Mount Doom: 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:
Add Gandalf’s Delay to the staging area.
Shuffle PanickedWeight Of The RingLust for the RingPursued by the Enemy, and Followed by Night into the encounter deck.

Add Mount Doom and The Tower of Barad-dur to the staging area. Place 9 resources on The Tower of Barad-dur.

Now I know the resources are meant to be the campaign card, but for the sake of neatness in the staging area we’ll put them on Barad-dur instead.

Make Brake of Thorns the active location and deal 2 damage to Galadriel (2/4) and 3 damage to Faramir (2/5). Deck One searches the encounter deck for Plain of Gorgoroth and adds it to the staging area. Deck Two searches the encounter deck for Mordor Road and adds it to the staging area.

Player Deck Set-up:
Deck One draws opening hand, adds StingThe Searching Eye and Brace of Coneys to his deck
Deck Two draws opening hand, adds The Searching Eye and Brace of Coneys to his deck.

The first player attaches The One Ring, A Heavy Burden and Old Bogey-stories to Frodo Baggins; and Tireless Ranger to Sam Gamgee.

Deck One
Threat: 23
Sam Gamgee
Pippin (Lore)
Galadriel

The aim is for this to be our questing powerhouse, boosting up as much willpower and and readying effects to handle both progression and any fortitude tests we’ll have to undertake.

Deck One Starting Hand:
Hobbit Pipe
Smoke Rings
Hobbit Cloak
Song of Wisdom
Hobbit Pipe

This sets up a lot of future Pipe events, but on balance we’re looking for a little bit more power in our opening hand, maybe some cancellation as well.

Deck One Mulligan:
Mirror of Galadriel
Old Tobey
Keen as Lances
Fireside Song
Song of Wisdom

That’s a bit better, though again ideally we’d like to be seeing A Test of Will in there. Still, we can definitely work with this.

Deck Two
Threat: 28
Faramir (Lore)
Rossiel
Arwen Undomiel

This deck should be able to handle most of the combat, while also being able to chip in with questing due to Arwen’s relatively high willpower.

Deck Two Starting Hand:
Nome Return
Celebrian’s Stone
Silver Circlet
Ithilien Tracker
Out of the Wild

While all of these are great cards, we’re after Leave No Trace so Rossiel can get her boosted willpower as soon as we can.

Deck Two Mulligan:
Elven Light
Leave No Trace
The Door is Closed!
Master of the Forge
Light of Valinor

This is much better. Now when we get Light of Valinor on Rossiel we can use both her boosted willpower and defense throughout the game.

Each player raises his threat by 2 for Fallen Heroes Gimli and Theoden

Turn No.1
Stage: 1B (0/12)
Active Location: Brake of Thorns (0/3)
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (9 resources)
Mount Doom (0/9, 2 threat)
Mordor Road (0/5, 1 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth (0/4, 2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (1), Sam (1), Pippin (1), Galadriel (1)
Mirror of Galadriel, Old Tobey, Keen as Lances, Fireside Song, Song of Wisdom, Mirror of Galadriel

So there are a lot of good cards here, but at least 3 of these aren’t any good for us yet, so we’ll use Old Bogey-stories to give us another shot.

Add Old Bogey-stories to the victory display to shuffle Deck One’s hand into his deck. Then draw 6 cards: Hobbit Pipe, A Test of Will, Friend of Friends, Nenya, Song of Travel, Song of Earendil

Very good. With the Pipe we can start preparing for our Tobacco cards, and the two Songs will set up for when we can get Fireside Song out. Also with Song of Earendil we should be able to balance out the threat both decks have to take.

Deck Two Hand:
Arwen (1), Faramir (1), Rossiel (1)
Elven Light, Leave No Trace, The Door is Closed!, Master of the Forge, Light of Valinor, Out of the Wild

When we are able to afford this, it will be key to getting rid of the worst treacheries before they are able to even hit us.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Hobbit Pipe-Sam (At this point Sam is the most universally useful hero, so we’ll get this on him so he can benefit from Smoke Rings and Old Tobey immediately)
Song of Travel-Sam (So that we can use his resources for Spirit cards and also make him eligible for this…)
Song of Earendil-Sam (Again, we can balance out the threat we’ll be taking on, but it also means that when we get our Fireside Song it will give out as much of a boost as possible.) Trigger Song of Earendil to draw a card: Sting
Sting-Sam (Given that Sam will probably be the defender for this deck, it would be best for his to have this)

Trigger Frodo and exhaust The One Ring to give Galadriel 1 resource

Nenya-Galadriel (Now not only can she pay for Lore resources, we can also use her substantial willpower to add it to another character’s for a phase. Given the amount of Fortitude tests we’ll be doing this can only be good)

Deck Two:
Trigger Arwen and discard Elven Light to give Arwen 1 resource.

Light of Valinor-Rossiel (Once we get Mordor location in the victory display, which we can do with Leave No Trace, she should have 4 willpower consistently from now on. If she doesn’t exhaust to quest, we can use that again for Fortitude tests or get her to defend if needs be)

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’ threat by 1. Trigger Song of Earendil to lower Deck Two’s threat by 1 and raise Deck One’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
Frodo-2
Sam-4
Pippin-2
Arwen-3
Rossiel-2

Total willpower: 13

1: Orc-hold (3 threat) (That makes it 3 locations in the staging area. We’ll need to step up our willpower to keep on top of things)
2: Drawn to the Ring (The One Ring is exhausted, so we have no choice other than to look for an enemy). Discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until an enemy is discarded: Heavy and Tired, Brake of Thorns, Little Snuffler. Put Little Snuffler into play engaged with Deck One. Trigger Sam to ready him and Pippin to draw a card: Elrond’s Counsel (We’ll probably use this straightaway to maximise our willpower.) Trigger Surge.
2.1: Evil Vigilance (All our questing characters are heroes, we’ll take the threat hit.) Raise Deck One’s threat by 3 and Deck Two ‘s threat by 2.

Total threat: 8

Deck One plays Elrond’s Counsel to give Sam 1 extra willpower and reduce Deck One’s threat by 1. Trigger Hobbit Pipe to allow Deck One to draw a card: Song of Lore (Another Song for Sam for when Fireside Song comes along)

Total willpower: 15

Win by 7. Explore Brake of Thorns. Deck Two plays Leave No Trace to add it and Brake of Thorns to the victory display. Place 4 progress on Stage 1B (4/12)

One third of the way there, but we really do need to pick up the pace.

Travel Phase
The first player makes a Fortitude test to travel to Plain of Gorgoroth.
Galadriel commits (4)
Orc-hold (1) and Orc Captain (2) revealed
Test passed

So we did alright that time, but I doubt we shall be so lucky in the future.

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Deck One defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Little Snuffler
Sam defends (4). Trigger Sting to discard Foul Fumes from the encounter deck
Big Uruk revealed as Shadow
Little Snuffler attacks (3), deals no damage to Sam

And that’s all we can do. Faramir needs to get his attack boosted before he can start helping out in combat.

Refresh Phase
Trigger Tower of Barad-dur to raise *each player’s threat.
Deck One: 35
Deck Two: 32

Remove 1 resource from Tower of Barad-dur (8 resources)

Turn No.2
Stage: 1B (4/12)
Active Location: Plain of Gorgoroth (0/4)
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (8 resources)
Mount Doom (0/9, 3 threat)
Mordor Road (0/5, 1 threat)
Orc-hold (0/4, 3 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (1), Arwen (2), Faramir (1), Rossiel (2)
Master of the Forge, The Door is Closed!, Out of the Wild, Miruvor

An excellent toolkit card that can be used in a wide variety of situations

Deck One Hand:
Sam (1), Pippin (1), Galadriel (1)
A Test of Will, Friend of Friends, Song of Wisdom, Silver Harp

While not immediately useful, as soon as we can get Mirror of Galadriel this shall be immensely helpful.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Play Elven-Light from the discard pile to draw a card: Lembas (Healing is nice, but really it is the readying we are excited for)
Trigger Arwen to discard Elven Light to give Galadriel a resource (We need this resource here to keep a copy of A Test of Will ready and waiting)
Miruvor-Sam (Given that he has the potential for the highest willpower, he should be stacked up with as much readying as possible)
Out of the Wild (Expensive I know, but if we can net a devastating card this will be worth it) Search the top 5 cards of the encounter deck: Weight Of The Ring, Orc-hold, Ringwraith of Sauron, Plain of Gorgoroth, Orc Captain (I’m not going to lie, that Ringwraith scares me. We’ll get rid of that one please!) Add Out of the Wild and Ringwraith of Sauron to the victory display. Shuffle the encounter deck (The Orc Captain is nasty as well, but that Forced Effect on the Nazgul for if we fail a Fortitude Test is brutal)

Deck One:
Silver Harp-Galadriel (Now whenever we do find the Mirror, we won’t need to discard anything after we draw a card)

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’ threat by 1. Trigger Song of Earendil to lower Deck Two’s threat by 1 and raise Deck One’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
Frodo-2
Arwen-3
Rossiel-4
Sam-4
Pippin-2

Total willpower: 15

1: Big Uruk (2 threat) (A beefy enemy here, who would delight in messing up our day if he got the chance)
2: The Lidless Eye. Deck One makes a Fortitude test.
Galadriel commits (4)
Followed by Night (0), Ringwraith of Sauron (2), Lust for the Ring (0)
Test passed.

Finally those burdens are good for something! We survive another day.

Total threat: 9

Deck One discards Miruvor from Sam to ready him and give him 1 extra willpower.

Total willpower: 16

Win by 7. Explore Plain of Gorgoroth and place 3 progress on Stage 1B (7/12)

Too slow, much too slow. Time is running out!

Travel Phase
Discard 2 cards from the encounter deck to travel to Mordor Road (0/5)

I’m afraid Deck Two can’t afford to defend an attack from an enemy we’d get from Orc-hold, so we’re stuck taking the location with the lesser amount of threat and higher progress points.

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Deck One defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Little Snuffler
Sam defends (3). Trigger Sting to discard Orc-hold to destroy Little Snuffler

A blind stroke of luck, but it’s enough to kill that Orc for us.

Refresh Phase
Trigger Tower of Barad-dur to raise each player’s threat..
Deck Two: 38
Deck One: 37

Remove 1 resource from Tower of Barad-dur (7 resources)

That threat is shooting up much faster than we are able to make progress. We need to step things up.

Turn No.3
Stage: 1B (7/12)
Active Location: Mordor Road (0/5)
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (7 resources)
Mount Doom (0/9, 3 threat)
Orc-hold (0/4, 3 threat)
Big Uruk (2 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (2), Sam (1), Pippin (2), Galadriel (2)
A Test of Will, Friend of Friends, Song of Wisdom, Keen as Lances

Given we’ve got 4 cards already in the staging area, this will cost us 1 resource. Every copy from here on out will be absolutely free!

Deck Two Hand:
Arwen (1), Faramir (1), Rossiel (1)
Master of the Forge, The Door is Closed!, Lembas, Silver Circlet

Some welcome willpower help here!

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Keen as Lances. Draw 3 cards: Dunedain Mark, Fireside Song, Brace of Coneys (A little bit of everything here, goodness all round)
Brace of Coneys. Draw 2 cards: Wingfoot, Fireside Song (And now it seems we have a surplus of willpower! I joke, there is no such thing…)
Fireside Song-Sam (That’s an extra 3 willpower for Sam, taking him up to 7)
Song of Wisdom-Sam (Make that 8!)
Wingfoot-Sam (And potential readying so he should be able to pull double duty with the fortitude tests for us)
Dunedain Mark-Faramir (As our only viable attacker, we’ll need him as boosted as possible)

Deck Two:
Play Elven-Light from the discard pile to draw a card: Love of Tales (Well this could have come a bit sooner. We’ll put it on Sam, he has all the sphere access and so will benefit most from the extra resources)
Trigger Arwen to discard Elven Light to give herself a resource.
Love of Tales-Sam (Now all the sphere songs will essentially be free)
Lembas-Galadriel (We can heal the damage from her and also get her to ready so she can get a player to draw an extra card)

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’ threat by 1. Trigger Song of Earendil to lower Deck Two’s threat by 1 and raise Deck One’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
Frodo-2
Sam-8
-Trigger Wingfoot: treachery
Pippin-2
Arwen-3
Rossiel-4

Total willpower: 19

Now that’s a bit more like it. Still a ways to go yet, but it’s better.

1: Plain of Gorgoroth (2 threat) (Another location is definitely not what we were after, but it could have been worse I suppose)
2: Pursued by the Enemy. Trigger Wingfoot to ready Sam. Trigger Doomed 1. (We’ve no enemies engaged with us, but the worst part is it makes Mount Doom have 4 threat now as Deck One’s threat has crept up to 40.) Trigger Surge
2.1: Wicked Master!. Search the encounter deck for Gollum and put him into play engaged with Deck One. Trigger Sam and trigger Pippin to draw a card: Song of Travel. (Another Song! But now we have a nasty Gollum to deal with)

Total threat: 11

This isn’t enough. We’re 1 short of moving on, which we need to do. We’ll have to take the nuclear option.

Exhaust Galadriel and Nenya to give Frodo 4 extra willpower.

Total willpower: 24

Win by 13, explore Mordor Road and complete Stage 1B. Trigger Stage 2A to search the encounter discard pile for Mordor Road and add it to the staging area. Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and discard 2 cards from the encounter deck to travel to Mordor Road:  Panicked, Orc Captain.

Well we’re moving on, but we now have other problems to deal with, namely a build-up of nasty enemies we need to deal with.

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
We’ll keep those enemies up in the staging area to give Faramir as much of a boost as possible

Combat Phase
[Deck One defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Gollum
Sam defends (4). Trigger Sting to discard Brake of Thorns from the encounter deck and deal 3 damage to Gollum (2/5)
Little Snuffler revealed as Shadow (We have no-one left in Deck One to exhaust)
Gollum attacks (2), deals no damage

Now let us be rid of Stinker

[Deck One attacks]
Faramir attacks (5), destroys Gollum

He could have caused us a lot of bother if he was left to stick around.

Discard Lembas to ready Galadriel and heal 2 damage from her.

Exhaust Galadriel to lower Deck One’s threat by 1 and draw a card: Hobbit Pipe

Still useful, but only if we are able to find those cards we need to trigger it.

Exhaust The One Ring to give Arwen a resource.

Refresh Phase
Trigger Tower of Barad-dur to raise each player’s threat.
Deck One: 42
Deck Two: 42

Remove 1 resource from Tower of Barad-dur (6 resources)

Turn No.4
Stage: 2B (-/-)
Active Location: Mordor Road (0/5)
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (6 resources)
Mount Doom (0/9, 4 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth (0/4, 2 threat)
Orc-hold (0/4, 3 threat)
Big Uruk (2 threat)
Orc Captain (3 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (1), Arwen (3), Faramir (2), Rossiel (1)
Master of the Forge, The Door is Closed!, Silver Circlet, Ranger Spikes

This will serve several purposes here. We can keep an enemy locked in the staging area so they won’t come down and attack us. But their threat will also be reduced so it won’t impede our questing as much. On top of that Faramir’s attack will also be increased as a result for as long as they are stuck up there.

Deck One Hand:
Sam (1), Pippin (2), Galadriel (1)
A Test of Will, Friend of Friends, Fireside Song, Song of Travel, Hobbit Pipe, Nenya

Well that is slightly less useful. I suppose if we ever get Protector of Lorien out this will be useful for that.

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Play Elven-Light from the discard pile to draw a card: Ithilien Tracker (While this will definitely come in handy, we probably won’t put it into play until things get a bit more desperate and we need every ounce of willpower we can eke out of our decks)
Trigger Arwen to discard Elven Light to give herself a resource.
Ranger Spikes (Now all we can do is wait)
Silver Circlet-Galadriel (This will help Galadriel as she lends her considerable willpower wherever it is needed the most)

Deck One:
Fireside Song-Frodo (Given that Frodo is jumping between Deck One and Deck Two, it makes sense to boost his willpower as well so he can do Fortitude tests wherever he finds himself) Exhaust Love of Tales to give Sam 1 resource
Song of Travel-Frodo (And now he can pay for Spirit cards across either deck for us)
Hobbit Pipe-Frodo (We will get some Pipe-weed cards, it’s just a question of getting prepared for them)

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
Frodo-4
Sam-8
-Trigger Wingfoot: treachery (Given the amount of burdens we have picked up along the way, there are more treacheries in the encounter deck than anything else)
Pippin-2
Arwen-3
Rossiel-4

Total willpower: 21

1: Followed by Night (Oh goody! Gollum is back again to wreck our day.) Gollum engages Deck Two. Trigger Wingfoot to ready Sam. Trigger Surge.
1.1: Gwaihir (Now this is more like it. Because he was still around at the end of Black Gate Opens, the Lord of the Eagles can come and help us here too) Spend 1 Fellowship resource you discard Gwaihir and Orc Captain from the staging area
2: Little Snuffler (1 threat) Trigger Ranger Spikes and attach them to Little Snuffler (Now we have no allies so the only thing this Orc will do now is sit there and boost Faramir’s attack)
2.: Ringwraith of Sauron (3 threat) (And this is why we made the investment earlier with Out of the Wild, because that enables us to do this) Deck Two plays The Door is Closed! to discard Ringwraith of Sauron

Total threat: 11

Win by 10, explore Mordor Road and trigger Stage 2B. Each player makes a Fortitude Test.

Deck One:
Sam commits (8)
Orc-hold (1), Evil Vigilance (0), Big Uruk (1), The Lidless Eye (2)
Test passed, place 1 resource on Stage 2B

Deck Two:
Faramir commits (2)
Heavy and Tired (1), Drawn to the Ring (0), Lure of the Ring (0), Little Snuffler (1)
Galadriel and Nenya exhausts to give Faramir 6 extra willpower
Test passed, place 1 resource on Stage 2B

We nearly had it by ourselves, but not quite so we had to call in backup from Galadriel.

Complete Stage 2B. Trigger Stage 3A. Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck. Discard cards from the encounter deck until 2 locations are discarded: Drawn to the Ring, Pursued by the Enemy, Ringwraith of Sauron, Weight Of The Ring, Plain of Gorgoroth, Old Water Course. Add Plain of Gorgoroth and Old Water Course to the staging area.

Travel Phase
We can not afford to travel to any location, we have no spare defenders and no heroes to exhaust. We will have to wait until next turn.

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Deck Two defends]
Shadow Card dealt to Gollum
Rossiel defends (2)
Heavy and Tired revealed as Shadow
Gollum attacks (2), deals no damage

We had a lucky escape there, but we can’t expect luck to hold out forever.

Exhaust The One Ring to give Sam a resource.

Quickly do this before the refresh phase.

Refresh Phase
Trigger Tower of Barad-dur to raise each player’s threat.
Deck Two: 46
Deck One: 46

Remove 1 resource from Tower of Barad-dur (5 resources)

Gollum engages Deck One. Trigger Pippin to draw a card: Rosie Cotton

Glory and trumpets! Things are looking up.

Turn No.5
Stage: 3B (0/20)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 resources)
Mount Doom (0/9, 4 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth (0/4, 2 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth* (0/4, 2 threat)
Orc-hold (0/4, 3 threat)
Old Water Course (0/5, 2 threat)
Big Uruk (2 threat)
Little Snuffler (0 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (2), Galadriel (1), Pippin (3), Sam (2)
A Test of Will, Friend of Friends, Nenya, Rosie Cotton, Keen as Lances

Here we go! Free card draw that we were promised has finally arrived.

Deck Two Hand:
Arwen (2), Faramir (1), Rossiel (1)
Master of the Forge, Ithilien Tracker, Miruvor

It’s great to see this fantastic attachment. The flexibility this offers really is fantastic.

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Rosie Cotton (The first ally we play, and she is brilliant. Don’t forget that with Galadriel’s ability she doesn’t exhaust to quest this turn so we can double up on her ability)
Keen As Lances. Draw 3 cards: Smoke Rings, Dunedain Mark, Old Toby (We can’t pay for Dunedain Mark this turn, but we certainly shall use these Pipeweed cards)
Old Toby. (We’ll save Smoke Rings for the quest phase to make the most of the extra willpower) Draw 2 cards: Friend of Friends, Wingfoot (Well the extra copy of Wingfoot is useless for now, but we shall certainly have that first card!)
Friend of Friends-Frodo
Friend of Friends-Sam (This should take Frodo up to 5 willpower and Sam up to 9)

Deck Two:
Play Elven-Light from the discard pile to draw a card: Keen as Lances (And the train is rolling for this side as well)
Trigger Arwen to discard Elven Light to give herself a resource
Keen as Lances. Draw 3 cards: Brace of Coneys, Unexpected Courage, Fast Hitch (That’s a whole lot of utility right there, we cannot play Brace of Coneys until next turn, when Deck Two has the Ringbearer, but we can use the others straightaway)
Fast Hitch-Sam (I’m sorry, but with the stats he has now, we can’t really put this on anyone else)
Unexpected Courage-Galadriel (She’s getting this so that she can facilitate her card draw ability and her willpower boosting)
Miruvor-Sam (We don’t know when this will be needed, so we’ll keep it here in reserve just in case. For those of you keeping count at home, we are on 11 attachments for Sam)

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
Trigger Stage 3B. The first player makes a Fortitude test.
Galadriel commits (6)
Lust for the Ring (0), Mordor Road (1), Big Uruk (1), The Lidless Eye (2)
Test passed.

Excellent. Now we can go pedal to the metal and put down as much willpower as we can.

Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Galadriel.

Frodo-5
Sam-9
-Trigger Wingfoot: Treachery
Pippin-2
Rosie Cotton-2
Arwen-3
Rossiel-2

Total willpower: 23

1: Drawn to the Ring (We’d prefer not to have an extra enemy engaged with us, especially as the Big Uruk is going to be coming down to engage us) Exhaust The One Ring and reveal an extra encounter card. Trigger Wingfoot to ready Sam.
1.1: Foul Fumes (And we’re not keen on doing an extra Fortitude test. We’ll cancel this one I think) Deck One plays A Test of Will to cancel Foul Fumes. Trigger Surge from Drawn to the Ring
1.2: Evil Vigilance (Definitely not going to be discarding heroes, so we’re going to take the threat hike.) Raise Deck One’s threat by 4 (50) and Deck Two’s threat by 2 (48)
2: Gwaihir (Just in the nick of time!) Pay a Fellowship resource from Frodo and discard Gwaihir to discard Big Uruk from the Staging Area.

Total threat: 14

Exhaust Galadriel and Nenya to give Frodo 6 extra willpower

Exhaust Rosie Cotton to give Sam 2 extra willpower

Total willpower: 29

Win by 15, place 15 progress on Stage 3B (15/20).

Nearly there, but we absolutely have to finish this stage next round.

Travel Phase
Exhaust Sam and Faramir to travel to Old Water Course (0/5)

Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam

The only way to lower our threat by more than one in this quest, this location is a blessing from Iluvatar

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Deck One defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Gollum
Sam defends (4). Trigger Sting to discard  Panicked from the top of the encounter deck (No damage this time, but we avoid a nasty treachery)
Orc-hold revealed as Shadow
Gollum attacks (2), deals no damage to Sam

Next turn we should be able to use Faramir to get rid of Gollum again for us

Refresh Phase
Trigger Tower of Barad-dur to raise each player’s threat.
Deck One: 54
Deck Two: 51

Gollum engages Deck Two

Remove 1 resource from Tower of Barad-dur (4 resources)

Turn No.6
Stage: 3B (15/20)
Active Location: Old Water-course (0/5)
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (4 resources)
Mount Doom (5 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth (0/4, 2 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth* (0/4, 2 threat)
Orc-hold (0/4, 3 threat)
Little Snuffler (0 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck Two Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (1), Arwen (2), Faramir (2), Rossiel (1)
Master of the Forge, Ithilien Tracker, Brace of Coneys, Out of the Wild

Again, we’ll use this to look into the encounter deck and remove the worst card we can see from the equation

Deck One Hand:
Sam (1), Pippin (1), Galadriel (1)
Nenya, Smoke Rings, Dunedain Mark, Wingfoot, Rosie Cotton

We really are pulling all the duplicates here aren’t we?

Planning Phase
Deck Two:
Play Elven-Light from the discard pile to draw a card: The Searching Eye (Well that’s not good at all, and is actually close to the last thing we need right now. We’ll take the extra encounter card as we cannot afford to have our heroes exhausted right now). Reveal the top card from the encounter deck: Orc Captain (And we end up with a big nasty enemy, second only to the Nazgul in this scenario)
Trigger Arwen to discard Elven Light to give herself a resource
Brace of Coneys. Deck Two draws 2 cards: Light of Valinor, Keen as Lances (The first one is a dead card for now, but the extra card draw is appreciated)
Keen as Lances. Draw 3 cards: Ranger Spikes, Silver Circlet, Reforged (Extra willpower, extra questing help negating an enemy and the chance to recur attachments. We just need to get an off-sphere attachment into the discard pile)
Silver Sphere-Arwen (Now she is sitting at 5 willpower so she can do a Fortitude test if needs be)
Ranger Spikes (This should make questing easier and boost Faramir’s aggressive potential)

Deck One:
Dunedain Mark-Faramir (Now sitting at 4 base attack, and however many enemies are in the staging area, currently 2, means Faramir is able to pick off most enemies fairly quickly)

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
We don’t need to pass this Fortitude test to place enough progress, but we will have extra threat from Plains of Gorgoroth so we shall still attempt to pass.

Trigger Stage 3B. The first player makes a Fortitude test.
Frodo commits (5)
Foul Fumes (2), Little Snuffler (1), Brake of Thorns (1), Deep Shadows (0), Plains of Gorgoroth (0)
Test passed.

And on we go, let’s finish this!

Sam-9
-Trigger Wingfoot: Treachery
Pippin-2
Arwen-5
Rossiel-4

Total willpower: 20

1: Little Snuffler* (0 threat) Attach Ranger Spikes to Little Snuffler. (Again we have a Little Snuffler doing little other than boost the attack of Faramir for us. Which we are more than happy with.) Trigger Surge.
1.1: Orc-hold* (3 threat) (Less ideal, but we should be able to handle this)
2: Plain of Gorgoroth^ (2 threat) (I am really regretting not taking anything in the way of location control)

Total threat: 20

Trigger and discard Miruvor from Sam to ready him and give him 1 extra willpower

Deck Two plays Reforged to play Miruvor on Arwen

Trigger and discard Miruvor to ready Arwen and give her 1 extra willpower

Exhaust Rosie Cotton to give Sam 2 extra willpower to Sam

Exhaust Galadriel and Nenya to give Sam 6 extra willpower. Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Galadriel

Total willpower: 30

Win by 10. Explore Old Water Course and lower each player’s threat by 5. Place 5 progress on Stage 3B (20/20)

And now for the final ascent.

Travel Phase
Travel to Mount Doom. Each player makes a Fortitude Test.
Deck Two:
Arwen commits (6)
The Lidless Eye (2), Drawn to the Ring (0), Deep Shadows (0), Heavy and Tired (1)
Test Passed.

Deck One:
Sam commits (10)
Evil Vigilance (0), Little Snuffler (1), Big Uruk (2), Followed by Night (0), Orc Captain (2)
Test passed.

That’s it! We are on the Slopes of Orodruin now.

Complete Stage 3B. Trigger Stage 4A. Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and discard cards until 2 enemies are revealed: Deep Shadows, The Lidless Eye, Orc-hold, The Lidless Eye, Evil Vigilance, Weight Of The Ring, Mordor Road, Ringwraith of Sauron,  Panicked, Mordor Road, Deep Shadows, Plain of Gorgoroth, Drawn to the Ring, Big Uruk. Add Ringwraith of Sauron and Big Uruk to the staging area.

Well those two are less than ideal. It looks like we’re having to face a Big Uruk this turn.

Encounter Phase
Deck One optionally engages Big Uruk. Trigger Sam. Trigger Big Uruk to make an immediate attack against Deck One
-Shadow Card dealt to Big Uruk
-Sam defends (5). Trigger Sting to discard Brake of Thorns from the encounter deck
Evil Vigilance revealed as Shadow
-Big Uruk attacks (5), deals no damage

Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Sam

Fortunately Sam’s boost lasts until the end of the round so he can defend again with reasonable confidence

Combat Phase
[Deck Two defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Gollum
Rossiel defends (2)
Lust for the Ring revealed as Shadow
Gollum attacks (2), deals no damage

[Deck One defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Big Uruk
Sam defends (5). Trigger Sting to discard Gwaihir from the encounter deck (Oops)
Drawn to the Ring revealed as Shadow. Discard Love of Tales from Sam (This was probably the attachment we can do without the easiest)
Big Uruk attacks (4), deals no damage

Well that wasn’t good. Not only have we failed to damage the Big Uruk twice with Sting, we’ve also discarded Gwaihir from the encounter deck right when we need him the most.

[Deck Two attacks]
Big Uruk:
Faramir attacks (8), destroys Big Uruk

He has a higher attack than Gollum so we needed to get rid of him quicker.

Exhaust The One Ring to give Sam 1 resource

Exhaust Galadriel to reduce Deck One’s threat by 1 and allow them to draw 1 card: Mirror of Galadriel

Better late than never, but at long last we have it!

Refresh Phase
Trigger Tower of Barad-dur to raise each player’s threat.
Deck Two: 50
Deck One: 53

Gollum engages Deck One. Trigger Pippin to draw 1 card: Song of Wisdom

Remove 1 resource from Tower of Barad-dur (3 resources)

Turn No.7
Stage: 4B (-/-)
Active Location: Mount Doom (0/9)
Staging Area:
The Tower of Barad-dur (3 resources)
Plain of Gorgoroth (0/4, 2 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth* (0/4, 2 threat)
Plain of Gorgoroth^ (0/4, 2 threat)
Orc-hold (0/4, 3 threat)
Orc-hold* (0/4, 3 threat)
Little Snuffler (0 threat)
Little Snuffler* (0 threat)
Orc Captain (3 threat)
Ringwraith of Sauron (3 threat)

Resource Phase
Deck One Hand (New Card in Bold):
Frodo (2), Sam (2), Pippin (2), Galadriel (2)
Nenya, Smoke Rings, Wingfoot, Rosie Cotton, Mirror of Galadriel, Song of Wisdom, Drinking Song

We may be able to shuffle out some of the duplicate cards we have here and get some more useful ones

Deck Two Hand:
Arwen (1), Faramir (2), Rossiel (1)
Master of the Forge, Ithilien Tracker, Out of the Wild, The Searching Eye, Light of Valinor, Fast Hitch

And now we can get Frodo to pull double duty as well

Planning Phase
Deck One:
Song of Wisdom-Frodo (Just slowly creeping up his willpower)
Mirror of Galadriel-Galadriel (We may only be able to use it once, but that’s better than not at all)

Exhaust Mirror of Galadriel to look at the top 10 cards of Deck One’s deck: Friend of Friends, Old Tobey, Drinking Song, Song of Travel, The Searching Eye, Keen as Lances, Fireside Song, Smoke Rings, Hobbit Pipe, Elrond’s Counsel (Of these, I reckon Hobbit Pipe will the most useful. It means when we play Smoke Rings we’ll have 3 heroes with an extra willpower and draw 3 cards as well) Add Smoke Rings to Deck One’s hand and shuffle his deck. Trigger Galadriel’s Mirror to discard Wingfoot. Exhaust Silver Harp to return Wingfoot to Deck One’s hand. (We don’t actually need Wingfoot, but it means Drinking Song will fetch more cards for us)
Hobbit Pipe-Pippin (And that’s all the pipes in our deck. Any Pipeweed will now be the most effective they can be)

Deck Two:
Fast Hitch-Frodo (Just so he can both quest and do Fortitude tests for us)
Play Elven-Light from the discard pile to draw a card: Elven Light (To be frank this doesn’t really help us much at this stage, but there you go)
Trigger Arwen to discard Elven Light to give herself a resource

Trigger A Heavy Burden to raise each players’s threat by 1.

Quest Phase
Frodo-6
Sam-9
-Trigger Wingfoot: Treachery
Pippin-3
Arwen-5
Rossiel-4

Total willpower: 27

Nearly there, hold on.

1: Little Snuffler^ (1 threat) (We are not going to ditch Rosie, so we’ll just have to eat the threat here) Raise Deck One’s threat by 1. Trigger Surge
1.1: Pursued by the Enemy (At least Wingfoot means Sam is ready to deal with Gollum this time)
-Shadow Card dealt to Gollum
-Sam defends (4). Trigger Sting to discard Drawn to the Ring from the encounter deck
-Gollum attacks (2), deals no damage (Still no damage from Sting, but at least we’re no worse off than we were before)
Trigger Doomed 1. Trigger Surge.
1.2: Brake of Thorns (3 threat) (Ouch! That extra eye is really going to hurt when it comes to the last Fortitude Test)
2: Heavy and Tired (And our best hero is neutered. Sam will no longer be able to commit to Fortitude tests for us. This leaves the burden on Frodo’s shoulders. Which I suppose is appropriate)

Total threat: 22

That’s not enough to clear Mount Doom. We need help. Moreover, we need to get Frodo’s willpower as boosted as we possibly can for the final fortitude test.

Exhaust Fast Hitch to ready Frodo

Galadriel and Nenya exhaust to give Frodo 6 extra willpower. Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Galadriel

Rosie Cotton exhausts to give Frodo 2 extra willpower

Deck One plays Smoke Rings to reduce Deck One’s threat by 1 and give Frodo, Sam and Pippin 1 extra willpower each. Trigger 3 copies of Hobbit Pipe to draw 3 cards: Song of Wisdom, Mirror of Galadriel, Hobbit Cloak

This may end up being too little, too late. We need to dig out as many willpower boosters as we can. It all hinges on the last Fortitude test.

Deck One plays Drinking Song to shuffle his hand back into his deck and draw 7 cards: Wingfoot, Smoke Rings, Song of Wisdom, Drinking Song, Nenya, Rosie Cotton, Hobbit Cloak

No copies of Elrond’s Council, which is all that can help us now so we can drop our threat and make us draw fewer cards for the test, so we’ll try again

Deck One plays Drinking Song to shuffle his hand back into his deck and draw 7 cards: The Searching Eye, Fireside Song, Rosie Cotton, Silver Harp, Hobbit Cloak, Song of Travel, Dunedain Mark

Again, nothing here except a Burden. And because we cannot exhaust all our heroes we must fulfil the second option, that is to reveal an encounter card.

Trigger The Searching Eye to reveal an encounter card: Evil Vigilance (Well again, we are not discarding a questing character, we’ll have to take the threat hike instead). Deck One raises his threat by 3 and Deck Two raises his threat by 2

And that’s all we can do.

Total willpower: 38

Win by 16, explore Mount Doom and add it to the victory display.

Trigger Stage 4B. The first player must make a Fortitude Test.

This is it. The final test. At 57 threat we shall reveal 7 cards.

Frodo commits (15)
Brake of Thorns adds (1)
The Lidless Eye (2), Foul Fumes (2), Orc Captain (2), Wicked Master! (3), Heavy and Tired (1), The Lidless Eye (2), Foul Fumes (2)
Test Failed.

Defeat.

Victory Display: Old Bogey-stories (1), Leave No Trace (0), Brake of Thorns (0), Out of the Wild (0), Ringwraith of Sauron (0), Keen as Lances (0), Brace of Coneys (2), Keen as Lances (0), Keen as Lances (0), Brace of Coneys (2), Keen as Lances (0), Old Water Course (2), Mount Doom (9)

Score: 57 threat + 54 threat + 70 for turns taken + 3 for damage on Faramir – 16 victory points = 168

That’s it over. After two and a half years it’s done. And we lost. Despite it all, we lost. I feel disappointed, but not ashamed. We threw everything we could at this quest, and in the end it wasn’t enough. The cards didn’t line up and we lost. Middle-Earth has fallen. I think we did reasonably well though, setting aside the end result, and the two decks performed quite well. We were able to get out our willpower in good order, not to mention a decent amount of flexible boosting in Rosie and Galadriel, and we even had reliable readying on hand as well. Our card draw was reliable, though it could have been even better if we had Mirror of Galadriel out even a little bit earlier. Even our combat capabilities weren’t too bad, with Sam and Faramir able to handle most threats well enough.

So I’m not too upset, but the question becomes, where do we go from here? Is this a good place to end the blog, and sail it off into the West as a complete arc? Should we revisit chapters with different characters and see what would happen? Or it this time to strike out on all new adventures in individual scenarios, or even whole cycles? But maybe it is time to tell the tale of going There and Back Again? Let us know what you think, and thank you for joining me on this journey.

Aure entuluva!

ArtStation - The Crack of Doom, Dmitry Prosvirnin

2 thoughts on “Mount Doom: Playthrough

    1. It is indeed, and thank you for reading and your comment. However I knew going into the final quest that I would accept the results of the first Playthrough, and write the chapters accordingly. I think it is not inappropriate that I did lose, as in the original narrative Frodo failed as well. Also, it has allowed me to tell a different tale to the one published in The Lord of the Rings and explore the outworkings of this divergence, so while I am disappointed, I am not wholly heartbroken. Maybe in the future I can revisit this quest and try again for victory.

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