Of all the possible deaths, death by Crebain is probably the most embarrassing.

Crebain # Hazard # Creature # 1 MP # 5/- # Keyable: Bl, Wi, Sl, Dd, Rl, Sh, Dh
Animals. Each character in the company faces one strike. After the attack, the defender must reveal one random card from his hand for each character in the defending company.

Crebain are almost the epitome of weak in Middle-earth. While they can be enhanced, are playable anywhere, and have an interesting side ability, almost no one plays with them, and playing them in sealed deck is even iffy.

Well, one thing you CAN say about Crebain is they don't have to stay in your hand for too long. The only places they AREN'T playable are Havens, Coastal Seas, Free-domains/holds, and Border-holds. This is easily the most playable creature in the game, even if your opponent doesn't move. Another plus is the fact that each character faces a strike, so if they're really strong and the company is really weak, you can be pretty sure of tapping the whole company. The problem is, 95 times out of a hundred, you're giving away 1 MP, though you do gain somewhat of a benefit by playing them.

A fairly typical company might have four or five characters, perhaps one is a Hobbit or other weak character like Ioreth. If you play Crebain, most of the characters with 3 prowess or more will probably take -3 to stay untapped, so on its own, a Crebain won't do a lot of tapping. You can probably tap that Hobbit or maybe even wound Ioreth (don't hold your breath). After the attack, you get to see four or five of the opponent's cards (which will be about half, accounting for cards drawn this turn). There are better ways to achieve this, Secret News for one, but none of them are hazards. So if you would like to know half of what is in your opponent's hand during his turn, Crebain may be a good idea, letting you know if he has a concealment handy, what resources he wants to play, etc. This isn't a spectacular ability, though, as you might see nothing but cards your opponent wasn't going to play this turn anyway, and cards like Palantir of Amon Sul or Mirror of Galadriel do the job more effectively on your turn. Plus, seeing half of your opponent's hand won't usually give you knowledge to prevent his accumulation of 2 MP so you can balance the one you just gave away. It can occasionally, though, if you notice he's got a Muster in hand, try to tap his warriors. If you see a Thorough Search, go for the scouts.

Once enhanced, Crebain are a little better. With Wake of War and Shelob out, Crebain become 7 prowess against each character (the extra strikes are ignored). Add Bairnax at Home and the buggers effectively don't count against the hazard limit. Against a varied company this attack has a chance that one character won't defeat the strike, so you get to keep the MP. It can also be nice against a company of Hobbits, although there one can often just tap a Torque of Hues. Of course, you can do all this except look at the hand with more prowess if you've got something like Lesser Spiders or Wargs.

So if you think you've got space for Crebain in your deck, they might be a good idea, but most of the time you're just giving away an MP and are unlikely to tap more than one character.

Ratings for Crebain:
Isildur: 3.5
Bandobras Took: 7.0
Farmer Maggot: 4.0
Samwise: 5.3
Strider: 1.5
Fingolfin: 6.0
Beorn: 6.4
Frodo: 8.0
Legolas: 4.0
Average: 5.1

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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.