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Edheliad

Helm's Deep

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I had a rough enough time with chasing down the Uruks, now Helm's Deep is giving me an absolute hiding. One wrong move and things fall apart so quickly, but equally one good turn and the staging area escalates beyond all hope of recovery. 

Any tips/strategy for this quest? It's proving a real roadblock.

Really disappointed with this expansion so far. The whole game suffers from snowballing/death spiral quest design but these quests feel like they take that to an extreme.

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How can it be a good turn if the staging are escalate? It is all that you need here: manage how many threat there will be in the staging area. Since you are not punished too hard to loose quest from a high amount (like 30) don't be afraid of not sending anyone for manage some enemies at some moment, or just because it is obvious that the stage will be passed this turn.

It is very hard (and even more in nightmare) but can be defeated by a strong deck and the good rhythm. Good luck :).

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I'd be nice to have a little more information (how many decks/players, decklist(s) etc.). I understand your problems, but without knowing what you play tips for improvement are hard to give. Especially in a Saga quest (do you play campaign? What burdens/boons? How set in stone is your hero line-up?).

In general: The quest is tuff and most of the times a real nailbiter. You need much willpower a good defense plan and a significant amount of attack damage to not get overrun. If you aren't in the driving seat don't hesitate to use a test of will to "buy" less encountercards as canceling even not so bad treacheries can give you the room to catch up. Also make sure to give up on the first two siege stages once the time has come. If only one or two progress is left it's highly unlikely that you will be able to stop the orcs from advancing. Use your saved forces to strike back!

Action advantage is king! If you can use cheap forms (light of valinor on Glorfindel is great as always) or heroes with it build in (Boromir - an awesome solution to defend and attack) things won't look hopeless. 

Also healing will help with the archery damage that is present (it's a siege after all :D)

This general things apply for many quests so I am not sure it helped, but then again: decklists or at least hero line-ups will help with that matter :)

If everything fails try easy or sleezy (+1 ressources, but all the encountercards) mode, the goal is having fun after all!

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I've been using my Silvan deck solo (roughly http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5511/defence-of-lothlorien-solo-3.0 I chop and change a lot. I know Vilya was cut at some point and I removed Hithlain for Helm's Deep. Been trying out the Elladan and Elrohir allies too; amazing when out together on Orcs-only quests). 

The locations that provide 'your number of allies +1' threat are devastating to me. Especially the game where I drew two of them.

 

12 hours ago, Rouxxor said:

How can it be a good turn if the staging are escalate?

It feels like ideally I would be letting locations fall to get them out of the staging area. If I win the quest phase things mount up even faster and makes the next few turns so much harder.

Then I progress to the second stage of the defence with adds a new active location so no easing off there. And then we die.

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I would agree with above, don't try to win the quest phase but rather "fail in a controlled way". It is a tough quest but one of the best. I also try to leave 1 enemy in staging just to prevent extra encounter cards from being revealed.

Also Core Gimli really shines in this quest.

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8 hours ago, Edheliad said:

I've been using my Silvan deck solo (roughly http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5511/defence-of-lothlorien-solo-3.0 I chop and change a lot. I know Vilya was cut at some point and I removed Hithlain for Helm's Deep. Been trying out the Elladan and Elrohir allies too; amazing when out together on Orcs-only quests). 

The locations that provide 'your number of allies +1' threat are devastating to me. Especially the game where I drew two of them.

 

It feels like ideally I would be letting locations fall to get them out of the staging area. If I win the quest phase things mount up even faster and makes the next few turns so much harder.

Then I progress to the second stage of the defence with adds a new active location so no easing off there. And then we die.

So here are some changes I would propose: 

-To counter deeping culvert try Thror's key. Just play it once you got it and trigger the response, once the location shows up. As the textbox is blank it should be zero threat (personally never used the key, but that's how it should work right? It is useful anyway to get rid of some very nasty effects)
-Add Light of Valinor.
-cut strength of will (don't help the encounterdeck clear the locations) and hold the line (Using 2-3 characters to fend of one attack is to much to keep up with the enemies I'd say + you can't ready them or is there a tactics icon I don't see?)
-I wouldn't play the side quest - the investment it needs to clear it is smaller than the benefit in my opinion as you ideally want to quest +/-0 (except you want the active locatio cleared so you can travel to a new one) 
-where is sneak attack there should be Gandalf
-a solodeck with leadership without steward of gondor! You rarely see those and while it doesn't fit theme-wise it fit's great onto Elrond. I think O Lorien isn't needed if you go with steward.
-do you run out of cards to play? If so, you might want to cut Nenya and use Galadriel only for draw. You could add Daeron's runes too.
-Try adding Vilya again. I remember one of Seastan's video's (minimal purchase shadow and flame iirc), where it was the main engine to get ahead of the encounter deck. You might want to add UC in this case, too
-A test of will is a must and hasty stroke can help too (don't have all the shadow effects in my mind; if they don't hurt you to much leave it out)
-I don't like capatain's wisedom in this quest, but if you need the ressources keep it. However I doubt it is needed if you add steward.
-if you lack willpower you migh want to add the sword that was broken for Aragorn. It generates absurd amounts.
-I would change some other cards. To make it easier to compare I copied your deck and switched the cards as I saw fit: http://ringsdb.com/deck/view/61707

It is pretty different from what you are playing and not even close to your level of theme. I would use the possible "free" turn one to get a head-start. With stargazer the chances of drawing the burden are reasonably low. And as PAOE said above keep one enemy in the staging area, the little progress is generates should be better than two encounter cards per round. 
I hope this helps^^

Ultima ratio: You can change your heroes for free before this quest...

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Hold the line is a frequent lifesaver in a deck where all newly played allies get +1 defence and don't have to exhaust to commit to the quest. I've never paid any attention to the secondary effect. 

Strength of Will is another favourite of mine for how often it's useful in practice, but it dropped out of the main deck somewhere along the Anduin.

Vilya by contrast has been generally awful for me and probably requires far more tailoring than I'm willing to do to make it excel. Elrond's the third man in this team and should be respectful to his in-laws and their strange ways.

Captain's Wisdom is a recent trial addition due to how often I was having heroes standing around ready at the end of rounds, and because I wanted to make the Elladan and Elrohir allies easier to play to try them out. Resources haven't generally been as big an issue for the deck as getting enough cards in hand to spend them, even with Galadriel's card draw (Nenya's skill is only used in emergencies/sprints to the finishline, and if it wasn't for ringbearer resources in the saga I'd have probably dropped it) and picking allies back up. With Elrond's ally-playing ability smoothing things over I barely notice when O'Lorien doesn't appear (not really but it's far from crippling), and events are deliberately almost all 0 cost.

I tore up my copy of Steward of Gondor because it's so broken. Similarly all other "must-haves" from the core set. My "test of will" is to take treacheries on the chin (or cancel them with Frodo and The Ring). Sneak Attack is walking a fine line.

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9 hours ago, Edheliad said:

I tore up my copy of Steward of Gondor because it's so broken. Similarly all other "must-haves" from the core set. My "test of will" is to take treacheries on the chin (or cancel them with Frodo and The Ring). Sneak Attack is walking a fine line.

You know that the quest are designed considering the existing cardpool, yes?

Nothing wrong to play the game using "thematic" decks, but then you should expect the game (in particular super-hard quest such Helm's Deep) to be more difficult and I wouldn't comment on the design of the quest when you purposedly refrain to use tools the designers gave to you.

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Test of Will makes the deck worse because it requires a spirit resource to be held back and steals deck space from allies (Tree People & AVGT need a high ratio) and card draw accelerants (I'm told the maths make sense). Same for Light of Valinor. Good cards overall but disruptive to the gameplan and of limited utility when playing solo saga and Elrond is often Naith-ready.

Steward of Gondor has to be saved up for which, again, makes this deck worse in a game where fast, strong starts are (usually) incredibly important. But if I start adding a few more expensive non-Silvan allies this may need re-evaluating.

Sneak Attack on one hand allows double-dipping on Silvan 'when enters play' effects, but on the other doesn't allow for the quest+other phase readiness that normally playing allies does with Galadriel. Again it's holding back 1 resource when 1 or 2 means another ally being played permanently, I've never been absolutely convinced of its value here (except when Haldir is in hand).

I am playing a thematic deck but the aim is as much to lean hard into the play-style of the archetype as it is to only "use Elves and what Elves would do". My Sneak Attack Steward of Gandalf deck would look entirely different (probably keep Galadriel she's the best).

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8 hours ago, Edheliad said:

I am playing a thematic deck but the aim is as much to lean hard into the play-style of the archetype as it is to only "use Elves and what Elves would do". My Sneak Attack Steward of Gandalf deck would look entirely different (probably keep Galadriel she's the best).

Galadriel only triggers when you play her from hand, not when a card effect puts her into play.

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Calvadur makes some good points, but I understand the decisions you are making (except maybe physically tearing up cards, hah!)

By your own admission there are cards you could drop from your deck.  I would certainly keep O Lorien but you mentioned that you "barely notice" when it doesn't appear, so maybe you could try a game without it.  Same goes for Nenya, which you mention only using in select circumstances.  I would try doing away with cards that either sit in my hand, or make it to the table but go unused.  Then you can increase the ally count for AVGT and Tree People.  Elrond could pay for cheap tactics Silvans.   Also A Good Harvest could help with resource management and cards that you have to "save up" for in a tri-sphere deck.

As Calvadur mentioned, Thror's Key is an excellent counter for your troubles with the location with X threat.  Not a fit thematically though.

Sneak Attack with Galadriel in play combos well with A Very Good Tale after quest resolution.  And yeah, Elf-stone works well here, I've used that one.  Island Amid Perils seems like a weak card in this deck and scenario, and without Steward of Gondor maybe you don't need 9 Silvan-bouncing events (hard to pay for all that bouncing).  Instead, maybe just Feigned Voices and The Tree People, plus more draw.  Since threat is probably not such an issue, there is Deep Knowledge if you don't want Daeron's Runes based on theme.

I imagine winning this scenario with a Silvan deck will be very, very hard due to the Archery alone.

 

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You could build a Silvan deck primarily around the multi-hit-point Silvan allies (Marksman of Lorien, Haldir, Mirwood Runner, etc.) in which case the Silvan Trackers can clean up the archery quite handily.

13 hours ago, Edheliad said:

Test of Will makes the deck worse

Test of Will is probably the best possible thing you can do with a single spirit resource. Having to hold back a resource for it is in no way a drawback to this absurdly powerful card. It has shaped the entire design of the game far more than any other card, and I have yet to see a deck, even AVGT/Tree People decks, that is made worse by it.

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I haven't found archery too threatening so far, Galadhrim Healer with Elrond's ability cleans it up pretty effectively. Maybe I've just been lucky.

Only just realised the version of the deck I posted doesn't have Daeron's Runes and Deep Knowledge in it. Was wondering why people were recommending them. Been using both for a while.

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A lot of things are discussed here :).

About Helm's Deep: I play it again in solo today (in nightmare but it is essentially the same).  It is even more difficult that I remember. It is really difficult to remind all the small effects from locations and quest. I have to give up three times because I play it the wrong way before play a real one. It is also really deep in a strategy matter.

On 6/25/2017 at 10:37 PM, Edheliad said:

Really disappointed with this expansion so far. The whole game suffers from snowballing/death spiral quest design but these quests feel like they take that to an extreme.

Yes it is an extreme. But I think it is good to have those extreme in a game like LoTR. Because you also have extreme players. Some want to play easy quests on easy mode (may be not because they are beginners but because they intentionally want to play with the worst cards, for example) and some others (like me :D) want to play very hard quests on nightmare. Without special deckbuilding. And bypass the step 1 for the challenge ^^. The best way to have a big community is to make some little things for each. And we must enjoy that everything is offer to us. Because it means that we can personally evolve (or switch).

On 6/25/2017 at 10:37 PM, Edheliad said:

Any tips/strategy for this quest? It's proving a real roadblock.

You must have a LOT of questing points. It it essential. You must calculate how many is needed and sometime go with everybody and sometime with no one. Get your Henamarth can be very precious to do this. You must also keep an enemy in the staging area in step 1, keep an enemy engaged on the beginning of step 2 and put one (and if possible only one) progression token on step 2. You really don't want to get a second encounter card each turn.

About the deck I could speak during a long time but it is easier to share my list: http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5670/silvan-deck-for-solo-1.0

Nenya + archer is an option but I really dislike nenya so I prefer another ally and more resource production for paying lore allies. And I want to thanks you for Sneak attack who is a pretty smart idea in this deck, I have to think about it so I may include it in the future. All the others things are tested a lot, against many difficult scenario.

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I don't much like Defender of the Naith. 2/2 isn't enough to survive most reasonable enemies, and the first turn 3/2 isn't great either. Might as well just use a cheaper chump most of the time.

The readying effect is also of limited use, beyond AVGT. It won't normally be exhausted heading into the combat phase.

And the art is bad.

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I made a try with my sylvan deck against nightmare helm's deep. A pretty easy win on the first shot : henamarth make me know what happens each turn, always more willpower than needed on board, allies keeped in hand to get her bonuses later if needed. As I say I don't make any change for the scenario, just play the regular list. As usual Galadhrim Minstrel was golden.

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19 hours ago, GrandSpleen said:

  Since threat is probably not such an issue, there is Deep Knowledge if you don't want Daeron's Runes based on theme.

 

@GrandSpleenSorry for going off-topic but I don't think Daeron's Runes is non-thematic in a Silvan deck. Daeron was a Sindarin elf (http://tolkiengateway.net/wiki/Daeron). He invented an alphabeth that was used by the dwarves too (according to the Moria chapters in Lotr).

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I've just come back to this thread because I wanted to use Rouxxor's silvan deck for this scenario, but using Grima is actually against the rules!

From the box insert: When playing the scenarios in The Treason of Saruman, the players cannot use any ally or hero card with the title “Saruman” or “Gríma.”

I guess we could sub in Haldir?

 

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Hopefully Rouxxor will reply, but I don't think Haldir is a great substitution, as Grima offers an extra ressource each turn in exchange for threat and Haldir doesn't do anything like that (and from the look of the deck I'd say constantly playing your allies and events is pretty important, what could turn out much harder without Grima). But I can't come up with a lore hero who does help you with ressources like Grima does and Haldir is at least a thematic fit...

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24 minutes ago, Calvadur said:

Hopefully Rouxxor will reply, but I don't think Haldir is a great substitution, as Grima offers an extra ressource each turn in exchange for threat and Haldir doesn't do anything like that (and from the look of the deck I'd say constantly playing your allies and events is pretty important, what could turn out much harder without Grima). But I can't come up with a lore hero who does help you with ressources like Grima does and Haldir is at least a thematic fit...

I was going to say Bifur, but then I saw "thematic fit". =(

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