Searching Eye

I had set up to have Cirdan (aka Geoffrey Scott Mercer) do a guest review of Searching Eye tomorrow, but since I stayed up late last night working on the deck listings, I figured I'd post it today so that you can read something coherent...

To quote Craig O'Brien in the new Dragons Players Guide, "Searching Eye is as useful as all of the scout skill cards put together, because it can cancel every single one of them." That's a very strong statement, but Searching Eye is also strong card.

Searching Eye # Hazard # Short-event
Cancel any card requiring scout skill before it is resolved or cancel any ongoing effect of a card that required scout skill to play. If this card is played as an on-guard card, it can be revealed during opponent's site phase to cancel a card requiring scout skill.

Searching Eye can cancel the following cards, Concealment, Hiding, Stealth, Lucky Search, Thorough Search and Trickery. While Hiding is rarely played, and Lucky Search got its knees cut off by errata, the other four cards see some considerable play in tournament and casual play. Concealment is the all-purpose cancel any attack card, and Trickery is similar but trades a sure thing for not having to tap a scout. Stealth is the Hobbit deck's best friend, as well as a wandering wizard's pal. Thorough Search is a key card in the "Indiana Jones" fast item strategy, allowing for maximum use of a site.

Searching Eye also has the ability to be played as an on-guard card, probably the strongest feature of the card. It can cancel a concealment planned for a nasty auto-attack, or cancel a Thorough Search or Lucky Search. Facing an auto-attack that an opponent wasn't expecting could wreck the party, or usually just tap the party and force it to wait a turn. The cancelling of Thorough Search could force a opponent's party to head to an extra site for its last marshalling points, providing your own party with an extra turn, as well as giving your own hazards another stab at hindering the opponent. Good turn management should always be a goal.

The funniest part about the card is that after you use it as an on-guard card, you can always bluff with another card. If you force the resource player to be more conservative, you might buy a turn or two.

Searching Eye is also useful during the movement/hazard phase. If you play a big creature combo deck, the worst nightmare is having it cancelled. When you wait several turns for the Withered Lands/Fever of Unrest/Itangast combo, you do not want to see concealment cancel what would be at least 3 wounded characters.

Cancelling the effects of Stealth can also be a rude surprise. A Wizard venturing out from Lorien to go influence the Southrons doesn't have to worry about Assassins, which can only hit the Wizard at the site (and not on the way back to Lorien). Searching Eye can neatly pull the rug out, allowing one hazard to be played on him, since Searching Eye does count against the hazard limit.

Searching Eye doesn't belong in every deck, however. Your opponent could play with few, big characters, in which case he or she probably won't need to cancel creature attacks. Not every deck plays with small companies for stealth, or fast items with Thorough Search. Many Sorrows Befall, another important resource event canceller, can cancel more types of cards, but is unique and can't be used on-guard.

Searching Eye is therefore a card to mix in your decks upon occasion, or when you know your opponent is playing a Hobbit deck. A couple Searching Eyes played every 2 or 3 games will put your gaming group off guard, and make your on-guard bluffs all the more meaningful. With An Unexpected Outpost in the card mix now, you can even place the cards in the sideboard.

Ratings for Searching Eye:
Cirdan: 8.0
Isildur: 8.0
Bandobras Took: 8.0
Samwise: 7.5
Frodo: 8.0
Alatar: 7.0
Legolas: 6.5
Beorn: 6.4
Merry: 5.0
Fingolfin: 8.0
Strider: 7.5
Wormtongue: 5.0
Farmer Maggot: 8.5
Average: 7.1

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Card names and text copyright 1996 by Iron Crown Enterprises, all rights reserved. This document copyright 1997 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.