The Tower of Cirith Ungol - Specialist Deck Series

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The Specialist Deck Series has arrived at the final expansion of the Lord of the Rings Saga with The Mountain of Fire. This fellowship has been designed to take on the first quest in the box, The Tower of Cirith Ungol.

For an explanation of the series and to see the deck for the first quest, A Shadow of the Past, look here:

For the 2-deck fellowship used to beat the previous quest, The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, look here:

The encounters for this expansion are incredibly tough, although this quest is a bit easier than the next two. In particular, there is a risk of getting overrun by a large number of tough enemies with 4+ . The unique feature of this quest is that it simulates the orc fighting each other. If we are lucky, several enemies will be destroyed/discarded by the encounter deck without us having to deal with them.

My first idea was to take advantage of this using scrying and encounter deck manipulation. My original deck designs were quite ineffective, and what ended up working was a mono trap deck with just a few of these encounter deck shenanigans.

The other way we can take advantage of the encounter deck is to use direct damage, in combination with the damage inflicted by the encounter deck itself, to minimise the need to engage enemies. This idea ended up morphing into a staging area attack deck, again with a couple of direct damage effects left over.

Damrod leads the trap deck to great effect, supported by Argalad, who can contribute direct damage, as well as Folco Boffin to keep our starting threat low and give us an out if it rises too high.

Our other deck contains DĂșnhere for attacking and Fastred for defending if necessary and to help keep our threat low. They are joined by Mablung, who I like as a good all rounder with a handy resource generating ability.

See the individual deck descriptions for more detailed explanations of the decks and heroes.

We don't want to spend too long on the first quest stage, as that can result in a very sudden collapse in Stage 2 thanks to enemy swarm and/or location lock. Once we have settled into Stage 2 there is a good chance of us beating the quest, although an unlucky draw is still possible.

Since we are not in campaign mode there are a couple of differences. The first is a big one - no Wraith on Wings! So much easier to manage without these extra enemies in play. Secondly and more minor, we don't need to worry about defeating Shagrat to save our Boons. This isn't really a big deal for these decks anyway as he is vulnerable to DĂșnhere attacking him in the staging area.

The choice of hero isn't that important, since we won't be able to use him for most of the quest anyway. I'd lean towards the Frodo Baggins from this expansion, although any will work out fine. We also need to choose a hero to be our temporary Ring-bearer. I settled on Mablung, but Argalad and Damrod would be fine also (don't choose Folco if you want to use his ability!). The fellowship managed 2 out of 3 wins against the quest. On the first attempt everything went wrong on stage 2 where multiple Echoing Passages caused location lock. These really are not the strongest decks, particularly if things go wrong, so a little bit of luck is required I think.