There are several common cards from The Wizards that I've rarely (if ever) seen used in play. Many of them may be useful, but rarely work in constructed deck. One of these is

Brigands # Hazard # Creature # 1 MP # 8/- # Keyable: Bl, Wi
Men. Two strikes. If any strike of Brigands wounds a character, the company must immediately discard one item (of defender's choice).

Well, Brigands can do some damage, but it's usually pretty hard. You can force the discard of an item, of the defender's choice. As was mentioned a couple of days ago for An Article Missing, most companies have a minor item that they can discard without too much harm (though it is some harm). And if you steal a lot of items, you can start digging into your opponent's big ones. This can also be useful if your opponent splits his companies to go to separate sites, as those companies tend to have one or two items they depend on.

Of course, in order to force the discard, you must wound a character. Two strikes at 8/- is a very weak attack, and any company who can't easily deal with it doesn't deserve to have items anyway ;-) However, now that Dark Minions is out, there are several cards you can use to enhance the attacks of men. Scimitars of Steel can give Brigands +1 prowess (and Scimitars CAN be duplicated) and Rank Upon Rank gives them +1 strikes and prowess. So with three Scimitars and a Rank Upon Rank, you can have 3 strikes at 12. Not all that great for that much effort, but if you've used the Scimitars to help orcs tap the company, you can send in Brigands to attack a weak character or two and hopefully force the discard of an item.

Probably the Brigands' biggest advantage is their ease of play. You can play them at any Border-land or Wilderness. In order to avoid these two region types for very long, your opponent would have to have a deck built around either Mordor or the Under-deeps. And if they're prepared for those places, they're prepared for Brigands.

They're also only worth 1 MP, so even if your opponent does defeat them, he won't gain too much (though your Rank Upon Rank will be discarded). So Brigands can be a useful creature, but there are usually more useful creatures that can be played. But in sealed deck, they can be a nasty surprise.

Ratings for Brigands:
Isildur: 4.5
Frodo: 6.5
Bandobras Took: 6.0
Cirdan: 5.5
Alatar: 7.0
Legolas: 5.5
Samwise: 6.1
Gandalf: 6.0
Farmer Maggot: 4.0
Strider: 5.0
Beorn: 7.4
Wormtongue: 5.6
Fingolfin: 6.5
Merry: 7.9
Average: 6.0

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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.