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Campaign Mode: A Knife in the Dark (Part 3)

by on October 22, 2013

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In this third part of the A Knife in the Dark Campaign Mode article, I provide my session report, detailing my attempt to defeat the second scenario of The Black Riders expansion. For those who missed Part 1 and Part 2, those previous articles outline the general strategies and decks that I will be using here. As with my previous session report (A Shadow of the Past), green text denotes flavor text that I have created to lend some narrative to the adventures of these characters. I hope you enjoy!

Part 3 – Session Report

Last time around, fear gave way to confidence, as an intrepid company of Hobbits (Sam, Merry, and Pippin) successfully escorted Frodo to Bucklebury Ferry. The last of the line of Elendil himself, Aragorn, with assistance from the elf-lord, Glorfindel, and a lady of Rohan, Eowyn, spent a seeming eternity playing catch-up, but ultimately ran valuable interference for the ring-bearer. Since then, our heroes passed time in the Old Forest and broke bread with a mysterious figure known as Tom Bombadil, but that story will have to wait for another day. For now, we find ourselves in Bree, hoping that Frodo and friends can once again elude the terrifying Nazgul. This time around, however, the stakes have been raised, as the leader of the Nine, the dreaded Witch-king himself, is said to have joined the hunt. Whether or not the Enemy’s plans can be foiled is an open question. The survival of our heroes, and Middle-earth itself, hangs in the balance…

Set-up

The quest begins with The Prancing Pony and the treacherous Bill Ferny in play. There is no random draw, which is fortunate, but we will need to deal with Bill fairly quickly. Gandalf’s Delay is in the staging area once again, as I chose it for my burden last time, and this means one fewer card will be drawn for each deck’s starting hand. On the plus side, my boon of choice, Mr. Underhill, sits underneath Frodo, ready to neutralize an enemy at a moment’s notice.

DECK ONE (Starting Threat – 26)

Heroes: Eowyn, Glorfindel, Aragorn

Starting Hand: Son of Arnor, Faramir, Ethir Swordsman, Faramir, Hasty Stroke (1 fewer card drawn due to Gandalf’s Delay)

Mulligan: Steward of Gondor, Ethir Swordsman, Elrond’s Counsel, Faramir, Son of Arnor

Thoughts: My opening hand is not great, but I did draw Son of Arnor straight away, which is quite fortunate. With this ally, I can destroy Bill within the first couple of rounds. However, I didn’t draw any of the key attachments I’m looking for, so I will mulligan. Luck is mine this day, as not only do I draw Son of Arnor again,but I also pull Steward of Gondor this time, along with some immediate threat reduction from Elrond’s Counsel. Is there any better feeling than a perfect mulligan?

DECK TWO (Starting Threat – 20)

Heroes: Merry, Sam, Pippin

Starting Hand: Hail of Stones, Sneak Attack, Gildor Inglorion, Dagger of Westernesse, Fast Hitch (1 fewer card drawn due to Gandalf’s Delay)

Thoughts: This is actually a pretty strong starting hand. Two key attachments are available immediately: the Dagger of Westernesse and Fast Hitch. In addition, Hail of Stones can help deal with Ferny (although Son of Arnor will probably take care of that), while Sneak Attack can play a number of different roles depending on which allies I draw, and how the game plays out over the next few turns. I definitely will not be taking a mulligan here.

Encounter Deck Set-up

1) Bill Ferny (38 engagement cost, 3 threat, 1 attack, 3 defense, 5 hit points)

2) The Prancing Pony (2 threat, 4 quest points)

Thoughts: Just like in the first quest, there’s no random draw here, so it’s clear what I’m up against. Getting rid of Bill Ferny is my first priority, while I will have to decide carefully when to take on The Prancing Pony, which will dump 2 enemies into the lap of the first player when it is explored (2 being the number of players in the game).

ROUND 1 (5 threat in staging area, 0/8 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – None)

**Staging Area – Bill Ferny, Prancing Pony**

DECK ONE PREPARATION (First Player) – 26 Threat

Resources: Eowyn – 1, Glorfindel – 1, Aragorn – 1, Frodo – 1

Draw: Light of Valinor

New Hand: Steward of Gondor, Ethir Swordsman, Elrond’s Counsel, Faramir, Son of Arnor, Light of Valinor

Planning: I have some great cards in hand, but most of them require more resources than I have at the moment. Right now, the best play is to put Light of Valinor on Glorfindel to get Deck One’s questing machine up and running. The Steward will come next turn, and everything else should flow from there.

Resources After Planning: Eowyn – 0, Glorfindel – 1, Aragorn – 1, Frodo – 1

Having arrived at Bree, Aragorn decides to split up from the Hobbits once more. This time, he will be looking to root out the Mordor sympathizers he suspects are active in town, while the Hobbits will seek the relative safety of The Prancing Pony. The sheltered townsfolk stare in awe at the strange travelers, particularly the resplendent elf-lord, an echo of the light of Valinor shining in his eyes and bearing.

DECK TWO PREPARATION – 20 Threat

Resources: Merry – 1, Sam – 1, Pippin – 1

Draw: Beorn

New Hand: Hail of Stones, Sneak Attack, Gildor Inglorion, Dagger of Westernesse, Fast Hitch, Beorn

Planning: I couldn’t be more excited with this draw if I tried. Beorn is an absolutely amazing target for Sneak Attack. In fact, in many ways he is a better fit for that event than Gandalf, at least when it comes to this particular quest. His bonkers attack power, combined with Merry’s own strength and readying ability, should allow me to mow down enemies without breaking a sweat. I’m absolutely giddy with anticipation at this point. For now, though, I’ll play Fast Hitch on Merry, allowing him to quest and attack or possibly attack multiple times. The Dagger would be nice to attach to Merry as well, but I don’t anticipate needing it quite yet, so I’ll hold off for the moment.

Resources After Planning: Merry – 1, Sam – 1, Pippin – 0

As the Hobbits separate from Aragorn and co. and begin to follow the ranger’s directions to The Prancing Pony, Sam hands a coil of rope to Merry. “What’s this?” the young Brandybuck asks. “Just a bit of rope, you can never have enough rope,” Sam replies. Merry shrugs and the Hobbits continue on their way.

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

Deck One will immediately play Elrond’s Counsel to lower its threat down to 23, also providing a +1 willpower boost to Eowyn. My overall strategy here is to quest pretty hard, while keeping enough characters back to handle combat with any spies and Nazgul that might emerge. Deck One will thus commit Glorfindel (3 willpower), Eowyn (4 willpower + 1 willpower from Elrond’s Counsel), and Frodo (2 willpower). On the other side of the board, Deck Two will commit Sam (3 willpower) and Pippin (2 willpower). I could throw in Merry as well, but every non-Fellowship hero that participates in questing will increase my threat, thanks to Bill Ferny. Speaking of which, before staging occurs, I will decline Ferny’s offer to shuffle a Ringwraith into the encounter deck, instead raising Deck One’s threat up to 25 and Deck Two’s threat up to 22. Right now, I have 15 willpower committed against 5 threat in the staging area.

Staging:power in their terror

Card 1: Power in their Terror – This is one of the worst treacheries in the deck, as it deals 2 damage to each ally with 0 willpower, after reducing each ally’s willpower by 1. Thus, all allies with 1 willpower or below are automatically destroyed. Fortunately, I have no allies in play, so this card fizzles out with no effect.

Card 2: Piercing Cry [Peril] – This is another terrible treachery, but this one will actually have an impact. It forces me to search for a Nazgul enemy and put it into play either in the staging area or engaged with the first player. I would love to cancel this effect with the One Ring, but since Deck Two revealed this card and Deck One controls Frodo, I can’t do anything about it (refer to the peril rules if you’re a bit confused by this). I thus search the encounter deck and pull out a copy of Rider of Mordor (35 engagement cost, 4 threat, 4 attack, 3 defense, 5 hit points). Deck One (the first player) is not in a good position to take on a Nazgul yet, so I’ll place the Rider in the staging area.

Resolution:

My 15 willpower stands against 9 threat (The Prancing Pony, Bill Ferny, and Rider of Mordor) in the staging area. This means that 6 progress goes on stage 1B.

Aragorn interrogates one of the guards at the west gate of Bree, trying to determine if he has seen any sign of Black Riders. At the mere mention of the Nazgul, the guard turns deathly pale, and Aragorn can get no more from him. Meanwhile, as the Hobbits trudge through the streets of Bree, whistling and laughing as they enjoy the apparent safety of civilization after a harrowing adventure, a familiar piercing cry rends the air. Subdued now, they pick up their pace and ready their weapons.

TRAVEL:

Oftentimes when playing this quest, I choose to delay the trip to The Prancing Pony for a turn or two, at least until I feel the Hobbit deck is ready for combat. However, with the Sneak Attack/Beorn combination safely in hand, I’m confident that Deck Two can easily handle the enemies churned out by this location next turn (if it is successfully explored). Thus, I’ll travel to The Prancing Pony, which grants the first player (Deck One) the ability to put an ally into play immediately for no cost. I will use this opportunity to put Son of Arnor into play. This ally’s ability allows me to engage an enemy in the staging area, and I will immediately pull down Bill Ferny. Things are going quite well so far, as this Prancing Pony/Son of Arnor combination has worked perfectly to provide a solution to the Ferny problem.

Aragorn meets up with one of his fellow rangers, a true son of Arnor, who has been staying in Bree for the past few weeks, keeping an eye on things. He tells Aragorn that Bill Ferny, a resident of Bree, has been clearly helping the Nazgul in their search for the Ring, and will bring them down on the town if he learns of the arrival of four Hobbits from The Shire. Knowing what needs to be done, Aragorn asks for the location of Bill Ferny’s house, ready to deal with this threat immediately. He hears a dread sound in the distance, the cry of a Nazgul, and beckons his fellows to make haste. Meanwhile, the Hobbits find The Prancing Pony and rush for the safety of their rooms. Their good friend, Barliman Butterbur, who had helped them in The Shire, and is the proprietor of this establishment, had set up everything in advance. Hopefully, these walls would provide some measure of safety…

ENCOUNTER:

The Rider of Mordor, with its 35 engagement cost (38 with Pippin’s boost), does not have to be engaged this turn. Deck One is busy with Bill Ferny, who I want to destroy as quickly as possible, meaning I need to avoid any distractions. Deck Two needs to save its combat resources for next round and the enemies put into play by the exploration of The Prancing Pony, so I’ll keep the Rider where it is for now, even though its 4 threat is irksome.

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

The Son of Arnor will defend against Bill Ferny, as I want to save my two ready heroes for attack, and Bill’s 1 attack should leave him alive. The shadow effect lowers the defender’s defense by 1, but the Son of Arnor’s defense is already at 0, so this shadow has no effect. Bill Ferny’s 1 attack against the Son of Arnor’s 0 defense leads to 1 damage (the Son of Arnor now has 1 hit point remaining).

Player Attack:

Aragorn (3 attack) and Glorfindel (3 attack) will fight back against Bill Ferny. Their 6 attack against his 3 defense leads to 3 damage, leaving him with only 2 hit points left. I would have loved to destroy him this turn, but I should be able to finish the deed next turn.

The ranger signals Aragorn and co. that they have reached Bill Ferny’s house, and he calmly knocks on the door. They are all surprised when the door is pulled open with ferocity, and a man leaps from inside, brandishing a sword. With a growl, he plunges the blade into the ranger’s arm. Aragorn and Glorfindel leap into action, swinging their swords with surety, and Bill Ferny falls back into the depths of his house in terror. 

ROUND 2 (4 threat in staging area, 6/8 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Prancing Pony [0/4 progress])

**Staging Area – Rider of Mordor**

DECK TWO PREPARATION (First Player) – 23 threat

Resources: Merry – 2, Sam – 2, Pippin – 1, Frodo – 1

Draw: Elf-stone

New Hand: Hail of Stones, Sneak Attack Gildor Inglorion, Dagger of Westernesse, Beorn, Elf-stone

Planning: I have to say that things are getting better and better for Deck Two, as drawing Elf-stone means that I can put either of my expensive allies (Gildor or Beorn) into play for free. More than likely, I will use it for Gildor, as the Sneak Attack/Beorn combination will allow me to potentially get multiple uses out of this Beorning ally’s amazing attack boost. Thus, I will play Elf-stone on The Prancing Pony. I will also pay 1 Tactics resource to put the Dagger of Westernesse on Merry, in anticipation of the combat that will likely take place this round.

Resources After Planning: Merry – 1, Sam – 2, Pippin – 0, Frodo – 1

Against their better judgement, the Hobbits decide to search the common room of The Prancing Pony for Butterbur, who seems to be missing at the moment. Merry straps his lucky dagger to his side, the one that had proved so useful against all those Riders in The Shire, and leads the way into a bustle of Hobbits and Men that are busy drinking, talking, eating, and laughing. There is no sign of Butterbur, but Pippin does spy a familiar green stone lying on a nearby table…  

DECK ONE PREPARATION – 26 threat

Resources: Eowyn – 1, Glorfindel – 2, Aragorn – 2

Draw: Silvan Refugee

New Hand: Steward of Gondor, Ethir Swordsman, Faramir, Silvan Refugee

Planning: I will pay 2 Leadership resources to play the Steward of Gondor on Aragorn, immediately exhausting it to replace the spent resources. I will also use 2 Spirit resources to put Ethir Swordsman into play, who will provide some handy questing support. The Silvan Refugee is also a viable option here, but with the Sneak Attack/Beorn combination soon to be unleashed, I don’t want to play the Refugee just to have to discard her in the same round, as soon as Beorn leaves play.

Resources After Planning: Eowyn – 1, Glorfindel – 0, Aragorn – 2

Aragorn’s connections to Gondor and friendship with Faramir pay dividends once again, as a brash, young swordsman from the Ethir region of Gondor has been sent by Faramir to help protect the Ring. He finds Aragorn and co. as they are battling Bill Ferny.

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

Deck Two will commit Frodo (2 willpower), Sam (3 willpower), and Pippin (2 willpower). At this point, I still have to suffer Bill Ferny’s threat penalty for heroes that commit to the quest, so I will hold Merry back once more. Even more crucially, I also want to save his readying effect for multiple attacks this turn. Deck One will commit Glorfindel (3 willpower), Eowyn (4 willpower), and the Ethir Swordsman (2 willpower). This is a total of 16 willpower vs. 4 threat in the staging area. Once again, i will choose to take the threat increase from Ferny rather than the Ringwraith, which means that Deck Two’s threat raises to 25, while Deck One’s threat raises to 28.

Staging:

Card 1: Unwanted Attention [Peril] – This, my friends, is why you always commit at least 2 heroes to the quest when playing black breaththis scenario. Unwanted Attention forces you to either remove 2 heroes from the quest (and you have to be able to remove 2, not just 1, to satisfy this condition) or shuffle a Ringwraith into the encounter deck. I will gladly remove Sam and Pippin from the quest and dodge yet another Ringwraith bullet.

Card 2: Black Breath [Peril] – This is easily one of the worst condition attachments of all time, as it reduces all of a hero’s stats down to 0 (except for hit points). Since this treachery has peril, and this card was revealed by Deck Two, I once again cannot use the One Ring to cancel it. This clearly demonstrates the challenges posed by peril. I’m now faced with a difficult decision, and there are no great options here. Attaching Black Breath to Glorfindel would be a poor decision, as he can both quest and attack each turn, thanks to Light of Valinor. Eowyn is a possibility, as she is more one-dimensional, but I’ve already removed Sam and Pippin from the quest, and losing an additional 4 willpower on top of that would mean that I wouldn’t clear The Prancing Pony this turn. I have a nice set-up at the moment, and have an opportunity to blast through this quest, and I’m not willing to give that up. That means that Aragorn must be saddled with Black Breath by default. It is a shame, as he has great stats, and is my only viable defending hero for this deck, but duty calls. Aragorn now has Black Breath attached and will have 0 willpower, attack, and defense.

Resolution:

The remaining 9 willpower I have committed against the 4 threat from the Rider of Mordor ensures that 5 progress will be made. This will leave me just 2 progress shy of advancing to the next quest stage (Elf-stone adds 1 quest point to the active location), so I will use Eowyn’s power and have Deck One discard Silvan Refugee, while Deck Two discards Hail of Stones to boost her willpower by 2. This means I will be making 7 progress. 5 tokens will be sufficient to clear out The Prancing Pony, and now I must discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until 2 enemies are added to play, both being considered to be engaged with the first player (Deck Two). The first enemy added in this way is a Shady Bree-lander (28 engagement cost, 2 threat, 3 attack, 1 defense, 4 hit points). Since its engagement cost (actually at 32 with Pippin’s buffer) is greater than Deck Two’s threat of 25, Sam readies and gains a +1 boost to willpower/attack/defense, while Pippin draw a card, which turns out to be Hail of Stones. The second enemy added is a Squint-eyed Southerner (33 engagement cost, 2 threat, 2 attack, 2 defense, 3 hit points). Its engagement cost (actually at 37) is also higher than Deck Two’s threat, so Sam will gain an additional +1 boost to his stats (now at a total of +2), while Pippin draws Feint. With The Prancing Pony’s effect satisfied, the Elf-stone also activates since the attached location was explored, and I will bring in Gildor Inglorion for free. The remaining 2 progress goes onto quest stage 1B, which is enough to advance to stage 2B. The text on this quest stage calls for 2 progress to be immediately placed on it. Finally, Midgewater (3 threat, 6 quest points) is added to the staging area.

The Hobbits are in the common room of The Prancing Pony, inquiring after the absent owner. As Pippin is explaining who they are, he slips and uses the name “Baggins”. The other Hobbits look at him in horror.  Two ruffians sitting at a nearby table, who had been watching the Hobbits intently, immediately rise from their seats at the mention of the name and move menacingly forward. One is a shady-looking Bree-lander, while the other is clearly a Southerner. They both are brandishing wicked-looking knives, and the Hobbits huddle together. Suddenly, a familiar figure emerges from the shadows nearby and stands by Frodo. It is Gildor, returned to help them once more! Meanwhile, Bill Ferny tries one last desperate ploy as he faces off against Aragorn. “The Riders have already found the Hobbits by now,” he sneers from inside his house. Glorfindel looks at Aragorn, “Go, I’ll handle this one.” Aragorn nods and rushes down the lane. However, it’s all a trap: a large shadow emerges from behind a nearby cottage, and the black breath renders the Dunedain unconscious.

TRAVEL:

The only location in play at the moment is Midgewater, and I want to destroy the enemies on the board before I travel to it. If I made the unfortunate decision to take on Midgewater right now, it would return Bill Ferny, along with the two enemies engaged with Deck Two, to the staging area, and they would be trapped there until Midgewater was cleared.

ENCOUNTER:

Deck Two already has two enemies engaged with it, but I have the potent Sneak Attack/Beorn/Merry combination on tap, and I would love to remove all enemies from play this turn. This would allow me to travel to Midgewater next turn without having to worry too much about enemy build-up. Thus, Deck Two will optionally engage the Rider of Mordor. This gives Sam an additional +1 boost to his stats, while Pippin draws a Defender of Rammas.

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

Deck Two will play Feint on the Rider of Mordor, preventing the most powerful enemy from attacking. I will then use Sneak Attack to put Beorn into play. Gildor defends against the Shady Bree-lander, with the shadow effect being a +1 attack boost (it would be +2, but fortunately the Ring is not exhausted). The Shady Bree-lander’s 4 attack against Gildor’s 3 defense means 1 damage is placed on this ally (he has 2 hit points remaining). Then, Sam will defend against the Squint-eyed Southerner. He has a printed defense of 1, but is actually at 4 defense thanks to the +3 stat boost. This means that Sam will take no damage. Finally, for Deck One, Aragorn defends against Bill Ferny. There is no shadow effect, and Bill’s 1 attack against Aragorn’s 0 defense (thanks to Black Breath) causes 1 damage (4 hit points remaining).

Player Attack:

Now the real fun begins! Beorn (8 attack using his special ability) and Merry (4 attack + 2 attack from Dagger of Westernesse) team up against the Rider of Mordor for an impressive combined attack of 14. Subtracting the Rider’s 3 defense, 11 damage is dealt, which makes for a very dead Nazgul. I then use Merry’s ability to ready Beorn, while he himself will ready with Fast Hitch. Next, Merry (4 attack + 2 attack) and Beorn (8 attack) attack the Shady Bree-lander (1 defense) for 13 damage, completely smashing him. Finally, Merry readies Beorn once more, who attacks the Squint-eyed Southerner (2 defense), dealing 6 damage and killing him. On the other side of the table, Deck One uses the Son of Arnor (2 damage) and Glorfindel (3 attack) to attack Bill Ferny. This combined attack of 5 against Bill’s defense of 3 means that 2 damage is inflicted, just enough to destroy this pest once and for all.

At the end of the combat phase, Beorn returns to Deck Two’s hand before his ability would shuffle him back into the deck, thanks to Sneak Attack’s effect.

NAZGUL KILL COUNTER = 1

The Hobbits’ joy at seeing Gildor turns to terror as a familiar black shape passes through the doors of The Prancing Pony. The Nazgul have found them! One of the ruffians leaps forward only to be fought off by Gildor, while Sam stands between Frodo and the other spy. As the Rider approaches the Hobbits, its sword unsheathed and ready to spill blood, the common room clears out as The Prancing Pony’s patrons flee as fast as they can. Just when all seems lost, a roar rises above the din, and a huge Man smashes straight through the two Enemy spies with his massive fists, leaving them unconscious on the floor. Then, without missing a beat, he grabs a nearby table, lifting it over his head and tossing it straight into the unsuspecting Nazgul. Merry seizes the moment, rushing forward and stabbing his dagger into the dark shape pinned to the ground. The rest of the Hobbits stand with their mouths agape, and Frodo looks in wonder at their savior. He seemed vaguely familiar, as if he was from one of dear old Bilbo’s stories. “Gandalf sent me,” he growls. Meanwhile, Glorfindel and the ranger offer Bill Ferny mercy, but he madly rushes at them with a dagger, and they quickly end the one-sided battle.

REFRESH:

At the end of the round, 2 progress tokens are removed from quest stage 2B as part of its game text.

ROUND 3 (3 threat in staging area, 0/0 progress on 2B, 2 victory points, Active Location – none)

**Staging Area – Midgewater**

DECK ONE PREPARATION (First Player) – 29 threat

Resources: Eowyn – 2, Glorfindel – 1, Aragorn – 5, Frodo – 3

Draw: Blood of Numenor

New Hand: Faramir, Blood of Numenor

Planning: Blood of Numenor is actually not a bad card to draw at this moment, as this attachment can allow Aragorn to do some defending despite having 0 defense due to Black Breath. Thus, I will attach Blood of Numenor to Aragorn. I will also pay 4 Leadership resources for Faramir, who can provide help in both questing and combat. This means I won’t have resources available to activate Blood of Numenor this turn, but I’m not planning on engaging in combat, since I will soon be traveling to Midgewater.

Resources After Planning: Eowyn – 2, Glorfindel – 1, Aragorn – 1

Fresh from their battle with Bill Ferny, Glorfindel and the ranger find Aragorn on the ground not far down the lane. Heir of Elendil that he is, and strong with the Blood of Numenor, he is already regaining consciousness and looking to continue the fight, although he does look a bit worse for wear. Moving with haste towards The Prancing Pony, the company meets up with Faramir, who has been scouting the environs around Bree for signs of the Nazgul.

DECK TWO PREPARATION – 26 threat

Resources: Merry – 1, Sam – 2, Pippin – 1

Draw: Landroval

New Hand: Hail of Stones, Defender of Rammas, Beorn, Landroval

Planning: Landroval is another of the expensive allies that I have included in this deck to provide quality targets for Elf-stone’s effect. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet drawn another copy of that attachment, so Landroval will have to wait in my hand, at least for now. I don’t have enough resources to play the Defender of Rammas, so I will pass on planning this round.

Resources After Planning: Merry – 1, Sam – 2, Pippin – 1

With the strange, bear-like Man leaving to, in his own words, “clear out some more of those pests”, the Hobbits hastily exit The Prancing Pony before any other Nazgul show up.

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

In stage 2B, it is vitally important to put at least 2 progress on the quest each round, as either 2 tokens are automatically removed at the end of the turn or a Ringwraith must be shuffled into the encounter deck. I also know that I will likely be traveling to Midgewater, which means that combat likely won’t be a concern this round. With this in mind, Deck One will commit the Ethir Swordsman (2 willpower), Frodo (2 willpower), Glorfindel (3 willpower), and Eowyn (4 willpower). Deck Two will commit Sam (3 willpower) and Pippin (2 willpower). I could commit Merry here with no combat on the horizon, but I have enough willpower already and I do like to keep some kind of safety net available. Altogether, I am committing 16 willpower against the mere 3 threat posed by Midgewater.

Staging:

Card 1: Lure of the Ring [Surge] – This treachery forces the first player to either exhaust the One Ring or raise their threat by 3piercing ink. In this case, I’m not sure what else may come up during staging, so it may be safer to keep the One Ring available. Therefore, I will raise Deck One’s threat up to 32.

Card 1.2: Black Breath [Peril] – With this horrible treachery raising its head once again, my decision to keep the One Ring ready has me feeling like a genius. With Aragorn already sporting a copy of Black Breath, and with this condition attachment being limited to 1 per character, I would have to nerf either Glorfindel or Eowyn, severely crippling Deck One. Fortunately, though, since this card was revealed by the first player, I can use the One Ring to cancel it and redraw, and I will do so without much hesitation.

Card 1.3: Piercing Cry [Peril] – Normally, I would be pretty upset to have my One Ring bring out yet another Nazgul. However, in this case, I know that ideally I will soon be advancing to stage 3, which will bring out all copies of the Rider of Mordor anyway, so this treachery is actually a good trade for Black Breath. I pull out a copy of Rider of Mordor and put it into play in the staging area. [Note that I made a tiny mistake here, as I could have actually had the Rider engage the first player instead of putting it in the staging area, knowing that Midgewater would kick it back out to the staging area anyway during the travel phase. This would have removed 4 threat from the staging area for quest resolution. It’s not a big deal here, but I wanted to mention this trick so that others could be aware of and use it.]

Card 2: Unwanted Attention [Peril] – Once again I am saved by having at least two heroes committed. I will remove Sam and Pippin from the quest, count my blessings, and hope they can stay out of trouble in the future.

Resolution:

With 11 willpower committed (after removing Sam and Pippin’s contribution) against 7 threat (MIdgewater and the Rider of Mordor), I make 4 progress on the quest, which is placed on stage 2B. This is more than enough to cover the progress tokens that are removed at the end of the round, and that’s all I really care about at this point.

As the Hobbits emerge from The Prancing Pony, they immediately begin to search for Aragorn and company. However, a Nazgul’s cry echoes through the night, and Frodo can’t resist the temptation to slip on the ring, his nerves frayed by the seemingly endless hunt. Fortunately, Aragorn and co. happen upon The Hobbits at that moment, and everyone’s frantic shouting of his name snaps Frodo out of his panicked state, enough that he slips off the Ring. Surely, this misstep would attract some unwanted attention from any nearby Nazgul, but the damage was hopefully minimized. With no time to lose, and the hunt surely closing in now, Aragorn hurriedly ushers the company onto the road out of Bree, leading as best he can in his injured state.

TRAVEL:

The time has come to travel to Midgewater. With only 1 enemy in play (the Rider of Mordor in the staging area) and none engaged with either deck, it really is a perfect opportunity to clear out this location. This is the advantage of including cards and characters in this scenario that can quickly clear the board of enemies. With that said, I will move Midgewater to the active location spot, which doesn’t return any enemies to the staging area.

The Hobbits, rangers, and elf-lords make quick ground once they leave Bree. Following Aragorn’s advice, they head straight for Midgewater, a stretch of swampy and inhospitable terrain that has the advantage of throwing off the pursuit of the Nazgul. It is unlikely that the Riders will take their horses onto the soggy ground. More than likely, they will wait for the company to emerge on more solid terrain. For now, the Midgewater provides a much-needed respite, other than the ravenous and relentless pests that give the marsh its name.

ENCOUNTER:

The Midgewater prevents any engagement, so the Rider of Mordor will sit in the staging area for this turn.

COMBAT:

There are no enemies engaged, and the Midgewater prevents enemies from being damaged, so even a card like Hail of Stones is useless at the moment.

The company moves slowly through the Midgewater. It’s rough going, but there are no enemies in sight.

REFRESH:

2 progress is automatically removed from stage 2B at the end of the round, leaving 2 progress tokens on it.

ROUND 4 (4 threat in staging area, 2/6 progress on 2B, 2 victory points, Active Location – Midgewater [0/6 progress])

**Staging Area – Rider of Mordor**

DECK TWO PREPARATION (First Player) – 27 threat

Resources: Merry – 2, Sam – 3, Pippin – 2, Frodo – 3

Draw: Barliman Butterbur

New Hand: Hail of Stones, Defender of Rammas, Beorn, Landroval, Barliman Butterbur

Planning: I was hoping to draw an Elf-stone or Erebor Hammersmith (to retrieve the previously used Elf-stone) to allow me to put Landroval into play, but there’s no such luck to be had. However, I will play the copy of Barliman Butterbur I just drew to provide an extra body that can stand in the way of the Nazgul that are about to come into play.

Resources After Planning: Merry – 2, Sam – 3, Pippin – 0, Frodo – 3

As the company is about halfway through the Midgewater, the Hobbits rub their eyes with disbelief as they see a familiar figure up ahead. It’s Barliman Butterbur himself! The mystery of his absence from Bree has been solved. Poor Barliman got lost in the Midgewater on an errand for Gandalf, but he has once again fortuitously run into Frodo at an opportune moment.

DECK ONE PREPARATION – 33 threat

Resources: Eowyn – 3, Glorfindel – 2, Aragorn – 4

Draw: Ancient Mathom

New Hand: Ancient Mathom

Planning: Deck One is running low on cards, and it would be nice to use Ancient Mathom to build up this supply. However, Deck Two is currently the first player, and would benefit from this attachment if Midgewater is explored this turn (which is the plan). This is perhaps not the ideal situation, but I would like to see if Deck Two can get lucky with drawing Elf-stone or something that might be beneficial against the Witch-king and the other Nazgul (another Sneak Attack would be perfect). With the scenario coming to a climax, getting card draw for any deck immediately is better than waiting for the ideal moment. Thus, I will pay 1 to play Ancient Mathom on Midgewater.

Resources After Planning: Eowyn – 2, Glorfindel – 2, Aragorn – 4

Aragorn unfailingly leads the company on the correct path through the marsh, and the others marvel at his strength after having such a close encounter with the black breath of the Nazgul.

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

My goal here is to clear out Midgewater at the very least. Ideally, I would also like to plow through to stage 3, as I should have enough characters and power to fight the collected Nazgul at this point, and I don’t want to tack on unnecessary rounds that could lead to a build-up of extraneous enemies. Deck Two will commit Frodo (2 willpower), Sam (3 willpower), Merry (2 willpower) and Pippin (2 willpower). Merry will use Fast Hitch to immediately ready. Deck One will commit Eowyn (4 willpower), Glorfindel (3 willpower), and Ethir Swordsman (2 willpower). This is a total of 18 willpower against the 4 threat of the Rider of Mordor. I need 6 progress to clear out Midgewater plus 4 progress to advance to the next quest stage. Thus, if 4 additional threat or less is added to the staging area, I will meet my goal.

Staging:

Card 1: Pale Blade [Surge] –  The Rider of Mordor in the staging area gets a toy. This makes him a bit tougher but is just a footnote at the moment, and I’m more concerned with what the surge will bring.

Card 1.2: Black Breath [Peril] – This treachery really seems to love me today. There’s no way I’m going to accept another copy of Black Breath, so I will use the One Ring to cancel it.

Card 1.3: Weather Hills (3 threat, 2 quest points) – The 3 threat of this location is not ideal, but overall this is a fantastic draw. I can use the Weather Hills to pop a Nazgul out of play at the exact moment when it is most crucial to do so.

card 2.1: Pale Blade [Surge] – There is already a Pale Blade on the only Nazgul in play, so this treachery is discarded and surges.

card 2.2: Shady Bree-lander (28 engagement cost, 2 threat, 3 attack, 1 defense, 4 hit points) – I don’t love seeing an enemy hit the table, and I also don’t enjoy another 2 threat being added to the staging area, but there are definitely worse possibilities out there.

Resolution:

My 18 willpower stands against 9 threat (Rider of Mordor, Weather Hills, Shady Bree-lander) in the staging area. This is a total of 9 progress, just 1 shy of advancement. Deck Two will thus discard Defender of Rammas to boost Eowyn’s willpower by 1. The new total of 19 willpower means that 10 progress is made. 6 tokens clear out Midgewater, which triggers Ancient Mathom for Deck Two. The 3 cards drawn are Fast Hitch, Bill the Pony, and Feint. I would have loved to draw a Sneak Attack here to enable another Beorn rampage (this was actually my fondest hope for the Mathom), but no such luck is to be had. The Feint should prove useful though. The remaining 4 progress tokens go on stage 2B, which means that it is time for the final stage, 3B. The Witch-king, Weathertop, and the second Rider of Mordor are now added to the staging area.

As the company leaves Midgewater behind, a line of hills is visible just ahead, with Weathertop the highest point. Every member of the party can feel the presence of evil, but there are no Nazgul in sight. They make a bee-line straight for the hills, not stopping for rest or slowing for a moment.

TRAVEL:

Travel to Weathertop requires exhausting the One Ring, which I cannot do at the moment. Even if I could, the better play right now is to move to the Weather Hills, which allows me to place a non-unique enemy underneath it, removing it from play. I will choose to remove the Rider of Mordor with the Pale Blade attached from play. 

Aragorn leads the weary company into the Weather Hills, and the Hobbits in particular are hopeful of finding a safe spot to make camp for the night. Night is falling quickly, and it seems as if the light is being drained from the world by some unnatural force…

ENCOUNTER:

The Witch-king only has an engagement cost of 19, since the One Ring is exhausted (a -30 engagement cost penalty), which means it has to come down this turn. The Rider of Mordor, which is sitting at an engagement cost of 29 due to a -10 penalty for the One Ring being exhausted (but a +4 boost from Pippin) will engage with Deck One if no optionals are taken. I would rather Deck Two take on the Nazgul, in order to benefit from the Hobbit engagement bonuses and because it has higher attack potential, so I will have it optionally engage with the Rider from Mordor. This readies Sam/provides a +1 stats boost, and allows Pippin to draw a card, which turns out to be Frodo’s Intuition. Since the Shady Bree-lander has an engagement cost of 32, it will not engage Deck Two. instead, the Witch-king will come down to face the Hobbits, providing no bonuses, while the Shady Bree-lander will take on Deck One.

The Hobbits are so exhausted that they can barely take another step. Aragorn, Glorfindel, and the rangers decide to leave them temporarily in the care of Gildor and Barliman while they continue ahead to scout the area. They disappear into the darkness, and the Hobbits, Elf, and Man huddle together for warmth. Time loses meaning in the black night, but after some undetermined amount of time, a feeling of unspeakable evil overcomes them. “Quickly, prepare yourself!” Gildor hisses, and he somehow lights a torch from nothing. As they all make a defensive circle, two terrible shapes stalk into the circle of light. Meanwhile, the rangers and Glorfindel have reached the top of a nearby hill and find a lone Man sitting there, an evil grin across his face. “This is where your journey ends, fools.” 

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

Deck Two will play Feint on the Rider of Mordor engaged with Deck Two (The Witch-king is immune to player card effects so witch-kingcan’t be targeted by Feint). The main reason why The Witch-king is so nasty is because characters with less than 2 willpower cannot defend against it. This means that Barliman cannot defend here, and The Witch-king’s massive 6 attack would kill Sam. This is where Barliman’s ability becomes extremely useful, as I can bypass the willpower restriction by taking this attack undefended, then placing the damage on him instead of a hero. Unfortunately, the shadow card has a potentially disastrous effect: The Witch-king will move to Deck One and make an immediate attack! This could potentially ruin the entire game for me, as Deck One likely won’t have the combat potential to defeat The Witch-king. After an amazing start to this challenging scenario, what just happened is a classic example of how a single shadow effect can wreck an entire quest. Before The Witch-king moves on, Barliman is sadly mashed into a fine paste.

On the other side of the board, Aragorn will declare as a defender against The Witch-king, paying 1 Leadership resource from his pool to boost his defense up to 3 using Blood of Numenor. 6 attack against 3 defense leads to 3 damage being placed on Aragorn (1 hit point remaining). However, the shadow effect provides another amazing swing of fortune, as it returns The Witch-king to the staging area! Normally, this is an annoying effect, but here it might just have saved me from defeat. Faramir will defend against the Shady Bree-lander. 3 attack minus 2 defense mans 1 damage is placed on Faramir (2 hit points remaining).

** Note: There was a play mistake here as Aragorn should not have been able to defend against The Witch-king due to his willpower being at 0 because of Black Breath. In addition, Blood of Numenor is not able to raise the defense of a character that has Black Breath attached. Fortunately, this mistake did not have a significant impact on the outcome. If played correctly, I would have been able to defend The Witch-king with Faramir and sacrifice the Son of Arnor against the Shady Bree-lander. I then would not have been able to destroy the Shady Bree-lander on this turn, but that wouldn’t have prevented victory.

Player Attack:

Sam (2 attack), Merry (4 attack + 2 attack from the Dagger of Westernesse), and Gildor (2 attack) will combine for a total of 10 against the Rider of Mordor’s 3 defense. 7 damage is enough to destroy it. For Deck One, Glorfindel (3 attack) and Son of Arnor (2 attack) will combine for 5 attack against the Shady Bree-lander’s 1 defense. 4 damage destroys the Shady Bree-lander.

NAZGUL KILL COUNTER = 2

Barliman Butterbur bravely (and stupidly) throws himself between the Hobbits and the approaching Nazgul. The larger and more menacing of the two, which is The Witch-king himself, buries his sword effortlessly into Barliman’s chest. Frodo and the other Hobbits cry out in anguish and anger. Inexplicably, The Witch-king then vanishes into the darkness. Gildor, Merry, and Sam Gamgee charge the remaining Rider, slashing with steel and flame until there is nothing left of its cloak but shreds. Meanwhile, as Aragorn, Glorfindel, and the rangers prepare to fight the Bree-lander, a large, black shape accosts them from behind. Only Aragorn’s intuition allows him to parry the oncoming blow from The Witch-king, but his sword-arm is rattled to the bone. Glorfindel and the nameless ranger skewer the Bree-lander and turn to help Aragorn, but the Nazgul has disappeared as quickly as he appeared. “The Halflings!” Aragorn cries, and runs off to find Frodo.

ROUND 5 (9 threat in staging area, 0/0 progress on 3B, 3 victory points, Active Location – Weather hills [0/2 progress])

**Staging Area – The Witch-king, Weathertop**

DECK ONE PREPARATION (First Player) – 34 threat

Resources: Eowyn – 3, Glorfindel – 3, Aragorn – 6, Frodo – 3

Draw: Ethir Swordsman

New Hand: Ethir Swordsman

Planning: There’s really no reason not to play the only card in my hand, other than that it might be used as potential Eowyn fodder. However, I might as well take the extra willpower in ally form instead.

Resources After Planning: Eowyn – 3, Glorfindel – 1, Aragorn – 6, Frodo – 3

Everyone seems to have forgotten the Ethir swordsman, but a brother-in-arms of his appears at this moment, because hey, why not? Outlands loves company.

DECK TWO PREPARATION – 28 threat

Resources: Merry – 2, Sam – 4, Pippin – 1

Draw: Sneak Attack

New Hand: Beorn, Landroval, Fast Hitch, Bill the Pony, Frodo’s Intuition, Sneak Attack

Planning: I can’t quite believe my good fortune in drawing the one card that can practically guarantee victory. This is the moment when you readers out there might wonder if I’ve been doing some selective cheating, but I can only say that including multiple ways of getting a key ally like Beorn into play (Elf-stone, Sneak Attack, Erebor Hammersmith – to resurrect Elf-stone) increases the odds of such a fortunate draw. Of course, there’s no substitute for good luck as well. For planning, I will play Bill the Pony for free. In addition, even though Sam has a built-in readying effect, I will attach Fast Hitch to him for good measure.

Resources: After Planning: Merry – 2, Sam – 4, Pippin – 0

Across countless miles and unspeakable danger, Bill the Pony 2.0 has found Sam Gamgee in the most unlikely of moments! With the pony in tow, Gildor and the Hobbits flee the cove where they had been huddled, knowing that the other Nazgul is out there somewhere.

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

This is a tricky moment, as I don’t want to swallow a ton of threat by questing unsuccessfully. On the other hand, I really want to avoid exploring the Weather Hills, as this will bring the other Nazgul back into play. If I can strategically quest just enough to break even, all I need to do is kill The Witch-king to win the game. This is a difficult task, as the Weather Hills only requires 2  progress tokens to clear out. Thus, I will only commit Glorfindel (3 willpower) and Eowyn (4 willpower) for Deck One, while Deck Two will commit Sam (3 willpower) and Pippin (2 willpower). This is a total of 12 against the 9 threat in the staging area. As long as I draw at least 2 threat during staging area, the Weather Hills should remain in play.

Staging:

Card 1: Pathless Country (2 threat, 3 quest points) – Mission accomplished. With this 2 threat in the staging area, I now know that the hidden Nazgul will remain out of play under the Weather Hills.

Card 2: Squint-eyed Southerner (33 engagement cost, 2 threat, 2 attack, 2 defense, 3 hit points) – Normally, I would take the extra encounter card called for by the “when revealed” effect. However, since it is close to the end of the game, and stage 3B’s Nazgul-calling effect has already been activated, I will choose to shuffle a Ringwraith into the encounter deck instead. Since its shadow effect is simply to shuffle itself back into the deck, this also increases the chances of a benevolent shadow card being drawn instead of something nastier.

Resolution:

My total committed willpower of 12 loses by 1 against the 13 threat in the staging area. Since it looks like Landroval won’t get a chance to come into play, I will discard him to even the score at 13. This is a perfect result.

On one side, Aragorn and co. charge back down the hill, fearing the worst. On the other, the Hobbits, Gildor, and Bill the Pony 2.0 race uphill, hoping to find the rest of their party.

TRAVEL:

Weather Hills remains in the active location spot, which is all part of the plan.

ENCOUNTER:

Deck Two will optionally engage The Witch-king, which this time has an engagement cost of 48 (45 + 3 from Pippin) since the One Ring is not exhausted. This means that Sam readies and gains his +1 stats bonus, while Pippin draws Hobbit Cloak. Deck One engages the Squint-eyed Southerner

 The worst fear of the Hobbits is realized, as the Witch-king appears before them once more. Unfortunately, Aragorn and co. are nowhere in sight. The rangers and Glorfindel have been delayed by yet another minion, this one a Southerner with the unenviable task of keeping their attention just long enough for the Ring to be seized. 

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:beorn

Deck Two will use Sneak Attack to bring Beorn into play. Since I haven’t yet used Mr. Underhill, I might as well use it now to prevent the Squint-eyed Southerner from attacking (reminder: The Witch-king can’t be targeted by such effects). Gildor will defend against The Witch-king. The shadow card discards an attachment, and I will get rid of the Fast Hitch on Sam to satisfy this condition. The Witch-king’s attack of 6 against Gildor’s 3 defense means that 3 damage is inflicted, enough to destroy the Elf.

Player Attack:

Now comes the moment of truth. Beorn (8 attack using his special ability), Merry (3 attack + 2 attack from the Dagger of Westernesse), Bill the Pony (1 attack), and Sam (2 attack) dogpile on The Witch-king for a grand total of 16. Compared against this enemy’s defense of 5, 11 damage is inflicted. The Witch-king is destroyed and the quest is won!

The Hobbits’ worst fears are realized as the Witch-king appears once more before they can meet up with Aragorn. Gildor fearlessly meets the Enemy’s servant in open battle, and it appears that he might win the day, but suddenly his sword is shattered to pieces, and the Witch-king follows up with a fatal blow that strikes the Elf to the ground. The Hobbits are stunned by this sacrifice, and the Witch-king moves relentlessly forward. With a lightning strike, the Nazgul buries a dagger into Frodo’s shoulder, inflicting an evil wound on the ring-bearer. Suddenly, the huge Man who had helped them in The Prancing Pony reappears, and leads Merry, Sam, and even Bill the Pony 2.0 in a mad charge. The bear-like Man lands a massive blow, and The Witch-king lets out a shriek of agony as he dissolves back into the night, retreating for the present. Just then, Aragorn, Glorfindel, and the others arrive to find Frodo grievously wounded. Would they be able to get help for the Hobbit before it was too late?

 NAZGUL KILL COUNTER = 3

SCENARIO CONCLUSION:

This is most definitely my finest performance against A Knife in the Dark. The changes I made to my decks in preparation for this scenario paid off in a big way, as Beorn was the clear MVP. With the sheer attack power he provides on my side, the key turning points of the quest (Prancing Pony enemy dump, Midgewater delay, and Nazgul assault) were rendered fairly trivial. While surely not all playthroughs against this quest would be as resoundingly successful, I’m confident that the decks I constructed are solid enough to ensure a decent rate of victory.

There is now the matter of concluding the scenario by following the resolution text on the Campaign Mode card. In this case, I have the exciting opportunity to “level up” one hero per deck by choosing between the following boons: Noble Hero (+1 willpower and Noble trait), Skilled Healer (+2 hit points and Healer trait), Tireless Ranger (+1 defense and Ranger trait), and Valiant Warrior (+1 attack and Warrior trait). I know that everyone out there will have a different opinion about which of these boons is better, and which should be selected in each circumstance. This is certainly a large part of the fun of being able to customize one’s heroes. In my case, for Deck One, I will select Valiant Warrior and assign it to Glorfindel. Since he is usually always available for combat, especially with Light of Valinor in play, an attack strength of 4 could prove decisive in certain circumstances. For Deck Two, I will give Skilled Healer to Sam, as boosting him up to 5 hit points is too good to pass up. Having at least one hero with 5 hit points in a usually fragile Hobbit deck might serve as a good security blanket against the unknown dangers of later quests.

——————————————————————————————————————————–

Well, readers, this concludes the second quest of Campaign Mode! Next time, our heroes will race against the Nazgul, seeking to reach the safety of Rivendell and the healing of Elrond before Frodo is lost to the Enemy. Stay tuned!

From → Strategy

18 Comments
  1. I love it! It always fun to see ally Beorn used to such great effect. Having him attack alongside Merry is a particularly ingenious strategy. Bravo, on another fine play report.

  2. Nusse permalink

    Round 2, after clearing Prancing Pony, i have a question? Does Sam get his bonus if he doesn’t ready?

    I’m not sure what triggers the bonus : engaging an enemy with a higher threat (in which case, he could get the stat bonus twice) or engaging an enemy with a higher threat AND readying? The way i read it, the bonus is only applied when Sam readies, but I’m really not sure.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      This is a good question as the text can be read in both ways. The designers have clarified that Sam’s stat bonus is triggered by every enemy that engages (with a higher engagement cost). It is not triggered by the readying, that is an extra bonus.

  3. Nusse permalink

    Oh and i should have started by saying your session reports are excellent, I love the flavor texts.

  4. Chris permalink

    Great writeup!

  5. RobOz permalink

    Question – in Round 4 Aragorn blocked the Witch King after the WK made a second attack due its shadow card. Was this a legal block if Black Breath was still on Aragorn (BB would reduce Aragorn’s WP to 0 and thus trigger WK’s effect). Perhaps I missed a play that raised Aragorn’s WP above 1 in my read-through?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      No, you’re completely right, you’ve caught a mistake there. In that case, what I would have done is used Faramir to block The Witch-king (as there’s no way I would have sacrificed Glorfindel), which would have destroyed him, and then used Aragorn and Blood of Numenor to block the Shady Bree-lander. The end result would have been the same, but that Black Breath is a sneaky one!

      • RobOz permalink

        Ok, wasn’t sure if perhaps I’d missed something that permitted Aragorn to defend (i.e. that would help me with the scenario!) Black Breath is truly awful on its own, but the synergy with the Witch King is just ridiculous. Glad that you still had an option to block that attack!

        Thanks much for the campaign write-up. It provides some good ideas about how to make it through the quest. I was fortunate enough to have a friend grab me BR at GenCon (I had to miss GenCon for the first time in 5 years this summer, bleah), but I’ve only successfully navigated Shadow of the Past so far. I’ve tried A Knife a few times, but its extremely hard with one deck only. I’m hoping to have more luck with it by using some combo of Son of Arnor/The Hammerstroke/Hail of Stones. The quest is essentially impossible unless you get Ferny out in about 1-3 rounds. Have not yet tried Flight to the Ford. I’d prefer to successfully complete Knife, first.

      • GrandSpleen permalink

        Wouldn’t Black Breath override Blood of Numenor anyway? Something in the manual – whenever an effect changes a character’s stats, the net effect of all stat-changing effects need to be recalculated. It looks like BB would just smash anything into nothing.

      • TalesfromtheCards permalink

        Yeah, the Black Breath would cancel out Blood of Numenor. This was something that was clarified for me by Caleb (I’ll probably put a note into the article so people are aware). I still would’ve been able to win the quest fortunately by sacrificing the Son of Arnor against the Shady Bree-lander if need be.

  6. Stoian permalink

    : ,,3A When Revealed: Add Weathertop and The Witch-king to the staging area. Search the encounter deck and discard pile and add each Nazgul enemy found to the staging area. Shuffle the encounter deck.

    3B If there are no Nazgul enemies in play, the players win the game.”
    Why you put only The Witch-king and Weathertop in stagging area and not all Nazguls?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      One of the Nazgul (Rider of Mordor) was already in play when I hit the last stage. I added the second Nazgul (another Rider of Mordor) to the staging area along with The Witch-king and Weathertop. Those two Riders are the only Nazgul in the encounter deck (and discard pile), if you avoid shuffling any of the out of play Ringwraiths into the encounter deck, which I was able to do.

  7. Stoian permalink

    Thank you!

  8. Pekka permalink

    Does the forced effect of The Prancing Pony really trigger Sam’s ability? The forced effect says: “Put each enemy discarded by this effect into play engaged with the first player.” Does that count as “After you engage an enemy –” for Sam or do the enemies just pop into play with the status of being engaged with the first player?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      An interesting question. I’m pretty sure that it does. I think the enemies going from non-engaged, albeit out of play, into engagement with a player counts as engaging. On the other hand, I think if an enemy is merely “considered to be engaged with a player” as is true with some boss enemies, than this doesn’t activate effects such as Sam’s.

  9. Dominick Lauzon permalink

    Great content here, should Gildor Inglorion (Boon from 1st run?) be in the encounter deck for starters ?

  10. Dominick Lauzon permalink

    Forget it, I just saw the Part 2 with Decks and it is a different card. I came straight here from a Google Search. Thanks for the amazing read. Will re-attempt 😉

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