Fixing Fallen Saruman

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Wed Mar 05, 2008 1:57 am

Marcos, if your FW deck does that each game during a GO tourney, I would really like to see it! In fact, I'm surprised I haven't seen it yet :wink:
but most likely it's a One-ring deck?
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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took » Wed Mar 05, 2008 2:40 am

In my experience, FW Dunk Decks needs 4-5 turns rather than 2-3. I think it may be the Isengard Wolf Squatter sort of deck, my memory's a little fuzzy on that point.


@ Thorsten:
Yeah, mainly it was your implication that I want to strengthen him too much. Since I had gone through a great deal of effort to make sure I wasn't doing that, it was somewhat irritating.

The proposed Missions for Fallen Saruman have been too specific in their Original form. I don't think his cards as such have been too specific. The fact that White Hand effectively requires two Unique cards (Fortress and Strident Spawn) as well as only two possible sites makes it far more specific than any other Big FW cards. As closely as I can tell, this is all I have said on that subject.

It's been my experience in trying for the Half-Orc factions that you'll get maybe one/turn with Saruman. Any more requires a large portion of the deck dedicated to untapping him during the site phase. You have to have other characters try if you want a decent number in by the end of the game. This dramatically reduces the effectiveness of the Half-Orc factions because you won't have played them all, realistically speaking, in a typical game.

Fallen Pallando, obviously, does not have nearly the difficulties of Fallen Saruman with Half-Orcs, (Eyes of Doom to look for Strident Spawn, Staff to pull the factions from the discard, Gifts/Voice for influencing them). A great deal more would need to be done to make Fallen Saruman even break even with Fallen Pallando in this regard.

While I do not think the Saruman-untapping ability is good, I am not against it because of any possible Half-Orc help. I am against it because such mechanisms already exist in Tales of the Hunt, Jewel of Beleriand, War-Forges, etc. With so many ways to untap a character, a FW Saruman-specific one seems at the same time extraneous and abusive -- this is one instance where he should need to make use of the means available to everybody else.

Besides, FW Gandalf is supposed to be the master of untapping. :)

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Post by Jambo » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:48 am

Making him into some kind of ring influencer is only going to have any worth if people are playing rings; and right now, other than the occasional One Ring deck and the occasional 'fun' ring deck, in general rings aren't commonplace. If anything, making a non-One Ring deck even more difficult than it is, with the likes of Rolled Down to the Sea, is only going to compound the problem.

I think we should outline in clear, concise wording what are the issues with F Saruman. Can the issues be bulleted for instance, and maintained in one post? Then, maybe, it might be easier to come up with suitable solutions.

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Wed Mar 05, 2008 12:47 pm

Sure, that might be a solid start. I would like to offer my version, but since it's Bandobras' topic and he is the one who has least spared himself in trying to make Saruman work, I'll gladly let him do the honours first. :wink: . Take it away! (I vagely remember he did something like this at the meccg.net forum already though)

It depends on how much risk you're willing to take. With the Carambor machine you can play two rings in turn one, make for a haven in turn two, and go for it in turn three. But the probabilities are indeed not very realistic, and waiting two more turns will up your chances without giving opponent the victory.
Problem with other fast FW decks is, as usual, getting the stage cards that either give mp's or make mp's count for you. If you draw a great many of cards, you need to either diss them, or hold on to them a full turn! in which case you can't play mp-cards. This is why the ally-breeding works best. My FW Gandalf scores like 35 mps in 5-6 turns, it's great, but if you keep drawing your Chambers and Guarded Havens during your own mh-fase, you're dead.

True, not many people play rings. But they might get more popular someday, and if you add the Rolled Down clause you also benefit yourself. Or some other device can be thought of, I would just like something to do with rings, for thematic reasons.
Has anybody ever played the Bree Ring-squat? It's pretty effective actually. I've played the Benelux championships (2004 I think) with it and won, but I never saw it anywhere else. Since I don't play decks twice in tournaments, I haven't used it again.
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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took » Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:22 pm

Okay, here's my take on the various problems Fallen Saruman has:

1. Only 15 GI. This severely limits his multi-company options.

2. Specific Site required for Saruman's Machinery, often necessitating multiple companies.

3. Legacy of Smiths exceeds Fallen Saruman's MP ability.

4. Non-warrior makes it exceedingly difficult to move him, although his DI is best used actively.

5. Many-Coloured Robes taps him, making the card useless.

6. -1 to corruption checks when his specials force corruption checks.

7. Surpassed by other FWs in every single MP area, either in ease of play or actual MPs.

8. Surpassed by Fallen Pallando in the domains of Half-Orcs, Palantiri use, and Magic use.

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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took » Wed Mar 05, 2008 3:27 pm

I left that list alone; here are my comments on it.

I don't want to do anything about Fallen Saruman's GI, oddly enough. I feel that this is his unique disadvantage and it would remove a great deal of the "flavor" if he were to have a higher GI.

The non-warrior problem has already been solved by the Virtual Never Refuse.

The cards I proposed were to deal with the problems created by 3,5,7, and 8. Thorsten's suggestion to have Many-Coloured Robes recycle White Light Broken neatly slices through 6. Marcos' proposed Virtual White Hand would solve 2; since Saruman's Machinery would only go in the deck then if you want it.

I can't think of any other Fallen Saruman specific problems; maybe somebody else can suggest some. :)

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Post by Frodo » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:29 pm

Thorsten, can you send me your deck list for the Bree ring-squat? I was trying to develop this deck a while back as part of my very long "Fallen Saruman project". My deck was wizardless and used Orcs an Come By night upon them. The insurmountable bottleneck to the deck was needing to draw up the Come By Nights before being able to play a ring!

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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took » Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:59 pm

Frodo wrote:My deck was wizardless
My, you summed up the problem with Fallen Saruman even more accurately than I did! :)

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Post by Jambo » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:34 pm

Bandobras Took wrote:
Frodo wrote:My deck was wizardless
My, you summed up the problem with Fallen Saruman even more accurately than I did! :)
LOLZ :lol:

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:31 pm

you pretty much covered them all!
But maybe I can add a perspective by trying to formulate it a bit differently?

1 His Bonus-stage doesn't match with his support stage cards. (He needs factions, but he gets mps for items/information, and can recycle rings and test cards)

2 Partly as a result, and of his Bonus-stage unique requirements, and his low GI, he needs more stage cards than the others (except perhaps Gandalf), which results in bad card managment, less slots for useful stuff, and more SP's, which can be dangerous (Inner Rot devastates him)

3 His home site doesn't match either with his innate mp preference (scroll/emerald/necklace/palantiri/rings). Strangely enough, if you could play him at the Lonely Mountain, that would actually benefit him :lol:

With Forge-master, Saruman V, and White Hand V, I think all these would be solved.
However, as I've said before, I think with the Plotting Ruin V a Burn deck can become too good. FW counts as a hero alignment. A normal player doesn't have big hazards for free-holds or borders in borderlands against hero players, he has assassins, but Ready to his Will can counter that. If you can score 5 points avarage each turn on a free/border, and on top get a 6 MP bonus, and you don't need specific stage requirements so you can play it fast, that will overdo it. But, it can be playtested. Maybe the lack of real high prowess characters (troll/grimburgoth) makes it more difficult...

Though Bandobras suggests not changing the GI/DI of Saruman, because it's part of the flavor, maybe we could do something about his home-sites? As it is now, basically you have a 100% chance to be Called Home if you play Saruman, since your GI drops 5 points. So Forge-master/Shagrat is obligatory almost in starting comp. If you could play him at any free-hold in Anduin Vales for example, you could more easily bring him into play with a slash 'n burn company. I know it sounds strange, but Saruman was wandering around there for quite some time after all.

Or, if you could play him in Bree :wink: . I never played a Saruman ring-squat in Bree, Frodo. I was referring to a Sauron/Ren deck. Because obviously that's alot easier, and obviously Bree was made for a company of Dwarves to hang around, controlling Elerina/Baduila/Grimburgoth. I'll send you a list.
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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:51 pm

How about:

You may also bring Saruman into play in the company of any character bearing a Gold Ring Item or Special Ring Item?

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Thorsten the Traveller
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Post by Thorsten the Traveller » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:11 pm

Yes, sounds great!
I like ! (thumbs up)
would it help the slashers though?
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Bandobras Took
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Post by Bandobras Took » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:55 pm

Only a combined Slasher/Ring-gathering deck. And if you can pull that off, more power to you!

Obviously a mobile home site for any wizard is strong, so I didn't want to go overboard, but rather keep a theme that provides a nice limiter as well.

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Post by marcos » Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:17 pm

i like it too :)

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Post by Jambo » Thu May 15, 2008 1:06 pm

It's a small change, but perhaps we could virtualise Many Coloured Robes by just removing the Saruman tapping aspect and replacing it with tapping the card? That would open up that card and all those that it targets in one fell swoop. :)

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