Doom Hangs on a Thread
The Treason of Saruman Is Now Available for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game
"Behold! you are come into a peril greater even than the wit of Wormtongue could weave into your dreams. But see! you dream no longer. You live. Gondor and Rohan do not stand alone. The enemy is strong beyond our reckoning, yet we have a hope at which he has not guessed."
–Gandalf, The Two Towers
Will you sit idle and feeble, spellbound to inaction by evil counsel? Or will you ride to war? Now is the time to act. The Treason of Saruman Saga Expansion for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is now available at your local retailer and online through our webstore!
With its three new scenarios, The Treason of Saruman thrusts you deep into some of the greatest conflicts from the first half of The Two Towers. You'll hunt the pack of Uruk-hai that have kidnapped your companioins, you'll confront the hordes of Orthanc from atop the walls of Helm's Deep, and you'll march on Isengard to confront the traitorous wizard, Saruman.
As a Saga Expansion, The Treason of Saruman draws its inspiration directly from the novel, meaning its cards are full of memorable villains and locations, as well as the echoes of the way that Saruman's treachery nearly brought ruin to Rohan and all the free peoples of Middle-earth. Moreover, while these scenarios can be played on their own, they can also be played as part of your ongoing The Lord of the Rings campaign, further advancing the epic adventure that you started back in Bag End with The Black Riders.
Additionally, The Treason of Saruman gives you three new heroes, including a Fellowship sphere version of Aragorn (The Treason of Saruman, 1), plus thirty-three new player cards (three copies each of eleven different player cards). These add new allies to each sphere, along with new events and attachments, including two of the most recognizable Mounts from The Lord of the Rings, Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman, 14) and Arod (The Treason of Saruman, 8).
Ride Swiftly to Battle
"Down leaped Shadowfax, like a deer that runs surefooted in the mountains. The White Rider was upon them, and the terror of his coming filled the enemy with madness."
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Fans of The Lord of the Rings will remember how miraculously Gandalf's return to Helm's Deep completed the fateful rout of Saruman's army. However, it wouldn't have been possible except for the loyal service of Shadowfax, the noblest of all steeds.
Ever since Foundations of Stone introduced Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone, 110) and the Mount trait, fans have shared their desire to see this trait expanded. After all, the greatest Mounts in The Lord of the Rings, such as Shadowfax, were noteworthy characters in their own right. When Gandalf asks for Shadowfax as a gift from Théoden, he doesn't just say that he wants a great horse to transport him swiftly; he says that there is "a bond of love" between them.
That bond of love appears to exist, also, between Legolas and his Mount, Arod. In a moment from later in the trilogy, Arod became fearful within the dark caverns beneath Dwimorberg, the Haunted Mountain, and Legolas laid his hands upon the horse's eyes and "sang some words that went soft in the gloom." Afterward, it is written, the horse "suffered himself to be led."
In the cases of both Shadowfax and Arod, though, while there may have been love between horse and rider, it was need that brought them together. After all, Mounts serve to move riders swiftly from one place to the next, and both these steeds introduce such abilities to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. Arod allows you to place progress on a location after its rider – the character to which it is attached – participates in an attack that destroys an enemy, and Shadowfax allows you to ready Gandalf, giving him the ability to move immediately from questing to defending, or from defending to attacking.
Still, a bond of love is not to be overlooked. Driven by their loyalty to their riders, both Arod and Shadowfax stand among the very limited number of attachments in the game that can play upon allies, so long as those allies are the ally versions of either Legolas (The Treason of Saruman, 5) or Gandalf (The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill, 10).
In fact, Shadowfax may even prompt a number of players to reevaluate the Gandalf ally from The Hobbit: Over Hill and Under Hill. That version of Gandalf can already commit to the quest without exhausting, and if you attach Shadowfax to him as a Mount, then he can both defend against an attack and ready to participate in the counter-attack. Moreover, Shadowfax also grants Gandalf both the Sentinel and Ranged keywords, so he can defend and attack even if the enemy he's defending and attacking is engaged with another player across the table.
Whether you use Arod to advance swiftly through the locations that pile up in the staging area or you use Shadowfax to ensure that Gandalf is everywhere you need him – when you need him there – these Mounts bolster your fellowship with speed and versatility, and you'll need all the speed and versatility you can find when you confront the evils of The Treason of Saruman.
In our earlier previews, we looked at the ways that the first and second scenarios from The Treason of Saruman introduce new challenges to The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, even as they offer thematic recreations of scenes taken directly from The Two Towers. In The Uruk-hai, your heroes must hunt down the band of Uruk-hai that have kidnapped members of your fellowship, and in Helm's Deep, your heroes switch places with the encounter deck, standing in the defense of Helm's Deep against a relentless onslaught of Orcs, Wild Men, and Uruk-hai that hope to burn through its locations and make progress on the quest.
Should you survive both these scenarios, however, the expansion's third and final scenario offers yet another challenge – a showdown with the mighty wizard Saruman. As with each of the other scenarios, The Road to Isengard comes with its own twists and innovative mechanics.
First of all, Stage 1B offers you a chance to rouse the Ents to action. At the beginning of the game, you place four copies of Ent of Fangorn (The Treason of Saruman, 46) into the staging area. Throughout Stage 1B, you don't reveal encounter cards during the quest phase or place progress on the quest. Instead, you have the opportunity to rally the Ents to your cause, and an Ent of Fangon is a powerful ally.
However, the time is always ticking, and at the end of each round you spend rallying the Ents, you place one resource upon the quest stage and raise your threat by one, as usual. Then, when you decide to move forward, you'll end up revealing one encounter card for each resource you place upon Stage 1B. Accordingly, the stage can lead to some of the most difficult and impactful decisions you'll have to make throughout The Treason of Saruman, because once you move forward, you must pass through a nest of dangerous locations, all reinforced by Saruman's Wizardry. Like Steaming Vent (The Treason of Saruman, 57), locations with Wizardry all trigger a nasty effect once they're explored.
Finally, should you reach the tower of Orthanc, you'll come face to face with the treacherous wizard, himself. Saruman (The Treason of Saruman, 47) is a truly menacing enemy whose attacks are made even more potent by his Wizardry. His Forced ability reads, "When Saruman is dealt a shadow card with a Wizardry effect, the defending player resolves that Wizardry effect as if he is the only player in the game." Importantly, because this ability is inherent to Saruman and not part of a Shadow effect, it cannot be cancelled by cards like A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock, 33) or Hasty Stroke (Core Set, 48).
Moreover, Saruman is even deadier while he's wielding his staff. Saruman's Staff (The Treason of Saruman, 48) combines a number of nasty effects that ensure your final encounter with the treacherous Istari will be every bit as epic and memorable as it deserves. First of all, since The Road to Isengard introduces an alternate loss condition that demands you keep cards in your hand, and because so many of the encounter cards in The Road to Isengard discard cards from your hand, Saruman's Staff punishes you for drawing cards:
"Forced: After a player draws any number of cards, Saruman attacks that player. Deal and resolve 2 shadow cards for this attack. Then, remove 1 damage from Saruman."
This Forced effect will trigger at least one extra attack each turn, when you draw cards during the resource phase, but it can trigger more times than that. Every time you draw one or more cards, you'll have to face Saruman's attack. Not only will you have to defend yourself against Saruman, though, but you'll have to defend yourself against him and both of the two shadow cards he gains. That means up to two shadow effects or up to two Wizardry effects that cannot be cancelled.
Finally, Saruman heals a point of damage each time he makes an attack triggered by his staff, and that means that each attack he makes takes you farther from victory. So long as Saruman has any remaining hit points, you can't win.
Altogether, this wizard and his staff present one of the most formidable challenges you'll have faced yet within The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and even if you manage to defeat him, the experience may haunt you further along your journeys. Even if you can find your way to victory, there's a chance you'll earn the burden, Saruman's Voice (The Treason of Saruman, 68).
The Next Leg of an Epic Journey
Whether you're looking to continue your The Lord of the Rings campaign or just looking for a few thrilling scenarios and new player cards, The Treason of Saruman is your chance to take your next steps along your epic journey through The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. This saga expansion is now available at your local retailer and online through our webstore. Pick up your copy today!