Rescue Prisoners

Today's card is another common card that can make its way into tournament decks.

Rescue Prisoners # Resource # Permanent-event # 2 MP
Playable at an already tapped Dark-hold or Shadow-hold during the site phase. The company faces a spider attack (2 strikes with 7 prowess). If no characters are untapped after the attack, discard Rescue Prisoners. Otherwise, you may tap 1 character in the company and put Rescue Prisoners under his control. That character may not untap until Rescue Prisoners is stored at a Haven, Border-hold, or Free-hold during his organization phase. You do not receive the marshaling points until this card is stored. Cannot be duplicated at a given site.

This card is one of the two staple events of the popular "Indiana Jones" deck which is mentioned so frequently. For those who are not familiar with this strategy, its basic premise is to go to a Shadow-hold or Dark-hold like Moria, play a greater item, play Thorough Search, play another item, and then finish with a Rescue Prisoners yielding a maximum of 10 MPs.

First off, this card may be hard to get into play, especially if you are planning on playing a Thorough Search first. For that you will need at least four untapped characters, and that's after the Movement/Hazard phase and facing the auto-attack. For instance, take this scene at Moria. Your company is Elladan, Elrohir, Gildor Inglorian, Boromir II, and Annalenda. You somehow survive the Movement/Hazard phase untapped and enter Moria. You let the four warriors stay untapped and face the orcs. Elladan and Elrohir need a 4 not to be wounded and Boromir and Gildor need a 3. Now you are in, and you tap Elrohir to get Orcrist. You tap Annalena for a Thorough Search so Elladan can get a Sword of Gondolin. You now have two characters left untapped and you play Rescue Prisoners. You need to keep at least one of the two untapped to take the Rescue Prisoners, so you let Boromir take the first strike while staying untapped. He needs to roll at least a 3 again. If he doesn't do it, Gildor has to stay untapped (needing a 5). And if something goes wrong (like two characters tapping in the M/H phase or Spider of the Morlat is in play), you won't be able to get around to Rescue Prisoners (which interestingly doesn't have anything to do with the new prisoner rules). This combo also requires 4 cards in your hand at the right time.

As a hazard player, one way to avoid a Rescue Prisoners is to tap characters (it helps to know if your opponent has a Thorough Search and/or a Rescue Prisoners in his hand). If you play a creature that taps enough characters of his, even if it is defeated (and worth just 1 MP), it's better than your opponent get 2 MPs (though it was a much better trade-off before the erratum was issued).

The errata to Rescue Prisoners (making it one less MP and making it so you don't get the points until it's stored) makes it in some ways worse than Deams of Lore. With Dreams the auto-attack is easier and you get the points when the card is played, storing it just lets you untap the character. This is actually a significant disadvantage to Rescue Prisoners, as it leaves your character tapped for at least two turns which means (if it was a buff character like in the example I gave) that some of your weaker characters may take a few hits.

So Rescue Prisoners, while not as good as it once was, is often a good choice to include in a deck based out of Shadow-holds and Dark-holds, especially in a one-deck game where WHEN you acquire the MPs is almost as important as how many you get.

Ratings for Rescue Prisoners:
Isildur: 6.25
Frodo: 8.5
Samwise: 7.0
Cirdan: 6.0
Beorn: 6.6
Fingolfin: 8.0
Strider: 7.5
Legolas: 8.0
Bandobras Took: 5.0
Alatar: 6.0
Farmer Maggot: 8.0
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.