Cave Worm

As with yesterday's drake, today's card at first seems like it's got pretty limited range. But if you Look More Closely Later...

Cave Worm # Hazard # Creature # 1 MP # 16/- # Keyable:
Drake. One strike. May be played keyed to Redhorn Gate, High Pass, Gap of Isen, Angmar, Gundabad, Grey Mountain Narrows, Withered Heath, Numeriador, and Iron Hills.

First off, there are just six creatures that have more than 16 base prowess. They're all worth 6, 5, or 4 MPs. All the others with 16 prowess are worth 4 or 5 MPs. This is worth 1. Granted, it doesn't have body and it only has one strike (attacker doesn't choose), but even so, an unmodified wizard needs at least an 11 to defeat a Cave Worm. And even a tough guy with Aiglos will want to tap to face this strike.

So, you say, 16 prowess is great, but can I actually get this thing out? And the answer is yes, you can. The regions form a nice "T" with the Misty Mountains and the northern regions. While some of these regions like Numeriador and Withered Heath aren't visited too often (and Withered Heath companies are often ready for a 16 prowess drake), Redhorn Gate, High Pass, and Gap of Isen are quite frequently visited. Those regions contain Goblin Gate, Moria, Isengard, and Glittering Caves, several fine sites. Against an Indy deck, Angmar and Gundabad can be pretty frequently visited too. Even if your opponent is not dropping by one of those sites, he may be taking the route through Redhorn Gate from Rivendell to Lorien to avoid Slayers. Gap of Isen, since it is pretty easy to get to from several places, is also pretty frequently traveled through on the way to somewhere else.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to this card. The first is that it has just one strike and it doesn't get to choose who to hit. This is a perfect opportunity for Gamling the Old, who is willing to step up and take one for the team. Or a hobbit with a Magic Ring of Stealth can distract the Cave Worm and then hide in the bushes. Hale an Eye Open is the easy answer to this problem, though in a company of mid-range prowesses, you'll at least tap (and probably wound) one of the people. Secondly, this card is worthless against decks that run around Gondor, Mordor, or the Sea. So you can either put this card in your sideboard, take it out when you cycle, or use Dragon Feuds and give Smaug or Itangast a foe that's at least semi-worthy.

So Cave Worm can be a VERY nice card against decks that spend any time in the middle of the map or up at the top.

Ratings for Cave Worm:
Isildur: 7.0
Bandobras Took: 8.1
Samwise: 7.9
Cirdan: 8.5
Frodo: 8.0
Alatar: 6.0
Legolas: 6.3
Beorn: 6.8
Merry: 7.5
Fingolfin: 8.0
Farmer Maggott: 9.0
Wormtongue: 5.8
Strider: 7.0
Average: 7.4

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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.