Today was the Super Bowl. And one thing to watch out for at that game is

Pick-pocket # Hazard # Creature # 1 MP # 11/- # Keyable: Fh, Bh
Men. One strike. Attacker chooses the defending characters. For each successful strike, an item the defending character bears must be discarded (defender's choice); he is not harmed.

This card finishes up a three-card man mini-theme. This card, along with Thief, takes the less common of two objectives. One use of hazards is to tap your opponent's characters so he can't get MPs during the site phase. The other use is to take the MPs away from him after he gets them.

Pick-pocket, like many men, is best in certain situations. The ideal situation for a Pick-pocket is when your opponent has a weak character, like a hobbit, with one big MP item. If you catch someone like a wizard carrying nothing but Aiglos or a hobbit carrying a greater item and an Elven Cloak, Pick-pocket's not going to help too much. It can also be useful to tap someone heading to influence in a faction (they ARE at a free or border-hold). And if they don't tap (as they won't be wounded), it effectively puts the Pick-pocket at 14 prowess, which is pretty nice. And if they only item they have is a Horn of Anor...

Once enhanced, Pick-pocket is really nice. With Rank Upon Rank, it becomes two strikes at 12, attacker choosing defenders, and taking items (though if you take playability into account, Cave-drake is about it's equal). So with this, Pick-pocket can do some serious damage to a small faction-gathering company with an item or two or a sealed deck company, which tends to have weaker characters and fewer items. Also, a barrage of three of these can easily start hitting even a fully laden hobbit, though you might just end up grabbing a Leaf Brooch...

Keep in mind that this card is theoretically equal to Assassin, it has the same number of MPs, the same playability, and the same prowess. Assassin gets two extra (cancelable) attacks instead of item stealing. I would tend to go with the Assassin, as it will tap more characters, and doesn't require wounds. Plus, it can eliminate a character, especially in a small company. Also note that Rank Upon Rank's extra strike just ends up as a -1 modification with Assassin.

So Pick-pocket can be useful in several situations, but not in others. It's best in an all man deck.

Ratings for Pick Pocket:
Isildur: 6.5
Bandobras Took: 7.8
Samwise: 6.5
Cirdan: 8.0
Frodo: 8.0
Alatar: 5.0
Legolas: 5.0
Beorn: 6.7
Merry: 6.9
Fingolfin: 7.5
Farmer Maggott: 6.5
Wormtongue: 5.2
Strider: 5.5
Average: 6.5

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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.