Quote

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark." - Aragorn,The Two Towers

Friday, May 26, 2017

Saga Quest 13: The Uruk-hai

Victory on the First Attempt!

The Deck


The first big decision I had was to keep Sam or not to keep Sam. Thematically he should not be here, but he is not specifically excluded in the rule book and I only get one free hero addition. Sam + a hero + Aragorn I can see working. Another hero + Aragorn with no Sam does not seem like it would be setting me up for success. Eventually I want Legolas & Gimli to join the party. I go with Legolas to increase the attack value of the party and help with location removal & quest resolution.

The next step is to figure out where I want the deck to go. Playing some of the top decks on RingsDB gave me a greater appriciation for card draw and resource acceleration. I tried to cram as much of that in as possible and had almost no room for allies.My first real draft of this deck was a bit of everywhere, with a lot of 2x cards and not enough of a clear strategy.This is the second version and tightens down on a few of the resource and draw paths while still keeping a healthy amount of allies in the list.

Hunt with a Hobbit

Heroes
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
Legolas (Core)
Aragorn (The Treason of Saruman)

Allies
Bill the Pony x2
Dwarven Sellsword x2
Errand-rider x2
Gimli (The Treason of Saruman) x1
Skinbark x1
Gandalf (Core) x3
Steward of Orthanc x3

Attachments
Celebrian's Stone x1
Heir of Mardil x1
Steward of Gondor x3
Sword that was Broken x1
Black Arrow x1
Blade of Gondolin x3
Rivendell Blade x2
Banner of Elendil x1
Keys of Orthanc x2

Events
Captain's Wisdom x3
Legacy of Numenor x3
Sneak Attack x2
Foe-hammer x1
Halfling Determination x2
Hands Upon the Bow x3
The Three Hunters x2
The Free Peoples x2

Sets Used
Core
Road to Rivendell
The Watcher in the Water
Shadow and Flame
Over Hill and Under Hill
Heirs of Numenor
On the Doorstep
The Black Riders
The Voice of Isengard
Celebrimbor's Secret
The Treason of Saruman
The Land of Shadow
The Thing in the Depths
The Drowned Ruins
The Flame of the West
Race Across Harad
Beneath the Sand


Rings DB Link

Note: I leave Mithril Shirt out, not having a Ringbearer to attach it to, and choose Glamdring to be in my starting hand.



The Journey

Love the campaign setup here! Big fan of getting Gandalf's Delay off of my chest.

Removed: Boon: Mr. Underhill
Removed: Gandalf's Delay
Removed: Burden: Panicked

Boromir is captive & my starting threat is raised by 1.


Round 1 
Got off to an explosive start. Keys of Orthanc on Sam, Legacy of Numenor played, Sword that was Broken on Aragorn, Glamdring on Legolas. One resource on Legolas with Hands Upon the Bow in hand! Ended up loosing Hands Upon the Bow to a revealed Snaga, but picked up another one due to Glamdring's card draw after defeating said Snaga. Only one enemy in play meant a minor increase of one to the pursuit value (now 11).

Round 2
Get a Steward of Orthanc and Dwarven Sellsword down, then blow past the first quest stage. Probably a little too quickly, since I have to deal with Ugluk now. I choose to put a Isengard Uruk, placing the damage on my allies, then take it out with Hands Upon the Bow & Legolas (reducing the pursuit value to 10). Aragorn has enough resources to ready himself and he defends against Ugluk, taking 3 damage.


Round 3
Black Arrow gets drawn and slammed down onto Legolas. I put a little progress on the quest and Grishnakh comes out to capture Boromir. Then I have a big decision to make: Do I use the Phial of Galadriel or loose a hero? I peeked ahead at the campaign resolution, so it really comes down to picking up a skill boon (Intimidation catching my eye the most) or getting Beyond All Hope attached to a hero. I can't let Aragorn die or I loose the quest. I need Legolas to defeat Ugluk. I could sacrifice Sam. This means loosing Noble Hero, Old Bogey Stories, and Phial of Galadriel. So Phial is leaving no matter what. I don't really utilize Old Bogey Stories, so that won't be missed. Beyond all Hope is an upgrade over Noble Hero, but I do like having the Noble trait on Sam. Intimiation + Glamdring on Legolas would make him a powerhouse but a Rivendell Blade would get the same job done (just at the cost of a resource and assuming I draw it). I would like to have a well-rounded Sam for the eventual move when I pair him up with Frodo, so whatever kills him will apparently make him stronger. Undefended attack, with damagae assigned to Sam & destroying him. Then Legolas then does 10 damage to Ugluk, destroying him in turn. Pursuit value is reduced to 9. Grishnakh then destroyes an Envoy, increasing the pursuit value back to 10.


Round 4
A few more allies come down and, boosted, by Aragorn, my willpower this quest phase is in the teens. A second Snaga came out, discarding Ho! Tom Bombadil! and resulting in only one threat in the staging area. Victory for our heroes & rescue for Boromir!

The pursuit value is only at 10. Samwise Gamgee is brought back, Beyond All Hope.

Final Scoring
3 Completed Rounds x10: 30
Ending Threat: 27
Total Damage on Heroes: 4 (Aragorn: 3, Legolas: 1)
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 8
Victory Display: -4 (Black Arrow, Ugluk)
Total Score: 65

Campaign Resolution
Removed: Boon: Old Bogey-stories
Removed: Boon: Phial of Galadriel
Removed: Boon: Noble Hero
Boon: Beyond All Hope attached to Sam Gamgee

Previous Campaign Resolutions
+1 starting threat
Boon: Ho! Tom Bombadil! (added to starting hand)
Boon: Sting
Boon: Mithril Shirt
Boon: Glamdring
Boon: Anduril

Burden: Shadow of Fear added to campaign pool
Burden: Ill Fate added to campaign pool


The Recap

This seemed to go a lot smoother than it should have. To the point that I re-read every important card (quest cards, campaign set up, Ugluk) to make sure I was not missing something major (and I won't be surprised to realize one day I goofed up). While my deck was a blast to play, the quest was such a push over that it was not too memorable. This is a good example of why solo games work best when they lean towards the more difficult side of the spectrum (with medium difficulty being key for me).

I will say I spoke one quest to soon about the campaign mode. Taking away a set of boons & burdens and then giving a non-penalized hero addition made this deck building experience feel fresh and exciting. I am actually looking forward to continuing my campaign now!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quests 46,47,48: The Grey Havens

Waking up before my family this Sunday, I decided to get a little LotR time in. My first-draft Noldor deck was such a blast to play, as was the quest, that the bits of free time I had throughout the day went into playing a little more until, lo and behold, I knocked out the entirety of The Grey Havens deluxe box.

The Deck

While I have played with Noldor heroes, I have not really made a true "Noldor" deck, fully capitalizing on the trait. Since I wanted to run Lindon Navigator against a sailing test quest, this seemed like the perfect time to explore the fair elves a bit more. I am sure that my resulting build is a bit on the amateur side. A quick search will likely find similar decks that have been refined further and do not even bat an eye at The Grey Havens box. But I found this deck to be a blast to play and ended up skipping my usual practice of changing decks between quests. It was nice to spend time getting to know a deck a bit more. One thing that stood out is that almost all opening hands are good ones, simply due to the amount of the deck you see initially and in the first few rounds. I did find it hard to hold back resources for events, though, but Henamarth helped me know exactly when I should make that call.

A.C.E.

Heroes
Arwen Undomiel (The Dread Realm)
Cirdan the Shipwright (The Grey Havens)
Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudar)

Allies
Elven Jewler x3
Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller) x1
Lindir x1
Sailor of Lune x3
Galdor of the Havens (The Treachery of Rhudar) x1
Gildor Inglorion x1
Henamarth Riversong x1
Lindon Navigator x3
Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill) x3
Guardian of Rivendell x3

Attachments
Light of Valinor x3
Silver Lamp x1
To the Sea, to the Sea! x2
Asfaloth x1
Lembas x1
Protector of Lorien x1
Steward of Gondor x3
Narya x3
Song of Wisdom x1

Events
A Test of Will x3
Elrond's Counsel x2
Fair and Perilous x2
Lords of the Eldar x3
Will of the West x2
A Good Harvest x2

Sets Used
Core
Conflict at the Carrock
The Hills of Emyn Muil
The Watcher in the Water
Foundations of Stone
Over Hill and Under Hill
The Steward's Fear
The Voice of Isengard
Trouble in Tharbad
Escape from Mount Gram
Across the Ettenmoors
The Treachery of Rhudar
The Battle of Carn Dum
The Dread Realm
The Grey Havens
 Flight of the Stormcaller

RingsDB Link

Song of Wisdom always ended up in the discard pile. I found Arwen's ability + the cost reducing of To the Sea, to the Sea! worked for my lore needs. Will of the West was only played once and is another likely candidate for removal. What to add in? Well, threat is definitely an issue with this deck. I ended all three quests in valour. So maybe a preferred manner of threat reduction would be welcome.


Quest 46: Voyage Across Belegaer

Victory on the First Attempt!

A great mixture of choices vs. luck in this scenario. You can commit as many characters as you want to a sailing test, with an extreme over-commitment almost guarantying you'll get back on course and set up for a rough time the rest of the round. Most likely you will want to commit a conservative number and let the cards fall where they may. Once you're on course, you may have the option of choosing which waters you are sailing in (when it comes time to advance the stage) but you are still at the mercy of nature (as locations are revealed). This theme of options carries through to the end, with the ability to either quest past your enemies or destroy them.

Having an extra phase to get through is rough on the action advantage, but I found the powerful ships more than compensated for it. Narelenya was my second ship of choice (getting two as a solo player), which gave me essentially 5 resources/turn with Arwen (7 once Steward was down). I did let the high high hit points of the ships lull me into a false sense of security and was waiting to pay for it on the last stage. Narelenya ended up with 10 damage and the Dream-chaser ended up with 5. Nothing came out to really make me regret that choice during the final stage (helped by the fact that I purposefully kept a Fog Bank in the staging area to travel to).


Final Scoring
5 Completed Rounds x10: 50
Ending Threat: 44
Total Damage on Heroes: 5 (Arwen 5, Erestor: 3)
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 0
Victory Display: -9 (Depature from the Havens, Cursed Mists, The Star's Guidance)
Total Score: 90


Quest 47: The Fate of Numenor

Victory on the First Attempt!

So I'm setting up the scenario, not having taken a peek at it, and read Calphon's ability. Caldphon + Lords of the Eldar? Yes, please! (It never happened, but it was nice to know it was there.)

I voltroned out Cirdan with most of his kit in round 1: To the Sea, to the Sea!, Narya, Light of Valinor. No Steward yet, but out it came in round 2 and with it came a tough choice. Most of my deck is Spirit, so it makes sense to always drop Steward on Cirdan. But the resources worked out that I could get out Gildor Inglorion if I put the Steward on Erestor. Would I have enough Lore & Neutral cards to make it work or would I end up with a useless pile of cash? I took the risk and it paid off. The last around or two saw a bit of a build up on Erestor, but not to the level that I regretted my decision.

I was regretting not using a copy of Will of the West once I saw my deck run out near the end. Then I traveled to Shrine of Morgoth and read the text: "players cannot draw cards or search their decks." And Glorfindel + all my copies of Lords of the Eldar in my discard? Yes!

Rambling around this lost island felt thematic. I was going blindly from location to location, hoping to discover the path I need and likewise hoping I was not stumbling right into a trap.

Final Scoring
7 Completed Rounds x10: 70
Ending Threat: 47
Total Damage on Heroes: 0
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 0
Victory Display: -5 (Shrine to Morgoth)
Total Score: 112


Quest 48: Raid on the Grey Havens

Victory on the First Attempt!

I am a big fan of scenarios where it feels like the encounter deck is "questing" against you, so the Aflame keyword seemed like it would be an enjoyable (and challenging) mechanic. The strategy right away seemed to be keeping an Aflame location around & exploring it as soon as it was almost lit. I practically did not have many locations to choose from at a time, so this was more of a theory. Two locations went under The Havens Burn relatively early on (at least too early for my taste) and I thought this would end up being the first of several attempts.

Another point of worry for me was the strength of Captain Sahir. Getting 5 due to the damage on The Dream-chaser + 1 from stage 2 + 4 from destroying an ally. In planning out my attack, I was focused on Sahir's 5 hit points and told myself the resources were basically like defense. They are not! His resources can stop you from affecting those hit points, but you are still removing 1 resource for every point of potential damage. I corrected this realization during my second combat phase with the Captain & had to go back and recalculate how many resources I had taken out (when I thought I had done 2 damage to him and yet retained all 10 resources).

The Havens were saved, the Captain was defeated, and Na'asiyah barely escaped with her life.

Final Scoring
7 Completed Rounds x10: 70
Ending Threat: 41
Total Damage on Heroes: 0
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 0
Victory Display: -5 (Captain Sahir)
Total Score: 41

Looking Back: The Grey Havens

The Grey Haven is a collection of three diverse quests telling a tight story and immersing the player in a theme of exploration. Sharing a medium level of difficulty means the quests will have a purpose beyond playtesting while not being so difficult that they are only re-visited when the player really wants a challenge. I'm going to write this one down as my favorite deluxe box so far and I look forward to future back-to-back run throughs.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Looking Back: The Road Darkens


My first session report from this box was on February 20th, 2015. That is a lot of life lived! The first two quests were attempted & re-tackled during memorable points for me these past two years. That fact alone is going to assign a certain sentimental feeling to this box for me.

As for the quests themselves, the game designers did a great job of cramming a large amount of content into three quests (following in the footsteps of Tolkien, who moves from a drawn out beginning to a rapid end).

I did want to put a quick note about Campaign Mode in general here. Early in the life of Lord of the Rings, the "reset for each quest" was viewed by my wife and I as a downside. We both liked the idea of leveling up our heroes & moving on to tougher challenges with stronger decks. The designer's way of incorporating this after the fact, via burdens & boons, is a good patch but it still feels like a patch. This is mainly due to the restrictions around changing your party. With Lord of the Rings being a primarily deck-building game, I felt handicapped as I moved through a box instead of enabled. There are times when the next quest seems to require a different suit of heroes than I currently have. Case in point would be swapping out Gandalf for Boromir in  Breaking of the Fellowship. Now I have an extra threat point to contend with here on out. There is relief built in for this, with occasional options to change your party, and I appreciate that fact. A big caveat is that some times I want to keep using the same deck (as my report on The Grey Havens will show). And I also see how this adds to the thematic element of the sagas.

Still, critiques of Campaign Mode aside, the Lord of the Rings saga boxes have been really enjoyable so far and I look forward to (finally) playing through the next few.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Saga Quest 12: Breaking of the Fellowship

Victory on the First Attempt!

The Deck

I wanted to use Tactics Aragorn but was not a fan of the Aragorn/Gandalf/Sam decks I was coming up with. Knowing one hero was likely to be leaving my fellowship at this point, I decided to take the threat bump and switch out Gandalf with Boromir. From there it was a pretty basic Boromir build (Gondorian Fire, Gondorian Shield, Steward of Gondor) plus my favorite ally defending combo of Derndingle Warrior + Honour Guard. Sneaky Gandalf was possible again and the rest was filler to help balance resources, draw cards, and bump certain stats in a pinch.

Bye Bye Boromir

Heroes
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Allies
Derndingle Warrior x3
Honour Guard x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Envoy of Pelargir

Attachments
Gondorian Fire x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Celebrian's Stone x2
Steward of Gondor x3
Song of Battle x1
Fellowship of the Ring x1

Events
Feint x3
Foe-hammer x3
Halfling Determination x3
Proud Hunters x3
Quick Strike x3
Captain's Wisdom x2
Sneak Attack x3
Wealth of Gondor x2
Frodo's Intuition x3

Sets Used
Core
The Dead Marshes
Over Hill and Under Hill
Heirs of Numenor
The Steward's Fear
Assault on Osgiliath
The Black Riders
The Road Darkens
The Lost Realm
The Wastes of Eriador
Escape from Mount Gram
The Thing in the Depths
Race Across Harad

RingsDB Link

The Journey & Recap

Going into this blind felt like a mistake right out of the gate. The threat of death by archery damage was pretty constant and the only healing I brought were my Honour Guards. Each of the three copies of Wooded Shoreline spent at least one combat phase in the staging area, with one there for two rounds (due to skipping the travel phase while transition between stages 1 & 2). Damage kept piling on and my threat kept increasing faster than I would like. I really hate Overcome by Grief and was convinced I would be seeing it attached to a hero once I used an ally as an archery soak. Much to my surprise, I actually ended up making it through the entire quest without a single character being destroyed.

While stage 1 is a nice call back to Journey Down the Anduin, with enemies potentially massing along the river, I only had a single Uruk-hai Archer sitting in the staging area by the time I transitioned to stage 2. Most of the enemies I faced throughout the remainder of the game were ones optionally pulled out due to travel effects, allowing me to situate the board to my advantage most of the time.


There was a Gondorian Shield in my opening hand and I chose to add Glamdring, so combat was pretty easy & straightforward throughout the scenario. Three archery damage sitting on Bormir at the end did put a little risk to the final few defenses.

Boromir did not end up falling into evil and the company was victorious, but the big highlight of the quest for me was Seat of Seeing. Did I mention that I hate Overcome by Grief? Because I really hate that card. It was actually a big reason I delayed getting around to playing Breaking of the Fellowship and moving forward with my campaign in general. A permanent condition attachment that significantly affects action advantage. This makes me feel pigeon holed into needing Spirit or Lore to function properly as well as needing steer my deck away from chump blocking. The whole idea of continuing a campaign for 12 more quests did not have an appeal to it. I was hoping the designers eventually included a way to mitigate particularly nasty burdens and, right after a scenario where you are picking up 2-4 of them, here we are!

As with any scenario where Boromir really does his thing, it would be a significant challenge to get through this without him.

Final Scoring
10 Completed Rounds x10: 100
Ending Threat: 44
Total Damage on Heroes: 10 (Aragorn: 4, Boromir: 3, Sam: 2, Frodo: 1)
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 0
Victory Display: -4 (Sarn Gebir, The Argonath, Parth Galen, Seat of Seeing)
Total Score:150

Campaign Resolution
+1 starting threat
Boromir is taken captive.
Boon: Phial of Galadriel attached to Sam.
Burden: Ill Fate added to campaign pool
Removed:  Burden: Overcome by Grief added to campaign pool

Previous Campaign Resolutions

Boon: Mr. Underhill attached to Frodo Baggins
Boon: Old Bogey-stories (added to starting hand)
Boon: Ho! Tom Bombadil! (added to starting hand)
Boon: Noble Hero attached to Sam Gamgee
Boon: Sting
Boon: Mithril Shirt
Boon: Glamdring
Boon: Anduril
Burden: Gandalf's Delay added to staging area
Burden: Panicked added to campaign pool
Burden: Shadow of Fear added to campaign pool


Friday, May 12, 2017

Looking Back: Angmar Awakened Cycle

Well, I think I have found my favorite cycle!

Angmar Awakened features creative mechanics and a good spread of difficulty among the quests. Even the most difficult ones are still fun experiences and present unique challenges.

No real strong critique here from me. If I went to a random meetup and someone said "We're going to play something from Angmar Awakened," I would be excited despite no knowledge of the specific quest we were going to dive into. That is not something I would be willing to say for preceding cycles.


Quest 45: The Dread Realm


Victory on the First Attempt! 


The Deck

Once again, I decided to test Seastan's Boromir against one of the more difficult Angmar Awakened cycle quests. This was actually done between attempts 3 & 4 of The Battle of Carn Dum, with the goal being to not fail against that quest so many times in a row I become demoralized. I actually ended up pulling a victory here, which even further helped with moral.

Seastan's Boromir

Heroes
Boromir (The Dead Marshes)
Galadriel (Celebrimbor's Secret)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

Allies
Arwen Undomiel (Watcher in the Water) x1
Bofur (The Redhorn Gate) x1
Galadriel's Handmaiden x3

Warden of Healing x1
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments
Gondorian Fire x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Blood of Numenor x3
Light of Valinor x3
Mirror of Galadriel x3
Unexpected Courage x1
Asfaloth x1
Steward of Gondor x3
Nenya x3

Events
A Test of Will x2
Dwarven Tomb x2
Elrond's Counsel x3
Hasty Stroke x2
Daeron's Runes x2
A Good Harvest x3

Sets Used
Core
A Journey to Rhosgobel
The Dead Marshes
The Redhorn Gate
The Watcher in the Water
The Long Dark
Foundations of Stone
Heirs of Numenor
The Steward's Fear
Assault on Osgiliath
Celebrimbor's Secret

RingsDB Link


Fantastic deck with every card playing its role. Horn's Cry might have been welcome for this quest. Not to prevent damage to Boromir, but to allow a round of attacks to possibly go undefended and thus save the threat increase Boromir would give at that point. And, along those lines, Favor of the Valar would also be a welcome sight. As always, the tricks is figuring out what to swap out.



The Journey

Set Up
No Steward in my opening hand, but I do have: Gondorian Fire, Nenya, Asfaloth, Elrond's Counsel, Mirror Galadriel x2. I like a lot of what I see and figure the Mirror will (hopefully) let me fish out the remaining pieces. It will be tricky to get A Good Harvest & Steward in my hand at the same time, but this is just a first attempt and I am pretty open to risk on these.

Round 1
I start equipping Boromir with some Gondorian fire and Galadriel with Nenya. The Mirror is kept in hand. I want Galadriel to save her resources to pay for Asfaloth during round 2. No worries about the single Reanimated enemy in play, who is quickly dispatched by Boromir.

Round 2 

I buy some more time with Elrond's Counsel and get Asfaloth & the Mirror down. No Steward & A Good Harvest waiting at the top of my deck, but there is a Gondorian Shield. The second Mirror is randomly discarded (yes!) and the shield goes onto Boromir. Now the threat of those reanimated enemies are basically removed. A good amount of progress makes its way onto Stage 1.

Round 3
Steward of Gondor is drawn into hand! I want to wait to use the Mirror until I have more cards to optionally discard. Asfaloth clears a location in the staging area and more progress goes on the quest.

Round 4
And the draw is...A Good Harvest. Well, there we go. Slap that Steward onto Boromir and throw down a Gandalf to use for card draw. Boromir gets his second copy of Gondorian Fire. A few enemies are Reanimated and taken out by Boromir, clearing up the board but taking my threat to 30. Could have used Gandalf for the threat reduction, but I want to get Boromir voltroned-up ASAP.

Round 5
I use A Test of Will on Death and Calamity, wanting one less curse out and to mitigate the amount of times I am readying Boromir. Galadriel drops my threat a bit and I pick up a Handmaiden. This is great, since every point of threat will count from this point on. As it is, there are a handful of Reanimated enemies to deal with as well as Daechanar. Boromir takes a few damage from Daechanar and he (with a little help from Glorfindel) cleans up most of the board.

Round 6
After getting the Handmaiden into play (reducing me to 35 threat), I use the Mirror to dig up a Blood of Gondor for Boromir. With Blood & Fire both activated, Boromir is able to defend without taking a beating and able to clean up the handful of enemies who have made their way onto the board. Threat is now up to 39.
 
Round 7
The Mirror digs up an Unexpected Courage, which is going to save me at least one Boromir threat increase per round. Really valuable right now. This + only a few enemies allows me to keep the increase minimal and I end the round at 42 threat. The last curse has been discarded and, barring an unfortunate staging next round, I can take out Daechanar.

Round 8
Restless Evil comes down and I reanimate another card. Still, Boromir is able to pump up enough to destroy Daechanar! A little bit of strong questing and we should be good to go.
 
Round 9
I am able to get another Handmaiden in play, then go all in and reveal...Cursed Dead! Dude! These guys always come out when I think victory is just in site. Still, I get Altar of Midwinter out out of the way. I spend my actions defending the plethora of enemies attacking me, but opt not to take them out. I end the round at 45 threat and am happy there. Doomed is a keyword in this quest and would hate to throw the game down the drain just to have a clear board.

Round 10
I quest hard, nothing crazy comes off of the deck, and victory is mine!


Final Scoring
9 Completed Rounds x10: 90
Ending Threat: 45
Total Damage on Heroes: 3 (Boromir: 2, Glorfindel: 1)
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 0
Victory Display: -15 (Daechanar: 10, Altar of Midwinter: 5)
Total Score: 84


The Recap

Once again, this is a "beatable" kind of tough and one that I appreciate. The encounter deck puts on a heavy amount of pressure via the Reanimation mechanic. For every small enemy it spawns out, you need to commit 2+ actions to deal with it. This makes the game a race for action advantage. Now, Boromir handily takes care of that. In fact, my playthrough became more of a race against the threat dial than the encounter deck.The Reanimation mechanic was also a great way to use your own deck against you (stop hitting yourself) and makes adding that 1x of a card a risky move. Even more than The Battle of Carn Dum, here is a difficult test I would enjoy bringing more strong decks up against in the future.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Quest 44: The Battle of Carn Dum

Victory on the Seventh Attempt!



The Journey

Attempt 1
Knowing the reputation of this quest, I wanted to bring something proven & powerful to the table. I asked on Discord if I should run Seastan's Boromir against this or The Dread Realm. Seastan himself said the deck could beat either quest, but something tuned better to the challenge would likely fair better. I figured I would try this #1 deck for my first attempt, realizing that I would need to come back a few more times, and would use the input I gained to plan my next attack. Not too much information was gained after Boromir died on round 2.

Attempt 2-4
A quick Google search for decks that have gone up against The Battle of Carn Dum pointed me towards Elrond's Ents by Xanalor. While a very powerful deck, the author gives a warning that this is hard one to pilot and threat is your biggest enemy. For all three attempts, this deck put up a fighting chance but ended up loosing ground to the encounter deck. Most of my attempts felt fairly close and I do think this deck could beat the quest (as it did for the author), but I wanted to explore a few more possibilities.


Attempt 5-6
Xanalor was the start of the show for the next deck I tried: Back to Basics. Attempt 5 never really had any traction, but Attempt 6 had Sneak Attack + Beorn in the opening hand, allowing me to blast past the questing stage of the first round. But Beorn wasn't around to help after that and enmies began swarming me.

It was getting late & time for a pause. I thought back on what type of deck would do well here. It would need to be able to have extremely strong attack & questing abilities. Defense was not as much of a problem as long as consistent chump blockers could be found. I thought of refining the Quad Sphere Dwarf Swarm with some of the newer dwarf additions. Attacking & questing is something a Dain-centric dwarf deck can do very well. I also thought of revisiting Seastan's Boromir and switching out Galadriel with Tactics Eowyn. This would give me the big punch I need that first round and consistent questing afterwards. Actually, I thought of Tactics Eowyn then pairing her with Glorfindel then realized I probably should just modify Seastan's deck at that point, with Boromir himself being the third wheel. Then, in the midst of my fatigue, I somehow remembered that I had not ran The Rapid Charge of Outlands! yet. I had been wanting to run that one against something really tough and, six attempts in, this quest fit the bill. Waking up fairly early, I decided to do one last attempt before the work day started...


Attempt 7
For the first six attempts, the burden was on me to play smart and hopefully get the right draws. Attempt 7 put the pressure on the encounter deck from the get-go and never let up. It only took me five rounds to destroy the quest. By the end I had twelve Outlands allies down and a few chump blockers (helped by the fact that the ally hate is not strong this time around). It trivalized the quest to the point where I am glad I did not start with this deck. I enjoy winning and I actually enjoy destroying a quest, but I am also glad I was able to get a clear picture of how truly tough The Battle of Carn Dum is before the decimation began.


Final Scoring
5 Completed Rounds x10: 50
Ending Threat: 34
Total Damage on Heroes: 2 (Erestor)
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 8 (Denethor)
Victory Display: -10 (The Power of Angmar)
Total Score: 84


The Deck

I know how powerful Erestor decks are and have heard Denethor touted as one of the best heroes in the game right now. Add them with Outlands and you are in pretty good shape to trample quests. I had enough resource acceleration to play my entire hand the first round and that became the norm for the remainder of the game.

The Rapid Charge of Outlands!
by 13nrv

Heroes
Denethor (Flight of the Stormcaller)
Hirluin the Fair (The Steward's Fear)
Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudar)

Allies
Errand-rider x3
Forlong x1
Warrior of Lossarnach x3
Anfalas Herdsman x3
Henamarth Riversong x1
Hunter of Lamedon x3
Warden of Healing x1
Either Swordsman x3
Knights of the Swan x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3

Attachments
Steward of Gondor x3
Lembas x3

Events
A Very Good Tale x3
Gaining Strength x3
Men of the West x2
Wealth of Gondor x3
Daeron's Runes x3
Heed the Dream x3
A Good Harvest x3

Sets Used
Core
The Long Dark
Foundations of Stone
Over Hill and Under Hill
Heirs of Numenor
The Steward's Fear
The Druadan Forest
Assault on Osgiliath
Trouble in Tharbad
The Treachery of Rhudar
Flight of the Stormcaller

RingsDB Link


The Recap

The Battle of Carn Dum is a seriously tough quest. But, in contrast to Escape from Dol Guldur, I found it to be a "Fair" tough. Escape starts you off at a major disadvantage with possible openings that are instant game-enders. Battle begins tough and never lets up, but strong decks can at least stand a fighting chance.

I don't see myself coming back to fight this Battle often in the future. The extremely tough quests are not always my favorites after the initial challenge of that first victory is past. But if I ever come up with a deck that I think is the end-all of player decks, then I know where to come to test that notion.