each Sauron orc is reduced by 3") to make the orcs non-roaming at site 3 and above.

    Now you can include trackers in the deck and not only can they be exerted for Under the Watching Eye - they will also do well in skirmishes. And with the reduced roaming you no longer need to feel lucky to just get out one Tracker and one condition before running out of twilight.

    Another plus with the bigger trackers is their 3 vitality. Exert them once for Under the Watching Eye and still have vitality left over for Hate. Throw 4 Hates in your deck to knock off your opponent's most annoying companion. Spot Gandalf? Save up those Hates to use them all at once and kick him out of the game before he can pull out Sleep, Caradhras. Hate is a maneuver action, making it invulnerable to many (although not all) of the Free Peoples minion stopping event cards.

    Grishnakh's special text "Exert Grishnakh twice and spot another Sauron Orc to draw 3 cards" allows you to cycle through your deck in search of those condition cards. The biggest key to this deck is getting Under the Watching Eye and Orc Bowmen out as early as possible; so Grishnakh's text is very useful in helping you find them. And if your opponent prevents Grishnakh's special ability too often ("The Free Peoples player may add 2 burdens to prevent this"); they may add enough burdens to become "Enquea bait"!

    I would like to thank Paul Pierce for letting me use his deck to demonstrate this strategy.