You never know how useful a map is until you find yourself without one.
Wondrous Maps # Resource # Permanent-event
Playable at the end of the organization phase on a company using region cards with the last one being a Shadow-land. (Play regions face-up.) This card is used as a site card, Ruins & Lairs (automatic-attack: Orcs -- 4 strikes at 7 prowess, items: (minor, major), cards opponent draws: 3, you draw 1). The company may only leave the site using region movement. Discard Wondrous Maps when the company moves to a new site.
This is probably a better card than it's sister card, Refuge. As a site it's a bit dangerous, but there are times when it can be really nice.
First off, to play with this card, you need a deck that has a good chance of being around a shadow-land. This means that normally you'll want it in a deck centered around Mordor or the central north, though this card can be interesting in a deck with Morgul-night (though Angmar Arises or Reaching Shadow don't do the trick). As a site it kinda sucks. It's got an attack equal to Cirith Ungol, which also lets you play greater items, and Moria, which has greater and gold rings. Your opponent gets to draw 3 while you only get one, and since you're going through a shadow-land (at least), you may be in for some nasty stuff. So why use a Wondrous Maps when you could just deal with the easier attack at the Barrow-downs or Sarn Gorwing? Well, one potential use is if you want to stay in a pretty close area, say right around the north part of the Misty Mountains, and have plenty of major items to play, more than the local sites allow you. Or perhaps you are playing with the optional enhanced auto-attacks rule. But there are better reasons.
Perhaps the most abusive reason to use Wondrous Maps is in a roadblock deck. Since Foul Fumes and Long Winter both refer to the site's site path, with a ranger in your company you can laugh at the bad weather. A deck focused around Lorien (with quite a few MPs possible in Wold & Foothills as well as Anduin Vales) can drop over to Brown Lands and slip into a room full of the smell of musty maps rather than the foul stench everyone else is facing. This lack of a site's site path means the card is also immune to cards like Dragon's Desolation, which can be a very nice thing (I recently built a deck that can potentially play Dragon's Desolation 11 times). Wondrous Maps can also be a nice place to go to get away from a wandering wizard (Wizard's Ring and the whole bit) or perhaps Firiel is chasing you down with a Shadow out of the Dark.
Aside from the auto-attack, Wondrous Maps has one main disadvantage. While most site cards sit around in a pile waiting to become useful, Wondrous Maps take up space. It increases your deck size by two (one for the hazard) and may take up hand size if you draw it before you plan to move to a shadow-land. This also means you may end up drawing it when you have no items to play. But on the whole, Wondrous Maps can make its way into a few decks quite nicely, and is certainly better than it's companion cards Refuge and Morannon (the proverbial "I spent $3 for THAT?" card).
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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.