The Black Mace

The Black Mace. Wielded by the Witch-king at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the Black Mace could shatter shields and kill enemies with a single swing.
Wielded by the Witch-king at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, the Black Mace could shatter shields and kill enemies with a single swing.

History

The Black Mace, or flail as depicted in the movie adaptation of The Return of the King, was a weapon wielded by the Witch-king of Angmar in the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Lord of the Nazgûl and greatest of Sauron’s servants, the Witch-king sported a prolific weapon with an absurdly large Morningstar at the end of a chained handle. Initially designed as a traditional clubbing weapon, the Black Mace transitioned into its familiar flail-like shape as the weapon’s design got larger and larger.[1]

“Out of the wreck rose the Black Rider, tall and threatening, towering above [Éowyn]. With a cry of hatred that stung the very ears like venom he let fall his mace. Her shield was shivered in many pieces, and her arm was broken; she stumbled to her knees. He bent over her like a cloud, and his eyes glittered; he raised his mace to kill.”

The Return of the King (Tolkien, 1954, p. 138)

Description

Utilized in wide, sweeping arcs and heavy blows, the Black Mace was great at keeping opponents at bay but its slow and imprecise aim greatly reduced its effectiveness at close range. Tolkien’s depiction of the Witch-king’s weapon was originally described as a traditional mace. Built for clubbing and bludgeoning, the Witch-king managed to shatter Éowyn’s shield and arm with the Black Mace in a matter of a single blow. In a manner similar to how the Witch-king’s iconic helmet was designed to appear unique from Sauron’s helmet, the Black Mace may have translated into a flail for the movies simply because a traditional mace would have looked too similar to Sauron’s mace in The Fellowship of the Rings.

Base Stats

[Commander] Might +16
[Commander] Focus +4
[Army] Attack (Orcs) +1
Supported Races: Maiar, Dwarves, Orcs, Uruk-hai, Undead

Special Effects

An Eye for an Eye [Round 7 Onwards] [All Allies] Damage dealt +5.0%/30.0%
Panic [After the Commander Attacks] [Against Enemy Target] 8.3%/50.0% chance to inflict Madness for 1 round(s)
Might of Orcs [Orcs Allied Unit(s)] Damage dealt +2.0%/12.0%
Lethal Weapon [Allied Commander] 25.0% chance of dealing +10.0%/60.0% Physical Damage
Dominate [After Commander Attacks] [Against Enemy Commander] 50.0% chance of reducing next damage dealt by 10.0%/60.0%

Citations

[1] Lexie Evans. (January 8, 2013). LotR Outtakes Part 7 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVpFYDDM36I&t=104s

[2] Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954). The Return of the King (4th ed.). Unwin Paperbacks.