To Catch an Orc - "Progression"
Sir RageQuit 28
We had good luck with these decks, winning more than we lost.
Not the most fun quest. Many annoying "surge" treacheries, and also enemies that require you to reveal another encounter card. You have to quest successfully enough to put a progress token on the main quest each round, or else you lose a time token. If you lose two time tokens, the game is effectively over, as you have to reveal 4 extra encounter cards. There's no way to recover from that. And you have to continue to quest successfully in this manner until you finally uncover Mugash.
How you'll lose: If you lose, it will be because the staging area quickly spirals out of control with locations and enemies, and you'll have no possible way to quest enough to survive. It's also possible to lose if you have a bad enemy, and it gets the shadow where it makes another attack, which can kill a hero. It's less likely to lose by having your threat slowly creep up over 50.
The key to surviving is to quest as much as possible, and also use every trick in the book to limit the impact of what is revealed from the encounter deck, and also to place progress on locations in staging and active.
The other danger is there are many treacheries that do 1 damage to exhausted characters, plus surge, so if you have questing allies with 1 HP, they can easily get wiped out, and likely cost you the game. That's why Deck 1 has few allies, even though questing is so important.
These 2 decks worked well for us, but still not easy to win. Player 1 needs to get Light of Valinor on Glorfindel at all cost. Take a mulligan if you don't draw LoV on the first draw. In addition to LoV, it's also helpful if Player 2 can get Celebrian Stone on Glorfindel. Then Glorfindel quests for 5 each round without exhausting. Test of Will is extremely important. Same with Ranger Spikes, Asfaloth, Gildor's Counsel, and Ithilien Tracker. Player 1 should also use Grima's ability as much as possible. It's especially helpful if you have Test of Will, but no resources. It gives you the option to play it if you need it, for the cost of doomed 1.
Player 1 tries to control the encounter deck, while Player 2 takes most of the enemies. Player 2 needs to get Blade of Gondolin on Legolas, then use Legolas to kill an enemy whenever possible, this puts 3 progress on the active location. 3 progress is usually enough to finish any active location. The locations that can't be finished in 3 should be left in the staging area, and finished 2 progress at a time with Asfaloth. Getting both Blade of Gondolin and Rivendell Blade on Legolas makes a huge difference.