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The BGamerJoe 1399
The Heirs of Numenor box is still one of the hardest (and sometimes discouraging) deluxe boxes in the game. I've learned a good bit about deck building since last time I played this box in a focused way and I was much more successful with this build than the first time I opened the box and was thrown into confusion after losing and losing and losing with the decks I had been enjoying through the Mirkwood and Dwarrowdelf cycles.
These quests are still difficult a full 4 cycles later and they demand decks built in a whole different way than what came before or after. I still question the choice of building Battle, Siege and Willpower questing into a single quest, but these quests can still be a lot of fun once you get your head around the new game structure.
The first two quest stages have the Battle keyword so you'll need to quest with Boromir, your first allies and maybe even Legolas right away. The last stage has no keyword which means you'll be needing willpower (after not needing it for the first 2/3 of the game). The quest also has a lot of threat-raising effects that can't be ignored, especially if you're playing Boromir (who is still some of the best tech for this box). There are enemies that destroy your allies when you engage them so you need to either destroy those enemies in the staging area or plan your sequence of allies very carefully.
Between Legolas, Boromir and one of the 9 Tactics allies who can be played turn 1, you should be able to quest for 8-9 on turn 1. If you draw Hands Upon the Bow Legolas can destroy that initial thug and place a couple progress right away. If you end up questing with Legolas on turn 1, you can trigger Boromir's readying effect and pull that Harbor Thug out of the staging area before quest resolution to increase your progress potential.
Boromir gets a Shield and a Dagger so he can defend and/or attack and trigger Foe-hammer. He can also carry The Red Arrow if you draw it. Legolas gets a Dagger, a Rivendell Blade and Light of Valinor which is fantastic for Battle questing. With a Dagger attached, he can quest for 4 without exhausting, then place an additional 2 progress later when he kills something bring his quest contribution to 5-6 almost every turn! Spirit Beregond doesn't get much love but I found him very helpful here. He not only keeps your threat under control without devoting any deck space or resources to threat reduction but he also gives you access to A Test of Will and cheap Spirit questers which you will need on the last stage. He will get the Shield and Horn of Gondor to help you get the resources you'll need to play those allies.
The timing of playing your Spirit allies is one of the most difficult choices in this quest. There are shadow cards that can discard all your resources and cards which can spoil your plans if you keep the allies in your hand but there are also enemies which will spread damage across all your allies when they engage you so you don't really want them all out either! The best solution is to play them when you can and keep Hands Upon the Bow in hand to kill that enemy when he shows up.
I've had good success with this deck and I've been getting around a 90% win ratio vs this quest. Free to Choose is a great card to counter Collateral Damage if it proves troubling. Keep your Test of Will for Local Trouble unless you have a Power of Orthanc in hand. The Beorning Guarding in the sideboard can quest well and knock out a location if given the chance but I found him a little expensive compared to the 2 allies so he ended up sitting in my hand most of the time.
The encounter deck can still combo and get you if it wants to, but this deck gives you a solid chance at winning the quest! I enjoyed seeing Spirit Beregond do good work in a deck and it was fun to see Legolas provide so much value in a solo setting.
Thanks for looking!