Blood in the Isen 1 - Three Hunters

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Blood, Sweat & Tears in the Isen
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This deck was designed to tackle the ALeP quest Blood in the Isen. There is more information in the description for the Blood, Sweat & Tears in the Isen Fellowship, which covers general approaches to this quest and how this series of decks was conceived.

This deck was one of the first ideas I had for the quest. I have enjoyed Elladan & Elrohir decks both before and after the release of the Forth, The Three Hunters! contract. Their abilities for readying during combat are a natural fit for this quest. The contract itself provides additional benefits which made me think it was a good way to focus the deck's strategy.

Firstly, the contract provides free boosts on Side B. Any free benefits are even better than usual in this quest.

Secondly, the extra restricted attachments allow the Twins' readying abilities to provide additional value.

Thirdly, the contract comes with built in healing, which is useful both for defending and to combat the numerous direct damage effects found in the quest.

Lastly, the cost reduction on the contract allows resources to be saved to trigger Elladan and Elrohir's abilities. Note that in some ways, cost reduction effects can be counter productive for this quest since playing extra cards can result in punishment by the Fords objective in the form of threat raises. However, unless there is potential for an exceptionally explosive start this deck would usually prefer to build up slowly and conserve the resources for readying.

So, the reason this deck works in theory is that it can bring large amounts of questing and combat ability to the table for a relatively small investment in attachments. 10 resources worth of attachments are sufficient to flip the contract and deal sufficiently with combat, meaning that before the end of Stage 1 it can be setup to beat the rest of the quest. Of course this leaves some room for additional improvements during Stage 2.

The deck is intended to be played as one of a pair and with this deck's combat prowess Elven Mail and Rivendell Bow are particularly important to find so that combat can be managed for the whole table.

Ideally the key attachments will be in place early, allowing resources to be saved for readying. This is where Arwen Undómiel comes in, as she can use her ability to provide additional fuel for her brothers' abilities. The deck has very few cards which require resources. The intention is that Arwen's resource will be spent every turn on Elven-light to ensure the deck has the attachments it needs.

Another benefit to using Arwen is that she shares the Noldor and Noble Traits with the twins, meaning the vast majority of the attachments can be played on any hero and making it much easier to get a timely contract flip. This is especially useful with the 0 cost attachments to aggressively flip the contract without adding resource cost to the board.

Lastly, a note on side quests. Blood in the Isen is pretty side quest friendly, so they are another way to gain value without punishment from the objective. Keep Watch is great for this, making combat easier across the board, especially since the quest throws out a lot of enemies. Particularly useful for the Rohan Renegade which presents an obvious problem for this deck.

Gather Information is just great in general, either to grab Keep Watch if you don't have it, or finding the ideal attachment if you do. Prepare for Battle is the least important, but still valuable if there is no other side quest to go for. Like a lesser version of Gather Information, it allows both decks to get to their key cards quicker.

The deck was tested and defeated the quest using this configuration. The side board presented here shows cards that were tested or considered for testing. Of note is Gildor Inglorion, who could substitute for Arwen. He fills the same role in the deck as a quester and source of card draw, and it would be very simple to swap out the cards to facilitate this. Gildor is a more reliable source of card draw since he doesn't rely on Elven-light, but with it Arwen is much better since she can provide the Twins with resources as well.


Below are a couple of attachment loadouts and their capabilities.

Stage 1 (10 cost) - with this loadout, Forth, The Three Hunters! will be flipped, Elrohir can Sentinel defend for 5+ and Elladan can Ranged attack for an effective 8 , enough to take out any non-unique enemy. Additionally, Arwen and Elladan can quest for a combined 13 , with Elladan able to ready for combat thanks to Steed of the North.

Elladan

Elrohir

Arwen Undómiel

Stage 2 (14 cost) - this loadout will not be easy to achieve, but represents the peak combat capability of the deck - Elladan can now defeat any enemy except Ealdwulf by himself and Elrohir has additional readying options and some shadow protection as well. The cost of 14 gives a little wiggle room on the last quest stage too.

Elladan

Elrohir

Arwen Undómiel

As an attachment focused deck it is vulnerable to attachment hate from the encounter deck. This is not the worst quest for those effects, but they are there and while the deck is still building up they can be very problematic. Once the deck is established with a flipped contract this is less likely to be an issue and there is enough card draw to play replacements if needed.

The other likely issue is tempo. If the deck has a slow start and/or the quest presents too many enemies early, it's possible to fall behind and be overrun by enemies. There is intended to be a partner deck and hopefully it can pick up the slack in such a scenario until this deck is ready. My experience is that once this deck has been allowed to set up combat no longer presents a problem. The challenge is reaching that point.

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