Hazard: Creature
Marshalling Points: 5
Prowess/Body: 17/8

Unique. May be played at The Lonely Mountain. Dragon. Two strikes. Attacker chooses defending characters. If Doors of Night is in play, may also be played keyed to Grey Mountain Narrows, Iron Hills, Northern Rhovanion, and Whithered Heath, and may also be played at sites in these regions.

Wow! Great even by itself, but think of it with Dragon's Desolation. Here's the stats for that:

Dragon's Desolation
Hazard - Short-Event
The prowess of one Dragon attack is modified by +2 OR one Dragon hazard creature may be played at a Ruins & Lairs that has two Wildernesses in its site path (only one Wilderness is required if Doors of Night is in play).

Okay, now the review. Smaug is probably one of the best hazard creatures in the game (right behind the Nazgul and possibly Shelob, though for her 2 prowess extra she has a lot smaller of a range). He's the dragon with the highest statistics, he has TWO strikes (putting him possibly ahead of the Nazgul with that) and, what's more, YOU get to choose the defending characters. Even better when you consider the flurry of dragon-related cards coming in the first expansion set, called Middle Earth: Dragons. Obviously a great creature.

Just try this in combination with a couple of other enhancers, or maybe another dragon or two (you can even include all four, Daelomin, Leucaruth, and Smaug, plus Cave-Drake, as part of a dragon-based hazard deck), and you've got a killer hazard deck.

This card does, however, have a few problems. The main one of these is Smaug's restriction to only four regions. And only one site unless you have Doors of Night. Plus those regions are in the very northeast corner of the map, isolated from other regions by all manner of problematic terrains.

That's where Dragon's Desolation comes into play. It lets you play Smaug at a lot more sites, 21 with Doors of Night and 13 without, spread all around the map. This makes him a much more effective hazard, since almost every Ruins & Lairs has at least 1 wilderness in its site path, so Ruins & Lairs become a good bit more deadly. This is especially nice in a party with a Wizard, since you can get a 17/8 attack (more with enhancers) being sent at a Wizard, a way to win the game many people forget.

He only has one other minor problem - he's worth 5 marshalling points, and has only 8 body. But Khamul's worth 6 and only has 8, so this isn't that extraordinarily bad. Overall, an excellent hazard, useful in any deck with Dragon's Desolation.

Ratings for: Smaug

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