The Lost Realm & Angmar Awakened Cycle
For our complete run-through, see:
- The Hobbit Saga
- Core Set & Shadow of Mirkwood Cycle
- Khazad-Dûm & Dwarrowdelf Cycle
- Heirs of Númenor & Against the Shadow Cycle
- The Voice of Isengard & Ring-Maker Cycle
- The Lost Realm & Angmar Awakened Cycle
- The Grey Havens & Dream-chaser Cycle
- The Sands of Harad & Haradrim Cycle
- The Wilds of Rhovanion & Ered Mithrin Cycle
- A Shadow in the East & Vengeance of Mordor Cycle
- Thematic Campaign ~ From Bag-End to Rivendell
- Thematic Campaign ~ Fly you Fools!
- Thematic Campaign ~ A Red Sun Rises
- Thematic Campaign ~ To Mordor
The two decks used are probably those bearing the most synergy since the beginning of our adventure, and have a very precise role.
A not so classic hero line-up. As a full Dunedain Ranger watchers deck, I've included:
- Beravor: because she provides really easy card draw, as soon as you have her wear Leather Boots, be Wingfoot or ride a Steed of the North.
- Aragorn: for access to of course, and also because his ability is so powerful, unlimited and equivalent (if not better) than Ranged and staging area together. Period.
- Amarthiúl is an objective ally in that cycle, so wasn't too available for my hero selection, which is a shame condisering he's a good target for Raiment of War and Captain of Gondor. I had thus to opt for the less efficient Halbarad. Or considered less efficient.
Before I move on, a word on Halbarad since he's actually the center-piece of the deck:
- I think Halbarad's ability is really cool. Questing without exhausting is easily obtained by multiple readying/defense or simply playing your Forest Snare, especially when you flip the contract. Getting 2 enemies during the optional engagement step of the encounter step really helps the second deck that has virtually no way to defend itself.
- The problem is that Halbarad was never a great defender to beging with, and sadly, his trait aren't amazing as far as defensive attachment go. The Dúnedain Warning really helps of course, but they're not Restricted! That's why I included (MotK) Arwen Undómiel in the second deck, providing him with +1 and the Sentinel keyword. Once equipped with readying options (Unexpected Courage, Armored Destrier), he's more than decent. He's really good, and when he reaches that point, you're really appreciative of his ability to pull out two enemies.
In the head, strive for the "ideal" line-up, although there's no "ideal" line-up. Just improvise!
- Halbarad: 3x Dúnedain Mark + 2x Armored Destrier + Celebrían's Stone + Golden Belt + last Armored Destrier + Blood of Númenor + Unexpected Courage + Star Brooch. Quests for 9 , defend for a static 5 (6 with Arwen, more with Blood of Númenor)
- Beravor: one of Unexpected Courage, Wingfoot, Leather Boots or Steed of the North, 1-3 Legacy Blade + Blood of Númenor. You can quest for 5 , have a good chance of readying through the cards, draw, engage an enemy, ready her again, and use her boosted to attack or defend in a pinch with Blood of Númenor.
- Aragorn: Unexpected Courage + Rohan Warhorse + Golden Belt + Captain of Gondor and 4 weapons. Arguably, I could have put 3 War Axe but I wanted variety. So let's say you have 2 War Axe and 2 Warrior Sword, that's a sure 13 and -1 . If you engaged optionally 2 enemies with Halbarad, it gets you to 16 and the possibility to kill 3 enemies, 1 of them not engaged with you. It would even justify taking a sword out for another readying attachment. Thaurdir doesn't like this.
- Alternate (or put both since Beravor card draw is so powerful and reliable) between Straight Shot & Goblin-cleaver depending on the quest, and Secret Vigil & Favor of the Valar
- Hasty Stroke is meant to be used in Escape from Mount Gram, just for that single shadow effect that would put all attachments attached to defending character as captured cards under the attacking enemy. Terrible treachery for the Keep Watch deck.
You have the questing role, buffing role, controlling role.
- Despite the inclusion of Thurindir it's not exactly a side quest deck, as you only can Gather Information (or sideboard other side quests as listed below). It although focuses on getting some rewards for completing side quests, in the form of Thurindir's , treachery cancellation (Halfling Bounder) and draw/heal (The Long Defeat). The cycle is renowned for the density of encounter side quests, so all those cards will get some love.
- (MotK) Arwen Undómiel was chosen as a cheap way (5 threat only, questing for 2 ) to buff up Halbarad in the early game and give him Sentinel. My first iteration of Keep Watch has Raiment of War until I realised Halbarad is not a Warrior and with very few access to defense boosting. That also explains the inclusion of Blood of Númenor, even though Beravor was finally a more natural recipient in the late game due to her excess resources.
- Idraen for thematic reasons and access to an early Scout for the Map of Rhovanion and Warden of Arnor.
From there, it's just a matter for you to quest with everyone, every turn, and let your partner deal with enemies. There's a lot of location control included, so try to clear the staging area as much as you can.
Some generic advice:
- A lot of attachments go to the other deck: Star Brooch & Blood of Númenor on Halbarad and Beravor, Leather Boots & Wingfoot on Aragorn and Beravor, Unexpected Courage on Halbarad or Aragorn
- Only the Warden of Arnor equips Idraen, and the Dúnedain Pipe should help you cycle your deck
- The inclusion of Keys of Orthanc may be a bit surprising, but I found myself lacking resources on the first few playthroughs (note also that at the time Forest Snare was played by this deck and not Beravor's, so it's less evident right now, and I've also use the card to boost my resources). It's a bit unreliable, but it gave me satisfaction, netting me the few ressources I was missing. It's not like Doomed encounter card are missing in this game.
- Double Back and The Galadhrim's Greeting for high-rising threat quests like The Wastes of Eriador
- Will of the West of Dead Men's Dike
- Elf-stone instead of Keys of Orthanc if Doomed is scarce in the quest
- Into Chetwood: 1/2 ~ threated out on the first attempt
- The Weather Hills: 1/2 ~ killed by damage on the first attempt
- Deadmen's Dike: 1/1 ~ strangely no real issue here, this was one the decks got their final shape based on the first 4 games on the previous scenarios. With well-timed Will of the West of course
- The Wastes of Eriador: 1/13 ~ so close the first two times (usually dying from direct damage), but then we had a series of bad draws, it was insane. We finally beat it in a breeze. So frustrating.
- Escape from Mount Gram: 1/2 ~ I really did not expect losing this one, but we did, to a bad shadow effect removing all attachments from Halbarad and justifying side-boarding Hasty Stroke. From there it was ok.
- Across the Ettenmoors: 1/1
- The Treachery of Rhudaur: 1/1
- The Battle of Carn-Dum: 1/6 ~ Nothing specific to mention about the defeats. It remains one of the hardest scenarios in the game.
- The Dread Realm: 1/1 ~ it was nearly a blind run, I had forgotten about those Sorcery treacheries. I laughed at the one reducing willpower to 0 as I had an early draw of Star Brooch, and when that card becomes stellar... you realize Deachanar cannot take damage with those Sorcery in play. Luckily, we managed to get them out, little by little.
As a bonus to the cycle, we have of course played the POD set in Eriador, as well as Belegost, since we'll soon be on our way to the Grey Havens!
- Murder at the Prancing Pony: 1/2 and it wasn't Johnny Goblin Fingers!!
- The Siege of Annúminas: 1/8. Truthfully, we finally won because I made heavy changes to my deck. I might publish the deck list, since it's very different from the one above. It's nearly impossible to beat that with the initial lists, beware. I still keep the result here, it was acceptable!
- The Ruins of Belegost: 1/3. Same comment as above although the changes had to be less drastic.