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Black Riders - Hard!

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I finished off all 3 scenarios. These scenarios are really neat. I think they really capture the feel of the books quite well. I liked the second scenario the best. It seemed to have the most challenge.

I went with Merry, Sam and Pippin Lore (threat 20) with a real attachment heavy deck.

Here is the deck I used.

Allies: (8)

Gandalf core x2

Bill the Pony x2

Master of the Forge x3

Gildor Inglorion x1

Attachments: (25)

Hobbit cloak x3

Dunedain Warning x3

Dunedain Mark x3

Steward of Gondor x2

Celebrian's stone x2

Fast Hitch x3

Burning Brand x2

Dagger or Westernsse x3

Ring Mail x1

Gondorian Shield x1

Song of Wisdom x2

Events: (17)

Sneak Attack x3

Feint x3

Halfling Determination x3. Remove 1 and add Ranger Bow x1 after Sam gets Tireless Ranger Boon

Hail of Stones x2

Daeron's Ruins x3

Frodo's Intuition x3

Total 50

Sam with Dunedain Warnings, Ring Mails, Hobbit Cloak, SoWisdom/ Burning Brand, and at least one Fast hitch he becomes a brick wall. I had him at 9 defense on game, and if engagement cost does not work out he at 6 def. I have also added SoG and Gondorian Shield. All this and the Tireless ranger defense, Sam can safely defend for 11 when he is all primed up defending a higher engament cosy enemy.

Similarly with Merry. Two daggers and 3 Dunedain Marks, your looking at 11 attack, without engagement bonus he is at 9 atk.

Poor Pippin doesn't get anything, but his abilities are really what makes the deck work. The card draw is great too.

For questing it's pretty much Sam, Frodo, Pippin, and Merry when he gets a Fast Hitch. That's 9 WP. Sam with Celebrians stone and Bill the Pony bring that to a solid 12 each round.

These Hobbits really don't need much help from anyone else, as long as Gandalf shows up every once and awhile there all set.

Edited by Tracker1

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I like your deck. It's my style for sure. I don't understand the bit about Gildor though. I thought you couldn't get Tireless Ranger until the end of the 3rd Quest? Or maybe you meant going forward?

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I meant Gildor Lore ally, not the boon. I had one copy in my deck before I replaced it with Ranger Bow. You are able to select a boon like Tireless Ranger after completting the 2nd scenario, as it says on the Back of the Campaign card A Knife in the Dark.

The deck is fun, and to me it feels very thematic since most of the time you just have the 4 hobbits in play with Bill the Pony. Most of the other cards are meant to build up your heroes on the Journey. I'm really happy that I was able to take this approach, rather then having to call on heroes that don't at all make sense in the story. For fun, I'm going to run my Outlands deck through, I get the feeling they might actually struggle.

Edited by Tracker1
Bullroarer Took likes this

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I just completed the first Black Riders quest last night and played two-handed solo.

The heroes I used were Merry, Fatty, and Glorfindel (Sp) for the first deck and Sam, Pippin, and Strider for the other.  It was definitely hard trimming down each deck to a playable size because there were so many cards I wanted to use (I really love all of the new cards.)  In the end, I ended up with about 55 cards per deck and decided just to go with it. 

 

It was a tense game, but for the most part I managed to stay under the radar of the Nazgul and quest high enough to escape the Shire and ferry across the Brandywine River.  A few cards that I found extremely helpful were Sword that was Broken placed on Aragorn, Fast Hitch and Hobbit Cloak placed on Sam, and Frodo's Intuition, the new (and only) Fellowship-sphere card of this expansion.

 

Also, I really like the idea of Campaign Mode and played with those rules last night as well.  The Gandalf's Delay burden didn't seem too horrible, and the Mr. Underhill attachment and surprise arrival of Gildor Inglorian from the encounter deck were awesome! 

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I meant Gildor Lore ally, not the boon. I had one copy in my deck before I replaced it with Ranger Bow. You are able to select a boon like Tireless Ranger after completting the 2nd scenario, as it says on the Back of the Campaign card A Knife in the Dark.

The deck is fun, and to me it feels very thematic since most of the time you just have the 4 hobbits in play with Bill the Pony. Most of the other cards are meant to build up your heroes on the Journey. I'm really happy that I was able to take this approach, rather then having to call on heroes that don't at all make sense in the story. For fun, I'm going to run my Outlands deck through, I get the feeling they might actually struggle.

I completely agree that these are some of the most thematic quests we have so far and they are even more fun when you try to stay in those boundaries.  (Which is why I really wish we had an Aragorn Ally.)  I guess we could use Dunedain Wanderer...

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I meant Gildor Lore ally, not the boon. I had one copy in my deck before I replaced it with Ranger Bow. You are able to select a boon like Tireless Ranger after completting the 2nd scenario, as it says on the Back of the Campaign card A Knife in the Dark.

The deck is fun, and to me it feels very thematic since most of the time you just have the 4 hobbits in play with Bill the Pony. Most of the other cards are meant to build up your heroes on the Journey. I'm really happy that I was able to take this approach, rather then having to call on heroes that don't at all make sense in the story. For fun, I'm going to run my Outlands deck through, I get the feeling they might actually struggle.

I completely agree that these are some of the most thematic quests we have so far and they are even more fun when you try to stay in those boundaries. (Which is why I really wish we had an Aragorn Ally.) I guess we could use Dunedain Wanderer...
Yes an Aragorn ally would have been great. That would have been perfect for the theme. I really thought we would be getting more of the Big name heroes as allies in these expansions. II am hoping to get all the characters as either heroes or allies from the fellowship for a solo deck, but that's probably just a pipe dream.

As for theme, the second scenario is great. You really feel like you are fighting for your life on top of Weathertop. I think they really nailed that scenario, each transition between quest cards is perfect in telling the story.

Edited by Tracker1

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Nice deck Tracker per usual.  Just played the first scenario and Merry was swinging for 11 by the end of it haha.  Sam was at 6 defense.

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Nice deck Tracker per usual. Just played the first scenario and Merry was swinging for 11 by the end of it haha. Sam was at 6 defense.

I tweaked the deck a bit.

I got rid of 2 healing herbs, added 2 Steward of Gondor. Also replaced 1 Ring Mail with 1 Gondorian Shield, all of which goes on Sam.

1 Gildor lore ally is back in, and when I get Tireless Ranger, take out 1 tactics event Halfling Determination it is either this or a Feint, and put in a Ranger Bow, although I just noticed it is restricted. I'll probably ditch it for Protector of Lorien instead. With Sam all decked out defending for a 11 with a burning brand the Feints are really only useful in the early game.

I'll edit the deck above

Anyway, this deck handles these 3 scenarios no problem.

I ran modified versions of this deck by removing Hobbits for other heroes, with marginal success and some loses.

I tried Sam, Merry, Glorfindel spirit. Lost second scenario

Also, Sam, Glorfindel, Aragorn lore Lost first Scenario twice.

hobbits are the way to go.

i tried this hobbit deck out on 7th level and they got smashed on the first few turns. They will get eaten up with low engagement enemies. Need to try again though.

Edited by Tracker1

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Nice deck Tracker per usual. Just played the first scenario and Merry was swinging for 11 by the end of it haha. Sam was at 6 defense.

I tweaked the deck a bit.

I got rid of 2 healing herbs, added 2 Steward of Gondor. Also replaced 1 Ring Mail with 1 Gondorian Shield, all of which goes on Sam.

1 Gildor lore ally is back in, and when I get Tireless Ranger, take out 1 tactics event Halfling Determination it is either this or a Feint, and put in a Ranger Bow, although I just noticed it is restricted. I'll probably ditch it for Protector of Lorien instead. With Sam all decked out defending for a 11 with a burning brand the Feints are really only useful in the early game.

I'll edit the deck above

Anyway, this deck handles these 3 scenarios no problem.

I ran modified versions of this deck by removing Hobbits for other heroes, with marginal success and some loses.

I tried Sam, Merry, Glorfindel spirit. Lost second scenario

Also, Sam, Glorfindel, Aragorn lore Lost first Scenario twice.

hobbits are the way to go.

i tried this hobbit deck out on 7th level and they got smashed on the first few turns. They will get eaten up with low engagement enemies. Need to try again though.

 

Yea when I tried it I got rid of the herbs for Steward as well haha.  Shield is a good idea too.  I want to try one with Fatty next

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I still waiting for my BR copy..... So i just wonna ask: Every one play a normal mode i suppose? And there is a big difference if you take red card out? Someone try it at all?

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I still waiting for my BR copy..... So i just wonna ask: Every one play a normal mode i suppose? And there is a big difference if you take red card out? Someone try it at all?

I've played only normal mode, and have not tried easy, at this point I probably will not since what I consider a pretty thematic deck did just fine. I could take out Gandalf to be true to the book, then I might consider easy mode, so I guess it probably has it's place, but I'm not that hardcore on thematic deck making.

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Actually just bought galaxy note 3..amazing phone really help me type without mistakes. Camera can make video 4k quality. So all my next videos should be much better quality.

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Black Riders is difficult, but not in your face beat you to a pulp difficult like the HoN quests are.  The first two scenarios (all I've played so far) require a lot of strategic decision making, and they PUNISH poor choices and decks that aren't equipped to deal with their specific challenges (maybe I should underline that too, because there are very bad consequences).  I've only played them two handed, so I can't speak for their solo difficulty, but they required a lot of careful thought and some good luck to make it through.  And though we've all talked about using thematic decks against these scenarios, in this case,the thematic decks are strong decks.  I am anxious to try hobbits out against other scenarios to see where they really are as a deck type, but they are great against these scenarios.  And my other "thematic" deck is running Strider and Glorfindel, so I wouldn't call that a light weight either.  Overall, I like the scenarios a lot because they offer lots of strategic decision making that makes a big impact on the game.

I think that some typical powerhouse decks could struggle against these quests because there are some cards that really attack allies, so I can see why Thorin and Co. and Outlands could struggle as other posters have suggested.  I'll be interested to see what you think about them once you get them, Glaurung.

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I tried my outlands deck on the first scenario. They smashed it as usual, but it felt wrong, i don't even want to try it on the other scenarios. Having 20 allies in play escorting Frodo out of the shire is not very thematic or fun at all. The second scenario might prove more difficult, but i don't really care, outlands have nothing to do with this part of the story, and basically the 4 hobbit heroes do well enough on their own.

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I tried my outlands deck on the first scenario. They smashed it as usual, but it felt wrong, i don't even want to try it on the other scenarios. Having 20 allies in play escorting Frodo out of the shire is not very thematic or fun at all. The second scenario might prove more difficult, but i don't really care, outlands have nothing to do with this part of the story, and basically the 4 hobbit heroes do well enough on their own.

outlands they brake the game. They are mostly for NM. For normal they just to broken and destroy all feelings.

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My copy of The Black Riders has just turned up this afternoon. Luckily I have the day off, so I'm about to embark on these quests. After a brief glance, it looks like it's going to be epic.

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I built up Tracker1's hobbit deck, and took on the quests. Won quest 1 on the first attempt, by successfully hiding from all the black riders. Felt very thematic, like the riders were breathing down your neck for the whole quest.

Quest 2, A Knife in the Dark, gave me more trouble. I've played it six times now - four of which I've managed to take out Bill Ferney on turn 1 or 2 with a Hail of Stones. I generally managed to stop additional Ringwraiths being shuffled into the deck, but kept being slaughtered on weathertop by the Witch King and the other Nazgul - in a couple of the games - in one game i was down to the last Nazgul, and got the treachery card that brings one back. I cancelled it with the one ring, shuffled and flipped up another copy.

Finally, though, on the sixth attempt, I managed to defeat all the Nazgul and win the quest. Ironically, this was the game where I didn't manage to dispatch Bill until about round 5. I wound up not travelling to the prancing pony for several rounds, building up a lot of attachments before advancing to stage 2, despite the increasing threat.

 

I haven't played quest 3 yet, but so far this expansion rocks.

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I built up Tracker1's hobbit deck, and took on the quests. Won quest 1 on the first attempt, by successfully hiding from all the black riders. Felt very thematic, like the riders were breathing down your neck for the whole quest.

Quest 2, A Knife in the Dark, gave me more trouble. I've played it six times now - four of which I've managed to take out Bill Ferney on turn 1 or 2 with a Hail of Stones. I generally managed to stop additional Ringwraiths being shuffled into the deck, but kept being slaughtered on weathertop by the Witch King and the other Nazgul - in a couple of the games - in one game i was down to the last Nazgul, and got the treachery card that brings one back. I cancelled it with the one ring, shuffled and flipped up another copy.

Finally, though, on the sixth attempt, I managed to defeat all the Nazgul and win the quest. Ironically, this was the game where I didn't manage to dispatch Bill until about round 5. I wound up not travelling to the prancing pony for several rounds, building up a lot of attachments before advancing to stage 2, despite the increasing threat.

 

I haven't played quest 3 yet, but so far this expansion rocks.

Nice, I am surprised you had trouble with the riders at the end, especially if you took out Bill Ferney early on. Is your threat over 39 by that point? Remember Pippins's ability. Usually, I am able to take one rider at a time, and I usually start with the Witch king. By this point in the game you want to have Merry and Sam almost maxed out with attachments, and it's nice to have a feint and Mr. Underhill ready go. Also, there is nothing in the win conditions that says you need to travel to Weathetop, so don't at least when the riders show up. If you do you will get Slaughtered, after you exhaust the ring to travel there. You will have a lot of threat in the staging area next round, but I like to try and have a Gandalf sneak attack to help, hopefully Gildor lore ally is in play too. Frodo's Intuition can really help out to. It's best to use Gandalf to lower threat, but in a few games I have had to use him and a a hail of stones to take out Bill Ferney.

This is my favorite quest of the three. There seems to be a lot of strategic decisions to make. I like the Locations that help you out. There is one that puts a non-unique enemy under it when you travel there, that's the perfect location to have in play when the riders show up, since it will remove one of them from the staging area next round.

Awesome Quest.

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Nice, I am surprised you had trouble with the riders at the end, especially if you took out Bill Ferney early on. Is your threat over 39 by that point? Remember Pippins's ability. Usually, I am able to take one rider at a time, and I usually start with the Witch king. By this point in the game you want to have Merry and Sam almost maxed out with attachments, and it's nice to have a feint and Mr. Underhill ready go. Also, there is nothing in the win conditions that says you need to travel to Weathetop, so don't at least when the riders show up. If you do you will get Slaughtered, after you exhaust the ring to travel there. You will have a lot of threat in the staging area next round, but I like to try and have a Gandalf sneak attack to help, hopefully Gildor lore ally is in play too. Frodo's Intuition can really help out to. It's best to use Gandalf to lower threat, but in a few games I have had to use him and a a hail of stones to take out Bill Ferney.

This is my favorite quest of the three. There seems to be a lot of strategic decisions to make. I like the Locations that help you out. There is one that puts a non-unique enemy under it when you travel there, that's the perfect location to have in play when the riders show up, since it will remove one of them from the staging area next round.

Awesome Quest.

 

I realised after the first couple of games that I had been forgetting pippin's engagement cost boost, so I had been engaging some of the spy enemies earlier than I needed to. When I said "on weathertop" I meant that part of the quest, once it comes into play, I didn't actually travel to it, as that does seem like suicide. I eventually beat the quest though - nice to have a quest thats both really thematic and difficult to beat.

 

I've played flight to the ford a couple of times now, and won both times. An decent quest, but I think on the whole I prefer the first two (with the Knife in the Dark being my favourite of the three).

 

Good job on the deck design, I've enjoyed playing it through these quests.

Edited by CaffeineAddict

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Let's talk Boons for a bit. After completing the second quest, A Knife in the Dark, players are entitled to take a Boon card and add it to their deck. The card doesn't count against the minimum, so you are running at least 51 cards. Here are the four Boons available:

Noble Hero, +1 WP

Valiant Warrior, +1 AT

Tireless Ranger, +1 DF

Skilled Healer, +2 HP

They all have zero cost, so it's well worth running 51 to get them. I listed them in my preferred order, but what do you think?

Edited by Bullroarer Took

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I gave Noble Hero to Sam, as I was using him as my primary quester. The others are all nice, but the attachment-heavy deck I was playing already beefed up the stats.

 

Not sure why it making 51 cards is relevant, though - they all have setup/permanent, so they're in play before you draw your hand, aren't they?

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