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The BGamerJoe 298
The Dunland Trap is a difficult quest that can be very "unfun" since it basically destroys your entire board right before throwing you into the hardest part of the quest.
SPOILER ALERT When stage 1 is complete, each player is forced to discard all items, mounts and all but 1 ally ans then fetch and engage an enemy from the encounter deck, AND draw a card which usually triggers further misery.
This deck attempts to work around all that pain by relying on heroes buffed up with attachments that won't be discarded during the ambush.
Look for foundational cards like Unexpected Courage, Steward of Gondor and Master of the Forge in your opening hand. Tighten Our Belts is one of the best cards you can see turn 1. don't make long term plans for that opening hand because it will be discarded at the end of turn 2 (or sooner). I've been adding Scout Ahead to the staging area right away with Thurindir since it can help immensely with surviving the first few turns which are the most fragile.
Basic Game Play
The game will flounder if you don't clear the active location right away,and Éowyn and Thurindir's 7-8 will succeed about 80% of the time. If you draw the Boar Clan Warrior or Dunland Beserker right away, it will be a tough game.
I usually choose the Stalker enemy as my opening enemy which is an easy defense for Amarthiúl for the first couple turns. The Stalker usually sticks around for several turns while the deck ramps up and he can be destroyed.
The basic strategy is to stay at stage 1 as long as practical while building up Amarthiul as a monster and completing side quests. Almost every attachment goes to Amarthiul with the exception of Self Preservation which I put on Thurindir, usually to asorb all the damage produced by the In Need of Rest Condition attachment. Between the Weather Hills Watchmanamd Master of the Forge, your attachments should stack up on Marty pretty fast.
Ideally you should have completed at least 3 side quests and have Amarthiul boosted up to at 5+ defense with Steward and Gondorian Fire and 2 (or more) Unexpected Courages. At that point you can quest for about 11 with your other two heroes, defend twice and attack once with Amarthiul.
With a starting threat of 27, you have about 14 turns to hulk up before going into stage 2 at around 40 threat. You could wait longer if you want since there really isn't any extra threat addded by the encounter deck, but 14 turns should be enough!
The Ambush at stage 2 won't discard any attachments and the deck should survive just fine on Heroes alone at this point. I I like to keep Faramir as my ally if I can, but it shouldn't be too important. Arwen Undómiel is good too. If everything has gone well, you should be able to quest for plenty and defend and attack for big numbers with the Amarthiul/Blood of Númenor/Gondorian Fire monster. The last 3-5 turns of the game should be rather uneventful while you wait for the Time counters to tick down.
Side quests are extra helpful in this quest since there are a couple unpleasant Condition attachments that attach to the "active quest." It's very satisfying to see those leave play in a turn or two rather than sticking around for 10+ turns. Rally the West is not fantastic in solo but it does provide Thurindir with +2 , one from his card and one from the quest card, so I found it worthwhile. Contrary to normal practice, don't be afraid to chump-block since your allies leave anyway. Along the same lines, don't be shy with spending your A Test of Will because your hand gets discarded every other turn! Keep your Dúnedain Remedys cycling to keep heroes damage-free so the Low on Supplies treachery doesn't ruin your day.
I tried using Idraen as my hero, but the deck lacked the willpower to survive in the early game so I replaced her with Eowyn. I wanted to use a less common hero but Eowyn is perfect for this quest. Power of Orthanc was included in my early versions, but I decided I could manage the conditions without it. A Test of Will could be omitted if you want to avoid that overused card. Weather-stained Cloak is pretty lame, but would help manage damage put down by Low on Supplies.
I haven't used this deck in multiplayer, but it seems to be consistent in solo play.
Go beat the Dunland Trap! It feels good!