In Darkness Bind Them

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

In Darkness Bind Them - Hazard - Permanent-event
Any creature that can be keyed to a Shadow-land may be keyed to Ithilien, Harondor, Horse Plains, Khand, Imlad Morgul, Nurn, Gorgoroth, Udun, or Dagorlad. Any creature that can be keyed to a Dark-domain may be keyed to Khand, Imlad Morgul, Nurn, Gorgoroth, Udun, or Dagorlad. Discard this card when a creature keyed to one of these regions (not to the region symbol) is defeated.

Well, perhaps my favorite line in all of the Lord of the Rings is that, and in the darkness bind them. This card can have an interesting psychological effect, striking fear into anyone who hears "I play IN DARKNESS BIND THEM. BWA HA HA HA!" The advantages, however, end there.

This card, along with Angmar Arises and Reaching Shadow, makes shadow-land and dark-domain creatures easier to play and harder to cancel. This can be very useful, as you can have an orc/troll or undead deck attacking companies in places where they are not normally playable, but these cards don't have as many drawbacks as the Will of Sauron/Morgul-night combo. First, they make shadow-lands creatures playable at former wildernesses (while wilderness creatures may still be played there). They are permanent-events, so there is no need for the Will of Sauron, and they stay around until a creature is killed keyed to the regions (which means you can still key to the symbol and be safe).

In particular, In Darkness Bind Them makes shadow-land creatures keyable to two wildernesses, four shadow-lands, and three dark-domains and dark-domains creatures keyable to three shadow-lands and three dark-domains. Now, this really only helps in a couple of cases. Most creatures keyable to shadow- lands are not keyable to wilderness (particularly the good orcs, trolls, and undead), so this card can be slightly useful by attacking in Ithilien and Harondor. However, chances are pretty good that if they are going to either of those places they will also go through Dagorlad or Khand, which are both shadow-lands. In a Minas Tirith deck, however, this may be your only shot at them with your orcs/trolls/undead. Then it also makes Shadow-landers keyable at shadow-lands. The only reasons you would do that is if they a) had Gollum or b) changed the region type or c) you wanted to get rid of In Darkness Bind Them by giving your opponent a chance to defeat a creature keyed to the region. Chances are that you will be able to deal with Gollum (one canceled attack out of several isn't too bad) and keep a twilight in your hand to cancel a Fog (as that's more versatile) than use this card. Next, it makes shadow creatures playable in three of the five dark-domains on the board. Why? There are all of 4 creatures that can be keyed to shadow-lands and not dark-domains. Plus, in order to get to the dark-domains, a company has to go through the shadow-lands first (and there are nastier dark-domain only creatures).

As for the dark-domain creatures increased range, this card lets you hit your opponent in Khand, Dagorlad, Imlad Morgul, and three existing dark-domains. Of the dark-domains-only creatures, three are not Nazgul (and of those, Gothmog may be keyed to shadow following an orc or troll attack and Mouth of Sauron is usually used as a short-event). Of the Nazgul, three may be keyed to Dagorlad, three to Imlad Morgul, and four to Khand (and Khamul is the only one who can't go to any of them).

So in general, In Darkness Bind Them is a cool name for a card (I just get thrills saying the name and curling my fingers), but its abilities suck, especially compared to Angmar Arises (which helps 4 more traveled regions including Rhudaur) or Reaching Shadow (which helps 8 regions, some of them border-lands).

Ratings for In Darkness Bind Them:
Isildur: 2.0
Farmer Maggot: 8.5
Gandalf: 4.5
Frodo: 6.5
Strider: 1.0
Legolas: 7.0
Eonwe: 7.5
Samwise: 7.3
Wormtongue: 5.0
Average: 5.5

Now those are some high ratings for a bad card. Do they see something I don't?

More back issues

Card names and text copyright 1996 by Iron Crown Enterprises, all rights reserved. This document copyright 1996 by Trevor Stone. Permission given to duplicate so long as no profit is made and the copyright notice is kept in tact, blah, blah, blah.