The Elves

Sorry I've not posted an issue in the last few days, I spent 21 hours plus on the weekend programming Java for a final project, so was very pressed for time. Also, everyone who hasn't, send a message to with the body of: subscribe metw-cotd If you recall, I was in the process of discussing each of the races individually. Today's race was pretty much in charge of Arda from the First Age until the Third Age, and many of the cards show this ruling superiority.

Elves: Annalena, Arinmir, Arwen, Celeborn, Cirdan, Elladan, Elrohir, Elrond, Galadriel, Galdo, Gildor Inglorion, Glorfindel II, Haldir, Legolas, Orophin, Thranduil.

While there are good Elves at all levels, they are the most noticable in the high (7+) mind. In this range they count Cirdan, Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel, and Thranduil, more than any othe race. The most obvious advantage of these is the fact that, for Cirdan, Elrond, and Galadriel, you get to hold an extra card in your hand while the Elf is at home. However, Pallando gives this anywhere, and the 8+ mind is often better used travelling to gather MPs, though an Elven Lord can also stay in a haven and use a Palantir, the Book of Mazarbul (yes, we do like lots of cards), play Marvels Told, etc as they are all sages. Yet why not use that high mind to some purpose? Elrond is one of the best fighters in the game, especially with Vilya, normally surpassed only by Glorfindel and equaled by Beorn. Cirdan is tough in a fight and can cancel any attack keyed to Coastal Sea. Galadriel, even, may be considered for adventuring. She has the highest body in the game save Tom Bombadil and the Witch-king, though she does have low prowess. She may be a good sage to travel with, though she is probably the best Elf to leave in a haven, being controlled by Celeborn, and available for all the REALLY cool Galadriel stuff like her Phial, her Hair, her Ring, her Mirror, etc. The two of them can also sit with an Ent or Two and use a Palantir, weathering out the Long Winter and Foul Fumes. The other two high-mind elves don't have the decision of whether or not to be left in a haven (and thus don't give - MP if eliminated), but are very good fighters. Glorfindel is pretty much the standard tough fighter, weighing in at 8/9, and can make an opponent think twice about playing many creatures. He serves well as a protector of a small company (and has enough DI to hold someone like Annalena) and can keep all number of creatures in check with cards like Wormsbane (12 prowess vs. Dragons), Many Foes He Fought (I will take on ALL the Ghouls!), and cards like Hundreds of Butterflies to keep him untapped. Thranduil is also a very good fighter, standing in at 7/8. While not quite as strong as Glorfindel he has an extra real DI, so can controll anyone with 3 mind (like a Hobbit). He's also got +2 to bring in the Wood- elves and an extra skill on Glorfindel, but Glorfindel's usually considered a better buy at one less mind (not to say Thranduil's a slouch, of course...).

Elves have their share of middle-minders (4-6). Legolas is decent in a fight and has an influence bonus for the Wood-elves as well while Galdor can do some Elven influencing on his own or help out as a ranger. Arinmir is rarely used, as she can't even come into play at the site for the faction she has a bonus for, and her 2 prowess iseasily toasted on the way there. Yet other races have better 4, 5 and 6 mind characters. The Elven middle-minders (sounds like mental boxing) that really stand out, though, are the three orc-fighters, Elladan, Elrohir, and Gildor Inglorion. All three normally have 5 prowess (for just 4 mind) and are warrior/ranger, probably the two best adventuring skills. Against orcs the two brothers have 6 prowess and Gildor has 7, so this trio is ideal as the back bone of an orc-lair raiding party. Also, any of the three of them can be controlled by Elrond alone or someone like Glorfindel with an Elf-stone (making 20 mind and 23 prowess). In fact the only disadvantages of these three is they are lousy with factions and controlling characters (but what is Muster for, anyway) and they are popular, so your opponent might get them out before you do. However, in a character draft, if your opponet plays Elrohir you can always play Elladan, his functional equivelant (with worse art).

The Elves have just a couple low-minded characters, which are often useful in their own right. Annalena is probably the most popular 3-mind sage, as she can do okay in a fight with something like a Dagger (giving her 4 prowess), can play cards like Marvels Told or Dreams of Lore, and also has scout skill for cards like Concealment or Thorough Search. She (like the rest of the low mind Elves) can be easily contolled by almost anyone with an Elf-stone, so bringing her in (or keeping her in) shouldn't be a problem. The exact double of Annalena, with one less prowess, is Arwen. As should be expected, she is rare while Annalena is in two fixed packs. The only reason to put Arwen in a deck (aside from your opponent already having Annalena out already) is for Aragorn. She can be a good sideboard character to influence Aragorn away, but is more commonly found with her husband. Starting out, he can control her, but once you get Choice of Luthien (or a Lesser Ring for better range) she can control him, letting him do all the faction influencing. The remaining low mind Elf, Haldir, joins the ranks of a some Dunedain, Dwarves, and Men as a cheap warrior. His three mind give you a 4/8 character, though like most of his peers he has -1 to corruption and influence checks. His 3 mind is a bit higher than most of the cheap fighters, but with it comes an MP the others don't have.

There are quite a number of hazards which can hurt Elves. Call of the Sea and Burden of Time both target Elves specifically (and thus aren't used too often in the main part of a deck). Corruption is a danger, especially if you're using Palantiri, as no corruption chard excludes Elves (except Lure of Creation which is Wizard only). Also, the Elven agents can move to havens, possibly influencing away the Elf you thought you had safe. Elves won't have too much trouble with the corrupted, twisted, and bastardized relatives known as orcs (especially the Three Orcateers), but since Elves have such high-minds they must often travel in small companies and thus may be prone to undead. One good way to combat an Elf deck is speed. Most Elf decks (Three Orcateers and Glorfindel aside) are fairly slow, getting enough influence for the right characters, getting the Palantiri or Ents or whatever, etc. So a deck designed to rip through the MPs will often close in on the MP goal before an Elf deck gets rolling.

Elf decks, due to the speed factor above, are usually best in two-deck games where you have enough time to get out your cards and set up your combos. These decks tend to contain many Palantiri, allies, and hazards designed to slow the opponent down. These decks can be really good in even longer games, taking control of the playing feild after the initial jump. There are, of course, ways to build speedy Elf decks. Perhaps the easiest one (containing largely commons) is a variant of an Indy Jones deck. You can take the three Orcbusters and Glorfindel to go destroy the holds the orcs have taken and win back the items they have hoarded there. Factions? We'll Muster all the strength we can get. You can also do a more traditional Indy deck with the three Orcbusters plus Annalena for sage/scout skills and a 5 mind character like Gloin (you start with 6 MPs and go up from there). This is best in a single deck game, though may be able to carry enough steam into the second deck to call the council while you're still ahead. Of course, you could do a non- traditional deck of all sages, playing cards like Dreams of Lore, Look More Closely Later, etc. Palantiri are okay, but maybe a little too traditional ;-) There are a few Elf cards that can help almost any deck, Elf-stone and Emerald of Doriath for DI, Lore of Ages and Star of High Hope for prowess. Palantir of Elostirion can get rid of corruption cards for the cost of a dedicated sage (Ioreth anyone?) and Elf-song with Echo of All Joy can help out on corruption checks from Palantiri or other cards for the Lords to use.

Pretty much the only disadvantages of Elves are their high minds, meaning its difficult to get a bunch of them out. Yet each one usually counts for quite a bit, so Elves can hold their own in small groups. The other disadvantage is that Elves only have two factions, meaninng they'll either have to stretch out to other armies or count on character and misc. points to balance items. Overall, Elves are a pretty solid race, though they can wax poetic over the sea, time, or a New Moon.

In terms of role-playing, Elves aren't as fun as Dwarves and Hobbits. You may want to sing songs or be aloof from the other players. You could also play up each strategic move as a council, having all your high-minded Elves discuss what to do in the situation. Or you could get into the "Elves must kill those foul Orcs of Sauron's brood" mindset and run around killing every Orc in sight.

Ratings for Elves:
(note: several raters just gave comments, other numerical ratings. The numbers 1-5 after the ratings is how the rater ranked the race compared to the rest)
Isildur: 8.0 (2)
Bandobras Took: 9.0 (2)
Farmer Maggot: 9.0 (1 tie)
Samwise: 9.0 (1)
Strider: 9.0 (2)
Fingolfin: 8.0 (2)
Beorn: 7.9 (4 tie)
Legolas: 8.0 (4)
Average: 8.5 (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.