Dunlending Raiders

Today's card was one of several commons from Dragons that I looked at while opening pack after pack, thought about for a few seconds, and then put in the pile of commons, never to be thought about again. Then, due to a suggestion, I took another look at it.

Dunlending Raiders # Hazard # Creature # 1 MP # 8/- # Keyable:
Men. Five Strikes. Playable keyed to Enedhwaith, Cardolan, Hollin, Rhudaur, and Dunland; and may also be played at Ruins & Lairs in these regions.

At first look, Dunlending Raiders look like a pretty area-specific creature with a pretty low prowess. This is true, but they can get more play than you would expect.

First off, they have the standard 1 MP. Not too much, but it can make a difference. They also have the same number of strikes, but one less prowess and fewer regions, as Corsairs of Umbar. The Dunlending's regions, though, are more frequently visited, especially in sealed deck. So, what is in those regions? There are two faction sites (Cameth Brin and Dunnish Clan-hold), one ally site (Old Forest), five ruins & lairs item sites (Ettenmoors, Tharbad, Barrow-downs, Ost-in-Edhil, Ruined Signal Tower), and one haven (Rivendell). Five of those are frequently visited, most notably Rivendell. If you draw Dunlending Raiders on the first turn, you can tap your opponent's company, starting off with a one turn advantage. Many decks are built around Rivendell, and you can mess with them quite a bit. Even in a deck built around Gondor or Lorien, you've still got that first turn. Perhaps you might want to put this card in the sideboard and bring it out against a Rivendell deck, though Ruined Signal Tower is reachable from every haven and Dunlending Raiders have a pretty good playability rating in sealed deck.

Dunlending Riders can be pretty good with an enhancement or two. Rank Upon Rank makes them 6@9/-, which is starting to get scary. And since they have so many strikes, there's a good chance you can assign -1 modifiers. Or -4 with Pierced by Many Wounds. They are also not hurt by very many resources. Dark Quarrels can cancel them, along with Trickery and the normal canceling cards. They aren't hurt by a lack of Doors, they aren't hurt by site-path changers, they can't be canceled by Elven Cloak or prevented by Ford (some of the favorite avoidance cards in Rivendell decks). They aren't hurt by Sun, as it gives them both +1 and -1. They can also attack at a ruins & lairs, so if you tap your opponent with a Dunlending Raiders on his way to Ruined Signal Tower and he can't play anything, you can hit him with more Dunlending Raiders and hope he stays tapped.

So Dunlending Raiders, an often overlooked card, can be a worth addition to a man deck, a sideboard, or a sealed deck deck.

Ratings for Dunlending Raiders:
Isildur: 6.0
Bandobras Took: 8.5
Samwise: 7.0
Cirdan: 7.5
Frodo: 8.0
Alatar: 6.0
Legolas: 7.0
Beorn: 6.4
Merry: 7.5
Fingolfin: 7.5
Farmer Maggot: 5.5
Wormtongue: 5.0
Strider: 6.5
Average: 6.8

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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.