Shelob's Lair Saga Fellowship
First, after numerous losses on this quest - trying one-handed and two-handed, tweaking and re-tweaking decks - I'm convinced if you play this quest 100% by the rules it is near impossible to beat. This quest is broken. These were the 2 decks that gave me the best chance at a win with my card pool.
- Mulligan for Staff of Lebethron for Beregond, A Burning Brand for Denethor, and an Unexpected Courage. The shadow effects in this quest are ridiculous and will destroy you. I even just forfeited games until I got these because you have zero chance in stage 2 without them.
- For boons, I had Tireless Ranger on Denethor, and Valiant Warrior and Intimidation on Faramir - he did the majority of the damage. I had Glamdring in the deck too.
- Because of all of the forced random discarding, resources are not an issue in this quest. In my latest win, each hero had at least 5 resources by the end. You will be starved for cards.
- There are no threat-increase cards, so I mainly took the increase from A Heavy Burden in the beginning, then once I had enough WP, I just exhausted Frodo. If you get a Fast Hitch, throw it on him.
- In stage 1, I saved 3 cards per deck, so when I explored Secret Way I could just discard the Nazgul. There's just no way I can deal with one of those + Shelob + the Orcs that pop up.
- Use Beregond and Denethor to block Shelob's attack during stage 2, to prevent those game-ending shadow effects. Defender of Rammas and Sam Gamgee are the backup defenders for all of the immediate attacks.
- Use Éowyn and her Rohan allies as your main questing WP.
- At least one Gondorian Shield has to show up before stage 3, or you'll have no chance. Shelob will decimate your armies with 6 attack, possibly even 8 with Rage and Hunger.
- Once you hit stage 3, don't worry about progress until after you explore Cirith Ungol and Shelob is out of Staging.
- Thror's Map is there to help with locations once Gollum is in the victory display.
- Use direct damage to get rid of the resources on Shelob - Galadhon Archer, Gondorian Spearman, Rúmil or Gandalf (Ranger Bow would work great too, but unfortunately I don't have it). Once they are gone, use Eowyn's ability to help defeat Shelob.
If you get all of the key cards, and manage to survive to stage 3, you might, just might be able to defeat this quest. ;) I tried to think of how to make this quest less ridiculous. Choosing the Phial of Galadriel boon specifically for this quest certainly would help, as well as be thematic.