26 May 2009

Shadows Revealed

The second glimpse into the upcoming Middle-earth Quest!

In a land dominated by the forces of Sauron, few beings are as scary as Sauron’s chosen minions. Extremely powerful, well equipped, and utterly dedicated, these beings are a direct embodiment of Sauron’s will.

Last time, we focused on the attributes that made our heroes special. Much like the heroes, minions have access to their own decks of combat cards, many of the attributes the heroes enjoy, and a special ability.

The first of these figures to appear is the Lord of Harad, The Black Serpent.

Boasting a deadly nine Fortitude and eight Strength, this minion is a powerhouse. As opposed to heroes, a minion’s Fortitude represents the number of cards drawn at the beginning of combat, Strength determines the number of cards that can be played during a combat.

Some combat cards have a Strength cost of one, while some of the more devastating cards have a higher cost. With such a high Fortitude and Strength, the Lord of Harad is a fearsome opponent, able to boast a large number of cards drawn, he is also able to play a large number of cards, giving the heroes much to fear.

Even worse, the Black Serpent draws his cards from the melee oriented Ravager deck. Within this deck lies the surprising Eviscerate. This melee attack deals additional damage if you dealt any damage this turn. A nasty surprise to an unprepared opponent! Although this deck is melee oriented, it also has a number of ranged attacks. Aimed Shot punishes dedicated fighters, if they play a card of the same type as the one played last round, this attack deals an additional three damage. Poison Arrow is the ranged equivalent of Eviscerate, doing additional damage if any damage was dealt.

In addition to his stats, the Black Serpent is able to move twice during his activation. This can give him the drop on many an unsuspecting hero, or allow him to retreat to a more advantageous position. As movement dictates a large number of options, being able to move faster can mean the difference between a loss and victory. His secondary ability is just as deadly. The Black Serpent allows Sauron to summon his vile monsters next to the Lord of Harad, regardless of influence! This allows the forces of the Shadow to muster far more rapidly, and more far-reaching than they would normally appear.

Standing in his way, the powerful fighter Thálin can be difficult to overcome. No slouch in the Fortitude and Strength department, Thálin is also able to keep moving past enemies that have not been defeated in combat. If the Black Serpent is unable to take Thálin out completely, the proud dwarf can easily get past the Lord of Harad even with his double movement. Heroes such as Eometh can move rapidly, and can be stymied by the presence of such a powerful warrior. The Black Serpent can be used as a deterrent or can be sent after the heroes with lower Strength, using his large hand of cards and high Strength to block the early attacks of the hero, and following up with his more powerful attacks.

The mighty Lord of Harad, the Black Serpent is a terrifying foe on the battlefield. Able to battle from afar or up close and personal, he can spell doom for many an unprepared hero.

More of the devastating minions are to come, spreading the influence of Sauron and corrupting all the lands they come across.

Middle-earth Quest is a game of adventure and conflict set in the time leading up to the creation of the Fellowship. One player will adopt to mantle of Sauron and do his best to spread his evil influence across the lands. Up to three players become heroes and will do their best to foil Sauron's foul plots, and rally the peoples of Middle-earth to their side.

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