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Seastan

One Deck to Rule them All: Nightmare Edition

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I've used the following solo deck to complete all the Nightmare and GenCon quests currently released.

 

Edit1: Based on feedback, I found swapping out 1x Arwen for 1x Unexpected Courage (which gets put on Galadriel) improves the deck slightly. Other than that, the deck I still use now to make videos is the same.

 

Edit2: Although I haven't done extensive testing, I think swapping out Daeron's Runes for Peace and Thought could also offer some improvement.

 

Total Cards: (50)

Hero: (3)

1x Boromir (The Dead Marshes)

1x Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

1x Galadriel (Celebrimbor's Secret)

 

Ally: (10)

3x Gandalf (Core Set)

2x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)

3x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor's Secret)

1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)

 

Attachment: (26)

3x Mirror of Galadriel (Celebrimbor's Secret)

3x Blood of Numenor (Heirs of Numenor)

3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)

3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward's Fear)

2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)

 

Event: (14)

3x Elrond's Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)

2x A Test of Will (Core Set)

2x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)

2x Hasty Stroke (Core Set)

2x Daeron's Runes (Foundations of Stone)

 

Sideboard:

1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set) (For TWitW)

1x Will of the West (Core Set) (For For DDaCD and TLM)

3x Healing Herbs, Athelas, Waters of Nimrodel, Lore of Imladris (For AJtR)

 

If I only had access to one Core Set:

-1x Steward

-1x Dwarven Tomb

+1x Daeron's Runes

+1x Stand and Fight

 

Strategy:

 

For the majority of quests, the hardest part is surviving the initial rounds until you get set up. This is solved by putting a Gondorian Shield on Boromir, as it allows him to hold off enemies easily for several rounds. During this time you try to look for A Good Harvest and Steward of Gondor. Steward goes on Boromir and he starts to collect many resources. Eventually you attach Gondorian Fire and Blood of Numenor and he can now defend and kill pretty much anything. If you want to feel for yourself how incredibly powerful this combo is, try using it against Nightmare Conflict at the Carrock, and have Boromir defend all the trolls then take them all out the same turn they enter play. With multiple copies of Gondorian Fire he can easily take out The Watcher, The Balrog, Smaug, etc., all by himself.

 
This whole campaign has really opened my eyes to the power of Boromir. Is an encounter card requiring that you exhaust a hero/character? Is an enemy making an immediate attack you weren't counting on? Did a condition attachment turn up that punishes the attached hero for being exhausted at the end of a phase? No big deal. I just wish there had been a situation in one of the many quests that required me to use Boromir's second ability!
 

Glorfindel and Galadriel help with the other aspect of the game - questing. With Nenya and a spirit ally in your opening hand, this deck can be questing for 10 on turn 1. But for quests that don't require this I tend to hold back and use Galadriel's card draw to set up Boromir. Her Mirror is responsible for bringing together Harvest and Steward in about 75% of my games. For location-heavy quests, use her Mirror to grab Asfaloth.

 

It doesn't look like there is much threat reduction in the deck given its dependence on Boromir. I initially had more but found it isn't needed. Between Galadriel, her Handmaidens, Elrond's Council (and Tomb), and Gandalf, I've only lost once or twice due to threat.

 

For a breakdown of the attempts, about 80% of the quests were beaten on the first attempt, 15% on the second, and 5% required more than 2 attempts. I could give a rundown of how each quest went, but most of the quests don't require any deviation from the above strategy and it would get repetitive (except for battle and siege quests but those are even easier because all you have to do is focus everything on setting up Boromir). But if there is interest, I can talk about the strategy for dealing with some of the more challenging quests.

Edited by Seastan

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I've been replaying Battle of Laketown quite a bit recently, and was wondering how you handled that one? Also, are you just excluding Nightmare Dol Guldur, or did this manage it (as long as the correct hero was captured)? Looks cool though, I love Tactics Boromir. Always seems to be able to shine in those miserable situations. :)

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How do you play Daeron's Runes since the FAQ states that Good Harvest does not grant color match for 0 cost cards? Also, I have tried to abuse Boromir like this in the past but I always end up threating out. You are telling me you can ready Boromir that much? How do you not just die?

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Good deck but… Nightmare Shadow and Flame? I dont think so…. Boromir cool buy Balrog will destroy him. There is a very powerful shadow deck!

Battle of Lake town also will be almost impossible… then try Against a shadow cycle nightmare…

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Nightmare Shadow and Flame doesn't seem like the biggest problem, any deck with Galadriel makes that a joke. Nightmare Steward's Fear is another I'd like to hear a rundown for, if you have the time Seastan. I'll admit I'm having a hard time seeing Battle of Laketown, Nightmare Druadan Forest, Nightmare Return to Mirkwood... 

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I've been replaying Battle of Laketown quite a bit recently, and was wondering how you handled that one? Also, are you just excluding Nightmare Dol Guldur, or did this manage it (as long as the correct hero was captured)? Looks cool though, I love Tactics Boromir. Always seems to be able to shine in those miserable situations. :)

 

Start by putting Smaug in the staging area. With a shield Boromir can take a few hits from Smaug the Mighty. Get him his resources and Blood of Numenor asap, because once you get Boromir to 8 defence you can place Smaug engaged with you every turn and the game is over.

 

Escape from Dol Guldur was one of the 5% that require many attempts, and the strategy depends on who is captured (and a lot of luck). If Glorfindel is taken, quest with Boromir and Galadriel+Nenya, then have Boromir fend off the attacks. With Galadriel captured, quest with Boromir and Glorfindel + LoV, defend with Boromir, then attack back with Boromir+Glorfindel. My first win came when Boromir was captured. Questing with Glorfindel+LoV+Galadriel+Nenya on turn 1 for 7, then again with a spirit hero for 9 on turn 2, I managed to complete stage 1 and free Boromir the next turn. The enemies in this quest don't hit too hard, and Boromir can block even the Nazgul with just 1 shield.

 

Good deck but… Nightmare Shadow and Flame? I dont think so…. Boromir cool buy Balrog will destroy him. There is a very powerful shadow deck!

Battle of Lake town also will be almost impossible… then try Against a shadow cycle nightmare…

 

The Balrog is scared of Galadriel! Use her to sneak past the Balrog. Don't use Boromir more than once a turn and Galadriel can keep you at 0. There are other threat reduction cards as well if you happen to fail a quest or two. Once Boromir is buffed up and you have an extra Blood of Numenor in hand, then you can stop caring about threat because the only shadow that hurts Boromir is the one that discards his attachments. So make sure you trigger BoN before revealing the shadow (the defence boost stays for the turn if the attachment gets discarded). If it gets discarded, play it again next turn.

 

For Battle of Lake-town, see above. And what is so difficult about Against the Shadow? Boromir excels at Battle and Siege. None of these took more than 2 attempts. Just try if out if you don't believe me!  :)

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Nightmare Shadow and Flame doesn't seem like the biggest problem, any deck with Galadriel makes that a joke. Nightmare Steward's Fear is another I'd like to hear a rundown for, if you have the time Seastan. I'll admit I'm having a hard time seeing Battle of Laketown, Nightmare Druadan Forest, Nightmare Return to Mirkwood... 

 

Steward's Fear wasn't so hard, but I realize now that the plot I got on my attempt was assassination, which is probably the easiest one. I replayed it 2 more times and lost against the +1 encounter per turn plot and won against the +2 threat per turn plot. I think after the failure I realized the strategy is to take it slow in stage 1 and use Asfaloth to clear staging area locations, then only advance once you've built up a lot of questing and a couple almost-complete locations and can complete the last 2 stages quickly. The quest is long, and for long quests I like to use the WotW in the sideboard and drop 1 BoN, so I can recycle my threat reduction. I can post a more detailed turn-by-turn later if you like.

 

I just tried Lake-town again and won the first attempt with a score of 95. I had 2 shields, steward, and BoN on Boromir by turn 2, and then just put Smaug engaged with me every turn. I ended with a threat of 36, so this kind of good start isn't necessary and you can take a couple quest losses early on until you set up.

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Two shields on boromir? They are limit 1 per hero.

Sorry I typed that up quickly. 2 BoN not 2 shields. You can be at 9 defence on turn 2 if you have a nice starting hand, but it isn't necessary.

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Two shields on boromir? They are limit 1 per hero.

Sorry I typed that up quickly. 2 BoN not 2 shields. You can be at 9 defence on turn 2 if you have a nice starting hand, but it isn't necessary.
You must be seeing a combo that I'm not. What am I missing?

Edit: I think I see what you are doing. Turn 1 Shield of Gondor on Boromir with his resource, steward of Gondor on Boromir with Galadriel's and Glorifindel's using A Good Harvest. Two Bloods of Numenor get played on Boromir. (This could happen start turn 2 as well.)

Turn 2 - Boromir has three resources, a Shield, and two Bloods. Now then, Boromir defends at four, discards a resource to Blood and gains +2 def to 6. He then discards another resource to Blood for +1 more to seven.

This is the way I read BoN. I don't think you get +3,+2 because you only get the boost from the remaining resources after you discard one.

Edited by Bullroarer Took

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Two shields on boromir? They are limit 1 per hero.

Sorry I typed that up quickly. 2 BoN not 2 shields. You can be at 9 defence on turn 2 if you have a nice starting hand, but it isn't necessary.
You must be seeing a combo that I'm not. What am I missing?

Edit: I think I see what you are doing. Turn 1 Shield of Gondor on Boromir with his resource, steward of Gondor on Boromir with Galadriel's and Glorifindel's using A Good Harvest. Two Bloods of Numenor get played on Boromir. (This could happen start turn 2 as well.)

Turn 2 - Boromir has three resources, a Shield, and two Bloods. Now then, Boromir defends at four, discards a resource to Blood and gains +2 def to 6. He then discards another resource to Blood for +1 more to seven.

This is the way I read BoN. I don't think you get +3,+2 because you only get the boost from the remaining resources after you discard one.

 

 

I think you forgot to use Steward the first turn. Here's an ideal start:

 

Turn one: Use Glorfindel and Galadriel's resources to play Steward on Boromir (Edit: using A Good Harvest). Exhaust Steward. Now Boromir has 3 resources. On turn 2 exhaust Steward again. Now Boromir has six resources. If you've got 2 BoN you can now add +5+4 for 11 defence. If by some miracle you have all three, Boromir can defend for 14 defence at the start of turn 2!

 

More realistically though, if you have just one BoN and one GF, He can be attacking for 8 and defending for 6 an unlimited number of times on turn 2. And he only gets stronger from there. This is why the deck is so powerful. Although I don't generally manage to get the combo so early, and that's why I put the shields in there, because with 4 defence he can last a number of turns until I do.

Edited by Seastan

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Why do you use Bofur? I do not see the goods in that ally.

Only reason I can think of him is for questing. But there are cards like West Road Traveler which do cost only 2 and have the same questing power..

 

By the way, I never came up with the idea to put two Gondorian Fire (or Blood of Numenor) on a single hero. It is nowhere said that is illegal, but it feels not right I think... also, I always interpreted these cards as "...for each resource [currently] in its resource pool...", so the above math would not fit.

Edited by Flrbb

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Why do you use Bofur? I do not see the goods in that ally.

Only reason I can think of him is for questing. But there are cards like West Road Traveler which do cost only 2 and have the same questing power..

 

Good question. Did you know you can play Bofur from your hand for 1 resource, after the cards have been revealed in the staging step? Bofur is great for those crucial initial rounds of the game where you might be failing quests. After you do the math and realize you've failed by 2 or more, you can put him down for 1 resource and now you have a decent quester who wont die from treachery damage for the rest of the game. If you get him late in the game when you are questing successfully every turn then he does cost more. But who cares? You are now questing successfully every turn!

 

The real question is why do I only include 1 Bofur  :) .

 

By the way, I never came up with the idea to put two Gondorian Fire (or Blood of Numenor) on a single hero. It is nowhere said that is illegal, but it feels not right I think... also, I always interpreted these cards as "...for each resource [currently] in its resource pool...", so the above math would not fit.

 

Sure, it doesn't feel right, I agree. But there is no limit of 1 per hero on these cards. Even if they put an errata saying so, it wouldn't kill this deck. It would just mean an extra turn killing the big bosses.

 

As for how the math works, see here:

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/80004-blood-of-numenor/?p=769957

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I was skeptical of the deck because I thought 1. The combo is too risky. What if I don't see the right cards, especially good harvest and Steward together. 2. It seems weak at questing. What about NM return to mirkwood? And 3. If I abuse Boromir too much I will threat out. Again what about RtM?

But I was intrigued so I gave it a spin and it is as good as advertised, though, obviously I haven't played it against too many quests. What I didn't appreciate is how, while Boromir is extremely good, this deck is really about the power potential of Galadriel. She really shines. She basically keeps threat low and draws the combo. I mean Mirror of Galadriel is crazy good for combo builds. With playing Gandalf I actually made it below 20 threat sometimes while using Boromir non-stop, crazy. She also helps with questing, obviously. I dropped one copy of Arwen and Asfaloth for 2 copies of UC so that I could use Galadriel for her ability and for questing. I think that's better since mirror usually gets you the one off cards. I beat a few of the easy NM. NM carrock was a complete joke. Thanks! With this deck and my Gandalf/Hama feint deck I feel like I can't lose.

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I have recorded a playthrough of Battle of Lake-Town if anyone cares to watch: https://youtu.be/SrdPhZb3uL0

 

Unless I am playing this quest completely wrong, after 10 attempts I have ~50% win rate. It might not the best win rate, but this is an all-round deck and not built with this quest in mind. 

 

I was skeptical of the deck because I thought 1. The combo is too risky. What if I don't see the right cards, especially good harvest and Steward together. 2. It seems weak at questing. What about NM return to mirkwood? And 3. If I abuse Boromir too much I will threat out. Again what about RtM?

But I was intrigued so I gave it a spin and it is as good as advertised, though, obviously I haven't played it against too many quests. What I didn't appreciate is how, while Boromir is extremely good, this deck is really about the power potential of Galadriel. She really shines. She basically keeps threat low and draws the combo. I mean Mirror of Galadriel is crazy good for combo builds. With playing Gandalf I actually made it below 20 threat sometimes while using Boromir non-stop, crazy. She also helps with questing, obviously. I dropped one copy of Arwen and Asfaloth for 2 copies of UC so that I could use Galadriel for her ability and for questing. I think that's better since mirror usually gets you the one off cards. I beat a few of the easy NM. NM carrock was a complete joke. Thanks! With this deck and my Gandalf/Hama feint deck I feel like I can't lose.

 

I am glad you gave it a try and glad you liked it. I agree with you about Galadriel. Initially I was running Balin as the third hero, and relying on King under the Mountain for card draw and saving Boromir from nasty shadows. I also didn't need A Good Harvest, but found I was't getting Steward reliably and quickly enough. I switched to Beravor for a while, and it improved, but I still found that with gaining only one spirit resource a turn I could not put down allies quickly enough. Then I moved to Galadriel and her Mirror and that was it. I love dropping a Gandalf who lowers my threat by 5, then quests for 4, then attacks/defends (although, I don't like having to wait a turn to use Arwen's ability). As a bonus, Galadriel also allows me to beat S&F nightmare, which is something the other heroes couldn't do.

 

I like your idea of adding UC for Galadriel. Personally I would drop an Arwen, maybe not Asfaloth. With the idea of it being a strong all-round deck, it needs to do well at location control quests, which means getting out Asfaloth quickly. Then there's also the risk of the Mirror discarding your only copy before you can play it and never being able to get it back.

 

I forget how RtM went with the deck. I checked my log and all it said was "Felt very easy". Maybe I got lucky. I'll give it another shot.

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I played it against RtM several times and it crushed it with little challenge. Again, it wasn't really Boromir that made the quest so easy; it was Galadriel. I did end up putting 2 copies of Asfaloth. I am moving through the NM pretty smoothly.

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TftC blog used the same hero lineup to great effect as well when he was demonstrating how to test a deck. That deck was quite powerful and this one looks even better, though I'm curious to hear how often you have to hold Lore or Leadership cards in your hand for multiple turns while you wait for A Good Harvest or Nenya to show up. I feel like it would be very unreliable unless you are able to get the mirror out early.

EDIT: Have you considered Deep Knowledge instead of Daeron's Runes since you have decent threat management it seems.

Edited by joezim007

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TftC blog used the same hero lineup to great effect as well when he was demonstrating how to test a deck. That deck was quite powerful and this one looks even better, though I'm curious to hear how often you have to hold Lore or Leadership cards in your hand for multiple turns while you wait for A Good Harvest or Nenya to show up. I feel like it would be very unreliable unless you are able to get the mirror out early.

EDIT: Have you considered Deep Knowledge instead of Daeron's Runes since you have decent threat management it seems.

 

I started with Deep Knowledge but swapped it for Dearon's Runes. There are so many 3x unique cards in this deck that the downside of Dearon's runes isn't even a factor. The only reason I don't have 3x Daeron's runes is because of the point you mentioned - it's a dead card early in the game if you don't have Nenya yet.

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Have you ever considered "Peace, and Thought"? I don't know how much spare heroes you do have in nightmare mode, but because of Boromirs effect you just need one other hero.

Also, as a side note: I had a deck with these heroes myself. I think my deck was not that much "optimized" - main difference was I used Rivendell Blade and Captain of Gondor instead of Gondorian Fire and Blood of Nummenor, no Lore cards. Besides not knowing how Nightmare Mode behaves, I can say that this deck shines in single player..

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Have you ever considered "Peace, and Thought"? I don't know how much spare heroes you do have in nightmare mode, but because of Boromirs effect you just need one other hero.

Also, as a side note: I had a deck with these heroes myself. I think my deck was not that much "optimized" - main difference was I used Rivendell Blade and Captain of Gondor instead of Gondorian Fire and Blood of Nummenor, no Lore cards. Besides not knowing how Nightmare Mode behaves, I can say that this deck shines in single player..

 

Peace and thought works well with Boromir for sure, but early in the game, every resource is very valuable.  There's a chance it would be better than what I have, but it may take many games to determine. 

 

The deck is pretty flexible for however you want to build it. As long as you have Boromir, 3x Steward, 3x GF, 3x BoN, and some reasonable way to get Steward played early, then I feel you've captured the spirit of this deck and should be able to complete the majority of NM quests with ease. The rest of the decklist is my current preference of how to support Boromir, but it's by no means the best or only way.

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