One aspect of Tolkien's work that isn't adequately portrayed in the CCG is the fearsomeness of Orcs. While it's possible to get some really nasty orcs, in the CCG, the Iron-hill Dwarves (plus some characters), the Men of Lake-town, the Wood-elves, AND the Great Eagles would have a VERY easy time dealing with wargs and

Wolf-riders # Hazard # Creature or Short-event # 1 MP # 8/- # Keyable: Orcs. May be played following any Orc attack not keyed to a site. Three strikes. If played as a short-event, modify the prowess and strikes of a Wolf attack by +1.

This is an interesting card that can be justified in either an orc or wolf deck. Or, in a sealed deck environment, can potentially work with either creature type.

As an orc creature, Wolf-riders aren't exactly breath-taking. Their three strikes at 8 is just one prowess less than Orc-watch. And while they can't pop out if they're the only orc in your hand, they have a potential to hurt companies in safer areas than the shadow/dark orcs. For instance, a company traveling from Minas Tirith to Glittering Caves may not expect any nasty orc attacks, even if you drop a Minions Stir. And when you start out with an Orc-raiders he may even laugh at you. With an Orc-warband he may get a little worried, and once you drop the Wolf-riders, 5@10/- from Minions Stir, you may have chance for a kill, at the least tapping all but the hardiest characters. Plus, you can still attack with Wolf-riders after keying an Orc-guard to Minas Morgul. So if your orc deck doesn't want to use a lot of environments and doesn't anticipate shadow-travel, Wolf-riders may be a nice creature for higher prowess. Or if your deck wants to hit people in the dark areas, the riders of wargs can help to flesh out the troops out to de-flesh the enemies of Sauron.

On the other side, why not have the orcs help the wolves rather than the other way around? Wolf-riders probably gets more use as a short-event wolf enhancer than it does as a creature. There are currently three wolf hazard creatures, Wolves (3@8), Wargs (2@9), and Dire Wolves (4@8). And while Wolf-riders only adds one to the prowess and strikes, Doors and Wake of War can make Wargs 5, 6, or 7 strikes at 11, 12 or 13 with a Wolf-riders or two. While wolves are most commonly found with animals and spiders (getting full use out of Wake of War et al.), wolves can be nice on their own as part of a hazard deck. For instance, you can fill the 12 creature Council of Lorien minimum with three each of the above wolves, two Wolf-riders, and perhaps a couple Slayers, leaving the rest of your hazard deck to other cards. With this battery of creatures, you'll be able to hit most companies as two are keyable to Border-lands, two to Shadow-lands, two to single Wilderness and the other to double.

Wolf-riders even suggests a team-up between the orc and wolf decks, though this is best done in a deck with a large resource portion or in an environment where you don't have too many cards to choose from, as having wolves plus wolf helpers plus orcs plus orc helpers can get rather big, especially when the base of the deck is just one common from Dragons.

Ratings for Wolf-riders:
Isildur: 8.0
Farmer Maggot: 8.0
Samwise: 5.8
Strider: 7.0
Legolas: 5.8
Beorn: 7.2
Frodo: 7.0
Frodo: 8.0
Fingolfin: 8.0
Average: 7.2

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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.