Assassin has already been reviewed in # 115, by the good wizard Gandalf. But that was two ages ago and the release of METD, MEDM and MELE has changed Assassin playability so much that I decided to make an upgrade. Assassin is a good creature, with 11 prowess, which is good but not great, attacker chooses defender, but unlike the others creatures, it has three attacks and that's very good against Hobbits decks (they will need three cancellers for just one hazard, and two assassins will probable get trough their defenses, unless, of course, they have played Stealth or Fifteen Birds in Five Firtrees). However, its playability is restricted to border- and free-holds. That's not a major problem, as most Wizards decks make use of factions and allies (there are few allies that can be played in ruins & lairs or Shadow-holds), so I think it's worth holding a slot for it. Also, this is probable the hardest 1 MP creature to kill, becouse most players tap a character or two to avoid attacks.
The METD expansion didn't bring much change to this card. Of course, Cloudless Day remove its ability to choose defenders, but I've never seen anyone play this card.
Dark Minions brought a lot of news to its playability. Rank Upon Rank (#353) is the turning point to Men Hazard Strategy. Unfortunately, all strikes of an Assassin must be assigned to one target, and the extra strike become a -1 modification, thus making Assassin a 13 prowess creature. Fortunately, Pierced by Many Wounds (#404) will always work in such condition, making the first attack very strong (16 prowess). Two or Three Tribes Present (#292) works like a charm with assassin: you can use one or two to tap everybody and then steal all the company items with Thiefs and Pick-pockets (#355) OR tap the company with ambushers (#446) and Thiefs and then use Assassin against an Elven-lord, the enemy's Wizard, or a character your opponent can't afford to lose. Helms of Iron (#482) doesn't help a lot, becouse strikes used as -1 modifications don't make body checks. Scimitars of Steel (#284) makes Assassin stronger, and you can use up to three of then in your deck (but be awared: this can hurts you if your opponent is using a Orc hazard strategy). If Assassin has a prowess of 12 or more, remember to use Wound of Long Burden, for it makes much easier to kill a high body character: wound first and finish the job with the others attacks. Bring Our Curses Home (#435) is perfect for Assassin, becouse it can kill a character with ease. Be careful to choose a character that is going to do the influences attempts. A dear friend of mine has suggested to use Siege (#121 & 380) along Bring Our Curses Home. Ok, it's very hard to have all the cards, but God!, that's going to hurt!!
Dark Minions also brought new defenses: More Alert than Most (#299) makes Rank Upon Rank almost useless(and Pierced by Many Wounds completely useless); Forewarned Is Forearmed makes Assassin a normal one attack creature and Noble Hound (#276) usually takes care of your most probable victim. Fifteen Birds in Five Firtrees can cancel all attacks of an Assassin AND the next hazard creature against this company, but becouse it needs GoM, it can be twilighted.
With MELE, border and free-holds become the dangerous places for the bad guys (the sites with high MP sources), and Assassin still help slow down the enemy, but some good decks may never go to such places. It don't have a chance of killing or even wounding a Ringwraith, the Wizards of MELE (Nikita isn't available yet, but this may change in MEAS ). Thrice Outnumbered (#494) helps to recycle it: you discard a Brigands and put Assassin back in your play deck. With Two or Three Tribes Present you can empty your hand even against a small company or use just key hazards (like Assassins) and recycle then.
Now, let's see some numbers:
[Treebeard's Note to the Editor for English speakers: most other western langues use a comma rather than a period to indicate the decimal place. I hope this won't bother you at all.]
The chances of killing or wounding any 6/9 character with an Assassin are:
Base (three attacks) W: 41,76% K: 14,66%
+ Rank Upon Rank (RUR) W: 56,32% K: 33,13%
+ RUR + Pierce W: 54,08% K: 42,78%
+ RUR + Pierce + 1 Scimitars W: 50,19% K: 48,88%
+ RUR + Pierce + 1 Scimitars + Wound W: 37,67% K: 61,4%
Base (two attacks) W: 31,51% K: 08,23%
+ RUR W: 56,01% K: 19,55%
+ RUR + Pierce W: 63,47% K: 29,35%
+ RUR + Pierce + 1 Scimitars W: 63,57% K: 33,9 %
+ RUR + Pierce + 1 Scimitars + Wound W: 54,75% K: 42,71%
So Assassin is a good creature, but with some help it's become a real killer. Very few decks wouldn't have a place for it, in the play deck or at least in the sideboard. Some of you may be asking if it's worth holding two or three Assassins for five or six turns until one company goes pick a faction or ally, but there are a good chance of winning the game by wizard death. I suggest using a faction deck, so you won't be hurt if Scimitars of Steel are making your adversary's Orcs stronger. You may use it in a Man hazard deck, with Thiefs and Pick-pocktes - this really works) or use it in a very different deck, like corruption or Dragons, becouse your adversary won't be expecting an attack against a free-hold. If you are facing a 14 prowess character (say, Thrain II with a dwarven ring in a company with three fellowships), you can use Clouds (#402) and Fury of Iron Crown (#102), this may work .
Original card review taken from : http://fan.theonering.net/morgulrats/
With the authorization of the webmaster.
The reviewing team consisted of Gwaihir (Chris Farrell), Gimli (Nathan Bruinooge), Ohtar (Charles E. Bouldin, Esq.), Radagast (James Kight), Joshua B. Grace (Beorn), Martijn Steultjens (Fram Frumgarson), Jason Klank (Saruman) and Jeffery Dobberpuhl (Wormtongue)