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About 1600 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings, the Valar gods in Valinor grew troubled at Sauron's growth in power and worried that the Free Peoples of Middle-earth would be unable to stop him unaided. To this end the Valar sent a group of the Maiar under their command to oppose and ultimately throw down Sauron from his dark throne.
Those selected were Curumo, sent by Aulë the Smith, and Alatar, sent by Oromë the huntsman. These two were not deemed enough, and Manwë, chief of the Valar, sought out Olórin to aid them. Olórin at first refused, claiming he was weak and expressing fear of Sauron, but at this he was rebuked and told that this was all the more reason to resist him. Yavanna, keeper of the woods, then requested Curumo that he take Aiwendil as a companion, as Aiwendil was like unto her in his lore and love of all living things. Alatar then chose Pallando as a friend.
These Five were commanded to resist Sauron through uprising; to incite courage and steadfastness in the peoples of Middle-earth and were forbidden to fight Power with Power. They took the forms of old men, though as Maiar they were immortal and seemed to have incredible stamina and longevity to the ignorant watcher. As they mingled with the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, they took the names given them rather than reveal their own: Curumo was called by Men Saruman; Aiwendil was called Radagast; Olórin was named Gandalf, and Alatar and Pallando passed into the East and were never named by the Men of Gondor.
In The Lord of the Rings TCG, Wizard is the Race given to these five Istari. Gandalf and the traitor Saruman are the most prominent and powerful, successfully emboldening the forces around them to oppose their enemies. See the Gandalf Culture and Isengard Culture for more information on strategy and use. Radagast the Brown and his Staff have been represented as a limited-edition Gandalf Culture card; and Followers representing the distant influence of the two Blue Wizards Alatar and Pallando are also present.
It is interesting to note that a generic Wizard's Staff possession has been printed a few times as a Gandalf Culture card with the very particular requirement of “Bearer must be a Wizard”, rather than “Bearer must be Gandalf”. It can be surmised that there was to be some card or strategy in place that would allow Shadow players using Saruman to “steal” such a Staff from the Free Peoples Gandalf, and so weaken him. This however was never used.