Word of Command

Event. Cost: 1.

Action: Exhaust an Istari character to search your deck for 1 card and add it to your hand. Shuffle your deck.

"Picking up a faggot he held it aloft for a moment, and then with a word of command, naur an edraith ammen! he thrust the end of his staff into the midst of it. At once a great spout of green and blue flame sprang out, and the wood flared and sputtered." The Fellowship of the Ring
Magali Villeneuve

The Long Dark #84. Lore.

Word of Command
Reviews

Word of Command is a card which can often seem better in theory than in practice. In the right deck it can be pretty amazing though. So let's take a look. You get to search your entire deck for any card of your choice and add it to your hand. That's incredibly powerful. However it does require you to exhaust an Istari character, and there aren't many of those in the game - only Gandalf, Radagast, Gandalf, Saruman and Gandalf. Hero Gandalf is obviously the most reliable option but that means you're using up a hero action on this - specifically the action of a 14 threat hero with powerful stats which you might want to use or indeed be relying on using - though those stats mean you may already want to give him action advantage with Unexpected Courage or Shadowfax. Core Gandalf and Saruman are temporary allies - though handily if you can wait you can use Word of Command in the refresh phase after characters ready but before the temporary ally is discarded. Hobbit Gandalf is a pretty good option if you can stomach the threat, since he has built-in action advantage, but as noted, threat. Radagast has no downside but isn't particularly useful in general, and as useful as Word of Command can be, it's probably not worth playing a 5-cost ally for no other purpose.

If you can manage the cost though? Any card from your deck for that exhaust plus 1 resource is a pretty good deal. An obvious and significant use is that you can use it to grab any of those cards with the annoying "Limit 1 per deck" restriction if you wnt to use them more reliably. Path of Need is an obviously powerful choice, but I'm also somewhat partial to The Fall of Gil-Galad for shenanigans. Justice Shall Be Done would also be a great shenanigans option. On the other hand, you can also use it when you simply need/want a particular card at a particular time, like wanting A Test of Will for security, Feint when you have too many attacks, that sort of thing. Or of course, finding crucial cards for your deck when you haven't been lucky enough to get them in your opening hand/mulligan/early draws. Like Light of Valinor, Steward of Gondor, Master of the Forge or other such mulligan cards. In a pinch, if your hero Gandalf deck likes its action advantage, you could make a case for exhausting Gandalf for Word of Command to grab Unexpected Courage which you can then play and ready him, leaving you with the same number of actions you otherwise would've had for that round, but one more in subsequent rounds for the rest of the game.

The main reason Word of Command can be viewed as less useful in practice than in theory is that often a lot of decks will prefer to use cards which let them draw a higher number of unidentified cards rather than a single specific one. With the ability to just draw 2 for free with Daeron's Runes or Deep Knowledge, or 3 for 1 in the right deck with Mithrandir's Advice, paying 1 and exhausting a very powerful character for only one card may not seem like such a great idea, unless it's a particularly useful card. Add to that the fact that while Word of Command is cheap, unless you use hero Gandalf it's a 2 card combo and thus less reliable. Ironically one good use for Word of Command would be to find combo pieces, but it is itself a combo if triggering it with one of the allies, so you have to open the box with the crowbar you find inside.

Despite all those difficulties, I really like Word of Command and wonder if perhaps I should use it more often. With the allies it's unreliable but can be a useful option, with hero Gandalf it's incredibly potent if you can cope without the action. Worth consideration at least.