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Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:08 pm
Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 1200 Location: The Jungle
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Give your opponent nowhere to hide, with a Nazgul deck that can automatically corrupt the Ring-Bearer no matter how strong his anti-corruption defenses may be.
--- end description ---

Corruption has always been a major part of Lord of the Rings TCG. Shadow players always strive for better ways to corrupt the Ring-Bearer, and Fellowship players always seek ways to shut corruption down. In this article we will explore a new way to corrupt the Ring-Bearer, using the new auto-corrupt Nazgul deck, built for expanded play. With the play of a single card, you can win the game, even if there were no burdens prior to the play of that card (this amazing power gives it the name “auto-corrupt”). One of the great strengths of this deck is that it bypasses the traditional ways that fellowships use to avoid corruption.

The Auto-corrupt Combo:

Let’s start by first examining the combo that gives this deck its insane power. Here are the cards required.

Dark fell about him: this card is crucial, because it has no definite limit. Keep in mind that it plays during the regroup phase. It depends some on the vitality of the exhausted companion, but if there is a way to continue to exert that companion while the dark fell about him is working, it can go on and on until the ring-bearer is corrupted. This can be achieved by the next card in the combo.

Gates of the dead city: with 4 copies of this card on the table, each time a burden is added with dark fell about him, four exertions must be placed on companions. But with enough total fellowship vitality, the Free-Peoples player can avoid placing those exertions on the companion you need them to. That is where the last, and unifying, card of the combo comes in.

Lingering Shadow: this card really breaks the combo by multiplying the amount of burdens and, in turn, exertions placed when you heal a companion with dark fell about him. The great thing about this card is that there is no limit to how many of them you can play on each companion.

With these three different cards, you can create an unlimited burden engine that can easily corrupt your opponent’s Ring-Bearer. Here is how it works:

With four copies of gates of the dead city in your support area, and four copies of lingering shadow on an exhausted companion, each time you heal that companion with dark fell about him, five burdens and twenty exertions are added. Repeat that for every wound on that companion, and very quickly the entire fellowship will be exhausted, and the Free-Peoples player must exert the companion you are healing for the combo. (Note that the fellowship must be out of region 1 for the loop to take effect, even though the dark fell about him can be used while in region 1.) Now, while having four copies of lingering shadow on one, single, exhausted companion is ideal, it is not always wise to play all of them on one companion, because this lets your opponent heal the other companions with out any side effects. Generally, the best strategy to use when transferring the lingering shadow’s is to spread them out among the companions and maybe (depending upon the situation) target one more than the others.

One funny aspect of this deck (and irksome thing to your opponent) is that this deck needs wounded and exhausted companions, but your opponent cannot heal their fellowship to prevent that. If they do, the lingering shadow cards will force them to add burdens, and even more exertions. Also, burden removing cards will not affect the auto-corrupt process because the combo works in a loop, adding burdens forever, so it is quite hard for the free-peoples player to combat in traditional ways.

With the huge amounts of exertions that must be placed each time you add a burden, you are ensured that the companion which dark fell about him is healing, will receive exertions, and that the loop will be completed.
Now that we have a combo with catastrophic effects, we need a deck to support it. This deck must provide two things for dark fell about him to be played.

1. An exhausted companion.
2. A Nazgul with enough vitality to exert twice during the regroup phase.

Getting an exhausted companion should be fairly easy with 4x gates of the dead city, and many burden adding cards. And those wounds will not readily be removed due to the 4x lingering shadow. That leaves one last obstacle, healthy Nazgul. A quick look at the Nazgul minions reveals exactly what we’re looking for. There are some Nazgul which are enduring, and can heal themselves during the skirmish phase, leaving them healthy for the regroup phase. And they hurt the fellowship when they heal, each in a different way. Now, all our obstacles have been overcome in concepts, but we still need a deck list.

The Deck:
While, really, any fellowship can be paired with this deck, Dwarven Cycling with Gloin, son of groin is probably the best choice, because it can get the crucial conditions out for the combo, early in the game. And it gets key cards in hand to set up the auto-corrupt.

Now for the shadow side of things. Like I said, this deck utilizes enduring nazgul so that they can heal before they reach the regroup phase. This deck has a lot of features of a regular enduring Nazgul corruption deck.

Ulaire Enquea, Thrall of the One: This is the main minion of the deck, he can add a massive amount of burdens especially equipped with shadowy mount and ring of rancor. During the skirmish phase he heals and in the regroup he has plenty of vitality to play dark fell about him.

Ulaire Cantea, Thrall of the One: Cantea also can heal during the skirmish, but instead of removing burdens, he discards possessions. This can be very useful against possession based fellowships, broken possessions like Glamdrings, the new Anduril or ithilian blade, and everyday utility possessions.

Ulaire Nelya, Thrall of the One: This minion doesn’t have to pay a roaming penalty, and can heal himself. The neat thing about this card is that it has the potential to bring a bunch of twilight into the pool before the regroup phase starts, so you can pull out an auto-corrupt even if you completely drain the twilight pool during the shadow phase. It also helps dark swooping shadows, the only skirmish event in the deck.

Ulaire Lemenya, Thrall of the One: Lemenya really breaks open the abilities of the other self-healing Nazgul. He gives up to three other Nazgul an extra wound to hurt your opponent even more. Notice that the texts of these nazgul say that they cannot be exerted by shadow cards during a skirmish. Lemenya bypasses that by wounding up to 3 of your other Nazgul.

The Witch-king, Captain of the Nine Riders: This is a very useful and versatile minion. He is Toil 2 so not only does his cost get lowered, but it also exerts the enduring Nazgul for their special abilities. His high vitality helps him be able to use Dark fell about him. He also is Fierce, and can cycle your hand because he has the Muster keyword.

Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul: This version of Enquea controls large fellowships, and can use the wounds he dishes out to exhaust a companion for dark fell about him. Only one copy of this card is included in the deck because he threatens to exhaust a companion and start the auto-corrupt if your opponent dares to play six companions, and Morgul squealer and ring of rancor can bring him back into play again several times. His text also triggers with five burdens, which can easily be attained.

Morgul Squealer: This guy is simply here to grab any Nazgul you need, weather you are setting up, or going in for the kill. And he has a great text to punish big fellowships, especially when combined with Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul.

Ring of Rancor: This artifact gives extra vitality to ensure your Nazgul have enough when they reach the regroup phase, and increases the damage they can do to the fellowship when they heal during the skirmish phase. It also combos excellently with Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul against large fellowships, because he can heal and wound again. Plus, it can get the Nazgul back into your hand to be played at the next site.

Shadowy Mount: shadowy mount has several functions as well, he gives vitality, and gets assigned to companions bearing Wraith condition. This is exactly what you want, because you need those companions to be exhausted.

Lingering Shadow: This is part of the auto-corrupt combo, and we have already examined its functions and power. It heaps on burdens when bearer heals, and heaps on even more exertions when combined with gates of the dead city. It also is nice, because it costs 0 twilight.

Gates of the Dead City: Another part of the combo, simple, each time you add a burden, exert a companion. The cool thing here is have 4x in your support area at one time to really beat up your opponent, and it only costs 1.

Keening Wail: This card serves two purposes, first it adds a burden (and triggers any gates you have out), second it lets you exert your enduring nazgul, and when combined with ulaire enquea, thrall of the one, that means two burdens.

Dark Swooping Shadows: This event lets you add a burden while healing during the skirmish. Great for those enduring Nazgul that are at a point where they don’t need to or can’t do anything useful with their texts. For instance, if Cantea is skirmishing a character who is not bearing a possession, it is a great time to use dark swooping shadows.

Dark Fell About Him: Dark Fell About Him is the central card of this deck, and makes it all work. In the first region it just adds a burden, and triggers gates of the dead city. In the next two regions, it makes an entire loop with gates of the dead city to add an infinite amount of burdens.


3x Ulaire Enquea, Thrall of the One
2x Ulaire Cantea, Thrall of the One
2x Ulaire Nelya, Thrall of the One
2x Ulaire Lemenya, Thrall of the One
2x The Witch-king, Captain of the Nine Riders
1x Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul
2x Morgul Squealer

2x Ring of Rancor

2x Shadowy Mount

4x Lingering Shadow
4x Gates of the Dead City

2x Keening Wail
2x Dark Swooping Shadows
4x Dark Fell About Him

Game play strategy: In the early game, focus on exhausting the fellowship. Use the Dwarves to cycle through your hand for gates of the dead city, lingering shadow, and burden adding cards to heap exertions on companions. Since the Dwarves cycle so well, the 36 card size of this deck shouldn’t be a problem. use Morgul Squealer to bring back any minions you need, especially Ulaire Enquea, Thrall of the one, because he is the best minion to have in play for the auto-corrupt because of his high vitality and healing ability that will trigger more exertions. Getting enough wounds on the fellowship should be very easy because of all the burdens being added and triggering gates of the dead city. Spread the lingering shadow’s on the companions to keep from healing, and get you ready for the auto-corrupt combo. Once the fellowship reaches region 2, you are free to pull the auto-corrupt. Even if there are not enough gates of the dead city in your support area for the loop, dark fell about him will still add tons of burdens in combination with lingering shadow. Ideally, four copies of both lingering shadow, and gates of the dead city will be in play, but even with just a few, the combo will have devastating effects, and has the potential to corrupt the Ring-Bearer.

Always remember to heal Nazgul using their texts, so that they will be better able to use Dark fell about him. Judging when is the right time to pull the auto-corruption, depends on the situation. But use dark fell about him every time you can, this will help you with the auto-corrupt later on by piling on more exertions.

This is how you will know if the combo will complete its loop:

Take the number of wounds on an exhausted companion, and multiply that by the number of lingering shadow’s the exhausted companion bears. Add the number of wounds on the exhausted companion to the number you just got. Then multiply that number by the number of gates of the dead city that are in play. If the number you get is more than the total amount of wounds the fellowship needs to be exhausted, the loop will work.

Here is a formula of when the auto-corrupt will work, for you math-minded people.
Let N represent the total number of wounds the fellowship needs To be entirely exhausted.
Let W represent the number of wounds on an exhausted companion.
Let Y represent the number of lingering Shadow’s that exhausted companion bears.
Let Z represent the number of Gates of the dead city that are in play.

The Combo will work when:
(W + (W x Y)) x Z > N

For example, if:

(3 + (3 x 1)) x 4 > 14
(3 + 3) x 4 > 14
6 x 4 > 14
24 > 14

As soon as you play dark fell about him, and the Free-Peoples player is forced to exert the companion you are healing, the ring bearer will be corrupted, and you will have won the game.

Now, let’s look at some match-ups:

High-Vitality Fellowships: At first glance this may seem like a tough match-up, but it actually gives you more opportunity to corrupt the Ring-Bearer once a companion is exhausted. For example, say Gandalf is bearing Narya and his staff. He has six vitality, and is exhausted. If he is bearing two lingering shadow, Dark Fell About Him adds twenty burdens, and you will add 80 exertions if you have four gates of the dead city in your support area, exhausting any fellowship. If he is bearing one lingering shadow, dark fell about him adds ten burdens and 40 exertions. Getting an exhausted companion may seem hard, but with 4x gates of the dead city and 4x lingering shadow, wounds will pile onto the fellowship, and the lingering shadows will keep the free-peoples from healing, because they would just be hurting themselves more than helping themselves.

Archery: Archery can actually help your Nazgul because they are enduring, and the wounds will help the special abilities of Nazgul like Ulaire Enquea, Thrall of the one. This is a good match-up.

Directed Archery: A little tougher than Archery, but the cards which offer directed archery (such as Legolas, Greenleaf, and Aragorn’s Bow) often have exerting requirements, and exertions are a thing this deck thrives on. Plus if there are not enough wounds to kill the nazgul the wounds will help them a lot. This is also a good match-up.

Condition Discarding: This is the hardest match-up, because with good condition discarding, you won’t have very many gates of the dead city or lingering shadow’s in play. Even without conditions, this deck has good potential. There are plenty of burden adding cards in the deck, and dark fell about him works well even if it cannot make an auto-corruption loop. Handicapped as the deck may be without conditions, it is still a dangerous enduring nazgul corruption deck. If you can get a few conditions in play, your chances soar even higher.

The Pippin Engine: One of the most feared anti-corruption tools out there, but against this deck it is rendered useless. This deck does not need any burdens to automatically corrupt the Ring-Bearer, it just needs an exhausted companion. Even a completely burden free Ring-Bearer cannot escape the clutches of this endless loop.

Huge Fellowships: The large amount of twilight flooded into the pool gives this deck a chance to really show what a beastly machine of death it really is. Repeatedly playing Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul with ring of rancor and morgul squealer, to kill, exhaust and debilitate key companions, makes dark fell about him easy to play. And with 6 companions in play morgul squealer can be used to also bring other key minions into play.

Choke: This match-up can be tough, but the auto-corrupt can work with as little as 7 twilight if necessary, which is easy to get at the later sites, or while you control what site you are at. (The combo can work with less twilight if the fellowship moved during the regroup phase and you already have a Nazgul in play or possibly even 5 if using Ulaire Nelya, thrall of the one)

Solo-Ring-Bearer: This is probably the best match-up for this deck, because any exertions MUST be placed on the companion that is being healed by dark fell about him. So, even if there are no lingering shadows in play, and only one gates of the dead city, the loop will work, and you will win.

Finally, I urge you to take advantage of this deck, and experience the power of what could be the Shadow’s most broken (legal) combo, in all of Expanded play.

I appreciate you all, your time, your votes, and any constructive criticism. Thank you.

Last edited by macheteman on Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:20 pm; edited 3 times in totalCheck out my best article The Utterly Corrupt Corruption,
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Posted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 4:18 pm
Joined: 28 Dec 2006 Posts: 5468 Location: I don't know...

5. This is a sweet deck.

May want to cover the Shire Countryside Pippin Engine which would kill this deck dead.
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:26 am
Joined: 24 Oct 2006 Posts: 197 Location: Good Question
Actually it wouldn’t as everytime you would heal with Shire countryside the Lingering Shadows would mean you would have to add a burden as well which would mean exerting a companion or several companions because of Gates of the Dead City. So infact using Shire Countryside would actually hurt the deck more than help it.
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:22 pm
Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 1200 Location: The Jungle
yes the lingering shadow’s are your defense against healing, and they multiply the effects of dark fell about him, and gates of the dead city.
Check out my best article The Utterly Corrupt Corruption,
If at first you don't succeed...Sky-diving isn't for you.
"Combat is dangerous. It tends to interupt your breathing process."
Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:02 pm
Joined: 12 Sep 2006 Posts: 953 Location: UNKNOWN
Really cool article! I’ve been constructing a deck based off the Dark fell about him + Gates of the dead city combo (sorry Nbarden beat you to it).

I totally forgot about lingering Shadow!! That is definitely cool. I’ll probably give a 5. Good job.
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:29 pm
Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 1200 Location: The Jungle
thanks celebrimbor, glad you liked it. yeah, it seems to me that Lingering Shadow is quite an overlooked card, even though it can really shut-down healing in a corruption deck.
Check out my best article The Utterly Corrupt Corruption,
If at first you don't succeed...Sky-diving isn't for you.
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:50 pm
Joined: 23 Mar 2006 Posts: 7750 Location: somwhere, over the rainbow way up high. There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
I just skimmed it but looks good. will read more later.
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:17 pm
Joined: 14 Jun 2006 Posts: 1010 Location: Earth (I think)
Very cool idea Very Happy

Very nice article too. My only thought is you might want to put a bit more in about how to play BEFORE you can set up your auto corrupt.

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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:34 pm
Joined: 07 Dec 2006 Posts: 1200 Location: The Jungle
i added a little more in the game play strategy section, but there really isn’t a whole lot of special set-up for this combo. it’s pretty much straight forward: play conditions, add burdens to trigger gates, and use dark fell about him to corrupt the ring bearer. thanks for the review!

Check out my best article The Utterly Corrupt Corruption,
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Posted: Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:06 pm
Joined: 14 Jan 2007 Posts: 100 Location:
WOW!!!! AMAZING!!! I just read your first three cards, and already see corruption flowing out of your nose. ok ill go finish
EDIT: Alright good job. I think it might cost a little bit too much twilight, but 5 anyway.
Last edited by Pywils on Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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