Finally! The third quest of the third box is done, bringing me to the halfway point of the saga quests (halfway, due to the print on demand quests?). And I continued the pattern of taking a small eternity to get the final quest of each box knocked off.
This one took a bit for me to figure out, then in hindsight I wonder why it did. It requires power in the questing department (no real way to get around that) and the ability to take some punches. That still leaves a nice selection of archetypes that I would enjoy taking down this round.
The Road to Isengard was a reminder of the drastic difference the right type of deck can make. I began with a Tactics Boromir/Gimli/Legolas build that, for all of Legolas' help in progressing through locations, ultimately threated out shy of victory. Attempts 2-3 mixed up the sphere but continued to try this hero line up with unfavorable results. The idea was in my mind to switch Tactics Boromir out for Tactics Eowyn, but I really did not want to take yet another permanent threat increase in my campaign (even though Eowyn would actually bring me to a net -1 threat until her attack is triggered). I played with the idea of backing up to Helm's Deep and re-trying with Eowyn (even though Boromir was a life saver there). But consistent willpower was a real need and I rarely needed Boromir's readying ability for combat. I finally bit the bullet, took the threat, and in Eowyn went! This resulted in a victory on attempt 4, but not a clean one. I had neglected to reveal an extra card with Orthanc's ability (which actually may have helped me, since locations were a bit lacking during stage 2). I re-set, re-loaded, and took attempt 5 to victory.
The first goal was to get two copies of Ent of Fangorn on my side. This went down successfully over two rounds on attempt 4. This time, I was able to get one Ent and a few resources on another. Now for the tough choice: Better to move on and be thankful for what I have or try one more round of attempts and add a third encounter card to the staging area? The decision was to move on, but it was not a comfortable decision. Two ents really did a lot of work during the fourth attempt and I was feeling the pain of not having that benefit this time around.
An early Anduril and Captain of Gondor on Aragorn helped make combat fairly easy. He eventually had The Sword that was Broken and Banner of Elendill, making this pretty much a voltron Aragorn deck more than anything else. This combined with Light of Valinor on Legolas gave me a bonus of seven willpower with no actions needed (five for most of the game, since The Sword that was Broken did not come out until a bit later). Eowyn's 4-6 (depending on the stage in the game) made questing a relative breeze and I was thankful for the extra three points she gave me.
Damage was plentiful and neither copy of Dunedain Remedy made a showing. There was at least one point where heroes would have to start dying if certain encounter cards were revealed, but an ally or two would come out beforehand for the sacrifice. This quest is challenging even with a decent deck.
Eventually my band of heroes made it to the final stage at the beginning of the quest phase. Enough progress was placed the following round to travel onto Orthanc and take out the many-coloured wizard (and Eowyn never even had to attack).
8 Completed Rounds x10: 80
Ending Threat: 43
Total Damage on Heroes: 10 (Gimli: 3, Legolas: 3, Eowyn: 2, Aragorn: 2)
Threat of Defeated Heroes: 0
Victory Display: -1
+1 starting threat
Palantir of Orthanc added to campaign pool
Previous Campaign Resolutions
+1 starting threat
Boon: Ho! Tom Bombadil! (added to starting hand)
Boon: Mithril Shirt
Boon: Beyond All Hope attached to Sam Gamgee
Burden: Shadow of Fear added to campaign pool
Burden: Ill Fate added to campaign pool
The first question for any relevant deck: Who does Steward of Gondor go on? If you get Narvi's Belt early, Gimli all the way. That would be plan A, but is a bit fragile with only one copy of the belt. If Steward takes a while to appear and you have Sword that was Broken in hand (or already on Aragorn), then you could consider Aragorn as a viable option. I wouldn't put it on Aragorn over Gimli if you only have Celebrian's stone. Whoever it is should likely also get Shield of Gondor.
You have a few artifacts to get onto Aragorn and three copies of Light of Valinor to put on Legolas. This should give you 3-7 willpower for "free," while still having some good defense & attack power. Eowyn will always be questing, popping up to attack a big baddy when needed. Gimli will main be on defense, but he has the quest power if you have the
Voltron-up your heroes a bit, get a few utility allies down, and get 'er done.
Take No Hobbits
Gimli (Sands of Harad)
Legolas (Sands of Harad)
Eowyn (The Flame of the West)
Aragorn (The Flame of the West)
Arwen Undomiel (Watcher in the Water) x2
Envoy of Pelargir x2
Gandalf (Core) x3
Ranger of Cardolan x2
Treebeard (The Antlered Crown) x1
Celebrian's Stone x1
Dunedain Remedy x2
Dunedain Warning x1
King Under the Mountain x1
Narvi's Belt x1
Steward of Gondor x3
Sword that was Broken x1
Light of Valinor x3
Mirkwood Long-knife x1
Captain of Gondor x1
Gondorian Shield x1
Rivendell Blade x2
Banner of Elendil x2
Glamdring (The Road Darkens) x1
Captain's Wisdom x2
Sneak Attack x3
Unlikely Friendship x3
Tides of Fate x3
Hands Upon the Bow x3