16 - Shadow and Flame (Progression Series)
This is another fellowship continuing on in my goal to play through all of the quests in release order to learn how all (or most) of the cards interact with one another. The first fellowship for the quests in the core set can be found here, and it contains a slightly more detailed overview of what I'm going for with building these decks. As always, any feedback is appreciated so that I can continue to learn more!
Yikes. I definitely had a harder time building a fellowship that could do well against this quest than I did for any other quest in this cycle. I tried a couple of things with Glorfindel, Elladan/Elrohir, Dwarves, etc that just couldn't quite beat it with any consistency. This combo ended up working quite well, with success in 3/4 games that I played with it.
It is fairly standard Shadow and Flame strategy (at least from a lot of the other decks I saw): keep feeding low cost allies to the Balrog. It has a few other ways to deal with Durin's Bane as well, including a beefed up Bilbo with some Fast Hitches. Getting Bilbo up to 6 defense takes some work, but I found it was easier to turn him into a super defender than it was any other character (although Dain does a pretty decent job as well). Arwen, Dunedain Warnings, Burning Brand and Ring Mail on Bilbo can pretty much trivialize the quest by absorbing all of the Balrog's attacks.
Of course, getting set up to that point can be rather difficult, and things can go terribly sideways if the Balrog gets his sword. In that case, Bilbo just exists for the extra card draw and you can chump and usually get the job done. Boromir gets a Horn of Gondor, and hopefully enough allies die that between him and Elrond you can get enough on the board to whittle the Balrog down and knock it into the pit.
You can do a straight 1-1 substitution in this deck for Dain and Imrahil, both seemed to work reasonably well. Dain can survive one attack from the Balrog, or can be turned into a reasonable defender so you can stop chumping, while Imrahil quests better and can help Aragorn chip away at the Balrog so you can finish the quest off more quickly. I found Imrahil + Chumping + Bilbo to be the best way to go.