Journey in the Dark - Questing Deck - Specialist Deck Series

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Journey in the Dark - Specialist Deck Series
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This deck is one of two that make up the Fellowship for Journey in the Dark for my Specialist Deck Series. This deck is the primary questing deck for the Fellowship, and I would expect it to function reasonably well as a solo deck also.

The main goal of this deck is to provide the majority of questing power for the Fellowship, with some support in the form of Treachery cancellation and threat reduction.

Crucially, the deck contains Dáin Ironfoot, who is tough enough to defend against the Balrog and live. Along with the Eagles in the partner deck, this means that chump blocking should be kept to a minimum. With some help, Dain can reach 8, meaning that he would take no damage defending unless due to a Shadow Effect.

Prince Imrahil is also included as a flexible hero who has some innate synergy with the Eagles in the Partner deck leaving play. He will probably quest every turn and then can attack or defend as needed.

Finally, Glorfindel rounds out the heroes, giving us both a nice low starting threat of 27 and the high that we will need at the start of this quest. Being able to use Elrond's Council as well is a nice bonus.

The choice of heroes in the Partner deck is a little experimental, so the goal with this deck is to provide a solid foundation, particularly through questing, which will hopefully reduce our exposure to both Shadow and Flame as much as possible.

The deck features the following:

Arwen Undómiel - Arwen really does so much that this deck wants. The boost and sentinel are incredibly useful for dealing with the multitude of enemies. In particular, it can be used with Dain or Eagles of the Misty Mountains in the Partner deck to improve their survivability against the Balrog.

Bofur - An efficient and effective questing ally. In the early turns, it may be worth paying for his ability just to ensure that enough progress is placed on the quest. On Stage 2 it's not likely to be progress tokens that hinders advancing, and so it might be possible to get him down cheap without hurting progress.

Elfhelm - This is a quest which puts a reasonable amount of pressure on our threat and even a little reduction can be a big help. At the same time, Elfhelm is reasonably handy in the combat phase which we also need.

Erebor Toymaker - He's a little expensive if we can't make use of his ability, but we have a lot of 2 cost attachments we'll be looking to get into play, which turns him into a bargain. With the help of Frodo Baggins, we can even play him on turn one, which can lead to some very explosive starts.

Errand-rider - This deck leans heavily towards in terms of card costs, so there will inevitably be turns where resources are out of balance. We also have Steward of Gondor, so Errand-rider allows some of those extra resources to be shared with the Partner deck, which can be pretty resource hungry with all of its Eagle allies.

Escort from Edoras - This isn't a card I often play, but this quest is very suited to the burst questing it provides. There are a number of quest milestones that we really want to hit in order to minimise our exposure to the Balrog and the Escort will be very handy if we have him in play at the right time.

Ethir Swordsman - For it's cost, Ethir Swordsman is the most efficient questing ally in , and possibly only rivalled by our next card. If we ever have two or more in play at the same time it really feels like the quest phase is under control.

Faramir - This is absolutely the guy we want in order to power up our questing. It's easy to be blindsided in this quest by locations that bog us down, but with Faramir in play we should have no issues.

Gandalf - We're playing Sneak Attack and we'll always be happy to see him. Again, threat is a very real issue. We also won't mind if he steps in from of the Balrog (thematic!)

Merry - Another efficient quester. It should be very easy to get him to quest for at least 4 on his first turn, which is excellent value.

Rhovanion Outrider - An excellent card for avoiding location lock. It even combos with Meneldor in the Partner deck to speed up clearing out locations. Mines of Moria and Many-pillared Hall are especially dangerous for slowing our progress, so any way to get rid of them quicker is much appreciated.

Sam Gamgee - Like all the quests with a Frodo, Sam is just too much value to pass up. We might even be able to trigger his ability by choice if Glorfindel doesn't have Light of Valinor yet, although it's unlikely we'd choose to do it.

Súlien - This is another really efficient quester. If we are getting location locked she can go a long way to mitigating the . Otherwise she still offers great stats.

Treebeard - Just brilliant value in an ally. We'll have lots of combat to do and he'll help to take out the toughest enemies. Built-in readying is just a bonus.

Armor of Erebor - This is really intended for Dain, although it does go on some allies too. With Sentinel, Dain gains great flexibility in his defenses. The boost is quite nice too. In combination with Arwen, Dain can reach 8, enough that he can defend the Balrog without taking damage.

Ever My Heart Rises - This is definitely one of my pet cards. Sadly it's so niche that there aren't a lot of opportunities to use it. Fortunately, this quest is one of those times. Every location is Underground, so this should be triggering on most turns. Dain isn't the best target since we wouldn't usually quest with him, but if we have no other targets it's still worth it for the threat reduction. However, with the Balrog in play, Ever My Heart Rises allows Dain to ready in between his two attacks making this a very handy attachment. Don't forget though that travelling is necessary to get the ready.

King Under the Mountain - This is one of the best card draw effects outside of and I would seriously consider it whenever playing a Dwarf hero.

Light of Valinor - We're playing Glorfindel so this is practically an auto-include. We know there'll be a fair amount of combat so we should get full value no problem.

Steward of Gondor - We've got some fairly costly cards to play and this will help us to do it. The Partner deck does as well, so we can use the Errand-riders to share the wealth too.

Unexpected Courage - Brilliant on Dain so we never have to worry about defenses again, especially when he has some form of boost. The second copy could also go on Dain, although any of the other heroes could make use of it too.

A Test of Will - There are a couple of Treacheries that are very helpful to cancel. Cancelling Fool of a Took! will buy us an extra turn without the Balrog, or save an attack if it's already in play. They are Coming! can also be a nasty card, although if on Stage 2 it can be advantageous to progress quicker.

Elrond's Counsel - Handy for threat reduction and we will also be happy for the boost. An easy choice to include since we start with Glrofindel.

Sneak Attack - As always, most likely to be used with Gandalf. I even used it in testing for threat reduction during the encounter phase, so it's very easy to get value.

The Galadhrim's Greeting - We are leaning heavily into threat reduction as I found it a real issue. This one can be used for the benefit of the Partner deck, which we should do as its threat control options are much worse.