Long WInter

Today is Groundhog Day and, at least here in Colorado, it's a clear morning in the 40s. Thus, the groundhog saw his shadow and we're in for another 6 weeks of winter :-(

Long Winter # Hazard # Long-event
Environment. Each moving company that has at least two Wildernesses in its site path must return to its site of origin unless it contains a ranger. Additionally, if Doors of Night is in play, each non-Haven site in play with at least two Wildernesses in its site path is tapped. Cannot be duplicated.

This card is probably the biggest reason that most decks carry Twilights and pack at least one ranger in their starting companies. It's a common, and can easily have a deck built around it, and can seriously screw up someone's strategy if timed right. And if Will of Sauron comes into play, look out.

This card works best with Doors of Night, but without it's an okay card. If you can force a ranger to leave the company (Call of Home, Faces of the Dead, Left Behind, Memories Stolen etc.), you can force the return of a company traveling through double wilderness. And of course, if you manage to catch a company without a ranger in the first place, they're just asking to get caught in a Long Winter.

How common is travel through double wilderness? Almost anything you do around Rivendell sends you through two wilderness or more. And most sites in the east, like the dragon lairs and Moria, have two wilderness in the site path. Plus, you can make your own. If you play Fog on your turn (or if your opponent plays it), then there are only seven normal sites that can be traveled to without going through double wilderness. Or, if you have Doors in play (which you want rather than Gates for Fog), you can play Withered Lands to make it almost impossible to avoid Long Winter. If you're going to have Will of Sauron out, you can throw in a Fell Winter (and make sure you're nice and warm).

Long Winter gets even better (or worse, depending on your perspective) with Doors on the table. There are 28 normal sites with two wilderness in their paths. If you add Fell Winter, that drops to 8. Plus, most people do not build a deck around avoiding double wilderness unless they are planning on using Fell Winter. Thus, it's really easy to catch them with their pants down, so to speak. If you slap this down on a company moving to Moria, with just a single hazard you have prevented the possible play of 8 or more MPs. And the even better thing about it, they can't go back and use it again until they cycle, when it might be too late.

This is one of the long events that can hurt its player the most. There are two ways around it, though. The first is to build a deck where you don't go through any double wilderness. Gondor (with Rohan and Gap of Isen) is a good choice, as is a deck centered around Anduin Vales, Grey Mountain Narrows, Rohan, and Gap of Isen. A coastal seas deck can also do well. The second is to have a Twilight handy at all times. Laugh as your opponent is stuck in Moria and then merrily Twilight the Long Winter and run off from Lorien to Buhr Widu. The first option is probably the best, as you can then put in the Will of Sauron, causing your opponent to be stuck while you run free. Radagast will be annoyed.

So Long Winter is an excellent card and will, if nothing else, provide great annoyance and draw all of your opponent's Twilights out.

Ratings for Long Winter:
Isildur: 9.7
Bandobras Took: 9.5
Samwise: 7.8
Cirdan: 8.0
Frodo: 9.0
Alatar: 6.0
Legolas: 5.0
Beorn: 6.9
Fingolfin: 7.0
Farmer Maggott: 7.5
Wormtongue: 7.5
Strider: 6.0
Merry: 6.1
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.