Blade Tip (1U209)
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|Dark Whispers (1R210)|
Blade Tip (1U209) is a Ringwraith Condition from the Fellowship of the Ring set.
Blade Tip is a versatile Nazgul condition that, while not often used to win outright, can be used to maneuver the Free Peoples player into a very, very tight corner. As its effect is performed "at the start of each fellowship phase" and is an involuntary action to boot, it is often performed before other actions and can sometimes frustratingly (for your opponent) kill off key characters in spite of a nearby cure.
There are three major ways of getting Blade Tip out of your support area and into your target. The first is to simply win skirmishes and activate Blade Tip's Response action. The problem with this is that with dual Flaming Brand (2R32) on the one side and sacrificial Lórien Elf (1C53) or Sam on the other, it can be very difficult to get Blade Tip within a worthwhile character. The second way is to activate the ability of Úlairë Otsëa, Ringwraith in Twilight (3U86) and win skirmishes to force the Ring-bearer to begin taking burdens. This is already a suboptimal use of the Blade Tip, as you might only get three burdens assuming you struck by site 4 and the Fellowship followed the usual movement pattern, besides the previously mentioned weakness of requiring won skirmishes (and not only that, but winning the skirmish with at most one wound, practically impossible with the high prevalence of Legolas, Greenleaf (1R50) and Aragorn’s Bow (1R90) ).
Fortunately, there is a more reliable way to start shanking those annoying torch-wielding peasants and pesky Elves, and that's with Morgul Blade (1R216) . Morgul Blade basically allows Blade Tip to be used like a Black Breath (1U207) , letting you stab your opponent's companions as a skirmish action (which can also turn the skirmish in your favor with Úlairë Lemenya, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U232) on the table). Most players also seem to miss that you can use Morgul Blade to pull Blade Tip from the discard pile as well, rendering their same-turn Secret Sentinels (2R20) move worthless (there is also a certain amount of satisfaction in killing Aragorn with the same tip that killed Legolas a couple turns ago).
Naturally, with the ticking clock that Blade Tip is, it is going to be one of your most highly targeted conditions on the table, both in and out of your opponent's companions. Morgul Blade helps alleviate the sting of having it discarded from your Support Area, but Athelas (1U94) and other condition removal will be used posthaste to pluck it from their companion's side. Therefore, Blade Tip is usually best used as a distraction, causing your opponent to use valuable condition removal (and rightfully so) on the more immediate threats rather than any conditions you begin collecting in your Support Area.
It should also be pointed out that Blade Tip can be transferred to Allies as well as Companions. It may seem like a waste, but killing Elrond in the first few sites can be a crucial blow, depending. And as long as you've packed Morgul Blade it's no problem getting it back anyway.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Use with Morgul Blade (1R216) to shank at will
- Combine with Black Breath (1U207) to force a quick, painful death
- Use with Úlairë Lemenya, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U232) to selectively weaken companions
- Particularly nasty if you can get Lingering Shadow (12U166) on the same companion
- Anyone with vitality, especially Dwarves (who lack much condition removal in FOTR block)
- Athelas (1U94)
- Secret Sentinels (2R20)
- Deep in Thought (3C30) , Grown Suddenly Tall (4R92) , and other condition "nukes"
- Aragorn, King in Exile (1P365) and other "at the start of your turn" heals
- Dwarven Bracers (2U3) and other Response wound prevention (unintuitive though it may be)
In our previous article, Hayden presented Black Breath as a versatile card that can be easy to play and big to defend against. In conjunction with this article, I present Blade Tip, another uncommon card that doesn't clog the hand and can cause great damage to your opponent.
What does it do? Blade Tip is a must if you are playing a killing strategy. Once transferred to a companion, it will inflict a wound at the beginning of every turn. If transferred to the Ring-bearer, it will be a burden at the beginning of every turn.
How does it play? Like Black Breath, Blade Tip is a condition that can be played without spotting a minion and will never clog your hand. It has an ultimate low playing cost of 0 and with no playing restrictions - uniqueness or spotting a minion - you will often see it hit the table on the turn following the draw.
How does it work? Its use is little more complicated. Unlike Black Breath, you need to win a skirmish to transfer Blade Tip from your support area to a companion. This condition is useless while in your support area if you have trouble winning skirmishes. Using support cards such as Frozen by Fear or Morgul Blade, transferring the Tip will be easy.
Nazguls are naturally strong in the early game, especially if your opponent hasn't had a chance to set up his fellowship, and winning a skirmish then shouldn't be a problem. In the later game, pump cards will be the key to winning skirmishes and transferring Blade Tip. Using Morgul Blade, the disposable weapon, will also allow you to transfer Blade Tip before the skirmish has resolved, regardless of winner and loser.
What is the best combo for this card? Combining Black Breath and Blade Tip is a big advantage if you're playing a killing strategy. Blade Tip will give the wounds at the beginning of every turn, Black Breath will prevent the healing and the Fierce Riders will slow your opponent.
If you want to play a Ringwraith hurting deck, Black Breath and Blade Tip should be part of your base. I you prefer the intimidation deck, having one of each of these cards will intimidate your opponent, making him or her believe you have more in stock and will make them double think their assignment strategy to make sure Black Breath doesn't hit the most important companion or Blade Tip doesn't finish the killing job on the next start of turn.
Ringwraith is a great shadow culture to attack and destroy your opponent. If that is your style of play, Nazgul is your way!
>by Pascal Lajoie