The Ring Goes South: Playthrough

The Decks I have used for the quest, and the notes for them, can be found here and here. The narrative for the quest can be found here.

Encounter Deck Set-up:
Set Lust for the Ring, Redhorn Pass, Doors of Durin and Watcher in the Watcher aside out of play.
Add Gandalf’s Delay to the staging area
Shuffle Gildor Inglorion, Panicked and Weight Of The Ring into the encounter deck

Player Deck Set-up:
Attach The One Ring and Old Bogey-stories to Frodo Baggins.
Attach Tireless Ranger to Sam Gamgee.
Attach Valiant Warrior to Merry.
Deck One draws opening hand, adds Ho! Tom Bombadil! and Sting to hand.
Deck Two draws opening hand, adds Mithril Shirt to hand.
Shuffle Glamdring and Anduril into Deck One’s deck.

I think we’ll take Sting and Mithril Shirt, they’re cheaper than Andruil and my attackers are already buffed up enough by their natural stats so Glamdring can wait too. On the other hand, while if Frodo dies we’ll lose if we buff up his stats that’ll be even more unlikely, especially with Sting acting as a gambling man’s Spear of the Citadel (mind you, remember the 8%…). Mithril is a non-restricted Ring Mail which, with Sting equipped, means we still have room for another Ring Mail, potentially boosting Frodo up to 5 defense before any Friend of Friends or Hobbit Cloaks are added.

Deck One
Threat: 25
Sam Gamgee
Aragorn (Leadership)
Glorfindel (Spirit)

Starting Hand:
Ring of Barahir
Ranger Provisions
West Road Traveller
Bill the Pony
Elrohir

While none of these are necessarily bad cards, none of these are the cards we need to make this deck work.

Mulligan:
Ho! Tom Bombadil!
Sting
Ranger Provisions
Elrohir
Dunedain Warning
Celebrian’s Stone
Desperate Defense

Now this is more like it. No Light of Valinor, but we’ll be alright for the first round or two.

Deck Two
Threat: 28
Merry (Tactics)
Gimli (Tactics)
Faramir (Lore)

Starting Hand:
Mithril Shirt
Foe-hammer
Ranger Spikes
Secret Vigil
Gather Information
Fellowship of the Ring

Ideally we would have seen a weapon or two, but with Gather Information we can fetch Bofur who will be more than able to speed up their entry.

Turn No.1
Stage: 1B (-/-)
Active Location:
Staging Area:

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Ho! Tom Bombadil!, Sting, Ranger Provisions, Elrohir, Dunedain Warning, Celebrian’s Stone, Desperate Defense, Light of Valinor
Sam (1), Aragorn (1), Glorfindel (1), Frodo (1)

Yes! I could not have asked for a better draw, now we can get this deck on its feet and running!

Deck Two Hand:
Mithril Shirt, Foe-hammer, Ranger Spikes, Secret Vigil, Gather Information, Fellowship of the Ring, Fast Hitch
Merry (1), Gimli (1), Faramir (1)

Again, an excellent draw. Now Merry can make the most of his stats, probably to quest then attack.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Celebrian’s Stone-Aragorn
Light of Valinor-Glorfindel

We’ll leave it at that. We’re out of cash, but with these two attached from the beginning more than makes up for it.

Deck Two:
Mithril Shirt-Frodo
Fast Hitch-Frodo

On second thought, if Frodo is to be one of our primary defenders it would be best if we got the most utility out of him.

Trigger Stage 1B forced effect.
Revealed cards-
Deck One: Halbarad, Song of Kings
Deck Two: Dwarrowdelf Axe, Elladan

Now this is a trickier one. We’ll discard Song of Kings and shuffle the Axe back in. So do we either put into play Elladan or Halbarad. We have two leadership heroes so we can pay for Halbarad quicker, but we’ll need Aragorn’s resource to keep him pulling double-duty so it’s essentially even-stevens. Elladan will have more use once Elrohir comes in, but again we only have the one hero to help pay for that ally too, because again Aragorn needs his resources. I think we’ll put Elladan into play for free, because it’s more expensive to get the twins up and running so this’ll give us a head-start. As for the burden, we’ll take to chance of seeing Lust for the Ring and avoid the threat increase.

Put Elladan into play.
Put Halbarad into Deck One’s hand.
Shuffle Dwarrowdelf Axe back into Deck Two’s deck.
Discard Song of Kings.
Shuffle Lust for the Ring into the encounter deck.

Trigger Stage 2A. Make Redhorn Pass the active location. Reveal cards from the encounter deck until 4 threat is in the staging area.

1: Redhorn Foothills (0/5, 4 threat, 0 damage)

…well I guess that’s that. A pretty light escape but I shall not complain. And now, it’s time to get off the mountain (or it will be the death of the hobbits!)

Quest Phase
Glorfindel-3
Aragorn-4
Sam-3
Frodo-2
Merry-2
Faramir-2
Gimli-2
Elladan-2

Total: 20

This is fantastic! I never had this much willpower on the first turn!

1: Bitter Cold (We’re not discarding Elladan, we’ll take the threat increase). Raise Deck Two’s threat by 1.
2: Hills of Hollin (0/4, 2 threat, 0 damage) (Not bad at all, but locations are beginning to pile up.)

Total threat: 6

Win by 14, explore Redhorn Pass, add it to the victory display. Complete Stage 2B. Trigger Stage 3A, search the encounter deck for Great Warg Chief and Howling Warg. Put them into the staging area.

We’ll avoid engaging anyone this turn, but next turn we’ll have to get things moving or else we run the risk of getting threat-locked.

Travel Phase
Travel to Redhorn Foothills

I haven’t really weighed up the locations’ abilities, I’m afraid I just want to clear threat out of the staging area.

Encounter Phase
We’ll leave it for now, we need to get the combat side a bit more established first.

Combat Phase

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 26
Deck Two: 30

Turn No.2
Stage: 3B (0/12)
Active Location: Redhorn Foothills (0/5, 0 damage)
Staging Area:
Hills of Hollin (0/4, 2 threat, 0 damage)
Great Warg Chief (4 threat)
Howling Warg (2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Foe-hammer, Ranger Spikes, Secret Vigil, Gather Information, Fellowship of the Ring, Feint
Merry (2), Gimli (1), Faramir (1), Frodo (2)

This is great, it’ll allow me to get combat under control.

Deck One Hand:
Ho! Tom Bombadil!, Sting, Ranger Provisions, Elrohir, Dunedain Warning, Desperate Defense, Halbarad, Unexpected Courage
Sam (1), Aragorn (1), Glorfindel (1)

I’ll attach this to Aragorn and save us a resource each turn.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Fellowship of the Ring-Frodo
Secret Vigil-Howling Warg
Gather Information

This should boost our questing even further, with the potential to get some threat reduction in the future

Deck One:
Unexpected Courage-Aragorn
Dunedain Warning-Aragorn

The Unexpected Courage should pay for itself in two turns, and with sentinel Aragorn will be under fire more often so he could use the boost.

Quest Phase
The active quest is Gather Information. (Hopefully we can clear this in one turn and find key pieces of our decks)

Glorfindel-4
Aragorn-5
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Merry-3
Gimli-3
Elrohir-2

Total willpower: 24

1: Tree-crowned Hill (0/6, 3 threat, 1 damage) (Not terrible, but we’ll need to keep on top of these locations)
2: Hound of Sauron (1 threat) (Not terrible, but…) Trigger Surge
2.1: Hills of Hollin (0/4, 2 threat, 1 damage) (Again, these locations need to be dealt with)

Total threat: 13

Win by 11, explore Redhorn Foothills, complete Gather Information, add it to the victory display.

Trigger Gather Information.
Deck One: Andruil (More willpower! Also this has an absolutely brilliant ability that I intend to make full use out of.)
Deck Two: Song of Wisdom (This deck has less key cards, but resource smoothing is an issue)

Travel Phase
Travel to Tree-crowned Hill (0/6, 1 damage)

Again, this has the single highest threat so we’ll try and take this one down next

Encounter Phase
We need to start clearing enemies so we’ll start with the biggest.

Deck One optionally engages Great Warg Chief. Place 1 damage on Tree-crowned Hill. Trigger Sam. Trigger Great Warg Chief: Bitter Cold, Eregion, Regiments of Crows, Storm of Howls, Hound of Sauron. Puts Hound of Sauron into play engages with Deck One. Trigger Sam.
Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn

This shouldn’t be too much of a bother, but we’ll see what the Shadows do to us.

Combat Phase
[Deck One]
Shadow Card dealt to Great Warg Chief
Aragorn defends (3)
Weight of the Ring revealed as Shadow (Yes!)
Great Warg Chief attacks (5), deals 2 damage to Aragorn
(We can’t kill it this turn so we’ll leave it so we can kill off the other warg)

Shadow Card dealt to Hound of Sauron
Sam defends (4)
Storm of Howls revealed as Shadow
Hound of Sauron attacks (4), deals no damage
Faramir attacks (4), destroys Hound of Sauron

While I’m sorry I couldn’t kill both of the wargs, one down isn’t too bad.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Turn Two: 31
Turn One: 27

That was quite a good turn, though I am concerned about the locations building up in the staging area. We need to get a Northern Tracker or two out, or even an Asfaloth, to keep them under control.

Turn No.3
Stage: 3B (0/12)
Active Location: Tree-crowned Hill (0/6, 2 damage)
Staging Area:
Hills of Hollin (0/4, 2 threat, 0 damage)
Hills of Hollin (0/4, 2 threat, 1 damage)
Howling Warg (1 threat)
Hound of Sauron (1 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Ho! Tom Bombadil!, Sting, Ranger Provisions, Elrohir, Desperate Defense, Halbarad, Andruil, Steward of Gondor
Sam (1), Aragorn (1), Glorfindel (1), Frodo (1)

I swear this deck is shuffled. I shall not complain but be thankful and move forward.

Deck Two Hand:
Foe-hammer, Ranger Spikes, Feint, Dagger of the Westernesse
Merry (2), Gimli (2), Faramir (2)

I think I may actually put this one on Faramir. Just now, he is our best attacker with ranged and could always do with an extra point or two.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Steward of Gondor-Aragorn
Exhaust Steward of Gondor to give Aragorn 2 resources
Anduril-Aragorn
Ranger Provisions-Tree-crowned Hill

Now he is beginning to turn into a worthy heir to the throne of Gondor indeed!

Deck Two:
Ranger Spikes
Dagger-Faramir

Now the next enemy entering the staging area will most likely be neutered and give Faramir a permanent boost to his attack.

Quest Phase
Glorfindel-4
Aragorn-6
Sam-4
Frodo-3
Merry-3
Elladan-2

Total willpower: 22

Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Frodo

Let’s see how we do with this turn then.

1: Eregion (0/4, 3 threat, 1 damage) (Yet another location!)
2: Howling Warg (0 threat), Ranger Spikes attached. (This attachment can essentially neuter the encounter deck of its enemy cards, it’s brilliant!)

Total threat: 7

Remember the effect of Tree-crowned Hill, it’s saving our bacon at the moment.

Win by 15, explore Tree-crowned Hill. Trigger Tree-crowned Hill, exhaust Frodo and Gimli. Trigger Ranger Provisions. Place 9 progress on Stage 3B

Well we’re most of the way there, but now we need to get ready to face the Watcher in the Water.

Travel Phase
Travel to Hills of Hollin (0/4, 0 damage)

Of the two, I’d prefer to go for the one with less damage on it so I suffer less.

Encounter Phase
Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn

We don’t need to engage any of the enemies from the staging area, and I like keeping Faramir buffed up.

Combat Phase
Shadow Card dealt to Great Warg Chief
Aragorn defends (4)
Hills of Hollin revealed as Shadow
Great Warg Chief attacks (5), deals 1 damage
Glorfindel attacks (3), Faramir attacks (7), destroys Great Warg Chief
Deck Two plays Foe-hammer: Emyn Arnen Ranger, Rivendell Blade, Daughter of the Nimrodel

I’ve never really heard good things about Lore Faramir, but so far I am loving him! And as for the card draw, we have healing for Aragorn, extra combat goodness and a ranger that I’ve never used before, so we’ll see how they do.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 28
Deck Two: 32

Turn No.4
Stage: 3B (9/12)
Active Location: Hills of Hollin (0/4, 0 damage)
Staging Area:
Hills of Hollin (0/4, 2 threat, 1 damage)
Howling Warg (1 threat)
Hound of Sauron (1 threat)
Howling Warg (0 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Feint, Emyn Arnen Ranger, Rivendell Blade, Daughter of the Nimrodel, Dunedain Hunter
Merry (3), Gimli (2), Faramir (1), Frodo (2)

More fighters will be most welcome when we get to the Watcher in the Water, which shouldn’t be too long.

Deck One Hand:
Ho! Tom Bombadil!, Sting, Elrohir, Desperate Defense, Halbarad, Hobbit Cloak
Glorfindel (2), Aragorn (2), Sam (2)

We should be able to get most of this out this turn, Hobbit Cloak with go on Sam to boost him to 4, maybe 5 defense if the right enemy attacks.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Daughter of the Nimrodel
Rivendell Blade-Glorfindel
Dunedain Hunter: Panicked, Redhorn Foothills, Hound of Sauron, Hound of Sauron, Snowdrifts. Put Hound of Sauron into play, engages with Deck Two. Shuffle the encounter deck.

It’s a good thing we played him when we did it or we would have seen all five of these cards come out. Fear the surge!

Deck One:
Exhaust Steward of Gondor to give Aragorn 2 resources
Elrohir
Sting-Frodo
Hobbit Cloak-Sam

Now we should be ready to move forward. Wish me luck!

Quest Phase
Exhaust Daughter of the Nimrodel to heal 2 damage from Aragorn

Glorfindel-4
Aragorn-6
Sam-4
Frodo-4
Merry-3
Gimli-3

Aragorn pays 1 resource to ready

Total willpower: 24

1: Gildor Inglorion (I think the longer I’m going on in the campaign the more I’m appreciating the turns where we get one less bad card from the encounter deck)
2: Storm of Howls (These wargs really aren’t letting up. We’ll take the single attack as it should be easier to deal with than all these watts descending on us at once)
-Shadow Card dealt to Howling Warg
-Elladan defends (3)
-Redhorn Foothills revealed as Shadow
-Howling Warg attacks (3), deals no damage, put one damage on Hills of Hollin

Total threat: 7

Win by 17, explore Hills of Hollin, raise each player’s threat by one, complete Stage 3B. Trigger Stage 4A, make Doors of Durin the active location. Add Watcher in the Water to the staging area. Discard all tokens from the Ring-bearer and place it (and each card attached to it) facedown under Watcher in the Water.

Things just got real. We’re within touching distance of completing the scenario, but first we need to deal with this Watcher.

Travel Phase
Travel to Hills of Hollin (0/4, 1 damage)

It’s the only location left in the staging area, so we don’t really have much of a choice.

Encounter Phase
Deck One optionally engages Howling Warg (the one with Secret Vigil attached, we’ll try and get the threat reduction if we can here). Trigger Sam

Deck One optionally engages Hound of Sauron

Combat Phase
[Deck Two]
Shadow Card dealt to Watcher in the Water
Aragorn defends (4)
Deck One plays Desperate Defense
Aragorn defends (6)
Crebain from Dunland revealed as Shadow
Watcher in the Water attacks (6), deals no damage, Aragorn readies
Faramir attacks (5), Elrohir attacks (3), Dunedain Hunter attacks (3), deals 6 damage. Deck Two takes control of Frodo, exhausted with 1 damage on it.

And we have the Ring-bearer back! Now it’s time to kick some warg-butt! (This blog does not condon actual physical violence toward canines of any breed, except those bred into service of the Dark Lord)

Shadow Card dealt to Hound of Sauron
Gildor Inglorion defends (3)
Regiments of Crows revealed as Shadow
Hound of Sauron attacks, deals 1 damage

We don’t have anyone left to attack back so we’ll leave it there for now.

[Deck Two]
Shadow Card dealt to Watcher in the Water
Sam defends (6)
Regiments of Crows revealed as Shadow
Watcher in the Water attacks (6), deals no damage

We shall not attack back as we need everyone we have free at the moment to help take care of the wargs. Besides, there’s be no point in doing so as we’ve already recovered the Ring-bearer

Shadow Card dealt to Howling Warg
Aragorn defends (4)
Snowdrifts revealed as Shadow
Howling Warg attacks (3), deals no damage, place 1 damage on Doors of Durin (hopefully we’ll be able to clear this location before the damage becomes an issue.
Exhaust Andruil to declare Aragorn as an attacker against Howling Warg, Aragorn attacks (4), deals 2 damage
Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn
Glorfindel attacks (3), Aragorn attacks (4), destroys Howling Warg
Reduce each players’ threat by 2

Deck Two plays Feint on Hound of Sauron

So that’s another Warg down and the Ring-bearer is back. Now we can finish this and escape into Moria.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 31
Deck One: 27

Discard Gildor Inglorion

It’s annoying that we can’t keep him, but the Watcher took all Frodo’s resources

Turn No.5
Stage: 4B (-/)
Active Locations: Doors of Durin (0/9, 1 damage); Hills of Hollin (0/4, 1 threat)
Staging Area:
Howling Warg (0 threat)
Watcher in the Water (5 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Emyn Arnen Ranger, Forest Snare
Merry (2), Gimli (2), Faramir (1)

Brilliant, we can now hopefully neuter an enemy as they come off the encounter deck.

Deck One Hand:
Ho! Tom Bombadil!, Halbarad, Elrond’s Counsel
Glorfindel (1), Aragorn (1), Sam (1), Frodo (1)

This should help us on our final push through the Doors, and threat reduction is always helpful.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Forest Snare

Exhaust Daughter of the Nimrodel to heal 1 damage from Aragorn

That is the limit of our efforts this turn.

Deck One:
Exhaust Steward of Gondor to add 2 resources to Aragorn
Halbarad (The cost reduction from the engaged Hound of Sauron is very handy indeed)
Elrond’s Counsel-give Aragorn 1 extra willpower and reduce Deck One’s threat by 3

And again, I’m afraid that’s all we can do for now.

Quest Phase
Glorfindel-4
Aragorn-7
Sam-4
Frodo-4
Merry-3
Gimli-3
Faramir-3
Halbarad-2
Elladan-2
Elrohir-2
Dunedain Hunter-1

Total willpower: 35

Everything depends on these next cards. A Snowdrifts would ruin us, but everything else we should be able to weather.

1: Hound of Sauron (0 threat) (The Ranger Spikes has done its job, but…) Trigger Surge
1.1: Lust for the Ring (For goodness sake! We have no cancellation and, barring a Snowdrifts, we’re about to finish this quest so there’s no time for any condition-removal, so we’re stuck with this!) Attach to Gimli, trigger Surge
1.2: Crebain from Dunland (3 threat), Deck Two engage Crebain from Dunland. (We have no heroes left to exhaust, so we’ve yet another card to reveal) Trigger Crebain from Dunland, place 1 damage on Hills of Hollin and Doors of Durin
1.3: Regiments of Crows (That stings, but at least it’s not game-ending), place 3 damage on Hills of Hollin and Doors of Durin
2: Eregion (0/4, 3 threat, 0 damage) (And that’s the end of that, now it’s time for the dust to settle. I think the encounter deck has a thing about giving me lots of cards just as I’m trying to quest through to the end.)

Total threat: 8

Win by 27, explore Hills of Hollin, raise each players’ threat by 5, explore Doors of Durin.

Victory.

Victory Display: Redhorn Pass (1), Gather Information (1)

Score: 29 threat + 36 threat + 50 for turns taken -2 victory points=113

And so we have escaped into Moria, where there are older and fouler things than Orcs. This scenario was great fun, I really enjoyed the constant harrying of the Wargs the whole way down the Misty Mountains as they literally dogged my every move. Ranger Spikes was key in preventing enemies from adding their threat and hampering my questing, and shall definitely be staying in the deck for now. I managed to avoid any Snowdrifts, otherwise this would have been a much longer quest, especially if it landed on Doors of Durin. The Watcher was a nasty enemy, but we didn’t have to endure many of his attacks, which could otherwise have been disastrous if it had dragged on too long.

I thought the decks performed very well indeed. There shall be some tweaks for Moria, but ultimately I am very satisfied with how they did. Granted I got a lot of key toys very quickly, but I think that with so many of good cards in these decks that consistently drawing some of them if to be expected. Do you have any advice as to how I might alter the decks? Am I missing out anything staring me in the face that I really ought to have? What do you think about my selection of heroes travelling with Frodo in the Fellowship of the Ring? Will any of them live to see the other side of Moria or shall the Dark Pit claim their very lives for their trespassing?

Add Lust for the Ring to the Campaign Pool

Adam Schumpert adam.schumperts.com

3 thoughts on “The Ring Goes South: Playthrough

  1. I am just now trying this quest (solo, one-handed) and it just annihilated me on each attempt (0-for-3). Do you think it is more punishing for single-handed solo, compared to multi-player? The damaged location effects and strong attack enemies were too much for me. I often got to the Watcher with 0 allies and 0 cards in hand due to the location effects.

    Like

    1. It’s certainly easier with two decks to muster up the required willpower to clear out locations every turn, which is pretty vital for this quest I’m afraid. The combat in this quest isn’t too devestating if you can get a handful of moderate defenders on the table, I’ve often found it is the number of attacks rather than the strength of them that overwhelms me. Check out TftC’s analysis and strategy for the scenario, he goes pretty in-depth about what is really needed to tackle this quest. https://talesfromthecards.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/campaign-mode-the-ring-goes-south-part-1/
      Certainly for myself, I’d recommend two-handed as opposed to pure solo, the extra options you can bring make things so much more straight-forward

      Like

  2. Pingback: Grima Goes South: Playthrough – The Road

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s