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Campaign Mode: A Knife in the Dark (Part 2)

by on October 16, 2013


Today’s post will be a bit of a short one, as I will be simply covering the changes to my Campaign Mode decks in anticipation of playing the A Knife in the Dark scenario, and these alterations are more surgical than a total transformation. My objective is to keep the core of both decks intact, while making some tough calls about whether to drop certain cards so that I can include effects that will allow me to tackle the unique challenges of this quest. I will highlight the changes and the rationale behind them, hoping ultimately that these decisions will lead to victory.

Part 2 – The Decks

* Note: If you haven’t yet read Part 1 of the A Knife in the Dark Campaign Mode article, now is the time to do so, as the deck building decisions I have made here are directly related to the general strategies I am looking to employ.


Hero (3)
Eowyn (Core) x1
Glorfindel (FoS) x1
Aragorn (Core) x1

There are obviously no changes here, as I have no reason to switch out heroes and incur a threat penalty. The main difference from the first scenario is that Eowyn will be a straight ahead quester, freed from the constraints of worrying about hide tests.

Ally (22)
Ethir Swordsman (TSF) x3
West Road Traveller (RtM) x3
Escort from Edoras (AJtR) x3
Silvan Refugee (TDF) x3
Arwen Undomiel (TWitW) x2
Faramir (Core) x2
Gandalf (Core) x3


Son of Arnor (Core) x3


Kili (OHaUH) x1
Fili (OHaUH) x2

As much as it breaks my heart to get rid of Fili and Kili, I needed to make room for Son of Arnor. The main reason for including this ally is to allow me to pull down Bill Ferny, hopefully within the first few rounds. I will also be including some direct damage in Deck Two, but I like to include multiple methods of dealing with major threats. In addition to this role, Son of Arnor’s attack strength of 2 can help this deck deal with the tough Nazgul enemies in this quest. With the Son of Arnor being equal in cost to Fili/Kili, there isn’t a difference in cost here (leaving aside the 2-for-1 deal that the Dwarves provide). This will probably be a change just for this scenario. Rest assured, readers, this won’t be the last you’ve seen of Fili and Kili!

Attachment (19)
Sword that was Broken (TWitW) x3
Light of Valinor (FoS) x3
Steward of Gondor (Core) x3
Ancient Mathom (AJtR) x3
Unexpected Courage (Core) x2
Blood of Numenor (HON) x3


Thror’s Key (OtD) x2

I love all the attachments I have already included in this deck, so I’m not removing any of them. I am, however, adding 2 copies of Thror’s Key. The main purpose of this attachment is to neutralize Midgewater, allowing me to travel to it without having to agonize over the way it can lead to enemies piling up on the board. Some may see this as a bit of a cheap way around this element of the scenario, and it definitely is, but I’m trying to maximize my chance at victory. Finding an easier path past Midgewater definitely helps in this regard.

Event (9)
Elrond’s Counsel (TWitW) x3
Hasty Stroke (Core) x3
A Test of Will (Core) x3


A Very Good Tale (OHaUH) x2

With Fili/Kili removed, I have also lost the best natural combination for A Very Good Tale. Now don’t get me wrong, A Very Good Tale is an amazing card that still has plenty of value, but I needed to make room for Thror’s Key, and couldn’t bear to part with any other cards in my deck. In the context of this deck, it is a “nice-to-have”, but not integral to the deck’s functioning. 



Hero (3)
Pippin (TBR) x1
Sam Gamgee (TBR) x1
Merry (TBR) x1

This is still my preferred Hobbit trio, and there’s zero reason to make a change.

Ally (19)
Bill the Pony (TBR) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Gildor Inglorion (THoEM) x1
Barliman Butterbur (TBR) x3
Farmer Maggot (TBR) x2
Defender of Rammas (HON) x3


Beorn (Core) x1
Erebor Hammersmith (Core) x2
Landroval (AJtR) x1


Rivendell Minstrel (THFG) x3

This is a very tight group of allies, but I’ll make a few changes here. With the strong card draw available in this deck, I’ll remove 1 copy of Gildor, confident that I can still get him into hand for use with Elf-stone. This makes room for 1 copy of Beorn, who will provide another great option for that Lore attachment, and his amazing combat potential might prove key against the enemies in this quest, especially during the final showdown against the Nazgul. Beorn can also work quite well with Merry and his readying ability. In addition, as I’ll mention in the attachments section, I am getting rid of the songs, at least for this quest, so it makes sense to remove the expensive Rivendell Minstrels as well, especially since the willpower demands in this scenario are not as substantial. I’ll replace those 3 copies of the Minstrel with 2 copies of Erebor Hammersmith to maximize usage of the amazing Elf-stone. Given that I can expect more frequent and consistent use of the Stone (thanks to the Hammersmith), I will also pull in 1 copy of Landroval. This provides insurance against hero death, which is especially vital in Campaign Mode and with squishy Hobbits running amok.

Attachment (16)
Dagger of Westernesse (TBR) x3
Celebrian’s Stone (Core) x2
Fast Hitch (TDM) x3
Asfaloth (FoS) x2
Hobbit Cloak (TBR) x3
Elf-stone (TBR) x3


Song of Wisdom (CatC) x1
Song of Battle (TDM) x1
Song of Kings (THFG) x1

I needed room for Hail of Stones, which is a solution to the Bill Ferny problem. Unfortunately, the best option is to remove the three songs I previously had in this deck. While these are valuable tools for resource smoothing, they are not strictly essential given that the deck is built around relatively low-cost cards. This is also a judgement call based on experience playing this deck and understanding what can be cut, even if it is painful,

Event (15)
Sneak Attack (Core) x3
Halfling Determination (TBR) x3
Feint (Core) x3
Frodo’s Intuition (TBR) x3


Hail of Stones (RtR) x3

Hail of Stones is a handy little card that I will use to deal with Bill Ferny as quickly as possible. I like that it makes a nice thematic fit for a Hobbit deck as well, and with readying available through Fast Hitch and Sam, I should be able to get good use out of this Tactics event.


Part 2 has come to a close, which can mean only one thing: it’s time to play A Knife in the Dark. Keep watch for Part 3, which will see these decks take on the most challenging scenario in The Black Riders expansion!

From → Strategy

  1. I finally got the Black Riders set this past weekend and I have been using a 2 handed deck against Passage through Mirkwood to fine tune the 2 hobbit decks I am using.

    Do you find Farmer Maggot worth the cost? I swapped him for 3 copies (or 2, I can’t remember) of Horseback Archer. Not only do they add a ranged attack which the hobbit decks lack, he can combo with Merry for an extra attack.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Farmer Maggot can certainly be useful, and I have used him mostly to chip in some direct damage to help fell the tough Nazgul in The Black Riders quests. However, I would fully understand a player wanting to sub him out for a different ally. He is solid, but not exceptional, and I mostly include him here for novelty’s sake and for thematic reasons. Farmer Maggot does have a fairly strong attack, and can help out a tad with questing, in addition to the direct damage, but there are some stronger options out there.

  2. Traekos77 permalink

    In Deck 2, you added 7 and removed 6. (Maybe your Gildor comment wasn’t present in the removals?)

    Good call on Rivendell Minstrel, that card never appears when you most need it. Given that it costs 3 within a three-sphere deck, it is hard to play too. You can use Elf-stone but it seems like a bit an underwhelming return.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I changed the number next to Gildor, and everything is correct in that regard, but I forgot to put 1 copy of Gildor under the “removed” section.

      Rivendell Minstrel worked out pretty well in A Shadow of the Past, and the song-fetching can be useful in a tri-sphere deck, but she kind of falls in the “nice-to-have” bubble, and I wanted to make room for some real game-changers.

  3. Nico permalink

    Hi, this was a very hard quest!

    I have just made it…
    I was lucky with the locations, i first finished the quest cards before i did the Pranching Pony and WeatherTop card.. So when i finished those i could push on to the nest quest card…
    And Midgewater saved my day because of this.

    I did not liked the fact that i (i’m playing with the heroes you use) had with the hobbit deck only 22 as a start and with the other deck 33. At a curtained point at the game i had like 8 enemy’s that where all engaging towards my 33 deck heroes (at that point high in the 40).

    Chetwood was also a pain in the ass, most of the enemy’s are spy’s..

    How do you deal with all the enemy’s? Most of them you can’t engage.. You also need lots of Hitpoints so you exhaust a lot of heroes etc.

    I also have a problem with my deck. I have not that many expansions beside this one..
    Now you need a deck of 50 cards, so like 80% of the cards stay in this deck until the end of the game.. So there are a lot of ‘bad’ cards in play… The amount of luck with a good draw is huge…
    Any tips on that?

    Eowyn, Glorfindel and Aragorn are all dead.. What now? I still need to play the last quest to end the campaign..
    And tips for that?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      It can be tough with a smaller number of cards available to you to build your decks. Really in that case you have to stress the fundamentals of card draw and resources, especially card draw. So include at least 2-3 card draw options in your deck I would say, if possible. Also, keep the cost of your stuff relatively low. If a lot of the cards you have available aren’t great, at least keep the costs low in your deck so that you can play something. An army of weak allies is better than a few more expensive allies that aren’t totally changing the game for you.

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