This is the first deck designed for my very own progression series. I want to take on each scenario in the best possible way, using only the cards that were available as they were released. As the name suggests, this deck is tasked with taking on the introductory scenario: Passage through Mirkwood.
Whilst it may not be an immensely difficult scenario, some of the encounter cards can make things very challenging, (i.e. Ungoliant's Spawn) particularly if you are unlucky enough to draw them early on. Therefore, the first hero to enlist is everyone's favourite scrying steward: Denethor. His ability will enable us to put said nasties to the bottom of the encounter deck to be faced later once we have enlisted enough of an army to take them on. Also, he gives us access to the sphere of influence, which will enable us to enlist a number of characters that help very specifically in this scenario, such as Miner of the Iron Hills and Erebor Hammersmith. Two of the treachery cards in this scenario are particularly nasty condition attachments and five of the 13 shadow effects discard attachments, therefore it will be very handy to have access to these dwarves. Denethor is also the best defender in the core set with 3 , therefore, if we can find a way to keep him ready for combat, then he will be even more of an asset.
One thing to note about the encounter deck in this scenario is that it is fairly even on enemies and locations. One of the core concepts in this deck therefore is to try and provide a good balance of questing and combat ability. As already mentioned, Denethor is the natural choice as defender and I have chosen Éowyn to take on the brunt of the questing duties with her immense 4 and Aragorn will be our main attacker with his 3 . He can also help out with defending with a very respectable 2 . With his self-righting mechanism (any robot wars fans in the house?) we can also quest with him and still have him ready to help remove some heads. Get Celebrían's Stone on him and he's questing for 4 and he can also help to pay for some of the more expensive player cards such as Northern Tracker or The Galadhrim's Greeting. As such, we should look at getting Steward of Gondor on to Aragorn as soon as possible, or else it may be some time before we can afford to bring in the likes of Faramir who will help us push through the quest cards. If we do end up facing Ungoliant's Spawn at some point, Beorn should be brought into play via Stand and Fight in order to help tackle the beast after discarding him using Eowyn's action or Protector of Lórien.
Other strategies to implement are the trusty Gandalf/Sneak Attack combo to help take down any big nasties and provide additional when needed. We have excellent chump blockers in Snowbourn Scout, Guard of the Citadel & Wandering Took and can be Valiantly Sacrificed in order to provide some card draw (in addition to Gléowine). The Henamarth Riversong's ability can be used first to potentially free up Denethor for defending, and Unexpected Courage should be played on Denethor for the same reason. As he won't ever be questing, Dark Knowledge should be played on him too due to the penalty. The first Protector of Lorien should be played on Eowyn in order to help further boost her questing ability but the second can be played on Denethor to help him defend against Ungoliant's Spawn if needs be. For Gondor! will also boost his defence as he is from Gondor (the same goes for Aragorn when he has Steward of Gondor on him. Hasty Stroke should be reserved in case the Hummerhorns are revealed as a shadow card and A Test of Will should be saved for Eyes of the Forest.