So big picture we have 3 (sort of 4*) modes.
Black Rider: no modifications
Fell Rider: +prowess/-DI and has to be alone
Heralded Lord: +DI/-prowess to whole company
Each instance of a mode card can be used to send your Ringwraith on 1 "mission" to a non-DH site. So Fell Rider seems like a good choice if you're going to grab an item (don't need the DI), or are using your Ringwraith for an offensive mission in CVCC or what-not. Heralded Lord is a better choice if you want to send your Ringwraith to snag a faction (or perhaps for an offensive influence attempt). And Black Rider is sort of a default neutral mode with no bonuses/drawbacks. Also, each Ringwraith has some bonuses/penalties for Fell Rider/Heralded Lord modes that make various choices seem more tailor fit for different strategies.
*Then there's a sort-of 4th mode:
Bade to Rule: don't leave DH at all, pumps GI +5
This seems to be a fairly popular choice (both from perusing the strategy briefs of the challenge decks, and from my distance memory of 25 years ago).
There's obviously some Ringwraiths (e.g. Adunaphel, Hoarmurath) that are pretty effective sitting at home, pumping your GI to 25(30), using their abilities, and tapping to bring your sideboard in as needed.
Lastly, there were a couple of allies that also provide modes:
Black Horse - puts you in Black Rider mode. Drawbacks: need one for each Ringwraith Follower too, and the ally seems a little fragile at 4/6 potentially bouncing your Ringwraith unexpectedly.
Creature of an Older World - puts you in Fell Rider mode. Drawbacks: can only be played at Barad-Dur, so you need another mode card to be able to play it in the first place (exception: Ren home site).
So I can figure out some effective Bade to Rule/Passive style Ringwraith strategies, but I'm looking for some advice on how to potentially build some more active Ringwraith strategies. And I'm especially interested in trying to figure out a way to utilize Ringwraith Followers in at least one build.
Here's a bunch of questions (some of these are more rules oriented, some more strategy oriented):
1) So I've read the cards 100 times, but for Black Rider/Heralded Lord mode cards, I have to discard all my Ringwraith Followers when I return to the DH??? So Ringwraith Followers can only go on a single trip and then are discarded??? Why did they do this???
2) Assuming the answer to question 1 isn't "no, you've misread the cards over and over again" - is there any reasonable way to play Ringwraith Followers for any purpose? The best thing I can come up with is to use Forced March to jump through a DH once I have a Ringwraith company in a mode so I can get multiple stops out of the Ringwraith Followers before they evaporate.
3) Timing Rules Question:
What does "during" mean here? Can I conduct other organization phase actions before discarding the mode card (and more importantly Ringwraith Followers)? More specifically, what I'm trying to figure out is whether a Ringwraith Follower can pick up an MP card and store it at the DH during the organization phase before being discarded.Discard this card and any other Ringwraith followers in the company during any of your following organization phases the company is at a Darkhaven.
4) Rules Question for Creature of an Older World:
Does the Fell Rider Mode that this Ally creates include all the effects of the the Fell Rider permanent-event card? (Specifically, the +2 prowess is mentioned, but the -3 DI is not)
5) If I play a mode card and I don't move my Ringwraith that turn, is the mode card still discarded next turn? Straight reading the card text, it seems like the answer is yes, but given that
a) that seems like total BS and
b) cardgamegeek's database of text has this alternate text for Black Rider:
I was hoping that there was an errata issued at some point I haven't been able to locate that allows playing the mode card to remain in play until you successfully leave the DH.Discard this card and any other Ringwraith followers in the company during any of your following organization phases the company is at a Darkhaven after having moved from a non-Darkhaven site to a Darkhaven
6) Back to strategy questions: for Minion decks that are trying to actively use their Ringwraiths, do they typically stick to one mode, or include some of multiple mode cards? My assumption here (just from general game-sense, and also the Challenge Deck lists) is that most decks pick one mode to commit to.
7) Are the Allies (Black Horse/Creature) more popular to use, or are the permanent-event modes still utilized? As I previously mentioned, outside of a Ren deck, Creature seems like a chore since you need a mode to get to Barad-Dur in the first place. The persistency of Black Horse is appealing, but I'm building decks for the two-deck/short-game format, so I'm not sure Black Horse gets me that many more trips away from home than just packing 3 copies of whatever mode I want to use anyhow. Also, it doesn't solve for my "How do I build a deck that effectively utilizes Ringwraith Followers?" conundrum since I need a copy of Black Horse for every Ringwraith Follower I bring into play.
Another rules question about The Witch-King:
There isn't a mechanism to move a Ringwraith from being controlled with no influence from his ability to being controlled by 1 influence as given in the rules right? From a different angle, this game text allows me to play 2 Ringwraith Followers only right? (I can't play two, and then say they're now being controlled using 1 DI each and then play two more that are now the ones controlled with no influence?)As your Ringwraith, up to two Ringwraith followers in his company may be controlled with no influence. You may bring these followers into play during separate organization phases.
How does this ability interact with Uvatha the Ringwraith's game text? If I play Uvatha as a Ringwraith Follower using his own game text, will that also take up one of the two "spots" from the Witch-King's game text? Or from a different angle, do I need to play Uvatha after two other Ringwraith Followers in order to get all three into play, or can I declare that he's using his own game text and not using the Witch-King's?
9) Last one (at least for now )
I was exploring an idea (a very thematic one I might add) to use the Witch-King as my Ringwraith and give him 3 Ringwraith Followers (2 from his text + Uvatha), put this company into Black Rider mode and then send them to Bag End to play Kill All But Not the Halfings, News of the Shire, and To Satisfy the Questioner. But it seems like it's almost impossible to get my Ringwraith Followers back to Barad-Dur without being discarded. Any thoughts on how to make this work, or am I just grasping at (extremely thematic) straws?
That's all for now. Thanks for any help, I know that's a lot to read/respond to.