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Nightmare Preview: The Hills of Emyn Muil

by on December 9, 2013

emyn muil

Season Three of the Nightmare packs for LOTR LCG have gone out to game stores, which is exciting news for those players looking for an additional challenge or wanting to see new life breathed into old scenarios.  This iteration of the Nightmare expansions includes new cards for The Hills of Emyn Muil, The Dead Marshes, and Return to Mirkwood. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of delay between when these packs are distributed to retailers and when they become available to the general public through print on demand. Until then, I’ll provide a preview of what’s in each pack, starting with The Hills of Emyn Muil. I was particularly excited to see what the designers did with this scenario, as while some players enjoy it, many feel that it is one of the most disappointing quests. Catch a glimpse of the Nightmare version of The Hills of Emyn Muil below!


Tunneling Nameless Thing (50 engagement cost, 4 threat, 6 attack, 4 defense, 10 hit points):

Forced: After the players travel to a location, Tunneling Nameless Thing engages the first player.

If there is no active location, return Tunneling Nameless Thing to the staging area.


Orc Interceptor (39 engagement cost, 2 threat, 2 attack, 3 defense, 5 hit points):

Orc Interceptor gets +1 threat strength and +1 attack for each resource token on it.

Forced: After a location leaves play as an explored location, place a resource token on Orc Interceptor.

orc interce


* Brambles and Thorns (3 threat, 5 quest points, 3 victory points):

Forced: After a character commits to the quest, deal 1 damage to that character if it has not been dealt damage by another copy of Brambles and Thorns this round.

* Sarn Gebir Rapids (5 threat, 5 quest points, 2 victory points):

While Sarn Gebir Rapids is the active location, the “when revealed” effects of Hazard cards cannot be canceled.

sarn gebir


* A Hurrying Darkness:

When Revealed: Each player must either increase his threat by 5, or reveal an additional encounter card from the encounter deck and add it to the staging area.

Shadow: Attacking enemy gets +X attack. X is the threat strength of the active location.

hurrying darkness

* Blast of Savage Wind:

Doomed 2.

When Revealed: Remove all progress from each Emyn Muil location in play. Each Emyn Muil location gets +2 threat strength until the end of the round.

Shadow: Remove all progress from each Emyn Muil location in play.

* Hazardous Terrain:

Surge. Doomed 2.

When Revealed: Shuffle all Hazard cards in the encounter discard pile back into the encounter deck.

Shadow: Shuffle all Hazard cards in the encounter discard pile back into the encounter deck. Then, deal another shadow card for this attack.

* Retraced Steps:


When Revealed: Discard a random Emyn Muil location from the victory display.

I have yet to play through this scenario, but as soon as I do, I’ll share my thoughts and experiences in an article. Readers, what do you all think of these cards? Are they enough to make you want to play The Hills of Emyn Muil again? Did you ever think the Shai-Halud from Dune would ever make an appearance in Middle-earth?


From → Spoilers

  1. That Nameless is so gnarly.

  2. Karlson permalink

    I have just a couple questions. Fist off, the season three nightmare packs are already out, but I still can’t seem to find the season two packs yet anywhere (Hunt for Gollum, Conflict at the Carrock, and Journey to Rhosgobel). So, I was just curious if you knew what was up with that?

    Also, I must admit that I haven’t purchased any of the nightmare packs yet for a couple reasons. First of all, I think the price is a bit steep for just 20 new encounter cards for an already existing quest, and second of all, many of the quests are already quite challenging in the first place! Overall, do you think these nightmare pack additions are a qualitative enrichment for these quests? And if so, which ones would you recommend over others? Thanks!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Some good questions. Based on how Season One worked, it seems to take a long while before the Nightmare packs become available through print on demand, and I presume this is because FFG wants game stores to have the exclusive on them for a good amount of time. So I think we probably won’t see Season Two go print on demand for another few months, although I could be wrong.

      I can understand how you feel about the NIghtmare packs, and the price point is a bit high, in my opinion. I do think they are rather enjoyable, if you have reached a point where you have gotten tired of some of the old quests and want to replay them in a new incarnation, or if you want to give some of the strongest decks a real challenge. One thing I do like about them is while they do make the quests harder, they also try to fix some of the flaws of the older quests.

      I probably should add the Nightmare packs to my buying guide, as there are quite a few of them around now (even though you can only get the Season One packs easily at this point). Out of the three Nightmare packs from Season One, I would say Passage Through Mirkwood is perhaps my favorite, as it makes that easy quest a challenge, and adds some interesting new effects, but it is still quite beatable with a variety of decks. Journey Along the Anduin NIghtmare has some good stuff in it, but you definitely need to be running some pretty strong and specific decks. Dol Guldur Nightmare is probably my third pick, not because it isn’t good, but because it’s probably one of the toughest quests around and requires super detailed deck building. Overall, for most players, I’d recommend the Nightmare packs mainly for those players who have everything already, are getting a bit bored, and want a new experience or challenge. I will say that they make quests feel quite different, in most cases, despite being only 20 cards.

  3. Jekzer permalink

    Finally some fresh info from Season 3 NM!

    First of all, thanks for sharing that info. It’s the first time I post on your page, but it is not, by any stretch, the first time I visit your blog in maybe one year.

    Seeing the cards, it seems that they tried to maintain the “exploration” feeling with some nasty treacheries, but what is more interesting, they’ve added some incredible enemies. One thing that I thought it lacked this AP was that IMO.

    We’ll see when you play how it felt to you and of course, if difficulty was increased in the terms of NM PTM or JTA.

    I have also another question: have you played Season 2? And if so, what do you think about the nightmare versions? In terms of thematics (like the more flavourful Escape from Dol Guldur) and difficulty.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Thanks for commenting! I must admit that I’ve been neglecting Nightmare a bit in terms of writing about it, as so much other stuff has come out in the past few months that I’ve never really gotten around to giving Nightmare its due. I’ve played all of the Season 1 packs, and all of the Season 3 packs except A Journey to Rhosgobel. The Hunt for Gollum NIghtmare is a huge improvement over the original quest, and gives me a reason to actually play it more often now. While I find it to be not as difficult as some of the other Nightmare quests, it definitely puts you under a bit more pressure, and I like that the enemies search for Clues just as the players do. Conflict at the Carrock Nightmare is very challenging, and makes one of my favorite scenarios even better. Instead of simply killing each troll one by one, with the quest becoming easier with each dead troll, it actually builds up to a climactic finish against a final boss troll, who gets buffed from the other trolls being destroyed.

  4. Glowwyrm permalink

    Thanks for posting about this! I’ve really enjoyed the Core Set Nightmare quests, and I’m hoping that Season Two is available to the public soon. I’m curious as to what encounter cards they took out of the Emyn Muil deck. It was a really large encounter deck that made playing the scenario really inconsistent, especially solo. I love the smaller encounter decks they use in most scenarios now, and think that Emyn Muil would be a much better scenario with less cards.

    And the Nameless Thing is awesome.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I can add the exact list to this post later today, but from what I remember, they took out a ton of cards from the deck. It seems to be much smaller, so it looks like the designers had exactly the same thought in mind!

  5. Noc permalink

    A nameless thing in the emyn muil?
    And here I thought they were an all but unknown spicies at the roots of moria….
    This guy really feels out of place for me.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I kind of had the same thought when I first saw him. I guess he got really really lost…

  6. Orc Intercepter looks pretty nasty – make you think twice about using Caldara and your friend’s Desperate Alliance to drop 3x Northern Tracker into play…

    The balance on this needs to be fairly carefully done: too many locations was the complaint before, but you don’t want too few, or you could end up with a repeat of the Caradhras problem, where you’re just delving indefinitely for enough victory points to win…

  7. Another thought – is there any additional text on quest cards (like Emyn Muil Locations are immune to Player Card Effects whilst in the staging area) – that could make things truly Nightmarish!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Now that you mention it, when playing Nightmare Emyn Muil, a maximum of 1 progress token can be placed on locations in the staging area each round (I’m pretty sure it’s round and not phase, I’ll have to check)

  8. Glaurung permalink

    Cool Cool Cool! what about Dead Marches??? Can you spoil some cards from there. I like this quest but net play it since is to easy in normal mode……..Hope now it will be very interesting to play whole Mirkwood cycle as a tournament in NM.

  9. Glaurung permalink

    Hallo good sir. Do you have any new about NM of pack 3 ? Emyn Muil looks very promising but what about others? Thank you

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I’ll have some Nightmare stuff up probably next week after I’ve finished the VoI reviews. I really like the Nightmare version of The Dead Marshes so I’m looking forward to talking about it!

  10. sweetnesswhachacha permalink

    I didn’t read this article past the intro because of spoilers, but this is definitely the pack I’m most interested in as this is one of my least favorite quests!

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