"The problem about caves is you never know what's inside."

Irerock # Site # Withered Heath # R&L # You/opponent 3/3 # Path: Wi Bl Sl Wi
Nearest haven: Lorien
Playble: Items (minor, major, greater, gold ring)
Automatic-attack: Dragon - 1 strike with 14 prowess

There are just 5 sites at which you can normally play any non-special item. Most people, however, tend to avoid these sites in favor of sites with a weaker auto-attack.

As I said, you can play any non-special item here. Most notably you can play cards like Emerald of the Mariner, Wizard's Staff, Orcrist, and Scroll of Isildur. After you've done that you can use Bounty of the Hoard or Thror's Map to get something like Durin's Axe or Bow of Dragon-horn. If you're going for just an ordinary minor, major, or gold ring item there are certainly easier sites (Gladden Fields is 6 prowess less, Sarn Gorwing is easy), but Irerock has some advantages if you want to play those, too (and who knows, ICE might come up with a hoard gold ring...). The auto-attack for Irerock is a single strike of 14 prowess. If you plan things out, you can easily deal with this. Someone like Beorn with Wormsbane needs to roll a 3 to avoid the strike. You've then got the rest of your party to deal with items. Other similar sites like Moria require several tough guys to deal with the attack. The Irerock auto-attack can also be canceled with something like a Magic Ring of Stealth, allowing someone like a Hobbit to singlehandedly grab all of the Dwarven treasures of old. You also get macho points for heading into a dragon's lair and beating up a dragon instead of going to a site where a hobbit could easily handle the auto-attack.

Irerock is one of the tougher dragon lairs. Caves of Ulund has an auto-attack that is one less, The Lonely Mountain has the same auto-attack but a safer site path, and if you have two medium warriors Dancing Spire may be easier than Irerock. This might be justified in terms of balance, but all three manifestations of Leucaruth, the dragon for Irerock, have higher prowess than Agburanar, the Caves of Ulund dragon. So perhaps if people expect their opponents to go to Caves more frequently they will be more likely to put Agburanar in their decks, and by going to Irerock you are tricking them... Also, most dragon decks will hit more than one site. I tend to go to a major hoard site first and get a Valiant Sword for my big warrior. I then head to Caves of Ulund, hopefully getting something to help my warrior in combat a little more. I then pillage The Lonely Mountain and Irerock and by then have usually gotten big enough to take Gold Hill. Of course, if you throw prudence out the window, you'll get a bigger rush if you can send someone unarmed like Boromir in to dispatch with that dragon and roll a 12, laying waste to the wurm that has troubled the people for so long. And what are game for, but to have fun, and what fun beats an adreneline rush?

(it's a site, so you should at least include it...)
Ratings for Irerock:
Isildur: 8.9
Bandobras: 7.0
Farmer Maggot: 7.5
Legolas: 5.0
Strider: 6.0
Fingolfin: 7.0
Beorn: 6.6
Cirdan: 6.5
Frodo: 9.0
Samwise: 8.8
Average: 7.2

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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.