The Battle of Five Armies - Progression
To start with, much the same as with the first Hobbit Saga Expansion, we are playing Dwarves. We knew we would want to try out a lot of new Dwarves with each Hobbit box so we purposefully try to avoid them other than during the Hobbit boxes. Therefore, not only do we use Dwarves, we go all in on Dwarves (even when mixing other heroes would be objectively stronger than pure Dwarves). Further, we like to try out new heroes so we stuck Oin and Bombur in these decks and left out the heroes Bifur, Dwalin and Gloin in favor of trying out their ally counterparts. Disclaimer, we intend to take this same band of Dwarves to each of the 3 scenarios and tailor the cards of the deck to each scenario. We did not read the subsequent 2 scenarios when selecting the group so hopefully we didn't choose too poorly. We are not bringing the treasures from the first Hobbit box because we wanted to try new Dwarves. We did bring the Bilbo's Magic Ring treasure and all 5 Erebor treasures that we successfully retrieved from The Lonely Mountain !
To me, although it can be tough, this scenario is fairly straight forward. Lots of Orcs are going to swarm you, you need a lot of attackers/defenders and you need well rounded characters to Battle, Siege and Traditional Quest.
- Dwarves are great at traditional and battle questing, siege is harder. Try to choose the siege card when you have played Gandalf (spending the full 5 of course, if you sneak attack he cannot commit to the quest). We did this three time and the first two times we were forced to switch quest cards, ugh. At least the last time we powered through in one go. - Thorin is great with Unexpected Courage to fire at and kill multiple enemies. Dain as well so he can Siege quest and the ready again to keep up the buff. - We prioritize getting progress on 3B to stop extra enemies, there are plenty already. Discarding resources is not a huge deal early, especially if you can spend all your resources. Also siege questing is hardest for these decks so build your board a bit first. Discarding a random card can hurt but hopefully you place progress on 2B on the second round and avoid too many discards. - Prioritize using Bilbo's ability to get out Bilbo's Magic Ring. Then use to ring to fund the finding of other treasures. I go for the Golden Cup next to get a head start on card draw. Then the others are situational. Obviously the weapons help if you got swarmed with enemies and need more power to take them out with less characters and also for battle questing. Often Bilbo's Mithril Shirt helps with Siege questing, or defending in a pinch but the emergency button of the ring may be better for that. Lastly the Arkenstone is probably my least valuable but seeing as we stole it I wanted to put it in the deck. Therefore I also included Haldir and Gildor but never used the stone to fund them.