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Council of Elrond • View topic - Fixing Fallen Saruman

Fixing Fallen Saruman

Where the Virtual Boyz plan their latest capers

Moderator: Virtual Card Development

Postby Bandobras Took » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:18 pm

Okay, no Wizard's Voice -- Pallando's Hood already pulls Wizard's Voice.

So perhaps Honey On The Tongue or Join With That Power?
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Postby marcos » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:25 pm

honey on the tongue looks ok to me, though it will help him having more Character points, you'll have a 17 DI saruman every turn (without corruption check, not like wizard's voice)
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Postby Bandobras Took » Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:40 pm

On the other hand, you say goodbye to a character as soon as your opponent sideboards Ire of the East.

I lean somewhat in the direction of Join With That Power, since it will be useable by Euog and work with a Fallen Saruman influence deck, faction-gathering deck, or item-heavy deck. Also his whole speech to Gandalf in Fellowship "As that power grew, its proved friends would also grow." :twisted:
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Postby Thorsten the Traveller » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:15 am

join with that power does fit nicely themewise, but do you want to tap into more possible cheezy half-orc breeding? I would choose rather Honey on Tongue then, of course there is the misuse, but it can also be used on active influencing decks. But, if it's more active Saruman you seek, why not Secret art of Flame, he can survive the big burning attack by himself, could be fun, Saruman attacking Edoras in person. :D
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Postby Bandobras Took » Sat Mar 01, 2008 2:09 am

As long as Strident Spawn remains unique, Half-Orc Breeding for Fallen Saruman is not Cheezy. Trust me on this one.

Edit: More In-Depth response.

I would be hesitant about having Many-Coloured Robes recycling two Sorcery cards when one of Fallen Saruman's abilities is to tap to recycle the same. Also, Half-Orcs may be played at a Haven, but this is counterbalanced by the Stage Points they give (3 per faction is tough for 1 MP). The rolls for Greater Half-Orcs are rather difficult, and you have to draw into a Unique card in Strident Spawn before you can play them -- recycling Join won't help as much as one might think, but will certainly help a deck that aims at one faction/turn or is facing lots of corruption from an opponent.

Edit Part Two:
My memory failed me (I've been at work 50 of the last 98 hours). Half-Orc factions are only 1 stage point. Still, I don't think cheeze is to be had with the Half-Orc factions on Fallen Saruman's side.
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Postby Thorsten the Traveller » Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:31 pm

I like the pillage and burn theme for Saruman, also for the White Hand V, but I guess it must be tuned down a bit. 2x SotW and 2x BRCT with 4 items can get you a possible 20 MP's. Then on top there's the Saruman bonus cards. Maybe a bit too much. As FW he doesn't suffer from maya/elf-lord hazards typically. Okay he has no big Troll or Grimburgoth, but he does have spells/magic, so I think the attacks can be done.

You're right about recycling two sorceries, though I still think the tapping ability of Saruman is rarely used, I mean if he's actually travelling and doing stuff.

As I've said in response to your Strident Spawn UEP proposal, though not utterly cheezy for Saruman, it can be very decent indeed, and there is no need to incourage the half-orc squat. You want to diversify the Saruman game, making him more active, and I'm all with you, so there's no faction booster needed, if people still want that type of deck they just play Wormtongue with Lordly Presence every turn, or Freca, or Wolf. Also, JwtP might also be too good as an all round card actually. Honey on the tongue could be nice if he wants to go for aggressive influence strategy only.

I thought about this for Man of Skill, a Saruman Mission-card. I'm not saying Saruman needs this card to make him better obviously, but then again, Virtualizing is also about introducing new things to spice it up. Rationale behind this card obviously: Saruman studies the art of Ring-making, both with the good guys and the bad guys, so in the end, he can make his own rings!! Besides, I just thought discarding a Lost Tome in Dol Guldur to play Ringlore is pretty cool...

Man of Skill V - stage permanent event
(3) MP 2 SP 1 CP

Unique. Saruman specific. Place this card on Saruman if he is in play. If on Saruman, you may tap Man of Skill during the site phase at Minas Tirith if you play a Lost Knowledge item; this card never untaps. If this card is tapped, invert it (rotate it 180) when Saruman succesfully plays Ringlore during the site fase at Dol Goldur. If this card is inverted, it may be stored at a protected wizard-haven and you receive 3 MP's. If this card is stored, Saruman may tap and play any gold-ring item during the site fase at an untapped protected wizard-haven. All rings in play give +1 corruption points.

Too powerful? Or too difficult? Let's hear it!
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Postby Bandobras Took » Sat Mar 01, 2008 5:51 pm

The problem is once again requiring specific sites. Fallen Saruman through Saruman's Machinery is already the only FW that needs a specific site.

When I think about it, Lordly Presence is better for squatting Half-Orc play than Join with that power. You'd need a 6 character company for Join to equal Lordly Presence's automatic +5, and Lordly Presence gives card draw -- something you really want in a squatting deck. Join With That Power works better the larger the company is, but can give a bonus to ccs as well (further encouraging active Sorcery and/or Item decks) and can be used by Orcs/Trolls (well . . . Euog, really, but maybe we'll get a Virtual Troll Diplomat at some point. :))

If we're going to look at Man of Skill harking back to playing Rings, I would make it more generally useful and require no specific sites.

Man of Skill:
Unique. Tap to cancel and discard Rolled Down to the Sea before it resolves. If Saruman's company successfully plays Ringlore or Secrets of Their Forging at a Dark-hold, your Special Ring Items are worth one more than their full Marshalling Point value.

I wouldn't give Saruman any more corruption from Man of Skill. If he's running Rings, he's already got 1 CP from Saruman's Ring, and if he's active, he's going to have another from Virtual Never Refuse. He also has the innate -1 to corruption checks that tapped me out twice in a game vs. Marcos. :)

This does keep the "quest" aspect, in that making information playable at a Dark Hold takes at least a little work. This would also make it slightly easier for Fallen Saruman to pull off New Ringlord if so inclined. The bonus MPs would come from Rings successfully played.

Saruman's tapping ability to recover Spells/Sorcery is useful if you've built your deck around the idea. Cards like Tales of the Hunt/Jewel of Beleriand (from Virtual Cup of Farewell) are rather exciting.
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Postby Bandobras Took » Sat Mar 01, 2008 6:04 pm

And some alternate flavor quotes to go along with the virtual versions:

Saruman: . . . Saruman has long studied the arts of the Enemy himself, and thus we have often been able to forestall him . . . --LotR II

The Forge-Master: . . . We make good armour and keen swords, but we cannot again make mail or blade to match those that were made before the dragon came. Only in mining and building have we surpassed the old days . . . --LotR II

Many-Coloured Robes: . . . his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours . . . --LotR II

Man of Skill: But Saruman said nay, and repeated what he had said to us before . . . Into Anduin the Great it fell . . . There let it lie until the End. --LotR II
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Postby Thorsten the Traveller » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:21 am

Well it's a mission card, so of course he needs to go to specific places. This was meant more as something different alltogether, no more focus on machineries and orc-breeding or even faction gathering.
But what exactly is the problem with having specific sites to go to? They are available at will, okay sometimes it takes a little specific deck design, that's part of the game, but why so intend on having a Saruman that's fully flexible like an Indy Jones deck? You want to start winning tourneys with him? :lol:
I see no problem with Dol Goldur, it's around the corner, and it's the only place thematically apropriate for this action in the 29-30th century of the third age.
I thought the card as an investment - okay you're not winning in a GO one deck tourney if that is the objective, so maybe it's more of a dreamcard actually - but playing rings at your haven can be very nice, especially if you have a possible Ringlore V to immediately test it with!

So I like your version but it's a bit pale.
Also if you can recylce a ring every turn, do you have experience with rolled down being a problem then? I find that, unless opponent draws it very early in the game, you won't face Rolled Down more than 3 times, and only twice in one turn max., so your ring-recycling should make you pretty invulnerable to it. But, we'll keep on brooding then, maybe something that gives a boost to a Saruman One-ring deck, last time anyone won a tourney with a FW one-ring was probably before 1997. :wink:

I'd just like to see something that gives Saruman a good new strategy that actually works for him, competitively but also thematically, because next to Gandalf he's the only wizard we actually know stuff about, it would be a waste to let that lie unused, and just taking away some obstacles turning him into a good alrounder seems like a pitty to me.
The slash 'n burn theme is nice though.

About Join with That Power, it's my point exactly, that it might be too good. They could have given Gandalf a Friend or Three too with his Grey Hat...

Great quotes, you really are a fan! The one for Saruman would actually fit better with Man of Skill I'd say. If you put it on him it makes him look like he's one of the good guys :)
But the one from Forge-master is actually Gloin saying that, right?

Seems you recovered from your work marathon, that's good!
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Postby Bandobras Took » Sun Mar 02, 2008 12:46 am

If we're going to a specific site, I'd still prefer something other than Dol Guldur, since Pass the Doors sends you there and a FW can already get full MPs with it from Wizard's Trove. And we want something that people would play at least as much as the original -- that means if it's going to be difficult, the reward had better be worth it.

The problem of specific sites is best illustrated by the White Hand. No matter what, if I want the White Hand, I have to keep somebody at Isengard or the White Towers. With Fallen Saruman's low GI, that's extremely limiting. Cards that require specific sites mean your opponent knows what's coming and can sideboard as needed. If my opponent knows I'm going to have to go to Dol Guldur, he'll have the hazards ready and quite possibly a large RW company to CvCC me before I go back.

If he isn't sure if I'll be hitting Dol Guldur or Minas Morgul, there's enough leeway for me to sneak in -- and I can adapt based on what an opponent does.

The quest cards that require specific sites are all extremely high MP cards (Fate of the Ithil-Stone, Into the Smoking Cone, Mithril, Kill All, Lord and Usurper). Even Pass the Doors is above average. The requirements for such cards are also designed to net you MPs along the way (Palantiri, Rings, Vein of Arda, Red Book/News, Breach/Invade). In this sense, the White Hand (as well as the other "Big" FW cards) constitute wizard-specific quest cards. Other FW-specific resources should provide tangible benefits along certain directions, but I'm not sure they should be the source of the MPs themselves (again, other than the Big cards).

Rolled Down to the Sea is brutal. I've seen it played 4-5 times a game (and that from being sideboarded in). Three or four times is sufficient to seriously hamper a ring deck, and twice in one turn is disaster. The other consideration is that if you're busy recycling Rings to defend against Rolled, you're not recycling them for MPs.

Join With That Power is far weaker than A Friend Or Three because of the diplomat requirement and the company size -1. It's good, but I don't believe it will be overpowered. Since Gandalf (for example) can recycle New Friendship, Saruman would need at least a 4-character company (with the corresponding hazard limit) to get the same bonus.
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Postby Ringbearer » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:36 am

I'd rather see another card than Man of Skill virtualised. The original is unique and in mirror matchups it would block an entire strategy.
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Postby Thorsten the Traveller » Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:27 am

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Postby Bandobras Took » Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:23 am

That's the whole point: the trade-off needs to be worth it. A measly 3 MPs for playing Lost Knowledge at Minas Tirith, Ringlore at Dol Guldur, and then storing it in order to be able to play a Gold Ring Item if you haven't already tapped your Wizardhaven? A raw turn breakdown of that is:

2 turns to get to Minas Tirith.
1 turn to get to Dol Guldur.
2 tuns to get back to Isengard to store.

5 turns for only 3 MPs (Unless you manage to do Pass the Doors as well) is not a sufficient trade-off. Never mind that you're giving yourself a greater chance of corrupting yourself if you do play a Gold Ring Item at your Wizardhaven.

As for dunk decks -- if your opponent can't stop you, you win no matter what. This is entirely different from an MP gathering deck, where your opponent might still gather more MPs than you.

"Quest" type resources need to give effects worth the effort. On the other hand, making Man of Skill into a resource that competes with the White Hand for MPs isn't too hot either -- one should simply Virtualize the White Hand. I agree with Ringbearer -- I don't see a need for Virtualizing Man of Skill. If it is to be done, though, it should be worth it and fit within the overall frame of what is done with any other Fallen Saruman cards and FW cards in general.

I can think of no other Fallen Wizard who has a Unique, specific quest card other than their big one. I do not believe it will strengthen Fallen Saruman if one of his specific uniques is antithetical to his others. At most, such a card should give him a tangible general bonus for a two-turn effort.

Here's another idea:

Man Of Skill:
Unique. Tap Man of Skill to cancel and discard Rolled Down To The Sea before it resolves. Alternatively, Tap Man of Skill to prevent a character from being discarded due to a body check. All of Saruman's corruption checks are modified by -1.

I am simply in favor of general strength as opposed to very specific and easily counterable cards -- that is also why I argued against the specific sites of Marcos' alternate White Hand. Tapping Minion Wellinghall will be hideously difficult once the new Awakened Plant boosters are considered, and asking people to visit any Dark-hold is risky enough even without the Virtual Nazgul are abroad. There should be a big reward for such a thing, and I'm not sure it should be specific to Fallen Saruman to do it.
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Postby Jambo » Mon Mar 03, 2008 9:50 am

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Postby Balin » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:11 am

__

Let them come! There is one dwarf yet in Moria that still draws breath!
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