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Escape from Dol Guldur using Core set cards only (straight solo and 2-handed)

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I started playing the Lord of the Rings LCG in March 2014, gradually working my way up through Passage Through Mirkwood and Journey Down the Anduin… playing dozens if not scores of games involving those two quests (straight solo, 2-handed, and 2-player) over the spring and summer… until I was finally ready to face Escape from Dol Guldur.

 

I have also been a little OCD about keeping my game scores and deck combos in a detailed spreadsheet… just to track my progress with various quests, as well as the evolution of my decks over time.

 

My goal from the outset has been to defeat each scenario using only the player cards available when the scenario/adventure pack was first released.

 

Between June 26 and September 29, 2014, I played Escape from Dol Guldur 80 times!!! Taking all of those games combined (easy mode and standard mode, 50-card decks and decks with fewer cards, straight solo and 2-handed, single Core vs. Core x3), I managed to defeat the scenario 9 times out of 80 (11.25% of the time)… or 8 times out of 80 (10%) if you consider the one start-of-game prisoner swap that I did in one two-handed quest to render that victory invalid.

 

12 of the 80 games played were straight solo games that deviated from the tournament legal 50+ card decks (i.e., using between 40 and 44 card decks), all but one using cards from a single Core set (i.e., no proxying additional copies of cards). I made 5 attempts (3 in standard mode, 2 in easy mode), with this deck (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1108855/back-basics-killer-deck-using-only-cards-single-co), with 0% success.  I also tried another 7 non-standard decks of my own creation (6 with cards from only one Core set, one from 3xCore), and all failed in "Easy" mode. 

 

I played a total of 13 games in "Easy" mode, and achieved only a single victory over that run (i.e., 7.69% success ratio). I played 7 games straight solo in Easy mode with 50-card decks from a single Core set only, and won only 1 of those games (14.29% success ratio). The "victorious deck" was only used twice in "Easy" mode, so that particular deck had a 50% success ratio… which probably would have dropped had I played more games with it.

 

Stats for games played in Standard mode, straight solo, with tournament-legal 50-card Core only decks are as follows:

 

. 5 games using cards from a single Core set only: 0 victories

. 42 games using cards from Core x3 only: 2 victories = 4.76% success ratio.

 

Of the above 42 games, 29 were played with Eowyn/Aragorn/Legolas as heroes, who achieved victory only once (success ratio of 3.45%; their one victory came on their 12th attempt -- if I had stopped using that deck there, its success ratio would have been 8.33%). Legolas was the prisoner in the game where victory occurred. Very minor adjustments to the deck composition were made only once during those 29 games. The remaining 13 games were played with Eowyn, Aragorn and Denethor as heroes, who achieved victory on their 13th attempt (7.69% success ratio). Denethor was the prisoner in the game where victory occurred. Side note: That deck had an epic defeat on its 12th attempt -- having 6 tokens on stage 3 of the quest when Under the Shadow was revealed and bumped my threat up from 46 to 49… and then 50 at the end of the refresh phase in round 16. I was so upset to have had imminent victory snatched from me so cruelly at the very last second. I had a few other epic games and close calls… but the majority were prompt, crushing defeats.

 

I also played a total of 13 games two-handed, all using the cards available in a single Core set only. 6 of those 13 games ended in victory (46.15%)… or 5 (38.46%), if you deem my beginning of game prisoner swap in one of those games to be invalid. 4 of the games were played with Theodred/Thalin/Legolas as heroes on one side, and Eowyn/Beravor/Denethor on the other… they achieved victory 3/4 times (2/4 if you discount the prisoner swap mentioned previously)… either way, victory rate was no less than 50%. Legolas was prisoner in all victories. The other victorious team featured Beravor/Denethor/Legolas on one side, and Aragorn/Theodred/Eowyn on the other… they won 3 of their 5 "matches" (60%). Legolas was prisoner 3 times, Theodred once, and Beravor once (both defeats had Legolas as prisoner). 

 

So, based on my experience… if you achieve victory between 5% and 10% of the time, playing straight solo with Core set (x3) cards only… be happy!!! And all of my victories required a considerable amount of luck. If you are playing with Core set x1… it will probably be a little bit more difficult, but might be achievable… with a little more luck! I don't have the stomach to put myself through that.

 

On the other hand, victory should be achievable closer to 50% of the time in 2-handed or 2-player mode using 50 card decks from a single Core set… if you have the right hero combos (and hopefully Eowyn doesn't end up prisoner!).

 

In the next posts (when time permits), the "victorious" decks detailed. 

Edited by TwiceBornh

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"Victorious Deck" using cards from single Core set only -- Straight solo, 50-card deck, "Easy" mode


 


As stated in the previous post, I played Escape from Dol Guldur a total of 13 games in "Easy" mode (each hero starts with an additional resource at the beginning of the game, cards with golden circle around their deck icon are removed from the deck), and achieved only a single victory over that run (i.e., 7.69% success ratio). I played 7 games straight solo in Easy mode with 50-card decks from a single Core set only, and won only 1 of those games (14.29% success ratio). The "victorious deck" was only used twice in "Easy" mode, so that particular deck had a 50% success ratio… which probably would have dropped had I played more games with it. So nothing particularly easy about "Easy" mode here...


 


HEROES


Eowyn (Spirit)


 


Aragorn (Leadership)


 


Denethor (Lore)


 


Starting threat: 29


 


ALLIES (24)


 


Northern Tracker 


2


Wandering Took


2


Snowbourn Scout 


3


Guard of the Citadel


3


Faramir 


2


Erebor Hammersmith 


2


Henamarth Riversong 


1


Miner of the Iron Hills 


2


Gleowine


2


Daughter of the Nimrodel


1


Beorn 


1


Gandalf


3


 


24


ATTACHMENTS (8)


 


Unexpected Courage 


1


Steward of Gondor


2


Celebrian’s Stone


1


Self-Preservation


2


Forest Snare


2


  8


 


 


EVENTS (18)


 


Stand and Fight 


3


A Test of Will 


2


Dwarven Tomb 


1


Hasty Stroke 


2


The Galadrahim’s Greetings 


2


Sneak Attack 


2


Valiant Sacrifice


2


Lore of Imladris


2


Radagast’s Cunning


2


 


18


 


 


TOTAL


50


Edited by TwiceBornh

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Stats for games played in Standard mode, straight solo, with tournament-legal 50-card Core only decks are as follows:

 

. 5 games using cards from a single Core set only: 0 victories

. 42 games using cards from Core x3 only: 2 victories = 4.76% success ratio.

 

Of the above 42 games, 29 were played with Eowyn/Aragorn/Legolas as heroes, who achieved victory only once (success ratio of 3.45%; their one victory came on their 12th attempt -- if I had stopped using that deck there, its success ratio would have been 8.33%). Legolas was the prisoner in the game where victory occurred. Very minor adjustments to the deck composition were made only once during those 29 games. The remaining 13 games were played with Eowyn, Aragorn and Denethor as heroes, who achieved victory on their 13th attempt (7.69% success ratio). Denethor was the prisoner in the game where victory occurred. Side note: That deck had an epic defeat on its 12th attempt -- having 6 tokens on stage 3 of the quest when Under the Shadow was revealed and bumped my threat up from 46 to 49… and then 50 at the end of the refresh phase in round 16. I was so upset to have had imminent victory snatched from me so cruelly at the very last second. I had a few other epic games and close calls… but the majority were prompt, crushing defeats.

 

 

"Victorious" deck using cards from Core set (x3) only - Straight solo, 50-card deck, standard mode - Deck #1

 

The first time I beat Escape from Dol Guldur, straight solo in Standard mode with cards from the Core set only, was with the following deck (final score = 194; final threat = 48; # full rounds = 14). Playing in standard mode, I allowed myself the small "boon" of using cards from the equivalent of 3 Core sets, rather than the single Core set restriction I had imposed on myself when playing straight solo in "Easy" mode, and when playing solo 2-handed.

 

HEROES (starting threat: 30)
 
Eowyn (Spirit)
Aragorn (Leadership)
Legolas (Tactics)
 
ALLIES (19)
 
Northern Tracker x 3
Wandering Took x3
Faramir x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Guard of the Citadel x2
Beorn x1
Daughter of the Nimrodel x2
Gandalf x3
 
ATTACHMENTS (11)
 
Unexpected Courage x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3
Blade of Gondolin x2
 
EVENTS (20)
 
Stand and Fight x3
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x3
The Galadhrim’s Greetings x2
Fortune or Fate x1
Sneak Attack x3
Valiant Sacrifice x2
Feint x3
 
The above deck admittedly was designed on the assumption that Legolas would be prisoner, hence the low number of Tactics cards. Even though I would still randomly draw the prisoner at the beginning of each game, it was quickly obvious that the game could not be won if either Eowyn or Aragorn started as prisoner… even though I did allow myself to play a few games where one or the other was drawn as prisoner, just to see how it would go. It was hopeless. So after a few tries, I resolved that if I drew anyone other than Legolas as prisoner, I would make a note in my quest log and then proceeded to play the game with Legolas as prisoner anyway. In my one victory, Legolas was randomly drawn as prisoner… so I won fair and square, following all quest set-up instructions to the letter.
 
Quest log notes: Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Reached stage 2 on round 7. Legolas rescued round 8, Nazgul enters staging area. Ungoliant’s Spawn dead round 9. Called down Nazgul round 13, killed him round 14; completed stage 2 before end of round 14 (23 tokens). Completed stage 3 round 15 (but Eowyn died from Necromancer's Reach treachery during round 15 quest). Had good opening hand, and encounter deck not as brutal as usual? Luck factor in victory = high.   
 
"Victorious" deck #2 -- also using cards from Core set (x3) only, straight solo, 50-card deck, standard mode
 
The second time I completed the quest straight solo in standard mode, using Core set only cards, was with the following deck (final score: 192; final threat: 46; # full rounds = 15):
 
HEROES (starting threat: 29)
 
Eowyn (Spirit)
Aragorn (Leadership)
Denethor (Lore)
 
ALLIES (22)
 
Northern Tracker x2
Wandering Took x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Guard of the Citadel x2
Faramir x2
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Henamarth Riversong x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Gleowine x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel x1
Gandalf x3
 
ATTACHMENTS (12)
 
Unexpected Courage x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x2
Self-Preservation x2
Forest Snare x2
 
EVENTS (16)
 
Stand and Fight x3
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x3
The Galadrahim’s Greetings x2
Sneak Attack x3
Lore of Imladris x2
 
The victory with this second deck was more satisfying for me, as all the heroes made it out alive. 
 
Quest log notes: Denethor randomly selected as prisoner. Reached stage 2 round 10. Denethor rescued round 11, Nazgul entered staging area. Nazgul dead round 14. Stage 3 round 14. Stage 3 completed round 16. Unexpected Courage only in play once. Gleowine and Daughter of the Nimrodel key to success (brought into play early, long before Denethor rescued, with Stand and Fight). VP = Hummerhorns + Chieftain Ufthak.
 
 
GENERAL STRATEGY
 
First of all, why use heroes with such high starting threat?
 
I think that Aragorn and Eowyn are essential to winning the quest and can't be captives during stage 1, if you are going to restrict yourself to heroes and cards from the Core set (and if you are going to have a chance of winning). Eowyn is indispensable for making progress on the quest, and Aragorn and Eowyn have strong synergies via Celebrian's Stone (i.e., if you place that attachment on Aragorn, he effectively doubles his will power and gains a Spirit icon, allowing him to contribute to the purchase of Spirit, as well as Leadership allies/events/attachments). Also, Aragorn's ability allows him to commit to the quest and attack or defend each round is essential when you can only make use of 2/3 of your heroes during stage 1 (which lasted anywhere from 7 to 10 rounds in the few standard mode games I won). As one of the toughest heroes in the core set, Aragorn can also take damage from an undefended attack or two before going down (given the limit of playing 1 ally per round, it can be tough to get a good number of allies in play… especially if Aragorn does not have Steward of Gondor played on him during the first few rounds… without Steward, he'll end up using his 1 resource every round to ready after committing to the quest). Finally, you need a Leadership hero to play critical cards like Steward of Gondor and Sneak Attack.
 
Why did I initially select Legolas as the third hero? I felt I needed a Tactics hero in order to play Feint, the only card in the Core set that can temporarily neutralize the Nazgul of Dol Guldur. Legolas is a very strong attacker, and I also thought that his ability to place progress tokens on the quest when he participates in the elimination of an enemy would help make vital progress and help overcome location lock situations. 
 
Why did I subsequently select Denethor as the third hero? Although you can't play Forest Snare on the Nazgul, he might be the least of your troubles… other powerful enemies that are in this scenario and which CAN and SHOULD be neutralized short or long term by the Forest Snare include Ungoliant's Spawn and Chieftain Ufthak (I had one game where I kept feeding chump blockers to the Chieftain, to the point where his attack value had reached 14!!!). In the end, I found this to be even more helpful than being able to play Feint on the Nazgul. Also, Radagast's Cunning can temporarily nullify the Nazgul's 5 Will when he's in the staging area. Denethor is the best defender in the Core set, and can potentially hold his own against a Dungeon Jailor for several rounds while you gather the allies/events and resources to take down the Jailor (and if the Jailor's engaged, then he can't send any unclaimed objective cards into the encounter deck if you should quest unsuccessfully). Finally, the Lore deck seemed to have a lot more essential cards than the Tactics deck -- healing cards (Lore of Imladris, Self-Preservation, and Daughter of the Nimrodel), Miner of the Iron Hills (essential for getting rid of those endlessly irritating Caught in a Web treachery cards when you are unable to block them with A Test of Will), and Erebor Hammersmith (for retrieving those valuable attachments that you frequently lose in this scenario due to nasty Shadow effects). I'd like to say that Denethor's ability to peak at the encounter deck and move cards to the bottom of the deck was also a consideration… but in this scenario in solo mode, he seldom gets to use it unless he has Unexpected Courage and a substantial number of defending allies in play). Finally, Lore cards like Gleowine offer the most reliable card draw engine found in the Core set, which can also have a significant impact on odds of success… if you can't get your cards into your hand and then into play (and treacheries like Iron Shackles can further inhibit your ability to draw cards in this scenario), you can't win the game.
 
Steward of Gondor: perhaps more so than in any scenario, given that you are starting with 2/3 of your heroes and may hence be short 1/3 of your resource generation for up to half the game, putting Steward of Gondor in play a.s.ap. is critical to even have a chance to win. Mulligan if you don't have it in your first hand. It's worth risking some undefended damage (dealt to Aragorn) in round 1 for Aragorn to save his 1 resource so that on round 2 he can put Steward of Gondor in play.
 
Celebrian's Stone: probably the next most important card after Steward of Gondor in this solo quest. Get it on Aragorn a.s.a.p., so that he can double his base Will power for questing and help Eowyn play Spirit cards.
 
Unexpected Courage: Yes, I know that some (many?) players feel this card is overpowered. But given how severely disadvantaged you are as a player playing Escape from Dol Guldur solo (especially if restricting yourself to Core set cards only), you need every one of these you can get… and you might lose some along the way to Shadow effects (Cavern Guardian, Driven by Shadow). Essential for coping with irritating/debilitating treacheries like Caught in a Web, when unable to block those with A Test of Will and when there's no Miner of the Iron Hills in sight to offer relief. Play on Aragorn for extra attack/defence (and resource) mileage, and on Denethor (so that he can defend against more attacks or use his ability in addition to defending). 
 
Gandalf/Sneak Attack: Sneak Attack might be the only way you'll be able to get Gandalf in play, at least during the opening rounds… and maybe even beyond. Essential for reducing rapidly rising threat, and for blasting the Nazgul.
 
Beorn? Either use him with Sneak Attack during the combat phase to take on the Nazgul, Chieftain Ufthak, or Ungoliant's Spawn… or pitch him to the discard pile using Eowyn's ability and, if your resources permit, bring him back into play using Stand and Fight (again, easier to do if Aragorn has Celebrian's Stone and Steward of Gondor attached to him).
 
Gleowine: Your only card draw engine -- get him in play a.s.a.p., and do what you can to protect him!
 
Aside from that, use your healing allies/events/attachments, Forest Snare, Miner of the Iron Hills, and Erebor Hammersmith judiciously (see above).   
 
Even after taking all of the above into consideration, the luck factor (especially where your opening hand is concerned, as well as the level of nastiness of cards drawn from the encounter deck during set-up/round 1) is likely to remain a major factor if you emerge victorious. I had a few games where Ungoliant's Spawn was in play during set-up or round 1… needless to say, I did not last long. In other games, the objectives (during set-up) were guarded by Treacheries that had no to minimal effect… making it "easier" to get a leg up (if only to still ultimately fail in the majority of games :-(). 
 
Next… 2-handed solo decks using cards from only a single Core set...
Edited by TwiceBornh

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Yes! Just need to find some time to post… I'm in the middle of playing Conflict at the Carrock with my spouse right now (first time playing the quest with her), then I'm off to my nephew's birthday, and then I have a Pathfinder RPG session to prep for tomorrow. So I'll hopefully be able to post something on Monday.

 

Sorry for the delay, and thanks for the interest!

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First set of three pairs of "Victorious" 2-handed decks using cards from single Core set only - 50-card decks, standard mode

 

The following decks achieved victory 3/4 times (2/4 if you discount the prisoner swap that occurred in one of the games)… either way, victory rate was no less than 50%. Beravor was randomly selected as prisoner in 2 victories. Theodred was prisoner in the third victory (although I confess that I first drew Eowyn, then Legolas as prisoner during that game… so this is the prisoner swap referred to above). Denethor was randomly selected as prisoner in the 4th game, which was lost. See below for more details on scores, notes, etc. (given how often I play, I unfortunately do not have the time/inclination to keep round by round play through notes -- just the main highlights… I especially regret not keeping better notes on set-up and opening hands). I cannot stress enough how great the luck factor was in the victories (i.e., timing of encounter/shadow card drawing, cards in set-up and opening hand, etc.).

 

 

Hand 1 deck
 
HEROES
 
Theodred (Leadership)
Thalin (Tactics)
Legolas (Tactics)
 
Starting threat: 26
 
ALLIES (23)
 
Faramir x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Guard of the Citadel x3
Longbeard Orc Slayer x1
Son of Arnor x2
Gondorian Spearman x3
Veteran Axehand x3
Horseback Archer x2
Beorn x1
Gandalf x3
 
ATTACHMENTS (10) 
 
Steward of Gondor x2
Celebrian’s Stone x1
Horn of Gondor x1
Dwarven Axe x2
Citadel Plate x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
 
EVENTS (17)
 
For Gondor! x2
Sneak Attack x2
Valiant Sacrifice x2
Ever Vigilant x2
Grim Resolve x1
Blade Mastery x2
Swift Strike x1
Quick Strike x2
Feint x2
Stand Together x1
 
 
Hand 2 deck
 
HEROES
 
Eowyn (Spirit)
Beravor (Lore)
Denethor (Lore)
 
Starting threat: 27
 
ALLIES (18)
 
Northern Tracker x2
Lorien Guide x3
Wandering Took x2
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Henamarth Riversong 1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Gleowine x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel x3
Gandalf x1
 
ATTACHMENTS (9)
 
Unexpected Courage x1
The Favor of the Lady x2
Forest Snare x2
Protector of Lorien x1
Self-Preservation 2
Dark Knowledge x1
 
EVENTS (23) 
 
Stand and Fight x3
A Test of Will x2
Dwarven Tomb x1
Hasty Stroke x2
The Galadrhim’s Greetings x2
Fortune or Fate x1
Strength of Will x2
Lore of Imladris x3
Secret Paths x2
Radagast’s Cunning x2
Lorien’s Wealth x2
Beorn’s Hospitality x1
 
 
Game 1: Beravor randomly selected as prisoner. Reached stage 2 by round 2. Nazgul killed in round 4(!). Stage 2 complete round 7. Stage 3 complete round 8. Thalin/Legolas/Theodred final threat = 38, final sub-total = 44; Eowyn/Beravor/Denethor/ final threat = 36, final sub-total = 36; # complete rounds = 7, VP = 0, final score = 150 (best score yet -- I must have had SA Gandalf show up frequently, or perhaps SA Beorn to have finished off the Nazgul and the quest that quickly… a shame I didn't keep more detailed notes).
 
Game 2: Denethor randomly selected as prisoner. Stage 2 by round 2. Denethor rescued round 3. Beorn killed by Nazgul round 6. Theodred, Thalin, Eowyn, Denethor all dead by round 7. Threat exceeded 50 for Legolas round 8. 8 tokens on stage 2. Game lost.
 
Game 3: Drew Eowyn, then Legolas as prisoner… but ended up choosing Theodred instead. Reached stage 2 in round 1! 9 tokens on stage 2 by end of round 2 (Theodred rescued). 17 tokens on stage 2b by round 3. Destroyed Nazgul round 7, completed stage 2 during round 8 Planning phase (took Shadow Key and Dungeon Torch at that point), and Stage 3 during round 8 Quest phase. Theodred/Thalin/Legolas final threat = 43, final sub-total = 43; Eowyn/Beravor/Denethor final threat = 43, final sub-total = 44; # complete rounds = 7, VP = 0, final score = 157. Questionable victory due to "prisoner swap."
 
Game 4: Randomly drew Beravor as prisoner. Stage 1 finished during round 5. Beravor rescued round 6. Stage 3 by round 9 resource phase - finished stage 3 during round 9 quest phase. Theodred/Thalin/Legolas final threat = 39, final sub-total = 41; Eowyn/Beravor/Denethor final threat = 41, final sub-total = 48; # complete rounds = 8, VP = 5 (hummerhorns), final score = 164.
 
Strategy note: If I recall correctly, one of the strategies here was to place Steward of Gondor on Eowyn, so as to be able to better afford all the event cards that would be needed to save the party's behind (A Test of Will, Hasty Stroke, Galadhrim's Greetings… and sometimes even Fortune or Fate!). She could then also "salvage" more expensive allies from either hand's discard pile via Stand and Fight. Theodred (when not the captive), would place the additional questing resource either on himself or on Thalin, based on the cards in hand. They would save their Feint cards for the Nazgul, while Denethor (and Beravor, once liberated) would try to snare Ungoliant's Spawn and/or Chieftain Ufthak as the opportunity arose. The Lore heroes would also attempt to play Radagast's Cunning on the Nazgul during the first quest phase after he entered staging, if possible in conjunction with Gandalf entering play from the other hand at the beginning of the quest phase via Sneak Attack (to either blast him for 4 damage, or help the heroes take greater advantage of Ragadast's Cunning and help them get a boost on questing). Getting Gleowine into play a.s.a.p. can also contribute significantly to victory by enhancing your card draw at low cost. Playing Dark Knowledge on Denethor -- who you are unlikely to use for questing -- can also help you peek at Shadow cards dealt to the Nazgul (assuming he's engaged with the "Denethor hand"), which in turn can help you make best use of the other hand's Feint cards (assuming it is holding some!). 
 

 

Edited by TwiceBornh

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Second set of three pairs of "Victorious" 2-handed decks using cards from single Core set only - 50-card decks, standard mode

 

The following pair of decks has had a 60% success rating (3/5) for me, and has been successful with Theodred, Beravor and Legolas being randomly selected as prisoner.

 

Hand 1

 

HEROES

 

Beravor (Lore)
Denethor (Lore)
Legolas (Tactics)
 
Starting threat: 27
 
ALLIES (20)
 
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Henamarth Riversong x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Gleowine x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Veteran Axehand x3
Horseback Archer x2
Beorn x1
Gandalf x1
 
ATTACHMENTS (13)
 
Forest Snare x2
Protector of Lorien x1
Self-Preservation x2
Dark Knowledge x1
Horn of Gondor x1
Dwarven Axe x2
Citadel Plate x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
 
EVENTS (17)
 
Lore of Imladris x2
Secret Paths x2
Radagast’s Cunning x2
Lorien’s Wealth x2
Beorn’s Hospitality x1
Blade Mastery x2
Swift Strike x1
Quick Strike x2
Feint x2
Stand Together x1
 
Hand 2
 
HEROES
 
Eowyn (Spirit)
Aragorn (Leadership)
Theodred (Leadership)
 
Starting threat: 29
 
ALLIES (21)
 
Northern Tracker x2
Lorien Guide x3
Wandering Took x2
Faramir x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Guard of the Citadel x3
Longbeard Orc Slayer x1
Silverlode Archer x2
Gandalf x3
 
ATTACHMENTS (8)
 
Unexpected Courage x1
The Favor of the Lady x2
Power in the Earth x2
Steward of Gondor x2
Celebrian’s Stone x1
 
EVENTS (21)
 
Stand and Fight x3
A Test of Will x2
Dwarven Tomb x1
Hasty Stroke x2
The Galadrhim’s Greetings x2
Fortune or Fate x1
A Light in the Dark x1
For Gondor! x2
Sneak Attack x2
Valiant Sacrifice 2
Ever Vigilant x2
Grim Resolve x1
 
 
Game 1: Note: Aragorn/Theodred/Eowyn deck had Longbeard Orc Slayer x2 and Son of Arnor x1 instead of Longbeard Orc Slayer x1, Silverlode Archer x2, and Son of Arnor x0 (as per deck list). Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Stage 2 by round 2. Legolas rescued round 3. Aragorn et al exceeded threat 50 round 6 (Nazgul killed earlier that same round). Denethor et al threat exceeded 50 as a result of Shadow effect. 7 tokens on stage 2. Game lost.
 
Game 2: Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Aragorn et al threat reached 50 round 6, Denethor et al threat reached 50 round 8. 
 
Game 3: Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Theodred dead round 4. Stage 2 round 6. Legolas rescued round 7. Nazgul dead round 8. Stage 3 round 10, victory round 11! Lost very few allies. VP = hummerhorns + Dungeon Jailer x2. Did not have to fight Ungoliant’s Spawn or Chieftain Ufthak. Beravor/Denethor/Legolas final threat = 42, final subtotal = 45; Eowyn/Aragorn/(Theodred) final threat = 46, final subtotal = 55; # of complete rounds = 10; VP = 15; final score = 185.
 
Game 4: Ungoliant’s Spawn in set-up. Theodred randomly selected as prisoner. Stage 2 round 8. Theodred rescued round 9. Theodred dead round 10. Theodred back round 11 (Fortune or Fate). Stage 2 completed round 12 Planning phase (took Dungeon Torch). Stage 3 complete round 12 Questing phase. Beravor/Denethor/Legolas final threat = 37, final sub-total = 41; Eowyn/Aragorn/Theodred final threat = 34, final subtotal = 34; # of complete rounds = 11; VP = 19; final score = 166.
 
Game 5:  Beravor randomly selected as prisoner after Legolas and Theodred exhausted during set-up (King Spider)! Dungeon Torch shuffled into encounter deck round 4. Stage 2 round 7. Dungeon Torch drawn as Shadow card then discarded round 7. Beravor rescued round 8. Nazgul destroyed round 9. Dungeon Torch back in staging area round 9. Stage 3 end of Planning phase round 12. Eowyn and Denethor dead from Necromancer’s Reach while escaping dungeon round 12. Stage 3 Complete Quest phase round 12. Beravor/(Denethor)/Legolas final threat = 45, final subtotal = 59; (Eowyn)/Aragorn/Theodred final threat = 42, final subtotal = 55; # of complete rounds = 11; VP = 5; Final Score = 219. 

 

Strategy note: In this pair of decks, Steward of Gondor should be played on either Legolas or Denethor. Getting Celebrian's Stone on Aragorn early will greatly enhance his questing power, and will enable him to contribute to the purchase of Spirit allies/events/attachments with Eowyn. 

Edited by TwiceBornh

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Thanks for this! I tried my hand at Escape for the first time last night and won through pretty stupid luck I think. My decks were close to your second set. My heroes were:

 

Aragorn (LE)

Eowyn (S)

Dunhere (S) (you had Theodred LE)

 

Gimli (T) (you had Beravor LO)

Legolas (T)

Denethor (LO)

 

Not many cards left out in order to have 50-card decks.

 

Dunhere did nothing for me, and it was dumb luck he was the randomly chosen prisoner. I would have sorely missed Gimli though. With Dwarven Axe and two damage tokens, he was a killing machine all through Dol Goldur :wub:

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Wow, first try! Good on you!  :)

 

Now… try straight solo and see how many attempts it takes you!  :P

 

Ha ha ha ... no thanks! Also, I can't even go back 2-handed, because I just know Gimli or Eowyn will be taken prisoner, and I'll die horribly. Heck, I'll die horribly anyway. Not only was my least useful hero the captive, I drew 3 Gandalfs in two rounds out of 100 cards and all the essential attachments.

 

I'm sitting back waiting for the adventure packs to be reprinted! ;)

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Third set of three pairs of "Victorious" two-handed decks using cards from single Core set only -- 50 card decks, standard mode

 

Alright, so here's the third set of three pairs of two-handed decks I have designed using cards from a single Core set only, which have successfully defeated Escape from Dol Guldur. I used this pair of decks two-handed 5 times between October 19-20, 2014, and won 2/5 (40%). This brings my win ratio two-handed using a single Core set only since June 26, 2014 to 8/18 (44.44%)... or 7/18 (38.89%) if we exclude the one game where the prisoner was swapped. 

 

I am especially happy that the decks also held up relatively well in 2-player mode, with table talk rules adhered to. The decks won 1/3 (33%), which I consider pretty good given the difficulty of the scenario, and that the other player, my spouse, only plays Lord of the Rings LCG occasionally… and I'm glad she got to enjoy a victory on Escape from Dol Guldur, because she was starting to reaaaally hate the scenario (we had made 6 other attempts using other decks, only 1 of which was "successful"… with an early game prisoner swap). Despite the legitimate and totally epic win (final threats of 49 and 48, respectively!), I don't think she'll be in a hurry to play that one again any time soon… but maybe she'll feel differently now that I will no longer restrict our deck building for this scenario to single Core only between the two of us? :P    

 

I had some truly epic victories and defeats with these decks.

 

Deck 1

 

Heroes
 
Eowyn (Spirit)
Denethor (Lore)
Legolas (Tactics)
Starting threat: 26
 
Allies (20)
 
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Henamarth Riversong x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Gleowine x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Veteran Axehand x3
Horseback Archer x2
Beorn x1
Gandalf x1
 
Attachments (15)
 
Power in the Earth x2
Forest Snare x2
Protector of Lorien x1
Self-Preservation x2
Dark Knowledge x1
Horn of Gondor x1
Dwarven Axe x2
Citadel Plate x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
 
Events (15)
 
Fortune or Fate x1
Stand and Fight x1
Lore of Imladris x3
Secret Paths x1
Radagast’s Cunning x2
Beorn’s Hospitality x1
Swift Strike x1
Quick Strike x2
Feint x2
Stand Together x1
 
Deck 2
 
Heroes
 
Aragorn (Leadership)
Theodred (Leadership)
Eleanor (Spirit)
Starting threat: 27
 
Allies (24)
 
Faramir X2
Snowbourn Scout X3
Guard of the Citadel X3
Son of Arnor X2
Silverlode Archer X2
Longbeard Orc Slayer X2
Northern Tracker X3
Lorien Guide X2
Wandering Took X2
Gandalf X3
 
Attachments (6)
 
Steward of Gondor x2
Celebrian’s Stone x1
Unexpected Courage x1
The Favor of the Lady x2
 
Events (20)
 
For Gondor! x2
Sneak Attack x2
Valiant Sacrifice x2
Common Cause x2
Grim Resolve x1
A Test of Will x2
Hasty Stroke x2
Dwarven Tomb x1
The Galadrhim’s Greetings x2
Stand and Fight x2
Strength of Will x2
 

The Eowyn/Denethor/Legolas deck may appear strange, given that there are only four Spirit cards in that deck - Power in the Earth x2(!!!), Fortune or Fate x1 and Stand and Fight x1. I placed Eowyn on the Denethor Legolas side because I absolutely wanted Theodred and Aragorn to be working together for obvious reasons, and also wanted a Spirit hero in their deck to help Aragorn capitalize on Celebrian's Stone… and it made more sense, starting threat-wise, to pair Aragorn/Theodred with Eleanor (who is a reasonably good defender when she is not cancelling treacheries) instead of Eowyn. With the expectation that I would eventually play Steward of Gondor on Aragorn in addition to Celebrian's Stone, Aragorn and Eleanor would be in a better position to buy and put into play frequently-needed Spirit cards like A Test of Will, Hasty Stroke, Unexpected Courage, Galadhrim's Greetings, and Northern Tracker. On her side, Eowyn's resources would be saved up primarily to resurrect a dead companion/hero if need be with Fortune or Fate, to bring Beorn into play using Stand and Fight if Legolas was unable to pay for him the normal way, and to help put Gandalf into play… all very expensive cards (as for Power in the Earth… what can I say, the Core set only gives you so many cards to choose from, and if I did not play these attachments, it would not break my heart to burn them up using Eowyn's quest boost action). This would free up Legolas and Denethor to focus on putting less expensive Lore and Tactics cards into play. 

 

Best score 2-handed using these decks was 171 (9 full rounds, 5 VP, first player final threat = 40 and sub-total = 43; second player final threat = 41 and sub-total = 43). 

 

The 2-player victory was a nail-biting epic -- first player's final threat was 49 (sub-total = 52), and the second player's final threat was 48 (sub-total = 52).  The game went 10 full rounds and we earned 10 VP, for a final score of 194. Steward of Gondor never even entered play in this game!

Edited by TwiceBornh

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On 11/10/2014 at 1:35 PM, TwiceBornh said:

Second set of three pairs of "Victorious" 2-handed decks using cards from single Core set only - 50-card decks, standard mode

 

The following pair of decks has had a 60% success rating (3/5) for me, and has been successful with Theodred, Beravor and Legolas being randomly selected as prisoner.

 

Hand 1

 

HEROES

 

Beravor (Lore)
Denethor (Lore)
Legolas (Tactics)
 
Starting threat: 27
 
ALLIES (20)
 
Erebor Hammersmith x2
Henamarth Riversong x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Gleowine x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Veteran Axehand x3
Horseback Archer x2
Beorn x1
Gandalf x1
 
ATTACHMENTS (13)
 
Forest Snare x2
Protector of Lorien x1
Self-Preservation x2
Dark Knowledge x1
Horn of Gondor x1
Dwarven Axe x2
Citadel Plate x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
 
EVENTS (17)
 
Lore of Imladris x2
Secret Paths x2
Radagast’s Cunning x2
Lorien’s Wealth x2
Beorn’s Hospitality x1
Blade Mastery x2
Swift Strike x1
Quick Strike x2
Feint x2
Stand Together x1
 
Hand 2
 
HEROES
 
Eowyn (Spirit)
Aragorn (Leadership)
Theodred (Leadership)
 
Starting threat: 29
 
ALLIES (21)
 
Northern Tracker x2
Lorien Guide x3
Wandering Took x2
Faramir x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Guard of the Citadel x3
Longbeard Orc Slayer x1
Silverlode Archer x2
Gandalf x3
 
ATTACHMENTS (8)
 
Unexpected Courage x1
The Favor of the Lady x2
Power in the Earth x2
Steward of Gondor x2
Celebrian’s Stone x1
 
EVENTS (21)
 
Stand and Fight x3
A Test of Will x2
Dwarven Tomb x1
Hasty Stroke x2
The Galadrhim’s Greetings x2
Fortune or Fate x1
A Light in the Dark x1
For Gondor! x2
Sneak Attack x2
Valiant Sacrifice 2
Ever Vigilant x2
Grim Resolve x1
 
 
Game 1: Note: Aragorn/Theodred/Eowyn deck had Longbeard Orc Slayer x2 and Son of Arnor x1 instead of Longbeard Orc Slayer x1, Silverlode Archer x2, and Son of Arnor x0 (as per deck list). Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Stage 2 by round 2. Legolas rescued round 3. Aragorn et al exceeded threat 50 round 6 (Nazgul killed earlier that same round). Denethor et al threat exceeded 50 as a result of Shadow effect. 7 tokens on stage 2. Game lost.
 
Game 2: Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Aragorn et al threat reached 50 round 6, Denethor et al threat reached 50 round 8. 
 
Game 3: Legolas randomly selected as prisoner. Theodred dead round 4. Stage 2 round 6. Legolas rescued round 7. Nazgul dead round 8. Stage 3 round 10, victory round 11! Lost very few allies. VP = hummerhorns + Dungeon Jailer x2. Did not have to fight Ungoliant’s Spawn or Chieftain Ufthak. Beravor/Denethor/Legolas final threat = 42, final subtotal = 45; Eowyn/Aragorn/(Theodred) final threat = 46, final subtotal = 55; # of complete rounds = 10; VP = 15; final score = 185.
 
Game 4: Ungoliant’s Spawn in set-up. Theodred randomly selected as prisoner. Stage 2 round 8. Theodred rescued round 9. Theodred dead round 10. Theodred back round 11 (Fortune or Fate). Stage 2 completed round 12 Planning phase (took Dungeon Torch). Stage 3 complete round 12 Questing phase. Beravor/Denethor/Legolas final threat = 37, final sub-total = 41; Eowyn/Aragorn/Theodred final threat = 34, final subtotal = 34; # of complete rounds = 11; VP = 19; final score = 166.
 
Game 5:  Beravor randomly selected as prisoner after Legolas and Theodred exhausted during set-up (King Spider)! Dungeon Torch shuffled into encounter deck round 4. Stage 2 round 7. Dungeon Torch drawn as Shadow card then discarded round 7. Beravor rescued round 8. Nazgul destroyed round 9. Dungeon Torch back in staging area round 9. Stage 3 end of Planning phase round 12. Eowyn and Denethor dead from Necromancer’s Reach while escaping dungeon round 12. Stage 3 Complete Quest phase round 12. Beravor/(Denethor)/Legolas final threat = 45, final subtotal = 59; (Eowyn)/Aragorn/Theodred final threat = 42, final subtotal = 55; # of complete rounds = 11; VP = 5; Final Score = 219. 

 

Strategy note: In this pair of decks, Steward of Gondor should be played on either Legolas or Denethor. Getting Celebrian's Stone on Aragorn early will greatly enhance his questing power, and will enable him to contribute to the purchase of Spirit allies/events/attachments with Eowyn. 

It would REALLY help if you let us know what spheres of influence those cards come from.

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Umm . . . the cards he used in these decks come only in the core set, and he only used one core. It's not like there would be two different player cards with the same name in different spheres. I'm assuming you have the core set too, and would be able to check which spheres the cards came from, or you couldn't play the game.

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On 10/19/2014 at 10:50 AM, TwiceBornh said:

"Victorious Deck" using cards from single Core set only -- Straight solo, 50-card deck, "Easy" mode

 

 

 

 

As stated in the previous post, I played Escape from Dol Guldur a total of 13 games in "Easy" mode (each hero starts with an additional resource at the beginning of the game, cards with golden circle around their deck icon are removed from the deck), and achieved only a single victory over that run (i.e., 7.69% success ratio). I played 7 games straight solo in Easy mode with 50-card decks from a single Core set only, and won only 1 of those games (14.29% success ratio). The "victorious deck" was only used twice in "Easy" mode, so that particular deck had a 50% success ratio… which probably would have dropped had I played more games with it. So nothing particularly easy about "Easy" mode here...

 

 

 

 

 

HEROES

 

 

Eowyn (Spirit)

 

 

 

 

 

Aragorn (Leadership)

 

 

 

 

 

Denethor (Lore)

 

 

 

 

 

Starting threat: 29

 

 

 

 

 

ALLIES (24)

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Tracker 

 

 

2

 

 

Wandering Took

 

 

2

 

 

Snowbourn Scout 

 

 

3

 

 

Guard of the Citadel

 

 

3

 

 

Faramir 

 

 

2

 

 

Erebor Hammersmith 

 

 

2

 

 

Henamarth Riversong 

 

 

1

 

 

Miner of the Iron Hills 

 

 

2

 

 

Gleowine

 

 

2

 

 

Daughter of the Nimrodel

 

 

1

 

 

Beorn 

 

 

1

 

 

Gandalf

 

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

24

 

 

ATTACHMENTS (8)

 

 

 

 

 

Unexpected Courage 

 

 

1

 

 

Steward of Gondor

 

 

2

 

 

Celebrian’s Stone

 

 

1

 

 

Self-Preservation

 

 

2

 

 

Forest Snare

 

 

2

 

 

  8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVENTS (18)

 

 

 

 

 

Stand and Fight 

 

 

3

 

 

A Test of Will 

 

 

2

 

 

Dwarven Tomb 

 

 

1

 

 

Hasty Stroke 

 

 

2

 

 

The Galadrahim’s Greetings 

 

 

2

 

 

Sneak Attack 

 

 

2

 

 

Valiant Sacrifice

 

 

2

 

 

Lore of Imladris

 

 

2

 

 

Radagast’s Cunning

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

 

 

50

 

I took the advice in this post and I finally managed to beat Escape from Dol Guldur last night. 18 rounds! 43 ending threat. Total score of 225. Denethor was obviously the captured hero. Failed miserably whenever he wasn't. Took me an hour and 15 minutes real time to beat it. I took a lot of time to consider each move. It was great fun. Thanks for the great build idea! 

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7 hours ago, Wandalf the Gizzard said:

Holy Enter-key-spam, Batman!

Heh... It was a cut and paste job from a spreadsheet that went awry. ?

Sorry about that. And thanks for bringing my technological ineptitude from years ago back into the spotlight... ya wiener. ?

 

Edited by TwiceBornh

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On 6/27/2018 at 11:54 PM, TwiceBornh said:

Heh... It was a cut and paste job from a spreadsheet that went awry. ?

Sorry about that. And thanks for bringing my technological ineptitude from years ago back into the spotlight... ya wiener. ?

 

Not that disturbing ;). And your deck is instructing. If you want to fix this concern, or try not to repeat it in the future I advice you to first past in a notepad: it will delete many things (like strange policy) and you can make easy editing (deleting some useless space) before copy it again and paste here. I'm used to do this sort of things ;).

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On 6/28/2018 at 11:06 PM, Rouxxor said:

Not that disturbing ;). And your deck is instructing. If you want to fix this concern, or try not to repeat it in the future I advice you to first past in a notepad: it will delete many things (like strange policy) and you can make easy editing (deleting some useless space) before copy it again and paste here. I'm used to do this sort of things ;).

Don't think I've repeated my technological faux pas in the 3.5 years since that post, but merci tout de meme pour tes suggestions, Rouxxor. ?

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I had good success solo with Aragorn/Theodred/Eowyn using 3 core sets in normal mode. Win rate of roughly 20%. Winning is almost entirely dictated by the opening cards drawn for guarding the objectives. If a couple of them are treacheries that wiff then I generally expect to win. This deck also really wants Theodred as captive, but can handle either of the other two as long as Celebrian's Stone comes out for Aragorn in the opening hand if Eowyn is the captive (it's much harder though). Basically, if you can survive the first few rounds while slowly building the board, stage 2 and 3 aren't too bad.

My deck included 3 copies of all the key Leadership/Spirit cards along with a few utility and healing Lore allies and Beorn (Stand and Fight usage after discarding to Eowyn), although I don't think I ever had Beorn in play.

If you get Celebrian's Stone and Steward of Gondor in your opening hand, Theodred is captive, and you get a good opening draw of guards, then this scenario is not that much tougher than any other hard scenario. The problem is you will effectively lose during set-up around half the time or more.

Two-handed solo, however, is massively easier with a win rate of over 50% using 3 core sets. I keep the Aragorn/Theodred/Eowyn deck and run a Legolas/Gimli/Berevor deck as the other. The first deck does all the questing with the second handling almost all the combat. It's rare that a character from deck 2 quests and only Aragorn occasionally defends/attacks for the first. Aragorn (with Celebrian's Stone) and Eowyn by themselves (with the discards if necessary) can beat staging area threat most of the time. Once some Northern Trackers and Farmir show up, questing is not a concern.

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It's interesting that you used a three sphere deck for your "true solo" victories.  I haven't tried the three sphere deck yet, I usually use a two sphere deck.  My main reluctance with the three sphere deck is that I'm afraid that the resources would be difficult to save up.  I'm going to have to try it though.

I just made my first try at Conflict at the Carrock, and I was thinking that a three sphere deck might be useful for it.  You need Spirit to keep your threat down and for the questing, and Lore would be useful for the Forest Snare.  But a Spirit/Lore deck lacks punch, so it needs Leadership or Tactics to round it out.  Or so I was thinking.

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It's only dual sphere, but can put Lore and Tactic allies from the discard pile into play using Stand and Fight. You discard Daughter of the Nimrodel, Henamarth, Miner of the Iron Hills, and Beorn to Eowyn's ability, then play them using Spirit Resources with Stand and Fight.

 

In my first solo one-handed victory, I played at least 60 rounds (Galadrim's Greetings 5-6 times using Dwarven Tomb with 4-5 Gandalf appearances using Sneak Attack and regular plays to reduce threat by a massive amount). Knowing that you have so much threat reduction allows you to really take it slow in stage 1, only advancing (grabbing the first objective) once you can easily power through the Nazgul and the quest quickly.

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On 3/2/2019 at 7:34 PM, PickleTheHutt said:

In my first solo one-handed victory, I played at least 60 rounds (Galadrim's Greetings 5-6 times using Dwarven Tomb with 4-5 Gandalf appearances using Sneak Attack and regular plays to reduce threat by a massive amount). Knowing that you have so much threat reduction allows you to really take it slow in stage 1, only advancing (grabbing the first objective) once you can easily power through the Nazgul and the quest quickly.

I might be wrong, but I swear some other people said that the key to Escape from Dol Guldur was to get through the first stage as quickly as you can.  I guess the reason being because if you hang around, nasty things can happen to you.

It's interesting how different scenarios take different approaches, different strategies.  I'm torn between using one all powerful deck that's good for most everything, or to make a specific deck tailor made for each individual scenario.

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