Council of the Wise


You cannot include more than 1 copy of a card, by title, in your deck. Response: After you play an event from your hand, choose one: reduce your threat by 1, draw 1 card, or add 1 resource to your hero's resource pool. You can only choose each option once per round.

"I must go to this lords" council and learn what I can."
-Gandalf, The Return of the King
Borja Pindado

Under the Ash Mountains #91. Neutral.

Council of the Wise

While this contract is designed to encourage creative and innovative deck construction, the huge drawback is the restriction of 1 copy of any card in your deck.

This downside is potentially offset by the bonus Response: Every time you play an event card, you can pick one of three options, card draw, resource gain, or threat reduction. You can actually pick each bonus once per round (for a total of three separate bonuses per round)

Is it worth the tradeoff? Given the limited number of Event cards possible in a deck (even with Will of the West recursion), think this contract appears to have a finite upside. Once you run out of Event cards to play, there is no more bonus. In a "half event card" (25 card) deck, that is only 25 extra bonus, assuming you can draw your entire deck.

However, play testing of this card in proxy (the card has been revealed but not released at time of this review) uncovers one Event card that combos with Council of the Wise to create unlimited Contract bonus potential: Rumour from the Earth.

My full review of this powerful combo (I call it "Rumour from the Wise") is on the Rumour from the Earth listing. Here is a summary of what that combo can do:

It is infintely recursive and pays for itself, offering unlimited free scrying. Or you can pay 1 and use the combo as a resource smoother. It can also be used up to two more times each round to add card draw and/or threat reduction. There are 8 possible ways each round to play Rumour from the Earth with this contract, and you can repeat it every round!

The most comprehensive in-play usage I have seen with the Rumour/Council combo so far in one round is all of this:

(A) see the encounter card for a guarded item (put the guarded item in play, after seeing it will not draw a surge, etc.)

(B) see what encounter card is next for normal staging

(C) see the next shadow card to be dealt this round for combat

(D) get a card draw

(E) reduce threat by one

(F) resource smooth 1 to a different sphere

All for only 3 , and it is repeatable every round since Rumour from the Earth returns to your hand!

Rumour from the Earth is a must have recursion with Council of the Wise, and gives the contract a solid foundation by completely uncapping its upside. (once you draw Rumour)

There are three more recursion Event cards to potentially pair with this contract: Courage Awakened, Noiseless Movement, Swift and Silent. All very powerful with complementary effects to Rumour, although they require Secrecy to pull off.

Council of the Wise is an amazing design by FFG, to make a new contract card like this that upgrades the usefulness of cards up to 8 years older....

In my testing, it also seems like one of the better cards to offset Saruman's threat reduction restriction (even including the One Ring). Along with Galadriel, you absolutely shred through your deck to find whatever engine or win/con you need to win the game. So far I've been having fun trying to build with the tactics Nori ally to help recur events by reshuffling them into the deck. — dwo125 1

A very powerful and underrated contract.

NOTE: the first version of this review mentioned Elven-Light, however that card is played from the discard pile so it cannot activate CotW, unlike Gandalf which mentioned his ability counts as 'played from the hand'.

CotW forces you to build your deck with highlander rules: there can be only one of each card. Our instinctive reaction is that this is terrible for consistency. However, if you think about which cards you need to draw quickly to get your deck running, you are usually looking at consistent card draw and resource acceleration. You put 3 copies of Steward of Gondor in to consistently draw it or 3 copies of Imladris Stargazer and Zigil Miner etc.

In a CotW deck you replace those extra copies with cheap events and you have card draw and acceleration available right from the start. In fact, CotW is MORE consistent as a card and resource engine then most decks because it is immidiate available and because you no longer draw multiple copies of cards you need only 1 of.

If you're looking to actually go all in on the contract there are a few cards that work extremely well with it. The first is Gandalf. He can draw-then-play 1 card from the top of the deck each phase. Now you can only play allies and attachments during the planning phase, but events are fair game during the other 5 phases. So imagine using Wizard Pipe to draw the top card of the deck and replace it with Deep Knowledge during the Resource phase, then play it with Gandalf and activate CotW's card draw effect and you are up 4 cards before the planning phase. Play a Long Lake Fisherman from the top of your deck with Gandalf for a 5th and 6th bonus card. Play Elrond's Counsel during questing for the 7th card and a bonus resource, A Watchful Peace during travelling as the 8th card and reduce threat and finish up during combat by playing The Wizards's Voice for the 9th extra card. Generated value from Hero abilites and CotW: 4 bonus cards in hand and several useful effects for no extra resource cost.

Other obvious synergies:

Events you'll want to include if you can:

Tricks to find that 1 copy of one of your key cards:

I would recommend anyone to try and adjust an existing deck to this contract and see how it plays out, you'll be pleasantly surprised. Only decks that require multiples of certain cards to work at a basic level (ie. Outlands and the like) need to stay far away from this contract.