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The One Deck?


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#1 Bohemond

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 04:55 AM

There have been recent discussions on the board about the possibility of a single deck that can dominate all of the existing quests. I have a highly effective Spirit/Lore Deck that I wanted to put the deck through its paces, so I decided to play it best of three against every quest in the game. Is this the fabled “on deck”? Probably not, but I wanted to give it a whirl and see how it performed.


The basic concept of the deck is to keep threat low, control the board with counters and powerful synergies, and then race through quests with your vast hand fueling Protector of Lorien. Beravor fuels the cards engine, so she has to come to the dance. Glorfindel [Spirit[ is also central to keeping threat low and controlling the board through a slew of simple combos (he allows Light of Valinor, Asfaloth, and Elrond’s Counsel to function). I have some flexibility for the third hero. Despite the risk that booored will start yelling at me, I chose Eowyn. Frodo and Eleanor might also make good choices, but I want the early game speed Eowyn provides, even though she doesn’t offer much mid to late game.

The Deck
Gleowine (x2)
Henmarth Riversong (x2)
Warden of Healing (x3)
Asfaloth (x3)
Forest Snare (x1)
Protector of Lorien (x2)
Daeron’s Runes (x3)
Lore of Imladris (x2)
Strider’s Path (x2)
Arwen Undomiel (x3)
Elfhelm (x1)
Northern Tracker (x3)
Light of Valinor (x3)
Unexpected Courage (x2)
A Test of Will (x3)
Elrond’s Counsel (x3)
Dwarven Tomb (x2)
Hasty Stroke (x2)
The Galadhrim’s Greeting (x3)
Will of the West (x1)
Gandalf (x2)
Shadow of the Past (x2)

A Passage through Mirkwood (2 wins [38 and 63] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win - final score, 38): I get a strong draw that includes Unexpected Courage and two Elrond’s Counsel. Beravor nets me Protector of Lorien and the race is on. I finish the quest on the third turn, and without any of the spiders of Mirkwood even noticing my presence.


Game 2 (win - final score 63): Not a great draw, which keeps the party on the first stage for two turns and means tangling with a Forest Spider. But Runes keeps my deck cycling and Shadows of the Past helps ensure that we keep trudging down the Old Forest Road. This time we have to duke it out with some spiders, but Gandalf shows up at the end to team up with Glorfindel to lay low Ungoliant’s Spawn.

Journey Down the Anduin (2 wins [130 and 96] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win - final score 130): A Goblin Sniper and Warg hit the table early, start mauling my team. Arwen and a well timed Lore of Imaldris prevent death by a thousand cuts, but the constant attacks leaves Beravor unable to draw cards. After a long slog, Gleowine finally helps me dig out Gandalf. It’s not until turn 10 that I can play him, Once the wizard arrives we smite the troll, and with the help of Shadows of the Past and Asfaloth we stick to the banks the Banks of the Anduin and use Protector of Lorien to race to the conclusion of the quest.


Game 2 (win - final score 96): Once again I get a first turn Warg, but I open with Elrond’s Counsel, Dwarven Tomb (for Counsel), Light of Valinar (all of this made possible by Runes) . I get my card engine going and drop the Troll on turn 5. I race past the the second stage, but get a second Troll and a Marsh Adder on my final draw. They slow me down, but this victory is much more comfortable.


Escape from Dol Goldur
(2 wins [235 and 96] – 1 lose)
Game 1 (win - final score, 235): Eowyn starts out as a prisoner, but by turn two I have Unexpected Courage and Asfalath out, followed by Riversong next turn. My threat keeps creeping up, but I manage to stabilize the game with Light and Protector, despite having a growing hoard of enemies that will come crashing down on my at 35 threat. I free Eowyn and Gandalf is able to deal with the Nazghul, but the game almost ends on turn 11 when I hit 35 threat. I top deck 2 Elrond's Counsel to keep going. Turn 13 brings another close call with Ungoliant’s Spawn and Hummerhorns as a Shadow Card, but then I start bring a stream of Trackers to the board to crush the orc masses.


Game 2 (lose – turn 9): Glorfindel is prisoner, which worries me since Asfaloth was the key to the first game. I get hit with Eyes of the Forest in set up, losing half my hand. I get out Unexpected Courage and Warden of Healing, but a Cavern Guardian puts early pressure on me, and Caught in a Web keeps me from replenishing my hand. I approach the Tower Gate at the wrong time, and get hit with Dol Goldur Orcs, followed by Ungoliant’s Spawn and Hummerhorns as Shadow Cards. My few allies die, and my threat shoots up high enough that a Beast Master crushes my small party


Game 3 (win - final score 96): I am unsure I can win with anyone besides Eowyn as the prisoner, so I don’t draw a random hero this time around. The opening table has two locations, Dol Goldur Orcs, and Cavern Guardians, but I have Light of Valinar and Asfaloth in my opening hand, and draw Unexpected Courage turn two. I get slammed with threat after the first turn (it jumps to 31), but by the start of turn three I have cleared all of the initial threats and control the board. My card draw engine gets going, I play Elrond’s Counsel five times to control threat (go dwarven tomb!), and I simply out race the Nazgul, finishing the last two quest stages in only two turns. Wow.


Hunt for Gollum (2 wins [80 and 95] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win - final score 80): Between Old Wives Tales, the East Bank, and the Old Ford (as a shadow card), I can’t get allies onto the table. But I get the full load of attachments in the first four turns (Glorfindel has Asfaloth and Light of Valinar, Eowyn has Protector of Lorien and Beravor has two Unexpected Courage). Add one Northern Tracker to the mix, and we ride roughshod over the location heavy encounter deck.


Game 2 (win - final score 95): I get so enthralled with Asfaloth and Elrond’s Counsel, that I keep a hand that I should probably have thrown back. I get swarmed with three Hunters from Mordor; they can’t find me because of my low threat, but the bog down my progress. Glordindel eventually lures one into a Forest Snare, I get Unexpected Courage and Gleowine on the table, and dump my whole hand to Protector of Lorien for three straight turns. Eventually, we find Gollum’s trail.


Conflict at the Carrack (2 wins [119 and 162] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win – final score 119): A first turn Riversong ensures that I am in complete control of the game, while the Warden of Healing shuts down the threat from the early Warg and Sniper who harry me. I build up slowly, keeping threat well below the range of the trolls. Eventually, Beravor is able to use Protector of Lorien to stave off the trolls, while Glorfindel and Eflhelm lead an army of Trackers to slay the fearsome monsters one by one. I forget to use Shadows of the Past on what should have been the last turn, and draw into a Hill troll, but it only prolongs the inevitable.


Game 2 (win – final score 162): The game begins with Eowyn thrown in a sack, crippling my resource generation and threatening to send my threat through the roof. Fortunately, Arwen and Glorfindel (with light of the Valinar and Protector of Lorien) stabilize progress. I end up drawing my entire deck using that to my advantage to recycle a steady stream of Gandalfs, Elrond’s Counsel and jetsam used to fuel Protector.

Conclusions
The deck exceed my high expectations, going 10-1. Will the deck struggle with Rhosgobel? Of course it will. The attachment destruction and lower engagement values in Darrowdelf will also certainly give it problems. I doubt I would win two of every three games against Escape from Dol Goldur, but I didn’t need dream draws from the encounter deck to beat that scenario. It’s simply a very strong deck.


In terms of construction, in 11 games I never once played Strider’s Path, so that card should be replaced with something else (Burning Brand, perhaps?). I only played Lore of Imaldris once, but it saved the game, and I will need it to have any hope of Rhosgobel. Given the number of ways I have to use dead cards, I wouldn’t take it out.  Forest Snare also only hit the table in one game.


The big surprise to me was the The Galadhrim’s Greeting. In 11 games, I only played it once or twice. It used to be a staple card in my Spirit/Lore Strategies, but Elrond’s Counsel is far superior, and at the rate this deck cycles I don’t know if the high resource cost of Greeting makes it worth including. The deck’s main weakness is low resource generation, so I may shift to something cheaper, but I have no idea what that would be. So, is this the one deck? More to come soon, but if you have questions about how the deck works, comments or criticisms, please post them.
 



#2 Bohemond

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 05:22 AM

In terms of our discussion of the power of relevant sets, I think it's worth noting that this deck uses 27 cards from core (plus 2 heroes), 18 cards from Darrowdelf (plus 1 hero), but only three cards from Mirkwood (at least two of which should be cut from the deck).  I know that this is only one small sample, but I think it suggest that the cards from the Mirkwood cycle don't pack the punch of what we are seeing from other sources.



#3 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:32 AM

I have tried similar decks. And it goes with what I said elsewhere, Spirit-Lore is by far the safest bet. More so now with Glorfindel out. One can have Denethor or Bilbo in there, even make it Lore-major or swap Éowyn with Frodo (as suggested). I have tried it all and it works with similar results. It may take long to beat the Carrock I feel, and if you get unlucky with early Sacked! who knows. But for the majority of quests, this is the way that I think works best. So hopefully the new quests will challenge a player in a bit different way and make the need to use Tactics (or Leadership) more prominent.



#4 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:35 AM

I agree with the consensus of Shadows of Mirkwood player cards being relatively weak, Core and Dwarrodelf are roaming over my decks in vast numbers also. But then again, some cards have totally changed in value (at least for me) over time, so perhaps the same will happen here.



#5 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 06:39 AM

Finally, I know it may be a huge difference to have Bilbo or Denethor (to Beravor) but I would take A Burning Brand over Forest Snare any time. Also, as much as I like Strider's Path, I have seen its importance dwindle in my games dramaticaly, and Asfaloth makes it almost obsolete (and then think of Secret Paths, does anyone even remember that nice card from the core set?).



#6 Bohemond

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:30 AM

I think you correct, Forest Snare needs to go.  Burning Brand is tempting, but I am loathe to block with Beravor (that's two cards I am giving up!) and when the deck works I leave monsters in the staging area.  Something to ponder, certainly.  On to more adventures!

A Journey to Rhosgobel (2 win [63 and 53] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win – final score 67): As always, this scenario ends up in a race. I don’t draw Lore, but I get Riversong and Light of the Valinor on the first turn, and ensuring control of the board. Blackforest Bats engage me on the first turn, but that ends up helping me, since it cycles shadow cards that I can retrieve with Shadows of the Past. That allows me to grab Forest Grove, and I finally use Strider’s Path to hasten my exploration. A Test of Will helps me survive the fact that I draw Exhaustion twice, and I am fortunate enough to draw into Athelas. I finish on turn 5 with just enough King’s Foil to cure the bird.


Game 2 (win – final score 57): While the first game relied on fortunate encounter draws, my deck dominates the second game. I mulligan and start with a Lore, and then use aggressive card draw to pull a second one. I have enough willpower to rush through the quest on the fourth turn, and I use Shadows of the Past and a Test of Will to nullify the encounter deck (my four draws were Enchanted Stream, Swarming Insects, Driven by Shadow twice [from Shadows of the Past]. We don’t have time to spare, but the encounter deck was kept completely in check.


Hills of Emyn Muil (2 wins [87 and 79] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win – final score 87): After a couple of close games, this one feels like a cake walk. It would take a colossally awful draw for Emyn Muil to hurt this deck. Northern Tracker helps me avoid Amon Lhaw directly, and my low threat means that I never have to engage the various orcs roaming the hills.


Game 1 (win – final score 79): This game goes much like the first, with Asfaloth running the show instead of the Northern Tracker. The salient feature of this game is that I play Elrond’s Counsel 9 times, along with The Galadhrim’s Greeting, making it impossible for any enemy to engage me. I have one potentially catastrophic draw, where I pull rock slide which surges (since there are no active locations) into a second rockslide. Fortunately, I have two Test of Wills in hand, so my iron resolve overcomes the dangers of falling rocks.

Conclusions

First, I still loath Emyn Muil and find it a very dull scenario.  More importantly, I may have over estimated the difficulty with Rhosgobel.  I forgot that the low starting threat means that you can avoid all of the fliers unless you want to engage them and your event control mitigates a lot of the awful  treachery cards.  In a 5 turn game you have a very high probability of pulling at least one Lore (with the mulligan, you can easily pull 25+ cards in that time.  And of course you can get a lot more if you draw the right cards).  As always, Rhosgobel is still a crap shoot; you need to get a second lore or one of the 8 king's foil cards in the encounter deck, but the odds  of this deck winning seem to be better than I had first thought
 



#7 Titan

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:43 AM

As for The Galadhrim's Greeting, I took it out of my spirit/lore deck a while back and don't miss it. Fairly low starting threat, good questing to make progress consistently and Elrond's Counsel make it totally unnecessary. Still use it in other decks, but it does seem as though it's usefulness is waning a bit.



#8 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:48 AM

Titan said:

As for The Galadhrim's Greeting, I took it out of my spirit/lore deck a while back and don't miss it. Fairly low starting threat, good questing to make progress consistently and Elrond's Counsel make it totally unnecessary. Still use it in other decks, but it does seem as though it's usefulness is waning a bit.

Agree. I only use it in combo with Good Meal. It's great value for 1 resource. But then you've got two cards filling the slots… it works but maybe something else in their stead would work better.



#9 jjeagle

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:03 AM

Titan said:

As for The Galadhrim's Greeting, I took it out of my spirit/lore deck a while back and don't miss it. Fairly low starting threat, good questing to make progress consistently and Elrond's Counsel make it totally unnecessary. Still use it in other decks, but it does seem as though it's usefulness is waning a bit.

Agreed. I don't think GG is in general that useful now in terms of helping you win. However it is a good example of how differing priorities and "success criteria" can affect deck construction - if your aim is to play for low scores, then cost 3 for 6 VPs is still a pretty good deal.


"I have no help to send, therefore I must go myself."


#10 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:05 AM

I'm also ever hesitant to do anything other than drawing cards with Beravor. But from a certain point there's usually no need to draw more cards, especially in solo play, so then she can do other stuff, like defending with A Burning Brand. But as I said, the card seems more fit on Bilbo.



#11 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:08 AM

jjeagle said:

Titan said:

 

As for The Galadhrim's Greeting, I took it out of my spirit/lore deck a while back and don't miss it. Fairly low starting threat, good questing to make progress consistently and Elrond's Counsel make it totally unnecessary. Still use it in other decks, but it does seem as though it's usefulness is waning a bit.

 

 

Agreed. I don't think GG is in general that useful now in terms of helping you win. However it is a good example of how differing priorities and "success criteria" can affect deck construction - if your aim is to play for low scores, then cost 3 for 6 VPs is still a pretty good deal.

True but with the current scoring system (which I quite hate) it may still cost you a round, worth some 11 VPs.



#12 impaulm

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 08:42 AM

 Coming from someone who is relatively new, could you tell me how you use Beravor? Is she an automatic exhaust for you for the cards? Do you attach an unexpected courage card to her if you can later? I am always tempted to use BIlbo instead since his card draw is automatic and then he can be used elsewhere.

Thanks!



#13 plueschi

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 09:22 AM

 I think it depends on how you build your deck around each hero.

Bilbo is a very strong early game hero, because (as you say) his card draw is automatic and he is free to do other things then.

Beravor otoh is a very strong late game hero, because her card draw outclasses Bilbo once you can freely use her (even more so with Unexpected Courage, and why stop at one? *g*). The very small problem I have with Beravor is that more often than not, I don't use her card draw during the first ~2 turns. But many people actually seem to use her card draw right from turn one, while that feels risky to me, it seems to work for others. So might just depend on your style in the end.

When playing solo, I currently slightly prefer Bilbo, because those early turns are so indicative of how the game is going to turn out, but both are very strong.

And the most successful deck I have atm actually runs both ;)



#14 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 10:17 AM

I actually like to pair her up with Boromir, so I can use her from the outset and there's always someone to save the day.

She can certainly draw more cards. And she's certainly more valuable (compared to Bilbo) in multiplayer as you can decide who draws the cards when. She's also much more valuable for strategies based around the Stargazer and Miner.

But after some initial disappointment I began to like Bilbo, in solo that is. The automatic draw is indeed very handy on round one where he can also defend against those low threat threshold lower attack enemies. And whilst Beravor can draw out the deck much quicker, I never saw Bilbo as problematic later in the game. Since solo games tend to take longer, one should have enough cards to deal with any quest if he lasted that long, and the difference between the two becomes the infantile win-more situation, using Will of the West and what not.



#15 Bohemond

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:43 AM

impaulm said:

 Coming from someone who is relatively new, could you tell me how you use Beravor? Is she an automatic exhaust for you for the cards? Do you attach an unexpected courage card to her if you can later? I am always tempted to use BIlbo instead since his card draw is automatic and then he can be used elsewhere.

Thanks!

On using Beravor, she should always be the target of Unexpected Courage (at least in single player).  I generally leave her untapped, in case you need an emergency blocker/attacker, and then draw at the end of turns..  However, the low threat means that happens rarely and I use her to draw cards 80-90% of most turns.  On some occasions you will start a turn knowing you need a specific card or type of card, and you may draw several times to get the card before you quest.  Once in a blue moon I send her questing, but only if I don't have protector of lorien and know I need that extra two will to hit a target number (having used riversong or shadows to determine exact values.

On the comparison to Bilbo, I will say that their are good players on both sides of the debate.  I, however, detest Bilbo and find Beravor far superior.  I think Bilbo takes too many attachments to become functional, and in a threat reduction deck I have no problems commiting Beravor to Card draw on early turns (save for the incidents with damn Wargs).  I don't Deny Bilbo's utility, but if you want a deck that is designed to draw and cycle all of your cards, you need Beravor.  Bilbo turns into a high end blocker/quester, but his attachments never improve his base card drawing power.



#16 Bohemond

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:47 AM

In terms of optimizing the initial deck, I think replacing Strider's Path and Forest Snare with a third copy of Unexpected Courage, Dwarven Tomb and Riversong would be a huge upgrade.  You can never have enough of any of those cards (even though Riversong is unique, he seems to die all the time).

I agree that I need a replacement for Greeting, but still don't know what that should be.  Stargazer and Zigil?  Maybe something will come out in the next pack that will spark my imagination.



#17 Bohemond

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 11:55 AM

Dead Marches (2 win [56 and 50] – 0 loses)
Game 1 (win – final score 56): With Light of Valinor, Protector of Lorien and Unexpected Courage this deck is too fast for the Dead Marches escape mechanic to make much of a difference. The game ends on turn 3, with a 15 willpower Glorfindel easily catching the tricksey Gollum. Things go so much smoother when I don’t draw Wargs.


Game 2 (win – final score 50): Light of Valinor proves, yet again, to be the key to this scenario. Gollum can’t handle Glorfindel questing and making escape checks . Strider’s Path helps us avoid getting bogged down in the brown lands and the party cruises to another 3 turn win.
 

Return to Mirkwood (2 win [78 and 95] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win – final score 78): I draw mostly locations and treacheries, and move through the quest in just 5 turns. Mirkwood Bats causes me some headaches, killing Riversong, and my threat reaches disturbingly high levels. However, The Galadhrim’s Greeting actually proves reassuring this time around, though it doesn’t end up making any difference save for scoring.


Game 2 (win – final score 95): Another 5 turn victory, but this time I arrive bloodied and beaten. I draw a Hill Troll, a Marash Adder and a Warg (damn you, Warg!) and, despite threat reduction, I hit 42 threat by the end of the game. Arwen and Riversong get eaten, while Gmorfindel and Beravor are bloodied, but we safely retrieve Gollum.


Conclusion

I think that the reputation of Return to Mirkwood is a bit overblown. Yes, it has Attercop (one of the two cards in this cycle, along with Sacked! For which this deck lacks an effective answer), but there are a lot of relatively painless encounter cards. You need to finish the quest in 5 turns, and make sure you have Protector and a large enough hand to not get stuck in stage three. Expect to lose some allies in stage four, but it’s still quite manageable.
Overall, I think this deck illustrates how strong these new cards are against some of the older quests. This may not be the fabled, “one deck,” but it certainly rules Core and Mirkwood. I will move on to the next set of quests next week.
 



#18 impaulm

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 12:28 PM

 Thanks for the replies on Beravor. I'm glad I asked. I cant believe I never thought to wait until the end of the turn for her ability!! 



#19 lleimmoen

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 07:57 PM

Bohemond said:

In terms of optimizing the initial deck, I think replacing Strider's Path and Forest Snare with a third copy of Unexpected Courage, Dwarven Tomb and Riversong would be a huge upgrade.  You can never have enough of any of those cards (even though Riversong is unique, he seems to die all the time).

I agree that I need a replacement for Greeting, but still don't know what that should be.  Stargazer and Zigil?  Maybe something will come out in the next pack that will spark my imagination.

I agree about the three. Even if my Riversong doesn't die much - maybe I'm too afraid to sacrifice him, I never regret having more in a deck. I think he's so good to have from the start, so having most copies available is great. (Our playgroup luckily has multiple sets.)

I'm not sure about the Stargazer Zigil in here. I think they're unnecessary as you shouldn't need to speed up the deck (if Beravor works) and you've got the Protector obviously. On the other hand I learned that Zigil doesn't always have to earn five or six (or even three or four) to be effective. I run these (and Gildor) in a deck with many unique duplicates (and without massive drawing) and they're most useful even if he mostly makes two (and 3+ occasionaly). Also with the Sword on Strider, Zigil is quite a good ally to quest (and fight occasionaly).



#20 Bohemond

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 12:40 PM

Your probably write about Stargazer and Zigil.  I will keep my eyes open for something from Shadow & Flame. On to Khazad-Dun!

 

Into the Pit (1 wins [77 and 86] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win – final score 77): Riversong and Shadows and the Past and the Cave Torch provide amazing control over the encounter deck and allow me to escape many of the vicious cards. My descent concludes with Riversong leaping into a sudden pitfall on the final turn to save my heroes from death. Keeping my threat under 30 proves a struggle, but doing so allows me to elude the pair of Patrol Leaders in the staging area. After taking 5 turns to complete the first quest stage, Protector ensure that I finish the final two stages in one turn each.


Game 2 (win – final score 86): One the first turn, I drop both Arwen and Riversong, and have the option of discarding a card to clear the East Gate. The decision is a mistake, since a Dreadful Gap appears on turn two and shoots my threat over 30. Fortunately, Riversong, Asfaloth and the Cave Torch give me great control over locations and treacheries. A Goblin Follower harasses the party, but Gandalf makes short work of him. I get my threat under control, evading two goblin patrol leaders and dash through the final stages for the win.


The Seventh Level (1 win [54 ] – 2 loses)


Game 1 (lose – turn 7): I start the game with the unfortunate draw of the Goblin Horn Blower, and it never gets better. I mistakenly engage him, forgetting the vast number of shadow cards that bring down more goblins. Even with Hasty Stroke, I can’t kill enough goblins, and Beravor is too busy fending off the hoards to draw the cards I need to race through the final stage. Oh, for a Burning Brand! The swordsmen die quickly, but the spearmen cause me fits. I die with a Goblin Chieftain, A Goblin horn blower, and 4 spearmen engaged with me
Game 2 (win – final score 54): I get out an unexpected courage, and am fortunate enough to have a Cave Troll and Undisturbed bones in the staging area. I use shadows of the past to draw Undisturbed Bones again on turn 2, building up a huge pile of cards. I use eravor to keep digging for cards on turn three, hoping for a second Shadows. I have no luck, so bring forth Northern Tracker. On turn three the encounter deck reveals a Goblin Swordsmen, but I remain confident that the tracker can defend me. I draw Chieftan of the Pit as my shadow Card , Hasty Stoke sits in hand, but I have no resources to play it. The Goblin Swordsman attacks again, and, since I have no defenders left, he kills Glorfindel. I have no choice but to make an all out sprint to clear the final stage on turn four. With Protector of Lorien in play, I need to add +19 to Willpower to clear the stage; luckily I have 20 cards in hand. By the skin of my teeth.
Game 3 (lose – turn 3) I get an awful draw. By turn three, I have been engaged by three goblin spearmen and three goblin swordsmen. I never saw a treachery or a location (save for some as vicious shadow effects). I killed half the goblins, but am brought low by a swarm of low engagement value enemies. I might have been able to win the first game with better decisions, but the deck just thumps me in game 3.

Flight From Moria: (1 win [119 and 96] – 0 loses)


Game 1 (win – final score 119): Dreadful Gap comes up early, making The Nameless Fear a terror right from the beginning. The quests cards come out in the wrong order, and I start a long slog through the whole of the quest deck. However, no foes engage the party, and i get the craw drawing engine in full speed. I set up a cycle in which I could use Shadows of the Past indefinitely cto ontinuously draw Crumbling Ruin (and, with my two Gandalfs in hand, there is no way the deck hurt Glorfindel). Everything looks wonderful until a quest forces me to draw an additional card, and A Foe beyond hits Eowyn in the face for 9. Fortunately, we find the tools soon after, and Beravor uses Unexpected Courage to quickly escape


Game 2 (win – final score 96): Once again, the relative paucity of foes means I can get drawing underway in earnest. This time around the quests come out in a favorable order, and I quickly end up with the tools. In an act of cosmic revenge for last game, a Crumbling Ruin smashes Glorfindel (I drew the single Gandalf in my deck capable of hurting him). At the very end of the quest, after I have two progress tokens on Escape from the Darkness, I draw New Devilry. Fortunately, I have A Test of Will in hand so I escape with a relatively easy victory.

Conclusions: After a jaw dropping 18-1 against Core + Mirkwood, I went has a more modest 5-2 record against Khazad-Dum. The Seventh Level was the only quest that gave me major problems (I lost two heroes against Flight From Moria, but won both times despite some awful luck on encounter draws). I need to rethink my strategy against that quest. In retrospect, I was overly aggressive on seventh level. The decision to put the book on Beravor (increasing willpower for questing) rather than on Eowyn (giving me another emergency defender) was probably an error. Also, I should slow my progress and ensure that I have resources for counters. With all of that said, that quest will give my deck fits even when played perfectly. I need more testing to determine if I can beat The Seventh Level more times than not. Still, I am 23-3 overall, so I feel good about the deck.
 






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