A Path Less Travelled: Mount Doom
I have decided to start a variant on the Saga Campaign. Personally, I felt the strict hero requirements for the majority of the official saga campaign to be more frustrating than fun. My main goal is to balance theme with overall fun for playing each of the quests in the saga all while using as many new cards and archetypes as possible.
This quest is rough! Tons of WP for questing AND fortitude tests needed from BOTH decks, BUT the ally hate forces you to need tons of readying from hereos. With limited to no allies and tons of WP for questing with readying for more WP for fortitude tests there's very limited options for the combat part which is still significant. So this was a perfect deck for Grimbeorn who can defend AND attack at the same time.
Sam and his Ladies is back from the Cirith Ungol deck with a few tweaks. The goal is to get fast hitch on Rosie first then Sam. Have Rosie get really high WP from songs and add that WP to Sam's attack to take out engaged enemies (Grimbeorn can defend from across the board or other deck uses feint to avoid needing to defend). This deck has really controlled questing that can be added if needed from Rosie or Galadriel, otherwise saved over for fortitude tests. Celebrian's stone and/or windfola can be used to help other deck flip contract quicker. Dunedain remedy is only means of healing.
Other deck is solid once the contract is flipped. Grimbeorn does almost all combat for both decks (see above for occasions when Sam/Rosie boost needed for combat).
Since you can't count on treachery cancellation I have 6 cards between the 2 decks that are just for condition removal of heavy and tired. That condition wrecks the main plan of both decks by either taking out Rosie who runs the one deck or Grimbeorn who is needed for all combat. So Elrond on one deck and power of orthanc on the other deck are there to remove heavy and tired ASAP.
Still a really hard quest. Location lock is real and I often purposefully failed fortitude tests on 3B since I could barely cover 5 progress per round anyways if I wanted to safely ensure I could handle the encounter deck and it's multiple fortitude tests. This means it often took the full 9-10 rounds to beat!
Starting 2 locations I picked power of Mordor which never exceeded 1-2 threat so I'd just leave in staging and then old water course was left until threat approached high 20s and could be explored to drop back down below 30 and keep the fortitude tests to 2 cards as long as possible while building up board state on both decks.
For final push it didn't matter who first player was, as I could get 12-15+ WP for that fortitude test to get the win.
Thanks to AleP this isn't over and there's still Scouring of the Shire left to do!