A «key word» is an identifier for a card which makes it affectable by or usable with other cards as the cards’ text dictate. For example, in METW, key words include: Orc, spell, environment, Dragon, Undead, Wolves, etc. Middle-earth: The Dragons introduces several «key words» to the Middle-earth collectible card game: Drake, light enchantment, dark enchantment, ritual, riddling attempt, riddling roll, offering attempt, flatter attempt, capture, and helmet. There are no special rules for these key words; except that a character may only use the effects of one helmet at a time. Note that the key words, Dragon and Drake, are mechanically independent. Some of the key words are not affected by any currently existing cards (e.g. offering attempt and capture), but they will be with the release of future expansions. A «bearer» of a specific card refers to the character that bears or controls that card.
Any one site with a Dragon automatic-attack is a Dragon’s lair. There are nine unique Dragons associated with the following lairs:
Caves of Ulund
Ovir Hollow Grey
Isle of the Ulond
The Lonely Mountain
Grey Mountain Narrows
Certain items are hoard items. Such an item may only be played at a site that contains a hoard. Each site with a Dragon automatic-attack (i.e. each Dragon’s lair) contains a hoard. A hoard minor item may not be included with a starting company, and may not be played at a site that does not contain a hoard.
Example: you can not play a hoard minor item at Wellinghall after successfully influencing the Ents of Fangorn like you can with a normal minor item. Wellinghall does not contain a hoard.
Each of the nine unique Dragons (see above) has three different manifestations:
Basic — In this manifestation a Dragon is in his standard active mode. Each of these manifestations is represented by a standard creature card (e.g. the cards for Smaug, Agburanar, Daelomin, and Leucaruth from METW).
Ahunt — In this manifestation a Dragon is considered to be hunting in a wide range of regions. Each of these manifestations is represented by a hazard long-event that will attack any company moving in a given set of regions (e.g. Smaug Ahunt normally causes an attack against any company moving in Withered Heath, Northern Rhovanion, Iron Hills, and/or Grey Mountain Narrows).
At Home — In this manifestation a Dragon is considered to be resident in his lair. Each of these manifestations is represented by a hazard permanent-event that gives its lair an additional automatic-attack and causes certain other global-effects (e.g. Scorba At Home gives Zarak Dum an additional automatic-attack and each major item gives an additional corruption point).
Different manifestations of the same Dragon may be in play at the same time. The fact that each manifestation is unique unto itself does not preclude the other manifestations.
Only your opponent can receive marshaling points from defeating a manifestation of a Dragon that you played. If you defeat a Dragon manifestation that you played, it is removed from the game and no one receives its marshaling points.
If at any time an attack from a manifestation of a unique Dragon is defeated or if the manifestation is otherwise removed from the game:
- All existing manifestations in play of the same Dragon are removed from the game
- No further manifestations of the same Dragon may be played.
- The Dragon’s lair no longer has an automatic-attack.
Example: You have played Smaug at Home and Smaug Ahunt (both are still in play). Then you play Dragon’s Desolation and Smaug on one of your opponent’s companies at Weathertop. Your opponent plays Old Thrush, rolls lucky, and defeats Smaug. He gets 5 MPs from defeating Smaug and Smaug, Smaug at Home, and Smaug Ahunt are all removed from play and The Lonely Mountain (Smaug’s lair) no longer has an automatic-attack.
If, instead, one of your own companies had gone to The Lonely Mountain and defeated Smaug at Home, you would not receive the 5 MPs.
The base hazard limit is determined (i.e. set) simultaneously at the moment a company reveals its new site or otherwise announces it is beginning its movement/hazard phase. Any cards which modify a company’s hazard limit played prior to this point are then immediately applied to the company’s base hazard limit in the order chose by the player controlling the company. With such modifications established, any cards played after this point are interpreted in the order they are resolved. Any effects which modify the hazard limit against a company during its site phase are ignored. Any reduction in the hazard limit during a movement/hazard phase does not affect cards already announced and played.
When certain Middle-earth: The Dragons cards are played, a character may be assigned to receive more than one strike from a given attack. Such a character must face a strike sequence for each strike he is assigned to face. If a character is tapped or wounded following one of these strike sequences, he must then accordingly modify his prowess for any following strike sequences. If a character is eliminated or otherwise removed from play before he has faced all of his assigned strikes, those strikes he has yet to face are then considered to be canceled (i.e. they have no further effect.
A character may chose to ignore the restriction that he tap to remove a corruption card (as printed on a corruption card), and suffer a -3 penalty to the dice roll to remove it. This means a character can remain untapped and still attempt to remove a corruption card (the roll is modified by -3), or that he can attempt to remove a corruption card even if he is already tapped or wounded (the roll is modified by -3).
A character may only attempt to remove each corruption card once per turn if he ignores the tapping restriction to do so.
Example: During his organization phase, Beorn has 3 corruption cards: Lure of Nature, Lure of Expedience, and Lure of the Senses. He taps and rolls to attempt to remove the lure of the Senses; his roll was an 8, so the card is removed (greater than 6 was required). If, instead, Beorn had not tapped for this attempt, he would have failed (he would have needed to roll a 10 or better). He then rolls to attempt to remove Lure of Nature; his roll is a 6 modified by -3 for a net result of 3, so the card is not removed (greater than 4 was required). Finally, he rolls to attempt to remove Lure of Expedience; his roll is a 9 modified by -3 for a net result of 6, so the card is removed (greater than 5 was required).
With the publication of Middle-earth: The Dragons, the number of different resource and hazard strategies increases dramatically. To enable players to react to more specific strategies during play, the sideboard size is increased by five (e.g., from 15 to 20 for the 1-deck and 2-deck games, from 20 to 25 for the 3-deck game, etc.).
At the end of your opponent’s untap phase, if your opponent’s Wizard is in play, you may at this point bring up to five hazard cards from your sideboard to your discard pile; or if your play deck has at least 5 cards, you may bring one hazard card directly from your sideboard into your play deck (reshuffle). If you move cards from your sideboard in this fashion, the hazard limit for each of your opponent’s companies is reduced to half of normal (round up, e.g., a hazard limit of 2 becomes 1, a hazard limit of 3 becomes 2, etc.).
Normally, a company moving with region movement may lay down a maximum of four region cards. If a company moving with region movement is using effects that allows additional region cards to be laid down, no more than six regions may be used.