The Fortress of Nurn: Playthrough

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

Player Deck Set-up:

Deck One
Threat: 30
Aragorn
Amarthiul
Thurindir

Deck One Starting Hand:
Vigilant Dunedain
Andrath Guardsman
Secret Vigil
Round Shield
Hauberk of Mail
The Long Defeat

While none of these cards are without utility, I think I could try and draw into some more vital cards for our deck to function. We’ll mulligan.

Deck One’s Mulligan:
Legacy Blade
Celebrian’s Stone
Northern Bowmaster
A Test of Will
Andrath Guardsman
Vigilant Dunedain

That’s slightly better, we’re happy enough with most of these but we’ll see how well we can make them work.

Trigger Thurindir to search Deck One’s deck for Keep Watch and add it to his hand (Apparently this is meant to trigger after the encounter deck set-up, but we were unaware of this at the time of playing. If this bothers you, then assume Keep Watch was found in the final 4 cards of my deck.)

If we are able to finish this early on, this will make combat much more straightforward in the rounds to come.

Encounter Deck Set-up:
Create the Power of Mordor deck.
Deck One puts a copy of Ulchor’s Guard into play engaged with him. Add Thane Ulchor and all 4 copies of Storm the Castle into the staging area. (I have lettered each of the Castle side-quests in play so you will know to which I am referring to at any given time)

Place the top card of the Power of Mordor deck faceup under each side quest in play. Each player places 8 cards from the top of his deck under the quest deck and each side quest in play.

Turn No.1
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Thane Ulchor (1 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (b)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (1), Amarthiul (1), Thurindir (1)
Legacy Blade, Celebrian’s Stone, Northern Bowmaster, A Test of Will, Andrath Guardsman, Vigilant Dunedain, Keep Watch, Heir of Valandil

This is most excellent. As long as we can keep an enemy or three engaged with us we can keep our ally costs low.

Planning Phase
Keep Watch (We’re going to be having lots more enemies coming at us. We’ll need to get every advantage.)

Quest Phase
Keep Watch is the active quest.

Aragorn-2
Thurindir-2

Total: 4

1: Unwelcome Travelers (For the record, that is now 6 side-quests in the staging area for us to complete.)

Total threat: 1

Win by 3, place 3 progress on Keep Watch (3/6)

We’re half-way there. Side-quests are what we want right now. Yes we need our cards kept hidden from us, but we also avoid the nasty side-effects and the Power from Mordor cards.

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Ulchor’s Guard
Amarthiul defends (3)
Under Guard revealed as Shadow
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (4), deals 1 damage to Amarthiul (2/3)

This is working for now, but one nasty shadow could be all it takes to bring us down. And we should probably take him down sooner rather than later so we can survive.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 31

Turn No.2
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Thane Ulchor (1 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (b)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)
Keep Watch (3/6)
Unwelcome Travelers (0/5)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (1), Amarthiul (2), Thurindir (2)
Legacy Blade, Heir of Valandil, Vigilant Dunedain, Andrath Guardsman, A Test of Will, Northern Bowmaster, Celebrian’s Stone, Ranger of Cardolan

With a deck size this small, we know for a certainty we can see him again very quickly.

Planning Phase
Celebrian’s Stone-Aragorn (Now we have the extra willpower, but also a Spirit resource icon to allow us to play A Test of Will)
Northern Bowmaster (With only 2 attack he may not seem like much, but remember Aragorn reduces the defense of every enemy engaged with us so he can start chipping away at these)

Quest Phase
Keep Watch is the active quest

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-2

Total willpower: 6

1: Soldier of Nurn (2 threat) (While another enemy may prove troublesome, this may be exactly the catalyst our deck needs to start picking up steam. On the other hand, losing cards from our hand could be very problematic)

Total threat: 3

Win by 3, complete Keep Watch and add it to the victory display.

Now if we can get out a Vigilant Dunedain, our defense should be taken care of for most of the weaker enemies. Also, Thurindir gets an extra willpower!

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
Soldier of Nurn engages Deck One. Deck One plays a resource to put Ranger of Cardolan into play.

Combat Phase
[Defense]

Shadow Card dealt to Ulchor’s Guard
Amarthiul defends (3)
Fanaticism revealed as Shadow
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (3), deals no damage

Thanks to Keep Watch we were kept free from damage this turn

Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Ranger of Cardolan defends (2)
Mordor Olog-hai revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (4), deals 2 damage to Ranger of Cardolan

Trigger Soldier of Nurn to place Vigilant Dunedain from Deck One’s hand facedown under a Castle side-quest (b)

It’s a good thing we can take the Ranger back to our deck and remove the damage from him. We’ll keep the Andrath Guardsman because we can afford him next.

[Attacks]
Ulchor’s Guard:
Northern Bowmaster attacks (2), deals 2 damage to Ulchor’s Guard (3/5)

Nearly halfway there, and I think we need to cut down on hemorrhaging hit points

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 32

Shuffle Ranger of Cardolan back into Deck One’s deck. (Well there’s now only 2 cards in there, so we’ve a 50/50 chance of getting it back next turn)

Turn No.3
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Thane Ulchor (1 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (b)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)
Unwelcome Travelers (0/5)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (1), Amarthiul (2), Thurindir (2)
Legacy Blade, Heir of Valandil, Andrath Guardsman, A Test of Will, The Long Defeat

Ok, we’re going to have to go for the quest we have bet all our cards on and chip away at it with the resources we have.

Planning Phase
Heir of Valandil-Aragorn (I mean, who else would it be going on?)
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally by 2
Andrath Guardsman: Trigger Andrath Guardsman to prevent Ulchor’s Guard from attacking this turn (He’s got the highest attack so he’s best target)
Legacy Blade-Aragorn (As soon as we have enough willpower we can start using him to attack for us)
The Long Defeat-Storm the Castle (b) (So now when we defeat this side-quest [see the optimism here?], we can draw three of these cards we had lost)

Quest Phase
Storm the Castle (b) is the active quest: Castle Garrison. Trigger Castle Garrison to discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until an enemy is discarded: Fortress Walls, Guard Tower, Determined Defense, Easterling Mercenary. Add Easterling Mercenary (3 threat) to the staging area. (Well at least it wasn’t revealed so we can still place progress on the quest this turn, if we can muster enough willpower)
Add The Armies of Mordor to the staging area. (Fantastic, these two seem like they were written for each other!)

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-3

Total willpower: 7

1: The Dark Lord’s Reach (I don’t think so mate. We’ll keep both our attachments thank you, we need them right now) Deck One plays A Test of Will to cancel the When Revealed effects of The Dark Lord’s Reach

Total threat: 4

Win by 3, place 3 progress on Castle Garrison (3/6)

Half-way there (Woah, living on a prayer!. And in other news we have no cards left in our hand)

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
Easterling Mercenary engages Deck One

This guy has a pretty nasty attack. We may need to take an undefended attack from the Soldiers so as we can defend properly against this guy.

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Easterling Mercenary
Amarthiul defends (3)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Easterling Mercenary attacks (3), deals no damage

That shadow could be very frustrating indeed, were it not redundant because of The Armies of Mordor

Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
No defender declared
Guard Tower revealed as Shadow Card
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals 2 damage to Thurindir (2/4)

We gave this one to him because Aragorn has the larger pool of hitpoints and so is more likely to survive if a nasty shadow effect comes next

Ulchor’s Guard prevented from attacking by Andrath Guardsman

[Attacks]
Uclhor’s Guard:
Northern Bowmaster attacks (2), deals 2 damage to Uclhor’s Guard (1/5)

Nearly there, just one hit point left

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 33

Turn No.4
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Thane Ulchor (1 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Castle Garrison (3/6)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)
Unwelcome Travelers (0/5)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (1), Amarthiul (2), Thurindir (3)
Ranger of Cardolan

Surprise everyone!

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 2
Ranger of Cardolan (As much as it goes against the grain to hard-cast this guy, we need the willpower, badly.)

Quest Phase
Castle Garrison is the active quest.

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-3
Ranger of Cardolan-2

Total willpower: 9

Here goes nothing.

1: Plaza of Nurn (2 threat) (The travel effect will sting, but it’s not enough! We’re through!)

Total threat: 3

Win by 6, complete Castle Garrison and add it to the victory display. Trigger Castle Garrison to shuffle each card under it into our deck, and then draw a card: Sarn Ford Sentry (We’ll take it! The more cards we can draw and play, the faster we can liberate the rest of our deck). Trigger The Long Defeat to allow Deck One to draw 2 cards: Woodman’s Clearing, Feint (We’ll use the latter immediately so we can keep our threat reduction as well as the extra ally with card draw)

Travel Phase
Deal 2 damage to Ranger of Cardolan (1/3) to travel to Plaza of Nurn

We may as well travel here to get as much threat out of the staging area as possible

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Easterling Mercenary
Amarthiul defends (3)
Catacombs revealed as Shadow
Easterling Mercenary attacks (3), deals no damage

We’ve survived so far, but some defense boosts would be really helpful.

Shadow Card dealt to Uclhor’s Guard
Andrath Guardsman defends (1)
The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar revealed as Shadow
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (3), destroys Andrath Guardsman

It needed to be done. We can only block 2 attacks without incurring an undefended attack and we need to save our cards from the Soldier of Nurn by doing this.

Feint played by Deck One to cancel to attack from Soldier of Nurn

[Attacks]
Ulchor’s Guard:
Northern Bowmaster attacks (2), destroys Ulchor’s Guard

This has been a handy cheap ally, able to chip away at enemies to his heart’s content

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 34

Turn No.5
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Plaza of Nurn (0/5)
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
Thane Ulchor (2 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)
Unwelcome Travelers (0/5)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (1), Amarthiul (4), Thurindir (2)
Sarn Ford Sentry, Woodman’s Clearing, Fornost Bowman,

And at last we have some decent counter-attacking capabilities.

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 2
Sarn Ford Sentry. Trigger Sarn Ford Sentry to draw 2 cards: Round Shield, Warden of Annuminas (That Vigilant Dunedain is instantly useful. That Warden is going to need a little bit of work)
Woodman’s Clearing-Plaza of Nurn (Hopefully we can clear this all at once and get our threat reduction, as well as opening up our active location slot for any more locations that come off the encounter deck.)
Vigilant Dunedain (4 cost is expensive, yes. But not having to exhaust to defend is tight)

Quest Phase

Unwelcome Travelers is the active quest. (We’re going here first to get another side-quest under our belt for Thurindir, and so that locations don’t get the bonus to their threat. But we will have to face an enemy whenever we make it the current quest, so we need to focus on this now we’ve started, or else we’ll get even more enemies coming at us in the future.) Trigger Unwelcome Travelers: Desperate Defense, Fortress Walls, Ulchor’s Rage, Guard Dogs. Put Guard Dogs into play engaged with Deck One and deal 1 damage to Aragorn (4/5) (We aren’t too bothered by this enemy, now having only 1 attack, but that extra damage adds up)

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-4
Sarn Ford Sentry-2

Total willpower: 10

1: Ulchor’s Guard (2 threat) (Definitely not the worst thing we could have drawn, though it is annoying to see it again and we do need to get rid of an enemy this turn or we shall see ourselves soon overwhelmed)

Total threat: 4

Win by 6, explore Plaza of Nurn and put 1 progress on Unwelcome Travelers (1/5). Trigger Woodman’s Clearing to reduce Deck One’s threat by 3.

The threat drop is certainly welcome, but we need to do better in the future if we are to keep pace with the encounter deck.

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
Ulchor’s Guard engages Deck One.

Remember that thanks to The Armies of Mordor we cannot damage this enemy this round now.

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Guard Dogs revealed as Shadow, put Guard Dogs* into play engaged with Deck One (And now we have yet another enemy to deal with in the future)
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage. Trigger Soldier of Nurn to place Fornost Bowman under Storm the Castle (c)

Now I can’t remember if this extra Guard Dogs* ought to get to attack or not, but in any case it has missed its chance for a shadow card and our Vigilant Dunedain can block it’s 1 attack strength so it’s a moot point. Except that it also gives us a point of damage.

Trigger Guard Dogs* to deal 1 damage to Aragorn (3/5)

The way things are going, we’re going to need some healing or if we pick Lethal Counterattack as our side-quest it could be the end of us.

Shadow Card dealt to Easterling Mercenary
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Side Street revealed as Shadow
Easterling Mercenary attacks (3), deals 1 damage to Vigilant Dunedain (2/3)

I really wish we had a simple, consistent way to boost this guy’s defense. As it is the only way to do it is to give him Elf-friend and then Cloak of Lorien for 1 extra defense. So that’s 2 cards and 2 resources for 1 extra point of defense. Now granted he doesn’t exhaust to defend when there’s a side-quest in the victory display, and so that 3 defense can go far, but it’s still a lot of set-up to go right before we get there and we don’t have time for that in this quest. Otherwise the only other thing we can do is give him a Round Shield.

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attack (1), deals no damage

We’re happy to keep these guys around all day, powering up our special Dunedain abilities

Shadow Card dealt to Ulchor’s Guard
Amarthiul defends (3)
Fanaticism revealed as Shadow
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (3), deals no damage

Of course the other benefit of having lots of enemies is that shadow effects burn through a lot of the encounter deck

[Attacks]
Easterling Mercenary:
Northern Bowmaster attacks (2), Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), destroys Easterling Mercenary

We went for this guy over the Soldier of Nurn because he has the higher attack strength, though I reckon the Soldier of Nurn won’t have long for this world either.

Soldier of Nurn:
Ranger of Cardolan attacks (2), deals 2 damage to Soldier of Nurn

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 32

Turn No.6
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
Thane Ulchor (2 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)
Unwelcome Travelers (1/5)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (2), Amarthiul (2), Thurindir (2)
Warden of Annuminas, Warden of Healing

Let’s get these guys to work! Wardens for the win!

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 4
Warden of Annuminas (I know it takes work to get to this stage, but here we have a 4 willpower ally coming in for free!)
Warden of Healing (This guy has his work cut out for him. First we’ll heal folk away from the threshold of death, then get to work on our heroes)
Exhaust Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Ranger of Cardolan (2/3) and Aragorn (3/5) (That’s better, we’re away from the danger zone now)

Quest Phase
Unwelcome Travelers is the active quest (It remains such, so I don’t have to dig out another enemy)

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-4
Warden of Annuminas-4
Sarn Ford Sentry-2

Total willpower: 14

1: Under Guard (And there is no active location, so we go looking for one to add into the staging area.) Trigger Under Guard: Soldier of Nurn, The Dark Lord’s Reach, Mordor Olog-hai, Catacombs. Add Catacombs (5 threat) to the staging area.

Total threat: 7.

Win by 7, complete Unwelcome Travelers and add it to the victory display.

Another one in the VD, more willpower for Thurindir and less threat in the staging area. A good day’s work all round I say.

Travel Phase
We’ll go here to clear the staging area of threat.

Trigger Catacombs: Plaza of Nurn. Travel to Catacombs (0/4)

We escaped an extra enemy this time. Next time we may not be so fortunate.

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Rage revealed as Shadow. Deal 1 damage to Vigilant Dunedain (1/3)
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage

Oh that hurt, so very much. We need to be careful with this guy. Guess who’s getting some healing next turn?

Shadow Card dealt to Ulchor’s Guard
Amarthiul defends (3)
Under Guard revealed as Shadow. Trigger Under Guard: Ulchor’s Rage
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (3), deals no damage

I’d be more comfortable if we were able to boost his defense, even a little bit

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Determined Defense revealed as Shadow: exhaust Vigilant Dunedain
Guard Dogs* attacks (1), deals no damage

We don’t need him any more for defending, and we don’t want to kill any of these enemies yet

[Attacks]
Ulchor’s Guard:
Northern Bowmaster attacks (2), Ranger of Cardolan attacks (2), deals 4 damage to Ulchor’s Guard (1/5)

But there’s no harm in being unprepared, right?

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 33

Turn No.7
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Catacombs (0/4)
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
Thane Ulchor (2 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (c)
Storm the Castle (d)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (3), Amarthiul (4), Thurindir (1)
The Long Defeat

This will be nice, when we actually manage to get it to go off that is.

Planning Phase
The Long Defeat-Storm the Castle (c)

Guess where we’re going this time…

Exhaust the Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Amarthiul and Vigilant Dunedain (2/3)

Just in case we get Lethal Counterattack, we have insured no-one will die who doesn’t have to.

Quest Phase
Storm the Castle (c) is the active quest: Lethal Counterattack (Son of a…) Trigger Lethal Counterattack to deal 1 damage to Aragorn (2/5), Amarthiul (2/3), Thurindir (1/4), Ranger of Cardolan (1/3), Sarn Ford Sentry (1/2), Vigilant Dunedain (1/3) and Warden of Annuminas (2/3). Destroy Northern Bowmaster and Warden of Heaing.

For the record we are down 2 allies and we have 4 characters on death’s door, including Thurindir. We’ll probably have to use the healing part of The Long Defeat instead of the card draw just to survive much longer.

Add The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat) to the staging area

The part that stings the most of this objective is the 5 threat in the staging area we’ll need to combat from now on.

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-5
Warden of Annuminas-4
Sarn Ford Sentry-2

Total willpower: 15

We won’t be able to complete this side-quest in one go, but we’ll give it our best crack.

1: Guard Dogs^ (1 threat) (Honestly the very worst thing about this card is that it will deal me another point of direct damage.) Trigger Surge
1.1: Guard Tower (2 threat) (Thankfully we will be able to travel here this turn so Amarthiul can keep collecting his extra resources)

Total threat: 9

Win by 6, explore Catacombs and place 2 progress on Lethal Counterattack (2/10)

Slowly. That’s how we’ll do this. Very slowly. But nevertheless, it shall be done. This I swear.

Travel Phase
Exhaust Ranger of Cardolan to travel to Guard Tower (0/4)

Encounter Phase
Guard Dogs^ engages Deck One. Trigger Guard Dogs^ to deal 1 damage to Warden of Annuminas (1/3)

And that’s all my allies on their last hit point now. *Don’t panic, don’t panic, just breath…*

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Vigilant Dunedain Defends (2)
The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage

I’m actually a little disappointed this didn’t come out as an encounter card. Another relatively benign side-quest would have been helpful to get Thurindir’s willpower up another notch

Shadow Card dealt to Ulchor’s Guard
Amarthiul defends (3)
Plaza of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (3), deals no damage

And that was the last card of the encounter deck. No more shadow cards but from next round we will be seeing everything again, including the chance for more direct damage. We’re so close to just getting annihilated by another one of those effects

No Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

No Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Guard Dogs* attacks (1), deals no damage

No Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Guard Dogs^ attacks (1), deals no damage

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 34

Turn No.8
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Guard Tower (0/4)
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (2 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Lethal Counterattack (2/10)
Storm the Castle (d)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (3), Amarthiul (4), Thurindir (1)
Andrath Guardsman

Well an extra point of willpower certainly won’t go amiss, thank you very much.

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 5
Andrath Guardsman. Trigger Andrath Guardsman to prevent Soldier of Nurn from attacking this turn

The hope is that we are going to be drawing a card from completing the next side-quest, and I want to be able to keep the card we get, thank you very much.

Quest Phase
Lethal Counterattack is the active quest

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-5
Warden of Annuminas-5
Sarn Ford Sentry-2
Ranger of Cardolan-2
Andrath Guardsman-1

Total willpower: 19

1: Fanaticism. Trigger Fanaticism to attach it to Ulchor’s Guard. (Well now not only are they attacking us, they’ll be doing so for 4 attack, which will deal damage to Amarthiul)

Total threat: 7

Win by 12. Explore Guard Tower. Complete Lethal Counterattack and add it to the victory display. Trigger Lethal Counterattack to shuffle each card under it into our deck, and then draw a card: Stone of Elostirion (Yes! Sweet heavenly lightning lord, yes! Once we can explore the location this gets itself attached to, we will be questing much better than before, and our card draw engine will have doubled in size!) Trigger The Long Defeat to heal 1 damage from Thurindir (2/4), Vigilant Dunedain (2/3), Sarn Ford Sentry, Ranger of Cardolan (2/3) and Warden of Annuminas (2/3). (And we are back from the brink! We still have a ways to go, but we’re back baby!)

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Ulchor’s Guard
Amarthiul defends (3)
Guard Tower revealed as Shadow
Ulchor’s Guard attacks (4), deals 1 damage to Amarthiul (1/3)

We’re taking this Guard down this very turn. We can’t sustain this.

Soldier of Nurn prevented from attacking by Andrath Guardsman

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Rage revealed as Shadow, deal 1 damage to Vigilant Dunedain (1/3)
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

For Eru’s sake! Again?

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Soldier of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attacks (2), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attacks (1), deals no damage

[Attacks]
Uchlor’s Guard:
Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), destroys Uclhor’s Guard.

And that’s why we keep our enemies on a single hitpoint, so that we can pick them off whenever we need to.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 35

Turn No.9
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (3 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (d)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (4), Amarthiul (6), Thurindir (2)
Stone of Elostirion, Prepare for Battle

Well alrighty then. With any luck our card draw worries will be over very soon.

Planning Phase
Prepare for Battle (And another willpower for Thurindir would never hurt, especially as we need to move faster and faster)
Stone of Elostirion. Trigger Guarded (location): Determined Defense, The Dark Lord’s Reach, Easterling Mercenary, Side Street. Put Side Street into the staging area with Stone of Elostirion under it as a Guarded attachment.

Ok, that’s not the worst. That would have been Fortress Walls, which ask me to put a card from my hand under a Castle side-quest. The problem is that I have nothing left in my hand again.

Quest Phase
Prepare for Battle is the active quest

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-6
Warden of Annuminas-4
Ranger of Cardolan-2
Sarn Ford Sentry-2
Andrath Guardsman-1

Total willpower: 19

1: Guard Tower (2 threat) (And now the encounter deck is just making fun of me. I’ll finish the side-quest, but won’t get any benefit out of it until Guard Tower is explored. Which I can’t do until next turn because I have no ready characters I can spare from defending in order to meet the travel requirements!)

Total threat: 13

Win by 6, complete Prepare for Battle! and add it to the victory display.

Whenever we complete a Castle side-quest Thurindir gains a point of willpower, but Ulchor also gains a point of threat, increasing them equally in power for the Questing Phase. These extra side-quests are where Thurindir pulls ahead of Ulchor with his willpower.

Travel Phase
Travel to Side Street (0/3). Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and discard cards until a location is discarded: Mordor Olog-hai (phew!), The Dark Lord’s Reach, Fanaticism, Catacombs. Add Catacombs to the Staging Area.

So we replaced a 3 threat location with a 4 threat one. But next turn, if we can explore Side Street, we ought to be able to get the Palantir, so overall we’re coming out on top.

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Amarthiul defends (3)
Plaza of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage

We’re glad to see this go, because now it’s threat is 3, and we’d need to take more direct damage to travel there

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Guard Tower revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attack (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Determined Defense revealed as Shadow, exhaust Vigilant Dunedain
Guard Dogs* attack (1), deals no damage

With no characters left ready, the next attack will need to be undefended

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
No defender declared
Ulchor’s Rage revealed as Shadow (But with no defenders, we take no direct damage!)
Guard Dogs^ attacks (1), deals 1 damage to Aragorn (3/5)

No counterattacks this time, but we’re holding up well enough, so far.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 36

Turn No.10
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Side Street (0/3) (Guarding Stone of Elostirion)
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (3 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Storm the Castle (d)
Guard Tower (0/4, 2 threat)
Catacombs (0/4, 4 threat)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (5), Amarthiul (8), Thurindir (3)
East Road Ranger

See, with our economy the way it is, we can afford to pay for her, and 4 other allies costed exactly like her all at once. And that’s before we use Heir of Valandil. We just need the card draw to get us there.

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 4
East Road Ranger (We would have liked her earlier, but given that most of our questing will be against side-quests she is still more than welcome)

Quest Phase
Storm the Castle (d) is the active sidequest: No Quarter. (This could be…interesting. We have no cards in our hand, and we deliberately built our deck with as much variation as practical with this very effect in mind). Trigger No Quarter to randomly discard 4 player cards from under this quest: Round Shield, Arwen Undomiel, A Test of Will, Fornost Bowman. (This hurts. We have no discard pile recursion, and 3 of these 4 cards are sorely needed right now. The only silver lining is we haven’t seen any of these cards yet, so we don’t discard any extra)

Khamul the Easterling enters play. Trigger Khamul the Easterling to engage Deck One

And now we have a big, bad, scary enemy engaged with us, whom we had better take down as soon as we possibly can. At least he does not contribute his threat in the staging area anymore.

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-7
Warden of Annuminas-5
East Road Ranger-3
Sarn Ford Sentry-2

Total willpower: 21

1: The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar (0/4) (This may not hinder us just yet, but it does mean we need to take out another turn to handle this or we will hit a major tempo speed bump). Trigger Surge.
1.1: Fanaticism. (…and the only Easterling enemy in play, the only one, is Khamul the Easterling. Now we’re looking at a 5 threat, 7 attack, 5 defense enemy who is immune to player card effects!) Attach Fanaticism to Khamul the Easterling.

Total threat: 14

Win by 7, explore Side Street and place 4 progress on No Quarter (4/12). Trigger Stone of Elostirion and attach it to Thurindir. (Now he’s sitting on 9 willpower and gives us an extra card each turn, providing we get Guard Tower out of the staging area)

Travel Phase
Exhaust Ranger of Cardolan to Guard Tower (0/4)

This means next turn we can draw 3 cards and actually be able to use the stockpile of resources we have built up

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Under Guard revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage

The shadows in this quest seem rather well balanced in that a fair few of them only have a trigger if they manage to destroy a character

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Fortress Walls revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Plaza of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Soldier of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs^ attacks (2), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Khamul the Easterling
Andrath Guardsman defends (1)
Easterling Mercenary revealed as Shadow
Khamul the Easterling attacks (9), destroys Andrath Guardsman

Yeah, that Guardman is dead. Very, very dead indeed.

[Attacks]
Khamul the Easterling:
Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), Amarthiul attacks (3), deals 1 damage to Khamul the Easterling (11/12)

It’s not much, but it is a start.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 37

Turn No.11
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Guard Tower (0/4)
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (3 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
No Quarter (4/12)
Catacombs (0/4, 4 threat)
The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar (0/4)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (6), Amarthiul (10), Thurindir (4)
Guardian of Arnor, Warden of Annuminas, Armoured Destrier

Now this is more like it! With Prepare for Battle and the Stone of Elostirion helping out, we’re now drawing 3 cards a turn! We just need to keep clearing Castle Side-Quests to be able to sustain this.

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 5
Warden of Annuminas* (I know these guys take a wee bit of set-up to get powerful, but we have reached that place, and they are worth every penny! Especially because we’re getting them for free)
Guardian of Arnor (With 5 enemies, we can defend for 6 with this one, making him our first line of defense against the heavy-hitters out there.)
Armoured Destrier-Amarthiul (What’s not to love about this? We can get rid of a shadow card and ready Amarthiul either to defend or counterattack!)

Quest Phase
The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar (0/4) is the active quest

Thurindir-9
Warden of Annuminas-5
Warden of Annuminas*-5
East Road Ranger-3
Sarn Ford Sentry-2
Ranger of Cardolan-2

Total willpower: 26

1: Catacombs* (4 threat) (We’ll be facing a fair number of enemies from all these Catacombs is we aren’t careful)

Total threat: 16

Win by 10, explore Guard Tower and complete The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar and adds it to the victory display. Trigger The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar to look at the facedown player cards under Storm the Castle (a) (we’ll go with this one because hopefully we’re clearing No Quarter next turn) and add 1 to our hand: Thalion, Fornost Bowman, Unexpected Courage, East Road Ranger, Arwen Undomiel, Round Shield, The Long Defeat, Guardian of Arnor (This is a tough one. East Road Ranger gives us more much needed willpower, and Arwen can boost our defenses. We could get more attack with the Bowman, healing with The Long Defeat or an extra hero with Thalion. I think though that we’d be better profited by having Aragorn be able to both quest and attack in the same round, especially as things get more and more difficult as we go on. Of course because of the Soldier of Nurn we won’t get to play it yet as he’ll shuffle it under No Quarter when he attacks, but at least we ought to see it sooner than we otherwise would have done). Deck One adds Unexpected Courage to his hand.

Travel Phase
Trigger Catacombs: Uclhor’s Rage. Travel to the Catacombs (0/4)

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Amarthiul defends (3). Trigger Armoured Destrier to ready Amarthiul and discard the Shadow Card from Khamul the Easterling
Guard Tower revealed as Shadow Card
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage. Trigger Soldier of Nurn to put Unexpected Courage facedown under Storm the Castle (a)

We could have left that to the Vigilant Dunedain, but this way we get to discard Khamul’s Shadow Card, so we can be sure our Guardian will survive

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow Card
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Under Guard revealed as Shadow Card
Guard Dogs* attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow Card
Guard Dogs^ attacks

Shadow Card dealt to Khamul the Easterling
Shadow Card discarded by Armoured Destrier
Guardian of Arnor defends (6)
Khamul the Easterling attacks (7), deals 1 damage to Guardian of Arnor (2/3)

He has kept us safe this turn, but this isn’t an indefinite solution. We’d better hit back with everything we can.

[Attacks]
Khamul the Easterling:
Aragorn attacks (6), Amarthiul attacks (3), Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), deals 7 damage to Khamul the Easterling (4/12)

Just one more turn ought to do it. Just pray we don’t have to fight off any other heavy hitters until we do.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 38

Turn No.12
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Catacombs (0/4)
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (3 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
No Quarter (4/12)
Catacombs* (0/4, 4 threat)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (7), Amarthiul (7), Thurindir (5)
Feint, Northern Tracker, Hauberk of Mail

Something for everyone here. We can shore up our defense, block an attack altogether and start chipping away at locations in the staging area.

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 5
Northern Tracker (1 willpower won’t set the world on fire, but the more locations in the staging area we have, the better value this guy brings)
Hauberk of Mail-Amarthiul (He won’t be getting the extra hitpoint but now he’s defending for 4, which could make all the difference.)

Quest Phase
No Quarter (4/12) is the active quest

Thurindir-10
Warden of Annuminas-5
Warden of Annuminas*-5
East Road Ranger-3
Sarn Ford Sentry-2
Ranger of Cardolan-2
Northern Tracker-1
– Trigger Northern Tracker to place 1 progress on Catacombs* (1/4)

Total willpower: 28

1: Mordor Olog-hai (4 threat) (And there’s that big nasty we were all worried about!)

Total threat: 16

Win by 12. Explore Catacombs and complete No Quarter, adding it to the victory display. Trigger No Quarter to shuffle each card under it into our deck, and then draw a card: Woodman’s Clearing (Very nice threat reduction here. We will make the most of that, thank you very much!)

Travel Phase
We’ll leave the Catacombs in the staging area. We don’t want to risk yet another enemy becoming engaged with us just yet.

Encounter Phase
Mordor Olog-hai engages Deck One

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Amarthiul defends (4)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage
Trigger Armoured Destrier to ready Amarthiul and discard the Shadow Card from Khamul the Easterling

Trigger Soldier of Nurn to our Woodman’s Clearing under Storm the Castle

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Fortress Walls revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Soldier of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attacks (2), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs^ attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Mordor Olog-hai
Feint played to prevent Mordor Olog-hai from attacking this phase

Shadow Card dealt to Khamul the Easterling
Shadow Card discarded by Armoured Destrier
Guardian of Arnor defends (7)
Khamul the Easterling attacks (7), deals no damage

And that, brothers and sisters, is the power of the Dunedain

[Attacks]
Khamul the Easterling:
Aragorn attacks (6), Amarthiul attacks (3), Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), destroys Khamul the Easterling

While we are delighted to get him out the way, remember this wraith has no victory points and so will go right back into the encounter deck to haunt us again.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 39

Turn No.13
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (4 threat)
Storm the Castle (a)
Catacombs* (1/4, 4 threat)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (9), Amarthiul (7), Thurindir (6)
Northern Tracker, Unexpected Courage, Thorongil

There it is! And I know just what we’re going to get with Thorongil.

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 5
Northern Tracker* (Now we’re going to be looking at 2 progress places on each location in the staging area each turn. Not too shabby at all, if you ask me)
Unexpected Courage-Aragorn (With his high willpower and attack, we’d do well to make the most of both)
Thorongil-Aragorn. Trigger Thorongil to attach Lore Aragorn to Aragorn. (And now we can reset our threat back down to 30. We probably won’t do it this round, but likely next time.)

Quest Phase
(This last one. This means only one thing…) Storm the Castle (a) is the active quest: Stronghold of Mordor (Yup. We could have done with this earlier on so that we might have had a gentler start, but this is how the chips fell). Trigger Stronghold of Mordor to discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until a location is discarded: Easterling Mercenary, Desperate Defense, Plaza of Nurn. Add Plaza of Nurn (4 threat) to the staging area. (Yeah, this will be staying up there. I’m not sure how much more direct damage we can take) Add Under the Watchful Eye to the staging area (Given we have no cards in our hand, this doesn’t hurt us immediately. But taking an extra threat each time we draw a card most certainly shall)

Aragorn-4
Thurindir-11
Warden of Annuminas-5
Warden of Annuminas*-5
East Road Ranger-3
Sarn Ford Sentry-2
Northern Tracker-1
Northern Tracker*-1
-Trigger both Northern Trackers to place 2 progress on Catacombs* (3/4) and Plaza of Nurn (3/5)

Total willpower: 32

1: Under Guard. (And we have no active location, so we’ll be fetching out yet another) Trigger Under Guard: Side Street. (Well…that was fast) Add Side Street (3 threat) to the staging area

Total threat: 20

Win by 12, complete Stronghold of Mordor and add it to the victory display. Trigger Stronghold of Mordor to shuffle each card under it into our deck, and then draw a card: Woodmen’s Clearing (A tidy little bit of threat reduction that we’ll be sure to use next turn)

Travel Phase
Travel to Side Street (0/3). (We need to go here if our Northern Trackers are to be able to keep up their good work.) Shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and discard cards until a location is discarded: Soldier of Nurn, Easterling Mercenary, The Dark Lord’s Reach, Desperate Defense, Catacombs. Add Catacombs to the staging area. (Good grief, I keep getting these Catacombs given to me! Are they trying to hint at where my fate ought to be?)

Encounter Phase
Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Amarthiul defends (4)
Under Guard revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (2), deals no damage

And now with no Castle side-quests in play, Soldier of Nurn’s effect doesn’t work anymore.

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Fanaticism revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Soldier of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attacks (2), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Guard Tower revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs^ attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Mordor Olog-hai
Shadow Card discarded by Armoured Destrier
Guardian of Arnor defends (6)
Mordor Olog-hai attacks (6), deals no damage

Next turn we’re hopefully facing Thane Ulchor, so we’d better get rid of this troll while we have the chance.

[Attack]
Mordor Olog-hai:
Aragorn attacks (6), Amarthiul attacks (3), Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), destroys Mordor Olog-hai

We are down 2 willpower by killing this troll, but it needed to be done.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 40

Trigger Aragorn’s ability to lower Deck One’s threat to 30.

I know what’s coming next turn, and we would have lost the chance to do this after the last Power of Mordor card gets put into play.

Turn No.14
Stage: 1B (0/3)
Active Location: Side Street (0/3)
Staging Area:
Under the Watchful Eye
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Thane Ulchor (5 threat)
Catacombs* (3/4, 4 threat)
Plaza of Nurn (2/5, 5 threat)
Catacombs (0/4, 4 threat)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (7), Amarthiul (7), Thurindir (7)
Woodman’s Clearing, Guardian of Arnor, The Long Defeat, Round Shield

That’s two extra attachments, and a much needed ally. This extra card draw could prove to be what brings us through.

Trigger Under the Watchful Eye to raise our threat by 1: 31

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 4
Guardian of Arnor* (Thane Ulchor is coming, and we need as much high defense as we can muster. Moreover, Khamul is still in the encounter deck and can surprise us at any time)
Woodmen’s Clearing-Side Street (If we’re able to get this explored, we’ll have a nice little drop just before the big finale)
Round Shield-Vigilant Dunedain (We have been riding the knife’s edge too long. Shadow Cards are his biggest risk, so this should help provide some security for him)
The Long Defeat-Stage 1B (We’re looking for some healing here, desperate for it.)

Quest Phase
The active quest is Assault on Dol Rhugar (0/3)

This is it, the final push. Wish us luck.

Aragorn-4
– Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn
Thurindir-12
Warden of Annuminas-4
Warden of Annuminas*-4
Sarn Ford Sentry-2
Ranger of Cardolan-2
Northern Tracker-1
Northern Tracker*-1
– Trigger both Northern Trackers to explore Catacombs* and place 2 progress on Catacombs (2/4) and Plaza of Nurn (4/5)

Total willpower: 30

1: The Dark Lord’s Reach (Well this hurts. Really bad. We don’t lose any character, but this still sucks) Deal 1 damage to Thurindir (1/4), Ranger of Cardolan (1/3), Sarn Ford Sentry (1/2), Warden of Annuminas (1/3), Warden of Annuminas* (2/3), Northern Tracker (2/3) and Northern Tracker (2/3). Discard Stone of Elostirion (No! There goes our card draw and the willpower we need! The 7 points of direct damage sucks, but that discard was mean!)

Total threat: 19

Total willpower: 28

Win by 9, explore Side Street and complete Stage 1B. Trigger Woodmen’s Clearing to lower our threat by 3: 28. (With our extra card draw depleted, we need to get as much on the board as possible as fast as possible to stand a chance against the onslaught that is to come.) Trigger The Long Defeat to draw 2 cards: Arwen Undomiel, Warden of Healing (And it has paid off! That Warden will be doing overtime next round). Trigger Under the Watchful Eye to raise our threat by 1. (Brace yourselves…)

Trigger Stage 2A. Reveal the top card of the Power of Mordor deck:
Covered In Darkness. Trigger Doomed 5 (And we can’t drop our threat by more than 1 per turn now)
Shuffle the encounter discard pile back into the encounter deck. Thane Ulchor makes an immediate attack:
– Shadow Card dealt to Thane Ulchor
– Guardian of Arnor* defends (5)
– Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
– Thane Ulchor attacks (6), deals 1 damage to Guardian of Arnor* (2/3)
Trigger Thane Ulchor to reveal the top card of the encounter deck:

Ulchor’s Rage (For crying out loud! Here we go again) Trigger Ulchor’s Rage so Thane Ulchor makes an immediate attack:
= Shadow Card dealt to Thane Ulchor
= East Road Ranger defends (1)
= Guard Tower revealed as Shadow
= Thane Ulchor attacks (6), destroys East Road Ranger
= Trigger Thane Ulchor to reveal the top card of the encounter deck: Desperate Defense
And with that the Ulchor Rage Train is over, for now. At least both of these effects only last until the end of the phase and not into the next round. But there was no saving the Ranger. With the extra attack from Ulchor, if it wasn’t going to be now it would be in the combat phase. At least by doing this way round our Guardian of Arnor will be boosted up to 6 defense by that point and should be able to survive Ulchor’s attacks.

Travel Phase
N/A

Both of those locations ought to be taken care of by our Northern Trackers next turn so we’ll keep them up there in the staging area.

Encounter Phase
Thane Ulchor engages Deck One.

The only bright side is that now Ulchor’s threat is out of the staging area, which is not insignificant.

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Soldier of Nurn
Amarthiul defends (4)
Soldier of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Soldier of Nurn attacks (3), deals no damage
Trigger Armoured Destrier to discard the Shadow Card from Thane Ulchor and ready Amarthiul

Thane Ulchor is immune to player card effects. But his Shadow Cards are not!

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Amarthiul defends (4)
Fanaticism revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Plaza of Nurn revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attack (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Ulchor’s Guard revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs^ attack (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Thane Ulchor
Shadow Card discarded by Armoured Destrier
Guardian of Arnor defends (6)
Thane Ulchor attacks (6), deals no damage
Trigger Thane Ulchor to reveal the top card of the encounter deck: Easterling Mercenary. Trigger Easterling Mercenary: no progress can be placed on the current quest this phase.

Well done to that Guardian for tanking Ulchor’s attack. But the last thing we need right now is some extra threat in the staging area for us to quest past.

[Attacks]
Soldier of Nurn:
Aragorn attacks (6), destroys Soldier of Nurn. Trigger Aragorn to engage Easterling Mercenary.

Easterling Mercenary:
Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), deals 2 damage to Easterling Mercenary (1/3)

And just like that, balance is maintained.

Refresh Phase
Raise our threat by 1: 35

Turn No.15
Stage: 2B (0/12)
Active Location: N/A
Staging Area:
Covered by Darkness
Under the Watchful Eye
The Armies of Mordor
The Tower of Barad-dur (5 threat)
Plaza of Nurn (4/5, 5 threat)
Catacombs (2/4, 4 threat)

Resource Phase
Hand (New Card in Bold):
Aragorn (8), Amarthiul (9), Thurindir (7)
Arwen Undomiel, Warden of Healing, Thalion, Legacy Blade

How fitting! Thalion, the card featuring the image of Caleb Grace, designer of this game, has come out on this last turn (I hope!) of the last scenario of the game. By Eru, this is awesome!

Trigger Under the Watchful Eye to raise our threat by 1: 36

Planning Phase
Exhaust Heir of Valandil to reduce the cost of the next Dunedain ally played this phase by 5
Thalion. Trigger Thalion to lose the Ally type and gain the Hero type. (Given the amount of side-quests we have completed, he immediately gets promoted to a Hero. Even better, he readies at the start of the combat phase so we can both quest and fight with him)
Legacy Blade-Thalion (And for no extra cost he is swinging for 5 attack. Honestly, with the amount of side-quests in this scenario, Legacy Blade is a must-take in any deck that includes Lore.)
Arwen Undomiel (2 extra willpower is very nice, but the big draw is the extra point of defense she can grant someone.)
Warden of Healing (And now he can bring us back from the brink)

Exhaust Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Ranger of Cardolan (2/3) and Thurindir (2/4). Pay 2 Lore resources to ready Warden of Healing.

Now because Thorongil gave Aragorn the Lore sphere, we can use his resources to contribute to this effect.

Exhaust Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Vigilant Dunedain (2/3) and Aragorn (4/5). Pay 2 Lore resources to ready Warden of Healing.

Exhaust Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Sarn Ford Sentry and Amarthiul. Pay 2 Lore resources to ready Warden of Healing.

Exhaust Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Guardian of Arnor and Guardian of Arnor*. Pay 2 Lore resources to ready Warden of Healing.

Exhaust Warden of Healing to heal 1 damage from Aragorn and Thurindir (3/4).

That’s 10 points of damage we just cleared up, for those of you keeping count at home.

Quest Phase
The active quest is The Final Confrontation (0/12)

It’s the Final Countdown…

Aragorn-4
– Exhaust Unexpected Courage to ready Aragorn
Thurindir-10
Thalion-2
Warden of Annuminas-5
Warden of Annuminas*-5
Arwen-2
– Trigger Arwen to give Amarthiul 1 extra defense and sentinel. (Interestingly, now his Hauberk gives him an extra hitpoint, but only until the end of the round)
Northern Tracker-1
Northern Tracker*-1
= Trigger both Northern Trackers to explore Catacombs and Plaza of Nurn

Total willpower: 28

1: Fortress Walls (3 threat) (Definitely not enough to stop us questing successfully)

Total threat: 8

Win by 20, place 12 progress on Stage 2B (12/12)

Now all we need is enough to survive this round of attacks and strike back!

Travel Phase
N/A

Encounter Phase
N/A

Combat Phase
[Defense]
Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Under Guard revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs attacks (1), deals no damage

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs*
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Fortress Walls revealed as Shadow
Guard Dogs* attacks

Shadow Card dealt to Guard Dogs^
Vigilant Dunedain defends (2)
Easterling Mercenary revealed as Shadow. Trigger Round Shield to give Vigilant Dunedain 2 extra defense
Guard Dogs^ attacks (5), deals 1 damage to Vigilant Dunedain (2/3)

If it wasn’t for that Round Shield, our dear Dunedain would be a dog’s dinner

Shadow Card dealt to Easterling Mercenary
Amarthiul defends (5),
Desperate Defense revealed as Shadow. Exhaust Sarn Ford Sentry.
Easterling Mercenary attacks (3), deals no damage.
Trigger Armoured Destrier to discard the Shadow Card from Thane Ulchor and ready Amarthiul

This is it. Just one attack left. I hope.

Shadow Card dealt to Thane Ulchor
Shadow Card discarded by Armoured Destrier
Guardian of Arnor defends (6)
Thane Ulchor attacks (6), deals no damage
Trigger Thane Ulchor to reveal the top card of the encounter deck: Ulchor’s Rage (…this guy needs anger management classes. Always raging, I mean who has the time?) Trigger Ulchor’s Rage for Thane Ulchor to make an immediate attack:
– Shadow Card dealt to Thane Ulchor
– Guardian of Arnor* defends (6)
Side Street revealed as Shadow
– Thane Ulchor attacks (6), deals no damage
– Trigger Thane Ulchor to reveal the top card of the encounter deck: Khamul the Easterling (And there he is. Well I’m afraid Khamul is too late to the party for a Shadow Card, but I do think he still gets to make an attack since it is still the time for enemy attacks)

Trigger Khamul the Easterling to engage the first player and make an attack.
No Shadow Card dealt to Khamul the Easterling
Ranger of Cardolan defends (2)
Khamul the Easterling destroys Ranger of Cardolan

(No! He’s been with us for so long! You will be avenged…)

[Attacks]
Thane Ulchor:
Aragorn attacks (6), Amarthiul attacks (3), Vigilant Dunedain attacks (3), Thalion attacks (5), destroying Thane Ulchor and adding him to the Victory Display.

Victory

Victory Display: Keep Watch (10), Castle Garrison (10), Unwelcome Travelers (10), Lethal Counterattack (10), Prepare for Battle (10), The Dungeons of Dol Rhugar (10), No Quarter (10), Stronghold of Mordor (10), Thane Ulchor (10)

Score: 150 for turns taken + 1 for damage on Thurindir – 90 victory points = 61

Thus endeth the final quest of the game. (Except for the Hunt for the Dreadnought of course.) And it was a doozy! There were 3 or 4 times where the wrong card drawn from the encounter deck would have ended us, but we made it through. Now, full disclosure, it did take 3 mulligans to get our starting hand, but we’re chalking up those extra mulligans as losses. We needed Celebrian’s Stone to give Aragorn his extra willpower and access to the Spirit Sphere, and we just could not draw it.

But when we finally did get it, everything else is how it went down. I would have liked it if we had drawn the Stone of Elostirion earlier, but it was a good run we had. As it was, Thurindir was still able to boost his willpower to 10 after all the side-quests were completed. It was really worth taking the time to do them all so that by the end he could counter the threat of both Thane Ulchor and The Tower of Barad-dur.

But even if you leave Thurindir at home, you need to plan around the side-quests. Thalion is worth bringing, even if you just throw in one copy. The Vigilant Dunedain was key to our victory, but I was tempted to also bring a Rider of Rohan for the extra flexibility. In the end he was left out for Arwen’s defensive boosting ability to plug gaps wherever we needed it. Legacy Blade is a must-have, but I’d also extoll the virtues of any card that plays off the side-quest mechanic. Who knows, maybe this is finally the quest we need for Dour Handed to see play.

And so here we have it, the final quest in the current life-cycle of our game. I would say it lived up to its difficulty rating of 10, and is a fitting end to conclude thighs on. But this is not the end of this blog, we have many more projects in the works. Several one-shot stories are ready to be told, and in the New Year, we shall step back to a simpler time where a hobbit shall find out what he is made of when he is chosen for a quest by an unexpected wizard.

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