Tribal Totem

For the past month and a half or so, I've been mostly focusing on the really good or cool cards from Dark Minions, but over the next few weeks I'll be reviewing some of the cards that people have said really suck.

Tribal Totem # Hazard # Short-event
Playable on an Orc or Troll attack before strikes are assigned; does not count against the hazard limit. The prowess and body of target attack and of all Orc and Troll attacks against this company for the rest of the turn are each reduced by three. Any body check resulting from a successful strike of such a modified attack is modified by +2. Cannot be duplicated against a given company.

This card is one of many new orc and troll enhancers, many of which really helped orc/troll strategies become seriously viable. This card, however, is probably the worst of them.

This card actually has several good points. First, it doesn't count against the hazard limit, so you can still hit the company with as many creatures as possible. Second, it affects all orc/troll attacks for the rest of the turn, so you don't have to waste two of these to have the effect happen twice. It also means, though, that you have to plan your attacks so you attack first with the ones you don't want to have a Totem (which can mess with your plans). This card's primary effect is pretty good too. Many times I have wished that all of the bodies of all of the characters I wounded were two lower. And this card is actually better, because cards that modify current body past max won't get to reacclimate. This makes is SO much easier to get rid of those darned Hobbits who can't fight very well, but sure endure a lot. It also means that you'll have pretty easy picking against most men, many of whom have 6 or 7 body.

The price, though, is pretty stiff. Three prowess may be just about all you have to pump up your orcs and trolls. If you have a Minions Stir (with Doors) and Scimitars of Steel, orc prowess will be neutralized, which is usually easy to defeat. Granted, they still get the additional strikes, which can help against both large and small companies, but 8 times out of 10 I find that orc (and sometimes troll) attacks without increased prowess are just too easy. And if your opponent can beat the strikes, you don't even get a chance to roll those enhanced body checks. If you have the max possible blanket orc prowess enhancement (cards that affect all the attacks, not just one), then you'll be getting +7, so -3 isn't too bad. This is, however, pretty hard to pull off and can be very dangerous. This card can also be effective if your opponent is facing a LOT of orcs and trolls (like with Two or Three Tribes Present). With that many strikes, your opponent is pretty much bound to get wounded a couple of times, making it easier for you to get rid of those characters. However, you should keep in mind that you may (depending on the exact bodies), have a higher death probability if you don't play this card and let the orcs and trolls attack with full prowess, likely causing more wounds. This way also makes it harder for your opponent to get MPs off of your attacks.

Instead of this card you might want to use Tribal Banner. Tribal Banner just gives +1 to the body check, but it also just lowers the prowess and body of the attacks by just one (and if the attack has 0 body, you don't really care about -1). Tribal Banner is sort of middle ground between this card and not playing any killing enhancers.

Thus Tribal Totem is a card that can be very powerful, provided that your creatures are pumped up quite a bit or your opponent's company is pretty weak.

Ratings for Tribal Totem:
Isildur: 4.0
Frodo: 8.0
Bandobras Took: 4.5
Cirdan: 3.0
Alatar: 4.0
Fingolfin: 2.0
Legolas: 7.0
Samwise: 7.1
Gandalf: 5.5
Farmer Maggot: 8.0
Strider: 8.0
Beorn: 7.8
Wormtongue: 6.5
Merry: 7.0
Average: 5.9

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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.