The Men

The final review of an entire race is the race which will enherit Middle-earth in the Fourth Age,

Men: Bard Bowman, Barliman Butterbur, Beorn, Brand, Eomer, Eowyn, Erkenbrand, Fram Framson, Galva, Gamling the Old, Ghan-buri Ghan, Hama, Peath, Theoden, Voteli, Vygavril, Wacho

Men are by far the most populus race. Not only are there more man (and WOman) characters, there are more man agents and more man factions. Thus it's hard to generalize about men, but here goes.

In the high mind (7+) range, men count only Beorn, but he's quite a character. His 7 prowess make him one of the best fighters and his ranger skill lets him help a company in more ways than one. If you plan to head out on a mercenary mission, Beorn with an Elf-stone controlling Elladan with Elrohir on the side can be a pretty scary sight. Beorn can handle most auto-attacks untapped, and the lack of a corruption bonus means you can feel safe with him carrying a couple items. He's a very solid character (though his hair is the wrong color, look at the quote).

Men have quite a number of middle mind characters. Some, like Erkenbrand and Fram Framson are pretty good warriors. Others like Ghan-buri Ghan can influence factions pretty well. Some like Peath and Galva can hold their own against a Nazgul. And then there are Theoden and Brand who are both good warriors and faction influencers. These men, while all pretty good, have some disadvantages. Erkenbrand and Theoden have low bodies, so you almost have to start them with a Shield of Iron-bound Ash or grab a Great Shield of Rohan pretty quick. Fram is arguably one of the best fighters in the game. For 5 mind you get a 6/8 Warrior/Ranger (the only 5 minder with 6 prowess). And against dragons/drakes (your opponent's or auto-attacks) he becomes the equal of Glorfindel for less mind. Peath is also a good character to have if you expect some Nazgul. She's got 9 prowess against the ringwraiths, but 4 normally, so can stand a fight or influence factions with her diplomat skill.

Men also have their low mind characters. Several people feel that Bard, Eomer, and Eowyn are rather underpowered for the parts they played in the saga. They're still fairly good characters, Eomer weighing in as a 3/8 Warrior/Ranger for just 3 mind, Bard is 3/6 (another low body) for 2 mind, and both have bonus for factions (Bard just needs to beat a 3). Eowyn is a 2/7 Warrior/Scout which can tear apart a Nazgul. Perhaps the best place for her is in the sideboard, waiting for a Nazgul deck. When you see Nazgul coming out, bring her into the deck along with a Helm of Her Secrecy or two (several can be played at once). There are other good low mind fighters among the men. Hama is a pretty good buy of 4/8 for 2 mind. Gamling the Old is almost as tough and doesn't have the corruption/influence modifiers (in fact he has one real DI so can controll Theoden with the Red Arrow). Vygavril and Voteli both get faction bonuses (so Await the Advent of Alies is a possibility) and they both can fight a Nazgul with a little help. ĘThen of course are the men that are rarely used, Wacho (2 mind for a 1/8 scout/sage? I think I'll take Ioreth) and Barliman Butterbur (1 mind for a 2/6 Warrior (for lack of a better skill) isn't that great).

Straight man decks can work pretty well. There is a bunch of easy Man factions in the north east that someone like Theoden or Brand shouldn't have a problem. Cards like Sun can help you out prowess wise, and some shields wouldn't be a bad idea. You don't have too much of a problem with corruption in an all man deck, so your main concern is protecting your characters and your factions once they're in play (more on that in a bit). Another possible deck that I would like to try once I get another Helm of Her Secrecy or two is an Edoras Deck. Start with Theoden, Erkenbrand, Eomer, Gamling, and Hama. You shouldn't have too much trouble with either factions or combat, especially once you get a few weapons and shields. Red Arrow can let you do some serious influencing, and Eowyn can pop in with her helm. Or perhaps you could build an all female deck with several of the Nazgul killers, perhaps Galadriel, and some of the women agents as well as Leucaruth, Daelomin, Earcaraxe, and Andunaphel (and perhaps the 10th female Elven Nazgul Ichabod joked about :-)

While Men are the most numerous and are the up-and-coming race of the Fourth Age, there are also lots of cards that hurt them. While there aren't many that mention them exactly (save Night), men are hurt by all the non special corruption cards (e.g. Lure of Creation). Perhaps the most dangerous are the agents, most of whom are men and come in at Man faction sites, ready to influence away.

In terms of roleplaying, Men are pretty decent. You can build a deck of all man characters, man factions, man agents, and man hazard creatures (Rank Upon Rank + Corsairs is pretty nasty). Men seem the ideal characters to build a "beer & pretzels" deck around. However, I as well as some other, fell that ICE hasn't gone very far into the good/evil nature of men, where sometimes they will help the cause of good, yet you never know when they will turn against you, though I have a feeling this will come up in Lidless Eye.

So all in all, Men are a pretty solid race. They have a failry wide variety of characters as well as hazards and can be failry easy to play.

(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)
Ratings for The Men:
Isildur: 7.5 (3 tie)
Bandobras Took: 8.0 (3 tie)
Farmer Maggot: 8.0 (4)
Samwise: 7.8 (5)
Strider: 6.0 (5)
Fingolfin: 7.0
Beorn: 8.1 (1)
Legolas: 9.0 (1 tie)
Average: 7.7 (4)

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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.