42 - Journey in the Dark (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!
A Journey in the Dark is probably my new favorite quest to build around, I had a lot of fun playing with different ideas here. I think I've reached a point where the Progression style game play doesn't really limit deck building options at all, there are so many different player cards to mess around with. I'm still going to keep plugging away, because this series is pretty much entirely for my own benefit of playing all of the quests and learning all of the player cards. I can already tell that my understanding of how to build a deck around a scenario has dramatically improved from back in the Mirkwood Cycle (not that I would say any of these fellowships are particularly ground breaking or top tier, just that I am having to go through many fewer iterations before I get some decks that work properly).
I've used Glorfindel in way too many of my decks, so I'm trying to make a conscious effort to not include his Spirit version unless absolutely necessary when moving forward. I did decide to include his lore version here, mostly for the thematic effect of being able to sacrifice either Glorfindel or Gandalf to take out the Balrog. The lore deck is all about trying to control the enemies and threat in the staging area, while still being able to help out with questing and attacking/defending as well. Asfaloth and Ranger Spikes can really help out with some of the threat in staging, and Thrór's Key from the other deck can help shut down Many-Pillared Halls and let you just keep the 1 threat in staging for the duration of the game.
Beregond is there to handle as many of the non-Balrog attacks as possible. Hopefully you can find a Gondorian Shield, Song of Wisdom and A Burning Brand fairly early, and then he should be able to absorb most of the punishment from the orcs and troll. There aren't many Tactics cards in this deck, having the song will also help get some more of the Lore toys on the table, allowing for Aragorn to spend all of his resources as Spirit once he gets Celebrían's Stone. Desperate Alliance is included to allow him to help reset the Gandalf deck's threat if the game starts to drag on (which it definitely can).
The Gandalf deck is actually more of a Legolas deck than anything. Once he gets Steward of Gondor and a couple of Gondorian Fire he can be our best means of taking down the Balrog. Getting a Rivendell Blade or two on him will also make him a very effective Orc Slayer, and allow us to place progress more quickly in Stage 2 while killing the 6 enemies needed to advance. In a perfect world, Legolas should be able to put enough damage on the Balrog in one attack that you can sacrifice either Gandalf or Glorfindel and their high threat should finish it off.
Much like the previous quest, I don't feel like Frodo Baggins is particularly useful, so we are using his Black Riders variant again. That ability, plus both decks running A Test of Will should provide more than enough cancellation for some of the nastier treacheries (or Cave Troll) should they appear at inopportune times.