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Into Ithilien


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#1 Valyrian Steel

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 08:24 AM

I am enjoying the new exapansion so far, but I have to say that this quest has kicked my butt to the point of JdtA did when the Core set first came out. I only co-op (or occasionally solo 2H to test out new deck ideas) and was wondering if anyone has had success against this quest in a non-solo setting? I also deckbuild to compete against every quest as I don't find it that fun to try and build something for an individual quest. I've made it to stage 4 a couple of times with our typcially excellent deck builds, but there are typically so many enemies built up in stage 3 that we are wiped out in the first combat phase after making it to stage 4. More often than not though we can't even get out of stage 1 even with nearly perfect starting hards. 

 



#2 danpoage

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 10:44 AM

It sounds like you are keeping Celador and taking "The Hidden Way". Since you can't engage any of the enemies in that stage of the quest it definitely helps to have some way of doing damage to, or at least mitigating enemies in the staging area. Dunhere is an obvious example, if you are playing Spirit, but there are plenty of options for other spheres as well. Tactics has Thalin which eliminates the annoying bats with their surge, and events like "Hail of Stones" or "Hands Upon The Bow" (if you have ranged characters). In Lore you can use "Ranger Spikes", which were seemingly made for this scenario, or "Expecting Mischief", which works well if you are playing Denethor or have some way of scrying the top of the encounter deck. In general having some way to deal damage to enemies in the staging area (or keep them from rushing you when you get to stage 4) is essential if you are going to take the hidden way.

Regarldess of which path you take, there is another useful trick if you are playing tactics (or can splash a song or two in to support it). The cards "Vassal of the Windlord" and "Winged Guardian" are absolute beasts for the Battle and Siege stages of this scenario. They have 3 attack and 4 defense, respectively, and normally would be discarded after combat, but since questing does not count as combat they stay in play and provide very cost effective questing while freeing up your other characters to deal with combat. Also, the Vassal can be sacrificed to provide that last push to finish off one of the bigger enemies that are seemingly ever-present.

Lastly, you need to have one of your heroes be your blocker, they should have 2-3 defense to start (3 is better, but 2 with a lot of hit can work instead) and you will want to put burning brand on them and/or additional bonuses to their defense (Arwen, Dunedain Warning, etc). The shadow cards can be nasty, and the enemies are big, and since the questing is made more difficult be the Battle and Siege stages, you can't afford to be sacrificing your allies as chump blockers.

Good luck!


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The Grey Company

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
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#3 Valyrian Steel

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

Thanks for the good response there. Forunately I'm well aware of and have all ready been employing all of the useful cards you mentioned. My teams are Glorfindel/Loragorn/Frodo and Legolas/Elladan/Elorhir. Plenty of great attack, defense, staging area manipulation, etc. I also use vassal and just switched over to defender of rammas from winged guardian to have a few less allies that leave play when they are actually called on to defend (I also use Watcher of the Buinen). 

Every card in this scenario is just brutal and there is absolutely no breathing room. I'm a very very experienced player as is my partner and we win a heck of a lot more than we lose (we have been playing since the game was released). Just seemed to hit a brick wall here and was wondering if anyone else has done the same. Peril in Pelagrir is a walk in the park compared to this one from my experience so far.

I wish that the stage 3 quest card was a little more rewarding than it is. Even with staging area manipulation it's still hard to keep things going. It would be nice to be at least able to optionally engage enemies if you wish similar to JdtA. You might be on a hidden path, but one would think you could pick off a couple southrens of your choosing while you creep along :P I think difficulty 4 is far to generous for this one; more like difficulty 7. Still, it's very rich and thematic and I am very happy with the box set so far.



#4 rborkowitz

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

I share your sense of frustration.  Calling this a 4 difficulty is way too low by comparison to quests from the previous two cycles.  I find I need to have "A Test of Will" in hand lest the treachery card that has surge, damage every questing character then shuffle it back in, (sorry don't have it in front of me for the exact name), starts making mince-meat of me (coming back over and over again).  Sometimes my opening hand determines the game: either I get the right cards turn one or it's a quick death.  Nothing easy about this quest whatsoever!



#5 Glaurung

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 05:35 AM

Very very cool quest.


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#6 danpoage

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 06:41 AM

I agree, this quest is quite difficult, but it is beatable. Do you have your deck lists posted anywhere? I am curious to see what your decks look like.


Hall of Beorn

The Grey Company

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
—Oscar Wilde


#7 Valyrian Steel

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 07:38 AM

Heroes:

Legolas

Elladan

Elrohir

Allies (19):

Gandalf (core) x3

Eagles of the Misty Mountains x2

Bofur x1

Watcher of the Bruinen x2

Gondorian Spearman x2

Vassal of the Windlord x3

Defender of Rammas x3

Errand Rider x3

Attachments (16):

Rivendell Blade x3

Rivendell Bow x2

Spear of the Citadel x2

Horn of Gondor x1

Sword That Was Broken x1

Steward of Gondor x2

Dunedain Warning x2

Cram x2

Song of Kings x1

Events (17):

Feint x2

Goblin-Cleaver x3

Hands Upon the Bow x3

Foe-Hammer x3

For Gondor! x2

Fresh Tracks x2

Sneak Attack x2

 

Heroes:

Frodo

Glorfindel (Spirit)

Aragorn (Lore)

Allies (20):

Gandalf (OHaUH) x2

Master of Lore x1

Erebor Hammersmith x2

Miner of the Iron Hills x2

Warden of Healing x3

Master of the Forge x2

Northern Tracker x1

Rider of the Mark x2

Bofuf x1

Arwen Undomiel x2

Imladris Stargazer x2

Attachments (14):

A Burning Brand x1

Ranger Spikes x2

Asfaloth x1

Fast Hitch x2

Thror's Map x1

Unexpected Courage x1

Light of Valinor x2

Song of Wisdon x2

Good Meal x2

Events (16):

Secret Paths x2

Word of Command x1

Daeron's Runes x3

Light the Beacons x1

The Galadhrim's Greeting x1

Hasty Stroke x2

A Test of Will x2

Dwarven Tomb x1

Elrond's Counsel x3

 

Keep in mind that I use a single core set, have a copy of everything released to date, and am deckbuilding to compete against all quests. These decks are actually a bit tweaked from my last try, but they're not all that different. These decks are extremely competitive against every scenario released thus far with an above average win rate on all but the DL 7's where they are still very good.  



#8 danpoage

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:24 AM

These are both very good decks (the second one is very similar to my wife's current favorite deck). I have found that some quests are quite hard to beat without at least some specific tweaking to that scenario. I understand your desire to have "general purpose" decks to use on any quest, but many of the quests that FFG has been puting out lately seem to underscore a desire by the designers to push people out of their comfort zones, and, in a sense, force them away from the approach of "one deck to rule them all". One could also argue that the errata of Zigil Miner and Beravor are for similiar reasons. In my opinion the ability to make a single deck that essentially "handles" every single scenario is the sign of an anemic metagame. For example, I definitely see the Battle and Siege mechanics as a way to deemphasize spirit (long considered the strongest sphere) and give a boost to tactics (long considered the weeakest, to the point that people complained about how gimped it was compared to the other three spheres). I applaud these changes, I think shaking up the metagame every now and then ultimately makes it better.

I totally respect your desire to keep the essence of these decks in tact, and I agree completely, they are both solid decks, but I can totally see how these decks would have problems with this scenario in particular. Cards like "Word of Command", while very powerful, are resource intensive (draw Gandalf, draw WoC, pay for Gandalf, pay for WoC, exhaust Gandalf - when he is so good at doing other things…). Admittedly, this is only one card in the deck, but another high cost card that I think is less useful in this quest is Northern Tracker. Ithilien Road starts as the active location so he wouldn't help for that even if you could pay for him turn 1. In my experience, locations are not what breaks you in this quest (assuming you can get rid of Ithilien Road turn 1, that is). You have Asfaloth which is such an efficient solution to locations (including active) that I feel like Northern Tracker is overkill in this particular scenario.

In any case, I can understand if you want to keep your decks as is, but I sincerely feel that the scenarios in Heirs of Numenor seem so much harder than their ratings precisely because they force us out of our comfort zones and make us reevaluate decks and strategies that we thought could be a "one size fits all" solution. This shake up, along with the thematic aspects that FFG hit just about perfectly, is why I am really enjoying this expansion so much.

My wife and I will probably tackle Into Ithilien with different decks (just to mix things up) this weekend and I'll get to see if the first time was just a fluke (to be fair, I've lost this scenario several times too). Thanks for sharing your decks, and good luck!


Hall of Beorn

The Grey Company

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
—Oscar Wilde


#9 Valyrian Steel

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:17 AM

Funny enough the second deck is the one my wife uses as well and absolutely loves. I don't think I'll ever be able to talk her into not using Frodo :P

It's definitely a drawback of a "one team to rule them all" philosophy that there are occasionally going to be dead cards and I accept that. That's more or less my reasoning for keeping those types of cards that are only useful in very specific situations down to one and just try to have way to fish it out when a specific quest calls for it. This quest definitely doesn't have locations to fear once you clear the initial Ithilien Road (unless of course you draw another one right away) and is difficult because of the need to use your fighters to quest then deal with the endless swarms of enemies that hit for 5 and take 6 damage to kill not to mention the shadow effects. 

I realize that I have kind of a stubborn play style :P I'm endlessly on the quest for decks that will have a chance against everything. They don't necessarily need to be perfect, but it just satisfies my intellect to try and make something competitive to that level despite how hard it is to do. I probably wouldn't be as into this game if I had to make major changes to a deck for every scenario. I would just find that to be boring to have to spend all that time deck building instead of playing. What I do really like to do is try different builds and play styles that will be competitive and thematic to an extent and tweak them if something appears to be missing to get the proper balance. I think there's enough options out there to make competitive decks against all scenarios several different ways and that's kind of my meta game which I enjoy. 

I'm looking foward to trying out these tweaked decks against the scenario over the weekend. Thanks for your comments and advice and good luck to you and your wife as well! 



#10 Glaurung

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 04:22 PM

danpoage said:

These are both very good decks (the second one is very similar to my wife's current favorite deck). I have found that some quests are quite hard to beat without at least some specific tweaking to that scenario. I understand your desire to have "general purpose" decks to use on any quest, but many of the quests that FFG has been puting out lately seem to underscore a desire by the designers to push people out of their comfort zones, and, in a sense, force them away from the approach of "one deck to rule them all". One could also argue that the errata of Zigil Miner and Beravor are for similiar reasons. In my opinion the ability to make a single deck that essentially "handles" every single scenario is the sign of an anemic metagame. For example, I definitely see the Battle and Siege mechanics as a way to deemphasize spirit (long considered the strongest sphere) and give a boost to tactics (long considered the weeakest, to the point that people complained about how gimped it was compared to the other three spheres). I applaud these changes, I think shaking up the metagame every now and then ultimately makes it better.

I totally respect your desire to keep the essence of these decks in tact, and I agree completely, they are both solid decks, but I can totally see how these decks would have problems with this scenario in particular. Cards like "Word of Command", while very powerful, are resource intensive (draw Gandalf, draw WoC, pay for Gandalf, pay for WoC, exhaust Gandalf - when he is so good at doing other things…). Admittedly, this is only one card in the deck, but another high cost card that I think is less useful in this quest is Northern Tracker. Ithilien Road starts as the active location so he wouldn't help for that even if you could pay for him turn 1. In my experience, locations are not what breaks you in this quest (assuming you can get rid of Ithilien Road turn 1, that is). You have Asfaloth which is such an efficient solution to locations (including active) that I feel like Northern Tracker is overkill in this particular scenario.

In any case, I can understand if you want to keep your decks as is, but I sincerely feel that the scenarios in Heirs of Numenor seem so much harder than their ratings precisely because they force us out of our comfort zones and make us reevaluate decks and strategies that we thought could be a "one size fits all" solution. This shake up, along with the thematic aspects that FFG hit just about perfectly, is why I am really enjoying this expansion so much.

My wife and I will probably tackle Into Ithilien with different decks (just to mix things up) this weekend and I'll get to see if the first time was just a fluke (to be fair, I've lost this scenario several times too). Thanks for sharing your decks, and good luck!

Northen trackers a quite good in this scenario cose they are  solid fighter, defender and quester with good ability.

About word of command. Yes many people just dont understand how to use it. In refresh phase after you untap all your characters and raise your threat by 1 you have action window. So you tap Gandalf by word of command and after discard him in the end of the round. Very efective and usefull.

Formula 1 deck to rule them all working quite fine. And even better now. Cose the decks which can win HOM will win most of all previous  quests without big problems.


Wizard is never late.......

 

Glaurung playtrough LOTR LCG on youtube :

http://www.youtube.com/user/olegyd   


#11 danpoage

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:53 AM

Yeah, I understand that you can use Word of Command during the refresh phase, it is still situational and, indirectly, expensive because it depends on having a ready Istari in play. That's awesome that you have been able to beat the HoN quests with a one size fits all deck!

Personally, I am enjoying the way that the Battle and Siege quests are causing me to look at existing cards in a different light. I had never played eagles before, but I am finding them a blast to play, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd scenarios. I also like how cards like "Khazad! Khazad!", which used to be one-dimensional, now have a fresh context in which to be useful. Hell, cards that I didn't think much of before, like "Blade Mastery" are now great utility cards.

I am not begrudging your desire to make one deck that works for every scenario. Personally, I enjoy deckbuilding from both a thematic as well as strategic standpoint. It is certainly possible, and indeed enjoyable, to tune a single, perfect deck for all scenarios, but I also enjoy putting, admittedly arbitrary, constraints on my decks. This feels right to me, thematically, and it also adds a strategic challenge that is satisfying after my "perfect deck" has crushed every single scenario. It may seem silly, to playing an "all elf" deck and force myself not to use "Dwarven Tomb" or "Warden of Healing" because they don't fit the theme, but just think of it as an extra set of strategic constraints.

The great thing about LCGs is that as the card pool gets larger, there are so many different decks that we can create. We don't all have to make the same deck, use the same cards, or play the same way. The nearly infinite possibilities are a big part of the fun.

I enjoy hearing about other people's utility decks, it is a fun challenge to make a 50 card deck that can handle anything.


Hall of Beorn

The Grey Company

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
—Oscar Wilde


#12 danpoage

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:49 AM

So my wife I an played this again last night. She used her "Frodo, Loragorn, Glorfindel" deck and I created something fun, just for this scenario. The first game Mumak showed up early and everything just went downhill quickly. The second game we were able to stage 2 but the siege combined with the archery was just too much. I really feel like siege is the hardest quest type to deal with. A good number of heroes with decent willpower also have decent attack, which means you often don't have to change who is questing much between Battles and traditional quests, but with Siege you end up having to send your best defenders to have a chance of succeeding, but with enemies all hitting for 4 or 5, you need your defenders to keep from getting overrun.

In any case, on our third try we were able to keep Celador alive and just squeak past stage 3 before the staging area filled up. The onrush in stage 4 was quite epic, but we had enough allies still alive that we beat the quest the round after progressing to stage 4.

The Spirit/Lore deck is functionally similar to Frodo/Glorfindel (Spirit)/Aragorn (Lore) deck above, so I won't bother to list it. My Tactics deck was really effective as the blocker/quester in early stages, and the attacker to deal with all of the enemies in the critical 4th stage. The spirit cards and songs were splashed to allow for "Test of Will" because "Blocking Wargs" kept kicking our ass in the first quest stage. It still needs some tweaking, but it did a good job of dealing with the onslaught of massive enemies that this quest deals out.

 

Heroes:

(Starting Threat: 31)

Beregond: Defender extraordinairre - get a plate and spear on him and let him go to work

Hama: Primary attacker; use his ability to get a Feint, Foe-Hammer or whatever other event is needed back into your hand

Beorn: Primarly quester or attacker; depending on how many enemies are out. Can even block bats or Southron Company in stage 3 or 4 (if your threat is less than 37)

 

Allies: 22

Vassal of the Wind Lord x3

Winged Defender x3

Defender of Rammas x3

Gondorian Spearman x3

Eagles of the Misty Mountains x3

Trollshaw Scout x3

Bofur x2

Radagast x1

Landroval x1

 

Attachments: 11

Spear of the Citadel x3: The first one goes on Beregond (for free!) and others go on Spearmen or Defenders of Rammas

 

Horn of Gondor x2

Song of Travel x3

Citadel Plate x2: I just wanted to draw this more quickly so that I could get it on Beregond, 8 hit pionts might seem like overkill but between the tracheries and archery, he will still be taking damage in this quest.

Dwarven Axe x1: For Hama (when are they going to print a Spear of the Rohirrim already?!)

 

Events: 17

Feint x3: Well hello, Mumak, and *every* other enemy in this scenario

Foe-Hammer x3: Get the dwarven axe or a spear on Hamma and this card is huge

Hail of Stones x3: Essential for stage 3, especially to get rid of those damned archers

A Test of Will x3: Blocking Wargs!!! -- just no… I have another name for that card, one that I won't repeat here

Behind Strong Walls x1: Really good with Beregond or Defender of Rammas, since the Southron Companies usually attack at a 5

Galadrim's Greeting x1: Help avoid threat death in stage 4 (the other deck had threat lowering as well, so this was just supplemental)

Hasty Stroke x1

Thicket of Spears x1

Blade Mastery x1

 


Hall of Beorn

The Grey Company

"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."
—Oscar Wilde


#13 Rapier

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:01 AM

I feel like this expansion (HoN) is trying to force people way from the one deck fits all concept.

I could easily see it being impossible to make a deck for a difficulty 8 seige based quest, and a difficulty 8 normal quest, and a difficulty 8 battle quest. One deck just can't focus on all those things and include all the important elements.






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