The Road To Isengard: 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:
Shuffle Pursued by the Enemy, Followed by Night and Saruman’s Voice into the encounter deck and shuffle it.
Set Gates of Isengard, Orthanc, Saruman and Saruman’s Staff aside, out of play. Add each copy of Ent of Fangorn to the staging area.

Player Deck Set-up:
Attach Valiant WarriorIntimidation and Leaf-wrapped Lembas to Merry.
Attach Forewarned to Aragorn
Deck One draws opening hand, adds Glamdring and Poisoned Counsels to his deck
Deck Two draws opening hand, adds Anduril and Poisoned Counsels to his deck

Deck One
Threat: 29
Eowyn (Spirit)
Elfhelm
Erkenbrand

Starting Hand:
The Day’s Rising
Gather Information
Elrohir
A Test of Will
Snowbourn Scout
Unexpected Courage

I think this is as good as we can expect to get, we seem to have a bit of everything except sphere smoothing, which we ought to be able to get with Gather Information during Stage 2. I’ll keep this one and see how we go.

Deck Two
Threat: 25
Merry (Tactics)
Eomer (Tactics)
Hama

Starting Hand:
Skinbark
Legolas
Booming Ent
Legolas
Wellinghall Preserver
Foe-hammer

While none of these cards are specifically bad, we’re looking for some sphere smoothing cards to get things up and running. While Legolas can help us draw into them, it’ll be faster to mulligan and see what we get.

Mulligan:
Dagger of Westernesse
Song of Wisdom
Foe-hammer
The Storm Comes
Derndingal Warrior
Boomed and Trumpeted

This on the hand has what we need for an Ent deck. The Storm Comes should help us out with the allies, while a Song of Wisdom makes the events available to use. We also have a defender and a combat boost here so we’re just about sorted. Now all we need to do is see how many Ents of Fangorn we can persuade to join us.

Raise each players threat by 2 for the Fallen Heroes  Gimli and Theoden

Turn No.1
Stage: 1B (-/-)
Active Location: –
Staging Area:
Ent of Fangorn (0/3)
Ent of Fangorn* (0/3)
Ent of Fangorn^ (0/3)
Ent of Fangorn’ (0/3)

Resource Phase
Trigger Stage 1B to skip this phase.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Gather Information

This will help us pick out exactly what we need from our decks. Not sure about Deck One but Deck Two will definitely want Treebeard.

Deck Two:
The Storm Comes

Now the question becomes: which side-quest will we use first? I’m inclined to opt for Gather Information at this point, but we’ll see when the time comes.

Quest Phase
Trigger Ent of Fangorn: Exhaust Eowyn (4), discard Steaming Vent (3), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn (1/3) (Great start, but we expected this with Eowyn. The rest will be trickier.)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn: Exhaust Elfhelm (2), discard Ring-wall of Isengard (2). (Close, but no cigar)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn: Exhaust Erkenbrand (1), discard Blast of Sorcery (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn (2/3) (We lucked out there, but we can’t really count on it to happen again)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn: Exhaust Aragorn (2), discard Snaga (1), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn (3/3) (And that’s one down! Let’s go one more turn and see if we get blessed by Eru) Deck Two discards 3 resources from Ent of Fangorn to take control of Ent of Fangorn. (I think we ought to keep the only guaranteed one with the other Ents to make the most of their synergy)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn*: Exhaust Merry (2), discard Grima (3). (And we struck out again. We probably won’t get another resource with just Eomer and Hama’s low willpower, but we’ll give it a shot anyway)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn*: Exhaust Eomer (1), discard Poisoned Vapour (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn* (1/3) (That was unexpected, but extremely welcome. We may even get a second Ent to join us next turn)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn*: Exhaust Hama (1), discard Open Pit (2). (Again, this is not a surprise but there we go)

Travel Phase

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase

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

Trigger Stage 1B, place 1 resource on Stage 1B (1/1)

That’s 1 Ent persuaded, let’s see if we can’t get any more.

Turn No.2
Stage: 1B (1/1)
Active Location: –
Staging Area:
Ent of Fangorn* (1/3)
Ent of Fangorn^ (0/3)
Ent of Fangorn’ (0/3)

Resource Phase
Trigger Stage 1B to skip this phase.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
We have no other 0-cost cards so we’ll have to pass.

Deck One:
See above.

Quest Phase
And here we go again. Hopefully we can get another Ent to join our ranks.

Trigger Ent of Fangorn*: Exhaust Merry (2), discard Saruman’s Voice (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn* (2/3) (Nearly there, just one more to go.)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn*: Exhaust Eomer (1), discard Wolf of Isengard (2). (Again, expected but there we go)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn*: Exhaust Hama (1), discard Saruman’s Orders (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn (3/3). (Wow we have pulled a lot of events. Still I am not complaining, we may just get a third one if the Valar smiles on us!) Deck One discards 3 resources from Ent of Fangorn* to take control of Ent of Fangorn*. (We’ll balance it out just now, but any future Ents go to Deck Two to get the most out of that Ent synergy)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn^: Exhaust Aragorn (2), discard Plain of Isengard (2). (On the other hand, maybe not).

Trigger Ent of Fangorn^: Exhaust Erkenbrand (1), discard Machines of Isengard (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn^ (1/3) (Or we could still pull this off!)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn^: Exhaust Elfhelm (2), discard Snaga (1), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn^ (2/3) (Hey we can do this! There’s about 2, maybe 3 cards in the encounter deck that will stop Eowyn from getting that last resource on the Ent)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn^: Exhaust Eowyn (4), discard Underground Armoury (4). (But then I never seem to win when I gamble with the encounter deck. I think we may have to stretch this out another turn. Another Ent would be a huge boon, I reckon we ought to be able to handle a third encounter card. Maybe)

Travel Phase

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 29
Deck One: 33

Trigger Stage 1B, place 1 resource on Stage 1B (2/2)

Am I getting greedy? Perhaps. But we’ll see if it pays off or not.

Turn No.3
Stage: 1B (2/2)
Active Location:
Staging Area:
Ent of Fangorn^ (2/3)
Ent of Fangorn’ (0/3)

Resource Phase
Trigger Stage 1B to skip this phase.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Nothing to see here.

Deck Two:
See above.

Quest Phase
Once more unto the breach dear friends…

Trigger Ent of Fangorn^: Exhaust Eowyn (4), discard Steaming Vent (3), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn (3/3) (That’s 3 down. Maybe we’ll get number 4, but we won’t chance it after this turn. This is our last shot) Deck Two discards 3 resources from Ent of Fangorn^ to take control of Ent of Fangorn^. (So Deck Two now has 2 ents and the quest hasn’t even really begun)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn’: Exhaust Elfhelm (2), discard Followed by Night (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn’ (1/3) (We may get a 4th Ent I suppose, but we shouldn’t get our hopes up)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn’: Exhaust Erkenbrand (1), discard Lieutenant of Orthanc (3) (As I said, not getting up hopes)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn’: Exhaust Aragorn (2), discard Steaming Vent (3) (Well at least we have 3 Ents, that’s still a decent haul)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn’: Exhaust Merry (2), discard Isengard Orc (1), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn’ (2/3) (We just need to get lucky once now, I’m afraid my hopes are climbing)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn’: Exhaust Eomer (1), discard Underground Armoury (4) (One chance left, them we’re on our way)

Trigger Ent of Fangorn’: Exhaust Hama (1), discard Poisonous Vapour (0), place 1 resource on Ent of Fangorn’ (3/3) (Jackpot! Fangorn is mobilised!) Deck Two discards 3 resources from Ent of Fangorn’ to take control of Ent of Fangorn’. (So that’s 3 Ents already for Deck Two.)

Travel Phase

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 34
Deck Two: 30

That is as much as we can delay things. We must march on to Isengard.

Trigger Stage 1B, place 1 resource on Stage 1B (3/3). Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and reveal 3 cards.

1: Poisoned Vapour (While I’m glad to see this now and not later, we still have to trigger Surge) Trigger Surge
1.1: Ring-wall of Isengard (0/2, 2 threat) (Not too bad, we may just get an Ent to nuke it)
2: Blast of Sorcery (And this completely whiffs, meaning we dodge this bullet for now)
3: Steaming Vent (0/4, 3 threat) (This, on the other hand, will sting a bit if left unchecked.)

Advance to Stage 2A. Trigger Stage 2A, make Gates of Isengard (0/1, 3 threat) the active location. Add Saruman (4 threat) and Orthanc (0/1, 2 threat) to the staging area.

And this is us ready to begin the quest proper. It is likely we shall embark upon our doom. But sit tight for the Last March of the Ents.

Turn No.4
Stage: 2B (0/5)
Active Location: Gates of Isengard (0/1)
Staging Area:
Ring-wall of Isengard (0/2, 2 threat)
Steaming Vent (0/4, 3 threat)
Orthanc (0/1, 2 threat)
Saruman (4 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Dagger of Westernesse, Song of Wisdom, Foe-hammer, Derndingle Warrior, Boomed and Trumpeted, Entmoot
Merry (1), Eomer (1), Hama (1), Aragorn (1)

This is perfect, we can now dig a bit for Treebeard and any other Ent allies we can find.

Deck One Hand:
The Day’s Rising, Elrohir, A Test of Will, Snowbourn Scout, Unexpected Courage, Celebrian’s Stone
Eowyn (1), Elfhelm (1), Erkenbrand (1)

Now we’ll be able to get 2 heroes with 4 willpower, and get Aragorn the Spirit icon, spreading the love around.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Song of Wisdom-Hama (And now we can play this)
Entmoot: Reveal Arod, Treebeard, Booming Ent, Boomed and Trumpeted, Firefoot. Add Treebeard, Booming Ent and Boomed and Trumpeted to Deck Two’s hand. (We have a Treebeard! The Booming Ent will be powered up by the Ents of Fangorn, and we even have yet more combat boosts)
Derndingle Warrior (Our decks now have enough defense and attack to do us for a bit, we just need some more questing now I think)
Dagger of Westernesse-Merry (Old reliable here, taking Merry up to 3, hopefully 4 attack)

We’ll save a resource for the next turn so we can afford to get Treebeard in as soon as possible

Deck One:
Celebrian’s Stone-Aragorn (That’s him up to 4 willpower, with a Spirit resource icon to boot!)

We’ll save Eowyn’s resource for A Test of Will just in case we pull a devastating treachery.

Quest Phase
The Storm Comes is the active quest

By using this side-quest, we can get Lore Ents out faster, not to mention the more expensive Spirit allies (Elrohir/Gamling)

Eowyn-4
Elfhelm-2
Aragorn-4
Merry-2
Ent of Fangorn-2
Ent of Fangorn*-2
Ent of Fangorn^-2
Ent of Fangorn’-2

Total willpower: 20

Trigger Steaming Vent, deal 1 damage to Ent of Fangorn* and Ent of Fangorn’

Alright, 20 willpower from the get-go. We’re going to need it to deal with all the threat in the staging area, but once we start chipping away at that I think we’ll be set for the rest of the game. I probably shouldn’t speak too soon, but I’m feeling good about our questing power this game.

1: Isengard Orc (1 threat) (Not too bad, hopefully we can avoid discarding Treebeard or Foe-hammer). Trigger Isengard Orc, randomly discard Foe-hammer. (Well shoot. I should have just kept quiet, shouldn’t I?)
2: Plains of Isengard (2 threat) (Well this effect won’t be a problem at all! Ents are ideal for soaking up archery, and it feeds the Booming Ents rage!)

Total threat: 14

Win by 6, explore Gates of Isengard and add it to the victory display. Complete The Storm Comes and add it to the victory display. Trigger Gates of Isengard. Each player searches the encounter deck and discard pile and engages and enemy from there. Deck Two: Snaga. Deck One: Snaga*. (We’re going with these for each deck to dodge their when revealed effect, which is the worse of the two ‘discard’ punishments.) Trigger Orthanc: Saruman’s Orders, Ring-wall of Isengard*, Isengard Orc*. (Well the first one is definitely gone. We’re getting a few enemies landed on our laps just now, so instead we’ll take the location. If we need to we can get an Ent of Fangorn to nuke it for us). Discard Saruman’s Orders and Isengard Orc, reveal Ring-Wall of Isengard* (2 threat).

We’re through the Gates, now it’s time to wreck this place!

Travel Phase
Travel to Steaming Vent (0/4, 3 threat)

This location has the highest threat and the worst staging area effect, so it has to go.

Encounter Phase
Deck One optionally engages Isengard Orc

We won’t be able to do any counter attacking this turn, but we ought to be able to retaliate next time round.

Combat Phase
Resolve Archery 3, deal 1 damage to Ent of Fangorn, Ent of Fangorn^ and Ent of Fangorn’.

(That’s 3 damaged Ents now for Deck Two. When the Booming Ent arrives he’ll already be swinging for a meaty base of 5!)

[Deck Two]
Shadow Card dealt to Snaga
Eomer defends (2)
Open Pit revealed as Shadow
Snaga attacks (3), deals 1 damage

Shadow Card dealt to Isengard Orc
Hama defends (1)
Plain of Isengard revealed as Shadow
Isengard Orc attacks (2), deals 1 damage

[Deck One]
Shadow Card dealt to Snaga*
Erkenbrand defends (3)
Blast of Sorcery revealed as Shadow
Snaga* attacks (4), deals 1 damage

So we can’t counter-attack, as we’ve already discussed, but I think we got off pretty lightly with the light damage accrued here.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 31
Deck One: 35

And that’s the first turn of the quest proper. We’re off to a decent start I think, a good number of Ents are mobilised and our willpower is strong. We’ll have to be careful not to let the enemies build up too much or the archery will start to become a bit much.

Turn No.5
Stage: 2B (0/5)
Active Location: Steaming Vent (0/4, 3 threat)
Staging Area:
Ring-wall of Isengard (0/2, 2 threat)
Orthanc (0/1, 2 threat)
Saruman (4 threat)
Plain of Isengard (0/3, 2 threat)
Ring-Wall of Isengard* (0/2, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
The Day’s Rising, Elrohir, A Test of Will, Snowbourn Scout, Unexpected Courage, Galadriel
Eowyn (2), Elfhelm (1), Erkenbrand (1), Aragorn (1)

Very nice, hopefully we manage to pull an Armoured Destrier with her. She was included chiefly for Unexpected Courage or Celebrian’s Stone, but since they’re out of my deck now we’ll aim for the mount.

Deck Two Hand:
Boomed and Trumpeted, Boomed and Trumpeted, Booming Ent, Treebeard, Anduril
Merry (1), Eomer (1), Hama (2)

Always a pleasure to see this fellow, but it may be a bit expensive to buy for a number of rounds yet.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Unexpected Courage-Aragorn (If we’re going to make the most of anyone’s stats, he’s got the best spread going on)
The Day’s Rising-Erkenbrand (Once we get another Armoured Destrier on him, we should be able to guarantee an extra resource every turn)
Snowbourn Scout: Plain of Isengard (1/3) (Now all we need is the 1 Ent to clear this out instead of the 2 it would otherwise have needed)

And again we’ll keep a resource back for A Test of Will

Deck Two:
Treebeard (He’s expensive, but as the game progresses he will be worth every penny)

Quest Phase
And now we’ll clean out some locations, make the most of the Ent of Fangorn’s ability to nuke locations in the staging area.

Exhaust Ent of Fangorn to explore Ring-wall of Isengard. Place 1 damage on Stage 2B (1/5). Trigger Wizardry. Deck One: Elrohir. Deck Two: Boomed and Trumpeted.

Not too bothered by these. Elrohir didn’t have his brother in sight and we have another Boomed ready and waiting.

Exhaust Ent of Fangorn^ to explore Ring-wall of Isengard. Place 1 damage on Stage 2B (2/5). Trigger Wizardry. Deck One: Galadriel. Deck Two: Booming Ent.

Now this hurt. I was looking forward to using Galadriel, and now we’ve lost out on our attacking Ent. We’ll have to make do I suppose, but still.

So just like that we’ve massively reduced the threat in the staging area and are well on our way to progressing to the next stage.

Eowyn-4
Elfhelm-2
Aragorn-4
Hama-1
Ent of Fangorn*-2
Ent of Fangorn’-2

Total willpower: 15

Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn. Trigger Steaming Vent, deal 1 damage to Elfhelm and Hama

1: Lieutenant of Orthanc (3 threat) (I think that this is as nasty as the enemies get, other than Saruman. 4 attack isn’t devastating, but I can’t afford to get cocky)
2: Steaming Vent* (3 threat) (Another one? I’m just glad we got the first one out of the staging area before they could stack their effects. And that’s our 6 threat we got rid of right back up there again)

Total threat: 14

Win by 1, place 1 progress on Steaming Vent (1/4). Trigger Orthanc: Wolf of Isengard, Pursued by the Enemy, Underground Armoury. (We don’t really want another enemy, and we definitely can’t be doing with extra attacks, so I guess we’ll take Underground Armoury.) Reveal Underground Armoury (0/3, 4 threat)

While that wasn’t the most dramatic turn of events, we made progress. This also might serve to give me more time to build up our board state before we take on Saruman.

Travel Phase

Encounter Phase
We’ll leave the Lieutenant of Orthanc up there for a turn as we can’t deal with him this time.

Combat Phase
Trigger Archery 3, deal 1 damage to Ent of Fangorn*, Ent of Fangorn^ and Treebeard

[Deck One]
Shadow Card dealt to Snaga*
Erkenbrand defends (3)
Followed by Night revealed as Shadow
Snaga* attacks (3), deals no damage
Trigger The Day’s Rising to give Erkenbrand 1 resource
Aragorn attacks (3), deals 2 damage to Snaga*

We can’t kill this guy just now, but next turn we should be able to finish him off.

[Deck Two]
Shadow Card dealt to Snaga
Derndingle Warrior defends (2)
Lieutenant of Orthanc revealed as Shadow
Snaga attacks (3), deals 1 damage
Merry attacks (4), destroys Snaga

That’s one down. I’m a bit disappointed we don’t have our Foe-hammer, but what can you do?

Shadow Card dealt to Isengard Orc
Eomer defends (2)
Open Pit revealed as Shadow
Isengard Orc attacks (2), deals no damage

Again, I’m quite pleased we escaped this turn relatively unscathed, but we can’t rely on this holding out for long. These enemies need to start falling, and soon.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 36
Deck Two: 32

Threat is slowly creeping up, and the archery is beginning to sting, but we mustn’t be hasty now.

Turn No.6
Stage: 2B (2/5)
Active Location: Steaming Vent (1/4)
Staging Area:
Orthanc (0/1, 2 threat)
Saruman (4 threat)
Lieutenant of Orthanc (3 threat)
Steaming Vent* (0/4, 3 threat)
Plain of Isengard (1/3, 2 threat)
Underground Armoury (0/3, 4 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Boomed and Trumpeted, Anduril, Wandering Ent
Merry (1), Eomer (1), Hama (1), Aragorn (1), Treebeard (1)

Another Ent is always welcome.

Deck One Hand:
A Test of Will, Windfola
Eowyn (2), Elfhelm (1), Erkenbrand (2)

With Elfhelm in effect this practically counts as an extra 2 willpower for Eowyn.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Anduril-Aragorn (This takes him up to 5 willpower for questing, so he can ready and use his 3 defense before using Anduril to counterattack with 4)

We’ll keep the other resources in case we need to use a Boomed and Trumpeted this turn.

Deck One:
Windfola-Eowyn (And now with Eowyn up and running too, that’s 11 willpower with just 2 heroes)

Quest Phase
We need to knock out a location or two before we get onto questing

Exhaust Ent of Fangorn^ to place 2 progress on Underground Armoury (2/3)

Exhaust Ent of Fangorn to explore Underground Armoury. Place 1 damage on Stage 2B (3/5). Trigger Wizardry. Deck One exhausts Snowbourn Scout. Deck Two exhausts Eomer.

Eowyn-6
Elfhelm-2
Aragorn-5
Treebeard-2
Ent of Fangorn’-2

Total willpower: 19

We’ll keep back Merry from questing so he can help us with taking down these Orcs once and for all.

Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn. Trigger Steaming Vent, deal 1 damage to Elfhelm and Treebeard.

1: Machines of Isengard (All this direct damage is beginning to really take its toll. But it’s not severe enough for me to cancel so I’ll just have to absorb it.) Deck One deals 1 damage to Ent of Fangorn*, Deck Two deals 1 damage to Aragorn
2: Ring-wall of Isengard (2 threat) (I really wish I had a Northern Tracker or 2 to just wreck these locations that are building up here.)

Total threat: 16

Win by 3, explore Steaming Vent, place 1 damage on Stage 2B (4/5). Trigger Wizardry. Deck One deals 1 damage to Eowyn, Deck Two deals 1 damage to Aragorn and Eomer. Trigger Orthanc: Grima, Snaga, Blast of Sorcery. (I’m not in a state to handle any more enemies at the moment, so I guess we’ll have to eat more cursed direct damage.) Reveal Blast of Sorcery, deal 1 damage to Aragorn, Treebeard and Elfhelm

At least there’s just one location left to go.

Travel Phase
Again, I’m not a fan of this direct damage. We’ll go back the the Steaming Vent.

Travel to Steaming Vent* (0/4)

Encounter Phase
Deck Two optionally engages Lieutenant of Othanc

Deck Two is in a much better position to handle him.

Combat Phase
Resolve Archery 2, deal 1 damage to Ent of Fangorn and Treebeard

[Deck Two]
Shadow Card dealt to Lieutenant of Orthanc
Deal 1 damage to Derndingle Warrior to give it an extra 3 defense and Sentinel
Derndingle Warrior defends (5)
Machines of Isengard revealed as Shadow
Lieutenant of Orthanc attacks (5), deals no damage
Merry attacks (4), Ent of Fangorn attacks (4), Hama attacks (3). Trigger Hama, take Foe-hammer from Deck Two’s discard pile and add it to Deck Two’s hand. Discard Boomed and Trumpeted. Destroy Lieutenant of Orthanc. Deck Two plays Foe-hammer: West-fold Outrider, Ent Draught, Entmoot.

Now that’s more like it. A cheap ally with utility, hitpoint boosting and a means to get more Ent cards.

Shadow Card dealt to Isengard Orc
Aragorn defends (3)
Saruman’s Orders revealed as Shadow
Isengard Orc attacks (3), deals no damage
Exhaust Anduril to declare Aragorn as an attacker against Isengard Orc, Aragorn attacks (4), destroys Isengard Orc

Its been a while since we’ve been able to pull this one off, but it’s good to be back.

[Deck One]
Shadow Card dealt to Snaga*
Erkenbrand defends (3)
Wolf of Isengard revealed as Shadow, deal 1 damage to Erkenbrand (Well I guess this negates The Day’s Rising, but we’re about to kill this guy so I’m not too devastated)
Snaga* attacks (3), deals no damage
Ent of Fangorn attacks (4), destroys Snaga*

And we’re clear of enemies. Now let’s see if we can’t get back on our feet.

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck Two: 33
Deck One: 36

Turn No.7
Stage: Stage 2B (4/5)
Active Location: Steaming Vent* (0/4)
Staging Area:
Orthanc (0/1, 2 threat)
Saruman (4 threat)
Plain of Isengard (1/3, 2 threat)
Ring-wall of Isengard (0/2, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
A Test of Will, Campfire Tales
Eowyn (2), Elfhelm (2), Erkenbrand (2), Aragorn (1)

We’d better make the most of this before Saruman punishes us for card draw

Deck Two Hand:
Wandering Ent, West-fold Outrider, Ent-draught, Entmoot, Derndingle Warrior*
Merry (2), Eomer (1), Hama (1), Treebeard (2)

There we go, now our defense will be coming online soon.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Campfire Tales. Deck One: Ceorl. Deck Two: Wellinghall Preserver. (Ceorl is a welcome addition, we were able to put him to good use last game and I’m sure we can do it again here. And the Wellinghall Preserver could not have come at a better time)
Ceorl (The readying ability really is key to this guy’s utility. The bouncing from one deck to another is just extra flavour to savour)

Deck Two:
Now this is a more difficult one. I could potentially get out 2 allies this turn, either the West-fold Outrider or the Derndingle Warrior along with either the Wandering Ent or the Wellinghall Preserver. I think I’ll go for the Derndingle Warrior, the 3 hitpoints may prove key in soaking up direct damage. But it’s the Lore allies that are the sticking point. The Wellinghall Preserver is a fantastic ally, and we sorely need the healing, but would clean us out. The Wandering Ent would definitely not be unwelcome and would help shore up our forces, but more importantly it would leave us with a spare Lore resource for next turn in case we need it. I’m not sure which is the correct choice, but we’ll go with this…

Derndingle Warrior* (Extra defenders making ready for Saruman’s attacks)
Wandering Ent (In the end it was the cost that swung it for me, and though I do have that niggling thought that I’d miss the Preserver guy more if he was discarded than the Wandering Ent)

Quest Phase
I wonder if we can’t do some shenanigans here. Bear with me a moment now.

Gather Information is the active quest (Remember this one? He’s just been hanging out waiting for us.)

Eowyn-6
Elfhelm-2
Aragorn-5
Ceorl-1
Ent of Fangorn-2
Ent of Fangorn’-2
Treebeard-2

Total willpower: 20

Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn

1: Machines of Isengard (This is no good. We’ll have to cancel this.) Deck One plays A Test of Will.
2: Underground Armoury (4 threat) (Now this means we can’t complete the side quest. Fortunately I kept an Ent in reserve)

Exhaust Ent of Fangorn^ to explore Ring-wall of Isengard. Trigger Wizardry. Deck One: N/A (Our hand is empty so this has no effect). Deck Two: Wellinghall Preserver. (Ah shoot. Can’t say I’m not disappointed, but we’ll live). Place 1 damage on Stage 2B (5/5), advance to Stage 3A. Trigger Stage 3A, each player draws 6 cards. Each player with more than 6 cards in his hand discards cards from his hand until he has only 6. (Here we go then.)

-Deck One draws: Eomund, Glorfindel, Campfire Tales, Grim Resolve, Song of Kings, The Day’s Rising
(Deck One can’t discard anything so we’ll be keeping all of these. Not that we’re complaining, readying from Eomund and Grim Resolve will be most welcome, Glorfindel is probably a bit pricey at this point though, and The Day’s Rising is a dead card. But overall, very happy with this.)
-Deck Two draws: Entmoot, Treebeard, The Dam Bursts, Ent Draught, Song of Wisdom, Firefoot (This will be a tricky one. We won’t keep Treebeard, but the other 5 are all good. Entmoot is a must, as is The Dam Bursts and Song of Wisdom. The question becomes do we take Firefoot and drop our current Ent Draught or not?)
-Deck Two discards: Treebeard, Ent Draught, Firefoot (I may regret this, but I think the extra two hitpoints may be handier than extra attack, especially with all the direct damage flying about.)

Trigger Stage 3A, attach Saruman’s Staff to Saruman. (And now we can get back to the quest resolution)

Total threat: 12.

Win by 8. Explore Steaming Vent, trigger Wizardry. Deck One deals 1 damage to Ceorl, Deck Two deals 1 damage to Derndingle Warrior* and Wandering Ent. Complete Gather Information, add it to the victory display. Trigger Gather Information. Deck One: A Test of Will (We’ll keep this in case any more nasties come our way). Deck Two: Booming Ent (With the amount of damaged Ents on the table, this guy will wreck the place.)

Trigger Orthanc: Saruman’s Voice, Blast of Sorcery and Poisoned Vapour. (Wow, Saruman is really coming at us with these treacheries. Well given that we don’t really want any of these, I think we’ll choose Blast of Sorcery and then cancel it.) Reveal Blast of Sorcery, Deck One plays A Test of Will.

And that, I believe, is that. What a quest phase! Things will quieten down now as we’ve no enemies to engage, but next turn should be a good one.

Travel Phase
Travel to Underground Armoury (0/3)

Hopefully we should clear this out next turn and travel to Orthanc thereafter.

Encounter Phase

Combat Phase
I think now is a good time for an Entmoot. Note that we add the cards to our hand instead of drawing them so we don’t draw Saruman’s wrath.

Deck Two plays Entmoot: Booming Ent*, Poisoned Counsels, Foe-hammer, Dagger of the Westernesse, Song of Wisdom. Deck Two adds Booming Ent* to his hand. (Well that wasn’t much use. We did get a second Booming Ent out of it though, so not all bad. Also we have dodged a Poisoned Counsels, so that’s good! Fortunately we can go again.)

Deck Two plays Entmoot: Quickbeam, Wandering Ent*, The Storm Comes, Skinbark, Legolas. Deck Two adds Quickbeam, Wandering Ent* and Skinbark to his hand. (Now this is more like it. Quickbeam is just the card we wanted to see! The others are nice as well, but we hopefully shouldn’t have time to play them all.)

Refresh Phase
Raise each player’s threat by 1
Deck One: 37
Deck Two: 32

Next turn, we’re going to try and take out Orthanc. Wish us luck.

Turn No.8
Stage: 3B (0/16)
Active Location: Underground Armoury (0/3)
Staging Area:
Orthanc (0/1, 2 threat)
Saruman (4 threat)
Plain of Isengard (1/3, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
West-fold Outrider, Ent Draught, The Dam Bursts, Song of Wisdom, Booming Ent, Booming Ent*, Quickbeam, Wandering Ent*, Skinbark, Treebeard
Merry (2), Eomer (1), Hama (2), Aragorn (1), Treebeard (1)

Well this is no help at all, and on top of that, now Saruman is going to attack us for our trouble.

-Shadow Card dealt to Saruman (He is meant to get 2, but the encounter deck is now empty, and does not get reestablished until the next Quest Phase!)
-Deal 1 damage to Derndingle Warrior* to give it an extra 3 defense and Sentinel (I know he’s still going to die, but I just love the ability)
-Derndingle Warrior* defends (5)
-Steaming Vent revealed as Shadow. Trigger Wizardry. Deal 2 damage to Booming Ent and 1 damage to Quickbeam.
-Saruman attacks, destroys Derndingle Warrior*

Poor guy. You shall be remembered. And those wizardry effects are nasty! Seriously, really bad.

Deck One Hand:
Eomund, Glorfindel, Campfire Tales, Grim Resolve, Song of Kings, The Day’s Rising
Eowyn (2), Elfhelm (2), Erkenbrand (1)

And here we go again. No shadows though, so I can throw a chump blocker at him.

-No Shadow Card dealt to Saruman
-Snowbourn Scout defends (1) (Witness me!)
-Saruman attacks (6), destroys Snowbourn Scout

That was a bit one-sided. Entertaining though. On to the planning I guess.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Quickbeam: deal 1 damage to Quickbeam to ready him. (And he’s good to go!)
Booming Ent (This guy is at attack 9! He’s seriously annoyed about his mates getting knocked about!)

Deck One:
Glorfindel (I just remembered this guy can be bought with The Storm Comes smoothing out all the resources. Huzzah!)

Quest Phase
Wish us luck folks.

Eowyn-6
Elfhelm-2
Erkenbrand-1
Ceorl-1
Glorfindel-3
Ent of Fangorn*-2
Aragorn-5
Merry-2
Eomer-1
Hama-1
Ent of Fangorn-2
Ent of Fangorn^-2
Ent of Fangorn’-2
Derndingle-1
Treebeard-2
Wandering Ent-2
Quickbeam-2

Total willpower: 37

Now this should be enough to clear out the quest stage, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck.

1: Lieutenant of Orthanc (3 threat) (Not too bad, we can deal with him)
2: Underground Armoury* (4 threat) (This effect is going to hurt, I can tell you that much)

Total threat: 15

Win by 22, explore Underground Armoury, place 19 progress on Stage 3B (19/15). Trigger Wizardry, no effect (everyone is already exhausted.). Trigger Orthanc: Grima, Poisoned Vapours, Wolf of Isengard. (Well it’s really no contest here. As bad as the Wolf is, the other two effects are worse.) Reveal Wolf of Isengard

That’s it, we’re nearly there! Now we just need to kill a certain wizard.

Travel Phase
Travel to Orthanc (0/1), Saruman engages Deck Two. Shadow Card dealt to Saruman.

Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn

Encounter Phase
Deck Two optionally engages Lieutenant of Orthanc. Shadow Card dealt to Lieutenant of Orthanc

Wolf of Isengard engages Deck Two. Shadow Card dealt to Wolf of Isengard.

All we need to do is kill Saruman, the other two are bonuses. Hopefully this should help.

Deck Two plays The Dam Bursts, ready every damaged Ent Deck Two controls.

Now let’s do this!

Combat Phase
I know this will be slightly out of order, but I want to finish my counterattacks with Saruman, even though he attacks us first. Also not all these enemies have one extra Shadow to resolve.

[Deck Two]
Shadow Card dealt to Wolf of Isengard
Aragorn defends (3)
Ring-wall of Isengard and Blast of Sorcery revealed as Shadows. Deck Two randomly discards Song of Wisdom to cancel a second attack.
Wolf of Isengard attacks (4), deals 1 damage.
Exhaust Anduril to declare Aragorn as an attacker against Wolf of Isengard, deals 3 damage.
Wandering Ent attacks (2), destroys Wolf of Isengard. (One down!)

Shadow Card dealt to Lieutenant of Orthanc
Deal 1 damage to Derndingle Warrior to give it an extra 3 defense and Sentinel
Derndingle Warrior defends (5)
Machines of Isengard and Blast of Sorcery revealed as Shadow
Lieutenant of Orthanc attacks (6), destroys Derndingle Warrior. Trigger Machines of Isengard and Lieutenant of Orthanc: Deck Two randomly discards West-fold Outrider and Skinbark.
Ent of Fangorn attacks (4), Ent of Fangorn^ attacks (4), destroys Lieutenant of Orthanc (One to go!)

2 Shadow Cards dealt to Saruman
Ent of Fangorn’ defends (3) (Yeah, he’s going to die.)
Steaming Vent, Open Pit and Saruman’s Voice revealed as Shadows. Trigger Wizardry. Deck Two raises his threat by 2 and deals 1 damage to Wandering Ent, Treebeard and Ent of Fangorn’
Saruman attacks (6), destroys Ent of Fangorn’
Treebeard attacks (4), Booming Ent attacks (8), destroys Saruman.

Victory.

Victory Display: Gates of Isengard (1), The Storm Comes (1), Gather Information (1)

Score: 36 threat + 34 threat + 80 for turns taken, 1 for damage on Eowyn, 3 for damage on Elfhelm, 3 for damage on Erkenbrand, 4 for damage on Aragorn, 2 for damage on Eomer, 2 for damage on Hama, – 3 victory points = 162

There you have it. Battered and bruised, the heroes have taken Isengard. It was close in the end, another round of direct damage and my characters would have started dropping like flies. But they held out and Saruman fell to Treebeard and an infuriated Booming Ent. I wish I’d gotten him out sooner, the extra 4 Ents at the start of the game would have been ideal for him. I really enjoyed the Ents, they really do feel slow to get going but once they do, well you saw what happened on that last turn.

Unfortunately the Lieutenant killed an Ent, which means we discarded down to the 3 card mark and have picked up the burden Saruman’s Voice. Fortunately we didn’t come across it this game, nor did we draw any Poisoned Counsels. I have a feeling they’re lingering until the last, worst possible moment to make themselves known to us. We did pick up the Palantir though, so we’ll have to see if we can find a use for it. So now we’ll be returning to Frodo’s quest to destroy the Ring. Sam shall go with him, as will Faramir, but who else should join him? Should the Rangers of Gondor make an appearance? Is it finally time to bring Tactics Boromir out of retirement? And on a separate matter, did Gandalf survive his imprisonment and if so, is he well enough to use him in the future? Let me know what you think. Next time we’re going to the Dead Marshes, where we will encounter a creature desperately seeking out the Ring for his own.

Add Saruman’s Voice to the Campaign Pool
Add Palantir of Orthanc to the Campaign Pool

Saruman Wrath

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