The Dunedain

Today and for the next four issues I will be doing a review of each individual race, it's plusses, minuses, good combos, etc. To start with, the race of kings, the

Dunedain: Adrazar, Anborn, Aragorn II, Beregond, Beretar, Bergil, Boromir II, Damrod, Denethor II, Faramir, Forlong, Halbarad, Haldalam, Imrahil, Ioreth, Mablung

This race counts many good fighters as well as quite a number of faction influencers. Overall they are pretty strong (though count some of the weakest characters), and only a few have bad corruption modifiers. Many Dunedain work well in small groups, serving multiple functions.

Amongst the high-minded characters (7+ mind), the Dunedain count only Aragorn, but he is one of the best characters in the game. At 6/9 he weighs in as one of the best fighters while his 3 DI let him bring in quite a number of factions, especially if you give him Return of the King (and flush it out with Arwen and Choice of Luthien). He is the easiest character to build a deck around with 6 special cards and quite a number that fit naturally. His only problems are 9 mind, which can be hard to fit, -3 MP if he manages to die, and his popularity, so you might not be able to get him out before your opponent does.

The Dunedain really shine in mid-range mind (4-6). In that span they have Imrahil, Beretar, Faramir, Boromir, Haldalam, and Denethor, all of which have at least 3 or 4 DI against a certain faction and all but Denethor are pretty god in a fight. This allows you to use the character to defend the company most of the time while bringing in a faction or two with the same character. Bereatar, Faramir, and Boromir often end up in my decks even without any Dundedain factions, as all give pretty good prowess for their mind, Boromir being one of the best fighters in the game. Many of them (as well as Aragorn) are also rangers so can save you some headaches against roadblock cards.

The Dunedain have their smattering of low-mind (below 4) characters as well. Adrazar, Anborn, Beregond, Bergil, Damrod, Forlong, Halbarad, Ioreth, and Mablung can easily fit in almost any company and can often provide quite a useful effect. Of these, Anborn, Damrod, and Mablung can all pop in during organization phase at their home site, spending 1 or 2 GI, influence their special faction (needing 5 or 6) and leave the next turn. They're not much in a fight, and aren't usually worth putting in a starting company (unless they're to be dropped off at the site to Await the Advent of Allies...). They're also all scouts and two are rangers, so can fill in nicely in utility skill positions. Of the others, Beregond and Forlong are pretty decent cheap warriors, though they have -1 to corruption checks and almost no shot at influencing factions. Still, for 3 mind these two can give you a combined 7 prowess, rounding out a company in a moderate area. The other two, Halbarad and Ioreth, actually show up a lot to stay at havens to hold cool cards or play Sage Only stuff.

While there aren't too many hazards that hurt the Dunedain (a couple agents and Night, but that doesn't even do too much damage) there's a lot that can be said for a straight Dunedain deck. Sun and Star of High Hope can be nice in any Dunadan deck and Anduril can be both a good role playing and ability card in a longer game. Plus, there are more factions with Dunedain bonuses than any other race.

There are a couple kinds of decks you can easily build with mostly Dunedain. The easiest is a factions strategy, having a group of characters run around Gondor (Sentinels of Numenor can increase your MPs here) bringing in all the easy factions there. For items they can head to some of the coastal sites or go to Gap of Isen/Under-deeps. This works nicely with a roadblock strategy as almost no roadblock long-events hit these areas. For quite a while, my main deck was based around Minas Tirith, the main Dunadan site. Use The White Tree for healing, and move to any site within four regions of Minas Tirith, hitting several major and greater items sites as well as many faction sites. Another deck idea is to stay mostly around the Misty Mountains with several of the Dunedain heavy hitters. You can have Beretar bring in the Rangers of the North, Faramir the Rangers of Ithilien, and someone can take advantage of the +1 from the Riders of Rohan. Then of course there's the Aragorn/Return of the King/Arwen/Choice of Luthien/Sentinels of Numenor deck which works very well in a two deck game, assuming your opponent doesn't manage to wrest Aragorn away.

One of the only disadvantage of the Dunedain is their lack of travelling sages, which is quick becoming a good defensive skill, which suggests a good team up with Elves or Men. They also don't have too much straight DI for influencing characters and nothing gives bonus DI to controlling Dunedain. As for wizards, Alatar may be a good choice due to his close proximity to Gondor, though no wizard especially helps the Dunedain, and they can often run well with Saw Further and Deeper, allowing for an additional Beretar, Faramir, or Boromir. Dunedain can hold up a single company pretty well, whether it be Aragorn, Beretar, and Imrahil or Adrazar, Boromir, Haldalam, Forlong and Beregond.

In terms of role playing, Dunedain are alright, though there isn't really a "Dunadan mindset" to get into. Also, as it stands, most of the Dunadan in the game are "good" ones, descendants of the Dunedain who remained true to the Valar, helped the people of Middle-earth, resisted Sauron, and survived the Downfall of Numenor (led by Isildur and co.). I expect some Black Numenoreans (featured well in games like MERP and MUME) to come out in Lidless Eye, playing up the corruption that is so central to Tolkien's works.

So on the whole the Dunedain are a pretty well rounded race, good for both fighting and influencing.

(3 tie)
Ratings for the Dunedain:
(note: several raters just gave comments, other numerical ratings. The numbers 1-5 (1 highest) after the ratings is how the rater ranked the race compared to the rest)
Isildur: 8.5 (1)
Bandobras Took: 8.0 (3 tie)
Farmer Maggot: 7.0 (5)
Samwise: 8.0 (3)
Strider: 8.0 (3 tie)
Fingolfin: 7.0 (4 tie)
Beorn: 7.9 (4 tie)
Legolas: 6.0 (5)
Average: 7.6 (5)

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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.