Heirs of Numenor & Against the Shadow Cycle
It is now time to enter the true narrative of this game which will take us down the road of 7 cycles, up to the Vengeance of Mordor.
For our complete run-through, see:
- The Hobbit Saga Saga
- Core Set & Shadow of Mirkwood Cycle
- Khazad-Dûm & Dwarrowdelf Cycle
- Heirs of Nùmenor & Against the Shadow Cycle
- The Voice of Isengard & Ring-Maker Cycle
Since the cycle was all about punishing multi-sphere decks, we will be using:
- A lone Damrod with the Grey Wanderer contract. A full description of the deck can be found on the deck page itself, as I'm also using it in solitaire play, and it required his own article! Note that you have to adapt this solitaire version, at least by removing ally Faramir Use any card listed in the sideboard, or an extra Ambush and it should do.
- A mono- Gondor deck definitely aiming at Valour shenanigans taking advantage of the recent releases of Pillars of the Kings and Soldier of Gondor. Note that you won't be able to use hero Faramir in The Blood of Gondor. Just swap it with Prince Imrahil, same threat, different stats, still a useful ability (granted, less useful than Faramir in that build).
Piloting "Fair Ithilien"
See the deck description
Piloting "Defenders of Ecthelion".
- Mulligan for Pillars of the Kings, Steward of Gondor, Visionary Leadership in quest where it's needed, and some allies, especially of course the Soldier of Gondor and Angbor the Fearless.
- If you have Pillars of the Kings in your opening hand, play it straight away, get 4 cards and get to Valour. You only can benefit from Pillars of the Kings on your first turn, since your starting threat is already 30.
- Thus, if you don't, you may want to build your boardstate before playing Pillars of the Kings somewhere around the 38/39 threat, at this point it still cost 0 and it replaces itself for 1 or 2 threat.
From there it's your classical Gondor swarm deck. Manage intelligently your resources, spreading the love with Denethor who usually gets Steward of Gondor, keeping always a resource on some heroes like Boromir and its Visionary Leadership & Heir of Mardil, or managing the spreading to get the full effect of Ingold or pay for a Knight of the White Tower.
If you can Valour play Doom Hangs Still, just do it. Skipping a whole Quest Phase made the difference in a lot of quests. You really don't mind taking the two threats, and your buddy neither since they start so low in threat.
- The Stone of Erech: 1/4 (we played it here as a prolog to the cycle) We honestly did well each time we played it, always losing to Midnight coming a bit too quickly, or bad shadows (and they aren't so many of them) - Considered sideboard: none.
- Peril in Pelargir: 1/2: a slight adjustement in strategy (meaning the Defenders of Ecthelion not being too fast reaching the 40 threshold and it was all good). Two Ranger Bow are very good at getting rid of those Zealous Traitors - Considered sideboard: none.
- Into Ithilien: 1/3: Nothing fancy here, it was just a matter of reaching quest 2B with Celador alive, survive to Archery and find a well timed Arrows from the Trees to get to 4B with basically just a damaged Mumak standing, which we handled well - Considered sideboard: Arrows from the Trees and Song of Battle for quest 2B.
- The Siege of Cair Andros: 1/4: there again, luck was required. We got some. We beat it. - Considered sideboard: a Gondorian Shield in lieu of Strider as the starting attachment to get more siege questing power at the beginning. Keep Strider in your deck though (just add the shield).
- The Steward's Fear: 1/2: Same as Peril in Pelargir, actually. First time, I got in valour mode too fast. I changed strategy and it was alright. - Considered sideboard: none.
- The Drúadan Forest: 1/2: Just what this scenario can be. On the first try we piles Archery 127 (LOL). On the second try, it was much more manageable somehow, so we made it fairly easily. - Considered sideboard: Waters of Nimrodel, although we finally did not use the card...
- Encounter at Amon-dîn: 1/1: Nothing noticeable, being one of the easiest scenarios in the game - Considered sideboard: none.
- The Massing at Osgiliath (we played it immediately before Assault on Osgiliath to show the loss of the city): 1/2 I was amazed at how low the difficulty seems with a modern card pool - Considered sideboard: none.
- Assault on Osgiliath: 1/4 this was a tough nut to crack, since we were lacking combat, but we finally had some luck with a very well timed Power of Mordor, that removed all the locations we had in play to replace them with those easily-fetchable "if you destroy an enemy" Ruined Square Osgiliath location. One Combat Phase later, we won. - Considered sideboard: none.
- The Blood of Gondor 1/1 but was played alongside a Gondor deck to help with this heavy-combat quests (very conveniently my friend Valiko was piloting during one of our gaming afternoon). We switched Mablung for a copy of Entangling Nets - Considered sideboard: Prince Imrahil instead of Faramir
- The Morgul Vale 1/3 we finally beat it with just the deck, keeping your threat low while slowly killing Murzag and building your boardstate is simple too amazing. Also probably easier in solo. Granted, we lost the first two times because of a Power of Mordor that made me shuffle Murzag in the encounter deck... which shouldn't have happened since he can only leave play by being killed (I knew that from the quest card of course, but didn't realize it applied to Power of Mordor, and encounter effect in general. Dumb of me). Without the 10 turns we spend looking for Murzag in the encounter deck, we would have won, I'm pretty sure about it.