Fixing Fallen Saruman

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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took »

Jambo wrote:MCRs is an awful card and arguably wrong anyway, since it's the only one of the FW specifics that requires the wizard to tap. Recycling spells is not that great an idea since Saruman's special ability can also do this.
The idea is to give him one spell that he can get back without having to tap. White Light Broken is perfect for this, since the cc bonus will help in a magic/spell-heavy deck.

Before going too heavy off the orc end, it should be remembered that Saruman also recruited the Dunlendings for his war against Rohan -- I still think giving him a minion resource focus will be sufficient.
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Post by Jambo »

Bandobras Took wrote:
Jambo wrote:MCRs is an awful card and arguably wrong anyway, since it's the only one of the FW specifics that requires the wizard to tap. Recycling spells is not that great an idea since Saruman's special ability can also do this.
The idea is to give him one spell that he can get back without having to tap. White Light Broken is perfect for this, since the cc bonus will help in a magic/spell-heavy deck.

Before going too heavy off the orc end, it should be remembered that Saruman also recruited the Dunlendings for his war against Rohan -- I still think giving him a minion resource focus will be sufficient.
Agreed!
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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took »

In another thread it was mentioned that one should not obsolete the original versions. I think in the case of Many-Coloured Robes, an exception should be made (as with First of the Order, the original card is so crappy it's not funny), but does anybody feel that the Virtual Forge-Master/Saruman cards completely obsolete their old ones?
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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Well, technically speaking the original First of the Order and Lordly Presence can have their uses still in other types of decks, but it will be hard trying to balance that off against a Saruman that has to tap to use the Robes, so...but if you agree to use UEP's, there's no problem :wink:

I must say I think it's a pitty you take a bit of a narrow look at the game Bandobras. I mean, you want to enhance general competitiveness of Saruman, that's fine, but it doesn't have to stop there, nor do all cards have to be supportive just towards that goal. We've already established that your Saruman V and Forgemaster would really give him a good boost. It doesn't drain all the energy to try and think of new stuff, or does it? I just want to add flavour to the guy, you of all people as a Fallen Saruman fan should be in favor of that.

And I don't agree with your analysis of the strength of my proposal. You know there are actually other things you can play in Minas Tirith, stuff that can even help you along the way to The White Hand (factions, Keys, or heck! a palantir, nice to go with Fate o Ithil V). And if you play a sloppy half-orc at Isengard each turn, you can also untap Isengard each turn and play a ring there. Then your mp's per turn will rise sharply. No you can't start burning from turn one anywhere you like. We've already got a Balrog to do that, what fun...

Corruption problem? Saruman doesn't have to keep the rings, he can give them to his buddy's, reducing their mind and making them thralls to his new found ring-creating powers! And he's got FotO and your JwtP and WLB! In fact the plus on corruption for rings might make other people's lives difficult, not yours because you are prepared....Try to see the possibilities also of some nice plays, in stead of just thinking of ways to make Saruman better protected against the evils of cards and slow cardmanagement. I agree with your Rolled Down proposal, Saruman studied the lore of the Rings, he knows where the Ring went, it didn't roll down...

What would be cool too, is giving Saruman with stored Man of Skill the ability to make an influence check on any character with a ring in play, rather like Pallando with his Master of Doom. People came to Saruman for ring-advice, even Gandalf.

Basically I'm saying: so what? So what if he's the only FW with a mission card? Why on earth would that be an important fact? So what if Man of Skill is not the focus of his troubles, and doesn't need to be changed? You want to focus on Saruman as an Orc breeding faction gathering Free-hold burning minion? That's fine too, I like it. But there also was another site to the guy, and maybe that could be used to create something new, not just make him more competitive.
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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took »

And if I could stack my deck to guarantee I draw cards in the correct order, I'd be right there with you. :)

Such a card as you suggest is by definition narrow. There is one prescribed path, and that's it. Any deck like that has more problems with getting the right card at the right time than most decks, simply because it has to.

Also, as soon as you untap a site with Saruman's Machinery on it by playing a new character, Saruman's Machinery gets discarded (not to mention Fortress, but Keys can recycle that).

The whole reason I introduced the topic was to enhance the general competitiveness of Fallen Saruman. It certainly doesn't drain my energy to think of new stuff, but novelty is not a virtue on its own. Well-balanced, feasible, and worthwhile are all qualities that have to be considered.

Flavor is at best subjective. The point of Virtual Cards is to open up new strategies or shore up weak ones. Fallen Saruman already has a quest card that will take him to Dol Guldur in the form of Pass the Doors of Dol Guldur, which is worth Full MPs with Wizard's Trove. No new strategy is opened up. No underused strategy is strengthened by such a card as you have proposed.

As I have stated before, it's a minimum 5 turns to store the card you have proposed. That means you'll have about one turn to use its ability, because your opponent will call on his next turn (give or take). You're better off tapping Dol Guldur with a Hero Palantir using non-Virtual Fallen Saruman and playing Pass the Doors with Rescue Prisoners, then moving back to Isengard for a nice (and less dependent on perfect card draw) 11 MPs.

Would I like to open up play? Yes. Am in favor of new strategies and flavor? Yes. But as I've tried to communicate, I don't see how the Man of Skill you've proposed does either.

Now, the influence check on any character with a Ring sounds interesting. :) I'd still look for a way to make it a 3 or 4-turn quest rather than 5, though. Perhaps:

Man of Skill:
Saruman may tap to cancel and discard Rolled Down to the Sea before it resolves. Tap this card during a site phase where Saruman's company successfully plays a Stolen Knowledge card. Invert this card if it is tapped and Saruman's company successfully plays a Special Ring Item using Ringlore or Secrets of Their Forging. If this card is inverted, it gives 3 Marshalling Points and Saruman need not be at the same site as a character bearing a Ring Item in order to influence them.

How does that sound?
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Post by Jambo »

I agree with Bandobras that one of the main issues with Fallen Saruman is his special cards and missions are too specific. On that note, I firmly believe that avoiding adding another "specific" mission card is paramount. To that effect I'd like to go with the idea of a burning and looting The White Hand that's not site specific.

I'd also like to go with improving Saruman's ring playing possibilities and certainly a Many Coloured Robes that helped with that would be neat. The way the original card works requiring Saruman to tap is so clearly broken in its current form. However, there is possibly one alternative to designing a direct replacement for Many Coloured Robes and that would be to design a card that actually untaps him during his end-of-phase. This would not only free up him to get a spell, it would also free him up to use the original Many Coloured Robes. With a plethora of decent Sorcery spells, this could potentially open up many new strategies. Is this an option?

With a card being thought about to allow Saruman to tap to cancel and discard Rolled Down to the Sea, maybe such effects could be combined? With Saruman more free to recycle spells this would help with dealing with FW-specific corruption (White Light Broken) and ring tests being scuppered by Blind to Wests (recycling Wizards Test).

PS I've never understood why Fallen Saruman came with an innate -1 to corruption?!
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Post by Jambo »

E.g:

Man of Skill V:
SP: 2
Unique. Saruman specific. Place this card on Saruman if he is in play. Saruman may tap to cancel and discard Rolled Down to the Sea before it resolves. You may tap a character under Saruman's control to untap Saruman at the beginning of your end-of turn phase.

Could also be at the end of the site phase to avoid confusion with spell recycling ability.

If it is thought to be too powerful then one could just up the number of characters which need to be tapped to untap Saruman. There other ways like corruption, but I'm loathe to go down a corruption route.
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Post by Bandobras Took »

The -1 was mainly there because they were expecting people to be able recycle the original First of the Order. Then they worded Many Coloured Robes the wrong way.

I'm not sure about an untapping ability such as suggested. Surely Tales of the Hunt would fulfil the same function?
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Post by Jambo »

Tales of the Hunt has to be played at a Border-hold and on a man, and also requires to be drawn and played during the course of a game. Man of Skill can be played as a starting stage resource. So, I would think Tales of the Hunt does not even come close to fulfilling the same role. Your mileage may vary of course.
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Such a card as you suggest is by definition narrow. There is one prescribed path, and that's it.
Well of course it is, I don't contest that, but please do not overstate how narrow! You say it's a 5 turn quest. I say it's a 3 turn quest. 1 to Minas Tirith, 1 to Dol Guldur, and 1 to Isengard. Because in the meantime you can do other stuff. You know that there has actually been an occurance of someone winning a tournament playing Fate of the Ithil Stone? (and Ithil Stone/white tree/return of the king).

"Stack your deck in the right order?" Come on, you can start with Man of Skill, so you just need 2 copies of Lost Tome, and you cycle in at the end a Ringlore, now how hard can that be? In the mean time you can do whatever you like with your deck. Sure, the power of the card only starts then, and I guess that is your main problem with it, it's too slow...yes, true, FW don't win in 4 turns, what a pitty.

But you are right, this thread is about fixing Saruman, this was just a little excursion to diversify. Still I have to maintain, that FW Saruman isn't actually that broken, your suggestions are good Bandobras, they would help the general Saruman deck already alot, and I actually have a little hunch you would like to help him too much. :wink:

You and Jambo say the main problem is his cards are too specific. I don't see it that way, sure it takes more effort in timing and deck construction, but that's the case for all FW, if Strident were non-unique, WH would be a walk in the park for Saruman actually. But he struggles with getting mp's to count, even more than the other FW - because his thing is factions and they are only worht 2, so Bandobras proposal fixes that - and also with playing the stage-cards: minimum requirements, and only org.phase, how ugly is that! Don't forget that WH actually gives 8 MP's combined...

A FW player just has too many cards to play in general to get some mp's, and recycling only adds to his main problem: it's slow. So about making the guy competitive: let him play stage in any fase, give him an absolute minimum of stage-card requirements, don't let him recycle anything. Fallen Rada breeding doggies, that's the thing!

I do think my MoS brings a new mechanism in a way: playing lots of rings easily, thus making really good use of the Saruman's ring, possibly/probably reducing the mind of his characters so he can play more characters or keep more DI for himself to start influence the rest of middle earth.

I do think Jambo's proposal can be a bit too strong actually, but it depends. If you want Saruman to sit around at Isengard as usual, tapping 1 or 2 or even more characters might not be a problem. Then it's just Half-orcs all over, Saruman can recycle his Voice, just add a Hall of Fire and you're done. If you have an active Saruman then it's another matter. So perhaps it could be limited to non haven sites?
I'm not sure what the proposed ability has to do with Man of Skill however.

Yes the -1 is dumb, best not include that in a Saruman V, if possible, should be possible, right?
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Post by marcos »

Thorsten the Traveller wrote:"Stack your deck in the right order?" Come on, you can start with Man of Skill, so you just need 2 copies of Lost Tome, and you cycle in at the end a Ringlore, now how hard can that be? In the mean time you can do whatever you like with your deck. Sure, the power of the card only starts then, and I guess that is your main problem with it, it's too slow...yes, true, FW don't win in 4 turns, what a pitty.
hey, i got a FW deck that can win in 2 or 3 turns and b_took and Ringbearer knows that ;)
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Post by Bandobras Took »

It's not 1 turn to Minas Tirith. It's two. And therefore it's the "doing the stuff in the meantime" that requires stacking. :)

I know there's been an occurrence of Fate of the Ithilstone winning. There's even been an occurrence of Trossell dunking several times in a row. Keep in mind that Fate of the Ithil-Stone nets you significant MPs as a requirement for the 7-MP reward. This for a similar turn investment (using Bridge or Mountains of Shadow).

I'm not saying FWs should win in 4 turns. I'm saying any card that requires longer than that had better be worth it in terms of MPs and abilities. Any ability that is only accomplished after that long is going to be used one turn. Possibly two, if you're quick and your hazards have stuffed your opponent.
But you are right, this thread is about fixing Saruman, this was just a little excursion to diversify. Still I have to maintain, that FW Saruman isn't actually that broken, your suggestions are good Bandobras, they would help the general Saruman deck already alot, and I actually have a little hunch you would like to help him too much. Wink
Here I'm going to have to flat-out disagree with you. Fallen Saruman is that broken. This was the whole point of my original post. My suggestions, I'll agree, are good. The only time I've gone overboard making a card too strong is when I've been trying to improve a suggested Virtualization of a card that didn't really need it in the first place in order to make it useful within the context of a standard two-deck tournament game.

I challenge you to produce one instance in this thread of where I've tried to help Fallen Saruman too much. You're the one who's claiming that Rolled isn't that big of a problem and therefore my idea for Man of Skill isn't that great.
You and Jambo say the main problem is his cards are too specific.
Neither of us has said that. What we've said is that suggested Virtual Cards are too specific. This is entirely accurate.
I don't see it that way, sure it takes more effort in timing and deck construction, but that's the case for all FW
Surely you must be joking. Radagast getting 6 allies requires effort in timing and deck construction? Gandalf or Pallando getting 5 factions? Alatar getting a high-prowess company and 12 Stage Points? Now you're just being silly. None of those is any way as specific as even a non-Virtual White Hand, let alone a quest to Minas Tirith/Dol Guldur/Storing.
If Strident were non-unique, WH would be a walk in the park for Saruman actually.
That's the UEP forum, not the Virtual forum. And even then, you're still being inaccurate. It wouldn't be a walk in the park, it would be doable in the standard two-deck format. UEPs and Virtual Cards have nothing to do with each other, push come to shove.
A FW player just has too many cards to play in general to get some mp's, and recycling only adds to his main problem: it's slow. So about making the guy competitive: let him play stage in any fase, give him an absolute minimum of stage-card requirements, don't let him recycle anything. Fallen Rada breeding doggies, that's the thing!
I appreciate the sarcasm, but I again ask you to point to anything I've suggested in this thread that makes things too easy for Fallen Saruman.
I do think my MoS brings a new mechanism in a way: playing lots of rings easily, thus making really good use of the Saruman's ring, possibly/probably reducing the mind of his characters so he can play more characters or keep more DI for himself to start influence the rest of middle earth
No offense, but have you been reading anything I've said?

1) A FW company does not start at Isengard. At most, you can start at the Ettenmoors.
2) Therefore you cannot reach Minas Tirith in one turn without a movement booster, meaning you need to draw into it or play Carambor.
3) You can't be sure of drawing the movement booster, so you must use Thrall to play Carambor.
4) This means your starting stage cards have been decided. Man of Skill and Thrall.
5) You get to Minas Tirith in one turn. You've had a four-card draw to get lost knowledge. I'm no statistician, but the odds are you haven't drawn it. Especially if you went first. Never mind some sort of MP card to play while you're there.
6) You now need to go to Dol Guldur and play Ringlore. Unfortunately, your opponent running Virtual Nazgul proceeds to kill half your party. Come to think of it, your opponent running Awakened Plants kills half your party.
7) Having successfully played Ringlore with whatever Sage you managed to bring and have survive untapped through the Nazgul and auto attacks (remembering that you do not have a 6-mind sage--you've already had to use Thrall on Carambor) you head to Isengard, 3 turns in, and store. In the best case scenario, you may now play a Gold Ring item next turn. Your opponent will play Rolled the turn after that. You must now bring a character into play to untap your protected Wizardhaven, which will discard Fortress, making your Wizardhaven unprotected unless you have Keys. Oh, wait, you already tapped out Minas Tirith. Fallen Saruman already has a mini-quest to go to Minas Tirith in the form of Keys of Orthanc. Unless you're suggesting that you can draw both Keys and a Lost Knowledge on the First turn, you're going to have one or the other, not both, which mean's you're only going to get one Gold Ring from Man of Skill, tops, before the game ends. That's if you haven't tapped your Wizardhaven to play something useful.

That is what is wrong with the Man of Skill you proposed. Even the best case scenario isn't that great. As I said before. The more realistic scenario requires 5 turns to get a use out of it. In which case, it sucks.
I do think Jambo's proposal can be a bit too strong actually, but it depends. If you want Saruman to sit around at Isengard as usual, tapping 1 or 2 or even more characters might not be a problem. Then it's just Half-orcs all over, Saruman can recycle his Voice, just add a Hall of Fire and you're done. If you have an active Saruman then it's another matter. So perhaps it could be limited to non haven sites?
I'm not sure what the proposed ability has to do with Man of Skill however.
I agree. As I said, Tales of the Hunt is a great card for the purpose of untapping Fallen Saruman.

About Half-Orcs:

I'd really like to see that decklist some time. Somehow, you're Euog, Doeth, and two Ill-Favoured Fellows along with 3 factions that require a 9 for 1 MP and 3 factions that require an 11 for 2 are winning Fallen Saruman the game as he squats at a Wizardhaven. I really want to know how you're managing it.
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Post by marcos »

can you resume your long post in a few words? lol :lol:
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Post by Bandobras Took »

Well, the short version is: Thorsten is wrong. Such a statement requires explanation, though. :)
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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller »

Hmm, I obviously got you hunched up for some reason, must be my insistence on trying to make a point, but I don't think it's my inaccuracy of reading/understanding your posts.
Quote:
You and Jambo say the main problem is his cards are too specific.

Neither of us has said that. What we've said is that suggested Virtual Cards are too specific. This is entirely accurate.
Well then what does this mean in Jambo's post?
I agree with Bandobras that one of the main issues with Fallen Saruman is his special cards and missions are too specific
Then, I never said it would take one turn to go to Minas Tirith, or did I? I said you need to spend 1 turn to go there. You can 'stack' the deck with stuff you can do down there, saplings/rings/factions whatever, and then when you're in the neighbourhood, you visit Minas Tirith, why is that so hard to understand? Okay it's not the absolute perfect fit if you want to be completely free of where to go for your items, so if you don't draw either the keys, or the Men of Anorien, or the Tower Guard, then you waste a turn playing a Tome, that's true.

Also I said that the MP award for me is just a matter of debate. In fact, the whole card is just a shot at introducing something which I thought would be a cool theme for Saruman: producing his own rings.
btw Fate is worth only 7 mp's for at least 3 turns (more if you don't play the palantir in Barad Dur), that is not a good MP/turn yield, and it was exactly my point to make, that Fate is worth it only because you combine it with other things along the line.

Your little scetch of how things would go is funny. I'll send you something of a decklist with explanation of how things might also work out. For starters, Carambor does not agree well with Saruman, wouldn't you say? But in all honesty, and as I've said once and again, it's true that the card would only pay off in the long run. I'd best introduce it to Nicolai then.
and I actually have a little hunch you would like to help him too much. :wink:
This is what I said. Where did I imply that you made actual proposals for this? It was just a joke because I know you like fallen Saruman. Nevertheless, I do maintain that he is not that broken, certainly not with your suggestions, he is if you compare him with highly competitive tourney speed decks...if you want we can have a pm discussion about that, no need to further indulge here. I don't want to draw the experience card, but rest assured, I've also had my fair share of FW games in GO tournaments, so it might be worth it.

About half-orcs: With the four half orcs you mention (which you don't all have to play btw, that's your assumption), he would have no DI left indeed, but he could recycle Voice every turn with Jambo's proposal even after playing the faction himself, thus still having a shot at it with 6 DI. That's a 4 for HO and a 6 for GHO. With HoF, there would be no way to tap him out. That was all I was saying, and that's not exactly what we want to encourage, hence my proposal to make it possible only in non haven...

Actually I don't like the 'allegation' that I don't read your posts carefully, I'm a professional scolar and reading carefully is half of what I do. From the above I might even conclude that you have not always read my answers carefully. However, best to keep it at miscommunication, meccg is a complicated game, and English is not my first language either, so that could very well be it.

Now something more concrete, you liked the idea of making influence checks in ring-bearers from a distance. How could such a thing be realised? Should it also apply to the bearer of the One-ring? I must say the thought is really cool, that the bearer of the One-ring was to be persuaded to take it to Saruman in some way. But I was referring with this proposal in the first place to the fact that Saruman is an aknowledged connaisseur of the rings, so people seek out his advice. So perhaps leave it to gold-ring items then.

Man of Skill V
Playable on Saruman. If on Saruman, he may tap to make an influence attempt against the bearer of a gold-ring item. Saruman does not need to be at the same site as the bearer, and this influence attempt is modified by his unused general influence in stead of his direct influence (other influence rules still apply).

So this is along the lines of Prophet, except I skipped the part about the regions, since Saruman can have 10 GI free at best.
Note also that he could make the attempt at any time during your turn, so opponent can't tap him out and test next turn, he must test the same turn to be safe.

But once again, this is not a card to make him better, since you rely here on your opponent. The Rolled Down part can be added to make it more beneficial for him in general.

edit: sorry, he has 15 GI of course, don't know why I said 10, it's little but not that pathetic. 15 obviously is too much, so some modification is needed.
Last edited by Thorsten the Traveller on Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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