First of the Order

One of the most predominant wishes for upcoming cards a few months ago was character-specific cards. Dark Minions brought several, including an enhancer for each wizard. I decided to review them all in sequence, starting with Saruman because he is the

First of the Order - Resource - Short-event
Playable on Saruman. Saruman receives +2 to all corruption checks for the rest of the turn.

Saruman is generally the most corrupt wizard, so this card can really give him a boost. +2 is equal to most of the hobbits, which have that as their primary feature, as well as Three Golden Hairs, which is also really hard to get out. The advantage those have, though, is that they are permanent while this one's a short-event.

+2 to corruption checks can really mean the difference between losing the game and, well, not losing. You can use it if you are planning on using several spells that Saruman pulled out of the discard pile recently. Or it can help you if Saruman's holding a palantir as well as a couple other corruption points and he wants to use that palantir. You can also use it to help him store an item or to help out if he's got a couple of lures on him. Plus, this card can be used with Magical Harp to basically give Saruman +4 to he checks. You can also use First of the Order during the Free Council to make sure he stays around to give advice.

There are, however, better ways to do what this card does. Magical Harp is better, as it works on all characters and it also works on other discarding effects, but it's a hoard major item, so it's tougher to get out. There are also seveal diplomat cards that work better on one check. A Friend or Three will always give as good or better plus unless Saruman is alone, and it works on other characters too. New Friendship gives +2 to any character's check (in the same company) and Old Friendship gives +4, and both can be played by Saruman (diplomat) and work on any character in the company.

So why would you want to use First of the Order? It's only advantage is that it affects all corruption checks until the end of the turn. However, I rarely find myself making more than one corruption check in a turn barring Lure of Nature or multiple Weariness of the Heart/Dragon-sickness. So you might want to use First of the Order in your sideboard, or in your deck along with three of Old/New Friendship, A Friend or Three, or maybe Free To Choose. And if a real emmergency comes up, you can usually tap a couple of characters and be okay.

So First of the Order can help out quite a bit, but it's not as versitile as many other cards, as you can only use it with Saruman.

Ratings for First of the Order:
Isildur: 4.5
Frodo: 9.0
Samwise: 4.9
Wormtongue: 7.0
Legolas: 5.0
Strider: 8.0
Gandalf: 7.0
Morgoth: 8.5
Farmer Maggot: 9.5
Average: 7.0

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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.