Ulaire Cantea, Black Assassin (12R174)
|Ulaire Attea, Black Predator (12R173)||
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|Ulaire Enquea, Black Threat (12R175)|
Ulaire Cantea, Black Assassin (12R174) is a Ringwraith Minion from the Black Rider set.
Úlairë Cantëa, Black Assassin dares to ask the question: what if Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U231) and Úlairë Toldëa, Messenger of Morgul (1R236) were the same card? It turns out that the answer is: it'd be a pretty damn good card. Black Assassin fills the same role as those two classic cards, harshly punishing opponents when they don't respect the rule of 6 or let burdens stack up too high. Many opponents will end up letting burdens stack up, between the ubiquity of The One Ring, The Great Ring (19P1) and the fact that Sam, Son of Hamfast (1C311) is on the X-list in Standard and Expanded.
Black Assassin is, technically, a bit weaker than either of his predecessors. Unless your opponent is playing Isildur, Sword-bearer (18R54) , you'll probably need at least five burdens before you can use his Assignment: ability, and without those burdens, you won't get to choose who he kills. But he's cheaper, more efficient relative to his cost when you're not punishing your opponent's misplay, and just more versatile overall, which makes him a safer inclusion in Wraith decks. In other decks, his spotting requirement probably makes him not worth the effort; 10 strength isn't that much, and most post-Shadows Shadow cultures have their own rule of six cards they'd rather use.
You can just play him the same way as Shotgun Enquea in any Wraith deck. Hold him back to kill a character or two if you think your opponent is likely to go over the six-companion threshold, or just play him as a slightly overpriced regular minion if not. You probably won't get to pick and choose your targets unless your opponent has been overusing The One Ring, The Great Ring (19P1) , but that's fine. He'll probably attract a lot of negative attention if he's likely to kill anyone, but hopefully that's buying you breathing room for other minions. Most decks in Standard and Expanded should have a plan to pick off a troublesome minion before the skirmish phase, or at least shut his abilities off with something like Perspective (18U25) or Stewards’ Legacy (13U75) . It's just a matter of playing more threats than they have answers, and this is a fairly efficient threat. He's not quite as reliable as Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders (13R182) since he can be killed before the skirmish phase without accomplishing much, but he is more devastating when he does get through.
In a dedicated corruption deck, he goes from just another threat to a downright menace. You can pick and choose who you want to skirmish, at least once you've gotten some burdens stacked up. He's not quite as good at it as Úlairë Nertëa, Dark Horseman (19P38) , but you can use both. Evasive minions like these mean you can trigger all of the copies of Sense of Obligation (12U170) you want, twice a turn (as long as he survives the first skirmish of course). It also means you can sneak Wraith conditions onto almost any character. That can mean dropping Sauron’s Gaze (12R169) on a support character, or setting up Lingering Shadow (12U166) for a Dark Fell About Him (13R178) / Gates of the Dark City "auto-corruption" combo.
The only other significant version of Úlairë Cantëa is Úlairë Cantëa, Faster Than Winds (7R211) . If all you need is a card to guarantee a trickle of threats, Úlairë Lemenya, Eternally Threatening (15R185) is preferable. But a threat-focused deck like Threatguls may prefer to run a full four copies of Faster Than Winds over this card, and get rule of six protection from cards like Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U231) , Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders (13R182) , and/or Unending Life (12C181) instead.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- As a situational hate card, he really appreciates cards that can pull him from your deck or discard pile, like Morgul Squealer (8R77) , Out of Sight and Shot (7R204) , The Witch-king, Morgul King (7R221) , Ring of Terror (17R143) , Evil-smelling Fens (5U22) , or possibly Sudden Strike (15U51) .
- Once some burdens are stacked up, he trigger all of the copies of Sense of Obligation (12U170) you happen to have in play.
- Alternately, he can put other Wraith conditions like Sauron’s Gaze (12R169) or Lingering Shadow (12U166) on a character of your choice. (Sense of Obligation doesn't play nicely with other conditions, though.)
- The One Ring, The Great Ring (19P1) . "Paper" ring is a shot in the arm to all sorts of corruption and burden-spotting cards.
- Large Fellowships, especially ones that plan to win skirmishes in the skirmish phase rather than simply killing or discarding minions before they even get there.
- Direct wounding and abilities that discard minions, as long as they happen before the skirmish phase. If your opponent is breaking the rule of 6, they're going to want to pick him off if they can, be it with Terrible and Evil (7R50) , Gandalf, Powerful Guide (15R29) and Radagast's Herb Bag (18R26) , Shadowplay (10U114) and Unheeded (8R115) , Take Up the Bow (13R26) , Aragorn’s Bow, Ranger's Longbow (15R56) , Ithilien Blade (15C62) , or many others.
- Skirmish cancellation. Cards like Gandalf's Staff (2R22) , No Visitors (15C150) , or Halfling Leaf (17U106) work before he even gets a chance to use his ability.
- Cards that prevent activated minion abilities. Stewards’ Legacy (13U75) and Perspective (18U25) all prevent him from doing anything at all. Cards that only prevent skirmish actions, like Faramir, Son of Denethor (4C117) , Crashing Cavalry (13C13) , and Cavern Entrance (11S232) , prevent him from automatically killing characters, but he can still use his Assignment: ability if you can spot a low-resistance companion.
Black Assassin's Skirmish: ability doesn't care about the opposing character's Vitality. It doesn't deal wounds; it just kills the character. Cards that prevent or disallow wounds cannot protect against it. This includes cards like Armor (1C92) , Consorting With Wizards (2R97) , Gimli's Helm (1R15) , and Faramir, Wizard's Pupil (7R91) .
|Úlairë Cantëa, Lieutenant of Dol Guldur (1R230)||Fierce.
Skirmish: Exert Úlairë Cantëa to discard a weapon borne by a character he is skirmishing.
|Úlairë Cantëa, Faster Than Winds (7R211)||Fierce.
When you play Úlairë Cantëa, add a threat for each companion over 4.
Maneuver: Remove 2 threats and spot another minion to discard a possession.
|Úlairë Cantëa, Thrall of the One (10R67)||Enduring. Fierce.
Shadow cards cannot exert Úlairë Cantëa during a skirmish phase.
Skirmish: Heal Úlairë Cantëa to discard a possession borne by a character he is skirmishing.
|Úlairë Cantëa, Fourth of the Nine Riders (11S220)||While Úlairë Cantëa is at a forest or dwelling site, he is strength +2 and Fierce.|
|Úlairë Cantëa, Duplicitous Assassin (17R139)||Fierce. Each unbound companion is resistance -1 for each card he or she bears.
Skirmish: Exert Úlairë Cantëa to exert a companion with resistance 2 or less.