Ulaire Enquea, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U231)
|Ulaire Cantea, Lieutenant of Dol Guldur (1R230)||
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Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul is one of the most common minions, mainly played in Fellowship Block but also appearing in every format where he's legal. Shadow players can splash "Shotgun Enquea" in almost any deck, and his ability is so powerful and obnoxious that there's an unwritten rule that Free Peoples players should be wary whenever they go above five companions in their Fellowship. Corruption decks benefit from him too, as he can come down and kill off a companion if the Free Peoples player allows too many burdens to pile up. Even if he can't use his game text, it's no matter; he's still a respectable 11 strength Fierce minion with enough vitality to absorb archery wounds, ward off direct wounding strategies, or pay for cards that require exertions.
It's very hard for the Shadow player to do any appreciable damage to a Fellowship with six or more companions. Shotgun Enquea is a classic hate card that punishes a large Fellowship, by allowing you to kill their most important companion. Enquëa can apply three wounds, and most non-Hobbit companions only start with three vitality. Even characters that generally start with more, like Gandalf or Aragorn, can be picked off if they are wounded. Even in a non- Wraith deck, Enquëa is a good tech card against almost any opponent that loads up with many companions.
When your opponent has six companions out and you play Enquëa, it's important to think about how you're going to allocate his wounds. If there's one important, unwounded character with three vitality, by all means, shoot that character right in the face! But if that character only has one or two vitality left, remember that killing them will reduce the number of companions you can spot, preventing you from applying any more wounds. It may be best to use the first or second wound on a less important character, before finishing off the character you actually care about. Because of this, he's a nice complement to direct wounding or archery strategies (such as Moria Archery or Sauron Grind) that can finish off a character he's wounded, or set up a character to be killed by him.
As the Free Peoples player, it's very easy to keep Shotgun Enquea from causing too much damage. Just respect the Rule of 6 and don't go above five companions, and don't let burdens pile up. There are more proactive solutions, too, however. Enquëa generally needs all of his vitality to kill an unwounded companion, so exerting or wounding him even once in the Shadow or Maneuver Phases can prevent him from killing someone. Slaked Thirsts (7U14) (often recycled with Preparations (7R12) ), Shadowplay (10U114) , Unheeded (8R115) , Merry's Sword (7R242) , Gandalf, Powerful Guide (15R29) , Radagast's Herb Bag (18R26) , and Ithilien Blade (15C62) are strong tools to get him before he gets you, and Perspective (18U25) and Storied Homestead (13R76) can stop him from using his ability. Stewards’ Legacy (13U75) can do both! Likewise, preventing or healing even one wound in the Maneuver Phase can stop him from getting a kill. Dwarven Bracers (2U3) , Shoulder to Shoulder (1C59) , Nenya, Ring of Adamant (9R20) , Intimidate (1C76) , Éowyn, Lady of Rohan (4C270) , Hosts of the Last Alliance (2U18) , Sapling of the White Tree (9R35) , and Storied Homestead (13R76) are all strong ways to limit the damage. Even if you only prevent or heal one wound, that might save a companion's life.
Shotgun Enquea's game text also turns on once you can spot five burdens, so he's a good addition to a corruption deck. Killing a companion at will is even more devastating against a small Fellowship, putting a win from killing the Ring-bearer within your reach. Sauron, Wraith, Easterling Raider, and Orc decks often generate burdens as a side-effect of otherwise good cards, and Enquëa is a good way to take advantage of those burdens even when you can't—or don't plan on—corrupting the Ring-bearer. He also can work well with Shadow archery strategies, because Free Peoples players will often use the One Ring to absorb those wounds or leave many companions exhausted.
Even if his text doesn't turn on, he's not useless. Six twilight is a lot for an 11 strength Fierce minion, but it's not ridiculously overpriced. He can often still force your opponent to allocate their best skirmisher, allowing other minions to cause damage, or simply absorb some archery wounds. He's more effective as a skirmisher in Fellowship Block, when companion strengths are relatively lower, but his Twilight cost is less restrictive in later blocks, when choke is less common and Free Peoples players often play twilight-heavy strategies.
In a Wraith deck, Enquëa's game text is still useful, but he's also often useful just for his high vitality. He can exert to pay for cards like Bent on Discovery (1R206) or The Witch-king, Captain of the Nine Riders (11R226) . (In later formats, however, you may prefer an Enduring Nazgûl like Úlairë Enquëa, Thrall of the One (10R68) for this purpose, though.) He can harmlessly absorb archery wounds, or simply pose a problem that can't be shot down easily by one-exert-for-one-wound direct wounding like Aragorn’s Bow (1R90) or Legolas, Greenleaf (1R50) .
Shotgun Enquea is never a bad card, but he is a very specific hate card. Outside of decks that place burdens and Fellowship Block Wraith beatdown (which needs all of the Fierce Nazgûl it can get), he's chiefly in your deck to tech against large fellowships. There are other options, however: Greed (1R125) is a stronger card that serves the exact same purpose, but it's only playable in Uruk-Hai decks and has no effect whatsoever against a small Fellowship. The Number Must Be Few (1U260) serves a similar purpose and also has no cultural enforcement, but also does nothing against small Fellowships. In later formats, Shotgun Enquea runs into more and more decks that can limit the damage he can do, competes with more and more cards that punish large Fellowships while integrating better into the deck's overall strategy than he does, and also competes with powerful alternate versions of himself, like Úlairë Enquëa, Thrall of the One (10R68) and Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders (13R182) , as well as the similar but cheaper Úlairë Cantëa, Black Assassin (12R174) .
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Burden strategies. This can include corruption or decks like Beasterlings that place burdens to enable other effects.
- Ring of Asperity (9R42) can help him take down a companion with 4 vitality, and Ring of Rancor (9R44) lets him apply an extra wound.
- Ring of Rancor (9R44) and Not Easily Destroyed (1U220) can heal him so he can do even more damage, albeit at a high cost in both cases.
- Shadow archery. He can finish off characters wounded by archery, and Free Peoples players will often try to absorb archery wounds with the One Ring.
- Other Shadow direct wounding strategies. Cards like Desert Lord (4R219) can set up companions to later be finished off by Shotgun Enquea, and Hate (1R250) can set up or finish off a kill.
- Threats. Large Fellowships can have a very large threat pool, and picking off a character can turn that pool into a lot of pain.
- Large Fellowships. He's a bit less useful against high-vitality companions like Ents, but three wounds are still three wounds.
- Decks that self-generate burdens or lack burden removal
- Companions with four or more vitality, like Aragorn, Gandalf, Ents, and certain Hobbit strategies
- Choke. These decks rarely run many companions, and can make it difficult to play him at all.
- Wound prevention, such as from Dwarven Bracers (2U3) , Intimidate (1C76) , Éowyn, Lady of Rohan (4C270) , Hosts of the Last Alliance (2U18) , and Sapling of the White Tree (9R35) .
- Free Peoples direct wounding that works in the Shadow or Maneuver Phases, including Slaked Thirsts (7U14) , Shadowplay (10U114) and Unheeded (8R115) , Gandalf, Powerful Guide (15R29) and Radagast's Herb Bag (18R26) (in conjunction with Maneuver: or Response: Spells), Terrible and Evil (7R50) , Merry's Sword (7R242) , and Stewards’ Legacy (13U75) .
- Healing that works in the Shadow or Maneuver Phases, particularly Shoulder to Shoulder (1C59) and Nenya, Ring of Adamant (9R20)
- Expanded cards that cancel his abilities or discard him before he gets a chance to act in the Maneuver Phase. Perspective (18U25) can hold him off, and Gondor has several tools to prevent him from using his ability, like Storied Homestead (13R76) , Stewards’ Legacy (13U75) , and Ithilien Blade (15C62) .
|Úlairë Enquëa, Ringwraith in Twilight (2U83)||Twilight.
Each time Úlairë Enquëa wins a skirmish, you may exert him to wound the Ring-bearer once (or twice if you spot 5 burdens).
|Úlairë Enquëa, Faster Than Winds (7U212)||Fierce.
While you can spot 6 companions, Úlairë Enquëa is Damage +1.
Each time a companion is killed, you may exert Úlairë Enquëa to exert the Ring–bearer.
|Úlairë Enquëa, Thrall of the One (10R68)||Enduring.
Shadow cards cannot exert Úlairë Enquëa during a skirmish phase.
Skirmish: If Úlairë Enquëa is skirmishing, heal him to add a burden.
|Úlairë Enquëa, Black Threat (12R175)||Fierce. Toil 1. (For each character you exert when playing this, its twilight cost is –1.)|
|Úlairë Enquëa, Sixth of the Nine Riders (13R182)||Fierce.
When you play Úlairë Enquëa, if you can spot 2 other Nazgûl, you may exert 2 unbound companions (or exert each companion if you can spot 6 companions).
|Úlairë Enquëa, Duplicitous Lieutenant (17R140)||Fierce. Each time the Free Peoples player heals a companion, you may add a burden.
Maneuver: Exert Úlairë Enquëa twice to discard a condition (or two conditions if you can spot 5 Free Peoples player's conditions).
|Úlairë Enquëa, Dark Threat (19P36)||Fierce.
Maneuver: Spot 6 companions and discard a Nazgûl from hand to wound an unbound companion.