[Thematic Nightmare] Opposing the Shadow

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Derived from
None. Self-made deck here.
Inspiration for
Return to Mirkwood Nightmare solo 0 0 0 1.0

Authraw 1822

This is a thematic deck built as part of my Thematic Nightmare series on my blog, Darkling Door.

The theme for this deck is "Aragorn and the White Council" and it was built to defeat Nightmare Return to Mirkwood.


There are two primary concerns I have when playing Return to Mirkwood:

  1. Threat
  2. Really strong Enemies

Aragorn manages concern #1. My relatively low starting threat of 26 gives me approximately 9-10 rounds to win (give or take, depending on which Treacheries and Events show up). That's not a lot of time to get through four quest stages, but it's certainly doable.

Dealing with #2 is much more difficult. Many of the Enemies in this quest require 7-12 damage to kill in one hit, and swing for anything from 4 to 8. For the most part, I'm relying on chump blocking for defense and it's pretty common for me to need 2 turns to dispatch any given Enemy. Gandalf and Saruman are a huge help in this department, and with Galadriel's assistance they can contribute to the questing phase as well.

The fact remains that if I reveal too many Enemies too quickly, I'm just not going to make it. This is where A Watchful Peace and Shadow of the Past come into play.

While the Enemies and Treacheries in this quest are brutal, most of the Locations lose their bite against the solo player. Several of them have abilities that prevent Gollum from switching control or they do bad things to the players not guarding Gollum—so in solo, they're effectively blank. Furthermore, many Locations only have 2 or 3 , and only require 2 progress to clear.

So the goal of this deck is to take advantage of any early-game luck I get and turn it into a recurring event. If the encounter deck happens to throw me a softball Location, I'll just keep putting it back on top of the deck as often as possible, buying me more and more time to build up my forces, place progress on the quest, or deal with any Enemies that have found their way into play. If I get a Location early enough, I only have to worry about scary encounter reveals for about half of the game.

As such, I typically mulligan for A Watchful Peace—although I will keep any halfway decent hand that happens to have Light of Valinor.

Most rounds, I exhaust Galadriel to prevent Gollum from throwing a Tantrum at the start of the quest phase. If the top Tantrum in the discard pile is benign (which rarely happens) I might consider using her to draw cards instead. Aragorn and Glorfindel usually go a-questing, although I might hold one or both back if I anticipate combat.

If my luck holds out in the early game, I should be able to provide myself with just enough time to get some questing Allies down and push my way through the quest stages.

For more analysis, check out my blog post on this deck.


Jan 10, 2017 WingfootRanger 1326

This brings back memories. I recall the Shadow of the Past and A Watchful Peace approach, I used that along with Denethor one time to avoid all enemies except that one Attercop. But that was pre-nightmare :)

Jan 10, 2017 The White Wizard 306

Do you think this would work in other Nightmares?

Jan 12, 2017 Authraw 1822

@WingfootRanger I love combining those cards with Denethor for the ultimate encounter control deck! Hopefully I'll get to pull off some Denethor shenanigans as part of the series once I reach the Gondor-themed quests.

@The White Wizard You know, I think it might. You might want to reduce the number of copies Shadow of the Past for quests where there aren't many softballs since that card is pretty expensive for what it does, but other than that I bet this would be a fine deck in other contexts.

Jan 12, 2017 The White Wizard 306

I'll have to give it a try! If you really want to test it, try NM Steward's Fear.