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Surviving Nightmare We Must Away

by on July 15, 2014

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

The Season One Game Night Kits were released to stores a few months ago, containing Nightmare cards for the three quests from the Over Hill and Under Hill expansion. While these Nightmare decks likely won’t be available to the general public until sometime in the fall, I thought I’d share my experience with the first quest in this kit to give you an idea of what’s in store. I was initially a bit surprised that the Nightmare packs were focused on the Hobbit Saga Expansions so soon, as I expected Khazad-dum to receive the Nightmare treatment first, especially since the Hobbit quests were already so solid and weren’t in need of freshening up as with quests like The Hills of Emyn Muil or The Dead Marshes. Of course, FFG decided to surprise us all by bringing out Khazad-dum after all, issuing them immediately via Print on Demand and bypassing the Game Night Kits completely! Whether this speaks to some larger change in direction is impossible to say, but for now, let’s enjoy the Nightmare version of We Must Away, Ere Break of Day.


There really wasn’t much to “fix” or modify about the original We Must Away, Ere Break of Day quest, so it makes sense that this particular Nightmare deck doesn’t make any big changes, at least nothing like some of the other major alterations we have seen in other Nightmare scenarios. The effect on the Nightmare setup card, which can sometimes be used to impart a major change to a quest, is simply employed here to add “surge” to the Troll Key and Troll Purse. This is a welcome change, certainly, and something that probably should have been there in the first place, but doesn’t add too much “Nightmare”. Generally, the main aim of this Nightmare pack seems to be to mess with the most popular strategy for defeating this quest, which is to delay as much as possible during stage 1 in order to build up one’s forces.

Part 1 – General Strategies

1) Load up on cancellation

Treachery cancellation is usually necessary for any Nightmare quest, because one of the main methods for increasing the difficulty of a quest is to include spectacularly nasty treacheries and “when revealed” effects. However, this is especially true for this particular scenario. One treachery out of them all has earned my ire more than any other, and can now safely be declared as my arch-nemesis in this game: Mince Them Fine.

mince them fine

I can’t stress enough how much I hate this treachery. I would rather swim through an endless ocean of Sleeping Sentries, while gorging on a feast of Sudden Pitfalls, than to ever have to set my sights on this ugly bastard of a card ever again. Anyone who has played We Must Away, Ere Break of Day knows that stage 2 is when the Trolls come out to play. If you’re not ready for this occurrence, because you’ve accidentally advanced to the next stage during questing, then you’ve booked yourself a one-way ticket to pain. In the original version of this quest, this meant that the primary strategy for victory revolved around the careful timing of advancement. Well, in this Nightmare edition, Mince Them Fine comes along to completely assault this old strategy and throw it to the dogs. With one simple reveal, this treachery immediately forces players to advance to stage 2 without any recourse, as there’s no choice in the matter and no option to avoid this fate. This means that if this treachery is revealed when you don’t have cancellation available, and you haven’t yet reached a point where you can handle the trolls, the game is basically over and it’s time to reset. I can’t tell you how incredibly frustrating this is, as there were at least four games I can count where I drew Mince Them Fine during the first two rounds, including one during setup.

What all this amounts to is that A Test of Will is absolutely necessary for success against Nightmare We Must Away, Ere Break of Day. There’s really no way around it if you want to avoid relying on simple dumb luck. The only alternative (or supplement), and one that I found absolutely invaluable, was to include Eleanor. Her presence on the table meant that I could avoid Mince Them Fine even without drawing A Test of Will (barring a nasty draw for the second card), and could have a measure of safety during the first few rounds. Eleanor is a fine strategic choice for this quest for that very reason, and reaches nigh “must-include” status.

I haven’t even mentioned the other reasons to include treachery cancellation besides Mince Them Fine. One by One immediately destroys a character with a Sack attached, basically providing a counterpart to Roasted Slowly from Conflict at the Carrock, but ups the ante by throwing another Sack out onto the table right away as well. Add on top of that the already dreadful Wind-whipped Rain from the original encounter set, which discards all non-objective and non-treasure attachments, and you’ll need cancellation to survive. I’d be absolutely shocked if anyone can beat this quest on a consistent basis without the benefit of some Spirit. In addition to A Test of Will and Eleanor, it makes perfect sense to include Dwarven Tomb for cancellation recursion (possibly with Map of Earnil to recycle Dwarven Tomb).

2) Murder the Murder of Crows?

For quite awhile now, players have been able to laugh at those pesky crows that populate certain quests, thanks to cards like Thalin and Expecting Mischief that can poof them out of existence before they even have an effect. However, the crows have come for their revenge in the form of A Murder of Crows:

A-Murder-of-Crows

This group of crows boasts 3 hit points, making it immune to Thalin/Expecting Mischief tricks, on top of a massive 4 attack and 4 defense. These crows peck hard and take names. This isn’t the worst of it though, as the “when revealed” effect on A Murder of Crows simply compounds the problems mentioned in entry #1 by revealing a random card from the discard pile. Unfortunately, due to this quest being light on enemies, there’s a decent chance that A Murder of Crows will bring back one of those nasty treacheries you thought you safely avoided before, like Wind-whipped Rain, One by One, or (Eru forbid) Mince Them Fine. This is yet another reason why, although the Trolls are ostensibly the main opponents in this quest, it is the treacheries that are the primary determinant of success and failure.

Assuming you’ve managed these crows’ appearance passably well, you now have a difficult decision on your hands, one that makes the old Eastern Crows dilemma seem as difficult as choosing a side item at the local fast food joint by comparison. Do you let the 4 threat of A Murder of Crows sit in the staging area, potentially leading to quest lock, especially when the Trolls show up? Or do you engage with them, hoping to simply tank 4 attack each turn on top of dealing with the Trolls at some point? Or do you destroy them, buying yourself some time before they appear again, possibly unleashing an even worse effect next time? There’s really not a good option here, and while I’ve expressed my rather sour opinion on Mince Them Fine, I do really admire the design of A Murder of Crows. I would say that if you do feel that you’re in a fairly decent place in the game or the encounter deck is large enough that the best plan is probably to simply kill the crows. Alternatively, if you have an extremely strong willpower engine, it might be feasible to leave the crows where they are and quest past them. As for the tanking approach, while this might be possible, dealing with an extra shadow card each turn seems a bit dubious, unless you have the benefit of permanent shadow cancellation through something like A Burning Brand.

3) Load up on threat reduction

Again, the case for Spirit is strong here, and this is an aspect that is not all that different from the original quest. In the ideal scenario, you’ll reach stage 2 at least a few points below 33 threat. This means that Bert, with an engagement cost of 25, will get to grips immediately, but you’ll have a few rounds before having to deal with Tom (33 engagement cost) and William (38 engagement cost). What this means for deck building is that you should ideally start with a hero lineup that gives you a relatively low starting threat, and you’ll want to include threat reduction in the form of Gandalf, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, and/or Elrond’s Counsel. This is because the Nightmare version will not be content to let you calmly manage your threat. Instead, it has a new location up its sleeve in the form of Red River-bank:

Red-River-bank

While including enough quest power can allow you to clear this location out relatively quickly, the 5 quest points are substantial and it may stick around longer than you think. As long as the Red River-bank is in play, it can steadily increase your threat to uncomfortable levels. If that wasn’t enough, this effect also has the additional consequence of recycling nasty effects back into the encounter deck, as well as making it harder to pursue the questing out victory condition of stage 2. Red River-bank may be a reason to include Thror’s Key, although while I’ve found that attachment to be essential for certain Nightmare quests, you can probably do without it here as long as you have plenty of threat reduction available. Keep in mind that the old treachery, No Campfire, is still around to cause threat problems as well.

4) Keep it simple

At the end of the day, there’s no reason to get too fancy here, as actually most of the same things that allow for victory against the original version of this quest will hold you in good stead for the Nightmare version as well, assuming you follow the additional advice above as well. The best (although not only) approach is still to take your time on stage 1, build up your forces and attachments, and then pick off each troll one by one during stage 2 to avoid getting up loaded up with too many sacks at one time (and attacks). This will also help avoid the other effect of Mince Them Fine, which I haven’t even discussed yet, which is to cause each engaged Troll to make an immediate attack. Obviously, this is undesirable, and the effects can be mitigated by making sure that you are only engaged with one Troll at a time. Since none of the Trolls have been changed, Tom’s effect still must be dealt with, which forces players to attack each Troll with only one character at a time. As before, this puts a premium on characters with high attack values, as well as attack-boosting attachments.

troll camp

The other aspect of this quest that remains the same is the importance of Troll Camp. This location allows Bilbo to exhaust and spend 1 Baggins resource to remove a Sack from a character. Managing the Sacks is one of the key aspects of this scenario, so waiting to advance to stage 2 until at least 1 copy of Troll Camp is in play is generally a good idea. This also means that it is wise to hold Bilbo back from the quest and keep him ready if you think there is a chance of advancing to stage 2 on a given turn, as he needs to be ready to activate the Troll Camp’s effect (if you’re using Lore, Fast Hitch isn’t a bad option for this purpose).

Part 2 – The Deck

This deck has been specifically designed with this quest in mind, after losing several times with other archetypes. With this mind, I’ve chucked theme squarely out the window, and gone with what makes the most sense given the above strategies and considerations.

Hero (3)
Glorfindel x1
Eleanor x1
Eomer x1

First, I’ve decided to include Eleanor for maximum treachery cancellation, with an eye towards avoiding Mince Them Fine. While A Test of Will will also be included, I’ve found that this isn’t quite reliable enough for how often that particular treachery can emerge during a single game, and I need cancellation available on the board from the start. To accompany this Spirit hero, I will also bring Glorfindel along. Yes, this is a bit predictable, but strong and steady willpower to counter high threat locations and enemies, along with potent attack potential, is exactly what I need for this quest. Finally, I really want a dose of Tactics to provide some weapons to deal with Tom’s “one character per attack” restriction. I will need a Tactics hero with high attack power, but with a low enough threat to keep my starting value where I want it. This eliminates someone like Beorn, but paves the way for Eomer as the perfect candidate. His 5 attack when a character leaves play is just what I need to have a one man Troll-killing machine on my hands.

Ally (24)
Arwen Undomiel x3
Escort from Edoras x3
Ethir Swordsman x3
West Road Traveller x3
Northern Tracker x3
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Westfold Outrider x3
Gandalf x3

The allies in this deck serve two main purposes: to quest like the wind and to provide attack power before leaving play to boost Eomer. This is based on the idea that a buffed Eomer, together with Glorfindel, will be able to muster enough attack power to deal with the Trolls on their own, which means that the main role of the allies is to provide questing power in order to properly control the pace of advancement and avoid location lock in the staging area (exacerbated by the high threat of the Trolls themselves). 

Attachment (16)
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x2
Dagger of Westernesse x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Horn of Gondor x2
Rivendell Blade x3

Weapons and armor are extremely important in this quest to allow one hero (in this case, Eomer) to deal damage to the Trolls while Tom’s “one character per attack” restriction is in play. In this deck, Eomer can make use of a couple of copies of Dagger of Westernesse for this purpose. Rivendell Blade also comes in handy to increase Glorfindel’s attack potential, boosting the total strength of the two main attacking characters. Gondorian Shield is meant for Eleanor, who can defend when she is not needed to cancel a treachery, and can do both with the help of Unexpected Courage. With Arwen’s help, she can even defend for 5, which is quite impressive for this particular hero.

Event (17)
Feint x3
Foe-hammer x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3
Dwarven Tomb x2
A Test of Will x3

The main focus here is threat reduction, with Elrond’s Counsel, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, and possibly Dwarven Tomb being dedicated to this purpose. Foe-hammer provides needed card draw in the latter stages of the game, when the Trolls are in the process of being destroyed. The events are rounded out with some classic staples: A Test of Will and Feint.

Overall Strategy:

Glorfindel and the Spirit allies will help to generate a willpower engine and control the pace of questing while avoiding location lock. Meanwhile, Eomer and Glorfindel handle the bulk of attacking duties with the help of some weapons. Eleanor will stay back each round to cancel the worst treacheries, while serving as a defender when necessary. The most notable aspect of this deck is that it contains 57 cards, as I’m really interested in having options available, and it won’t harm consistency too much, with Gandalf and Foe-hammer bringing some card draw to the table.

Part 3 – Session Report

This session was played solo, with the deck described above. 

Set-up

Starting Threat – 22

Starting Hand: Feint, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Horn of Gondor, Escort from Edoras, Gondorian Shield, Light of Valinor

Thoughts: I’m pretty happy with this hand. Not only do I have Light of Valinor right away, but I also have some early threat reduction with The Galadhrim’s Greeting and Feint to stop a troll for one turn, along with a couple of handy attachments (Gondorian Shield and Horn of Gondor). I’d like to have a couple of allies in my hand aside from the temporary Escort from Edoras, but those will come.

ENCOUNTER DECK SET-UP

Card 1One by One: This nasty treachery destroys a character with a Sack attached. If that wasn’t bad enough, it then puts the Sack immediately back into play!

One-By-One

 

Thoughts:  While this can be a potentially game-ending Nightmare card later on, this is a great draw for setup, as it has no effect. There are no Sacks in play, and I’m happy to see this one hit the discard pile now. Generally, there aren’t too many cards these days that completely miss in this way, as usually there is a built-in surge for effects that can potentially fizzle, but I suppose that the designers felt that this card was nasty enough to give players a pass under the right circumstances. I’ll start the game with a clean slate and staging area, which is a great beginning position.

ROUND 1 (0 threat in staging area, 0/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – None)

Staging Area – None

DECK PREPARATION – 22 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 1, Bilbo – 1

Draw: Vassal of the Windlord

New Hand: Feint, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Horn of Gondor, Escort from Edoras, Gondorian Shield, Light of Valinor, Vassal of the Windlord

Planning: Vassal of the Windlord arrives as another ally, albeit an equally disposable one. For now, I’ll take care of some initial questing and defensive priorities by playing Light of Valinor on Glorfindel and Gondorian Shield on Eleanor.

Resources After Planning: Glorfindel – 0, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 0, Bilbo – 1

QUESTING:

Committing Characters: With nothing in the staging area, I definitely don’t want to over quest. At the same time, if I quest too lightly, I run the risk of taking a hit to my threat, especially with some of the new Nightmare cards, which is also counter-productive to my ultimate strategy. Thus, I will quest with only Glorfindel (3 willpower).

Staging:

Card 1 – Wicked Hilltops (3 threat, 5 quest points): This location will lead to a perfect result for me, as I won’t have to put any progress on the quest. However, it does have a troublesome effect that will force me to discard an ally when any amount of progress is placed on it. This means that I will have to clear Wicked Hilltops in one go or delay playing allies until it is out of play.

Wicked-Hilltops

Resolution: 3 willpower against 3 threat leads to 0 progress, which is just fine with me as I aim to take my time on stage 1.

TRAVEL:

I will travel to Wicked Hilltops, as keeping the staging area managed is an important consideration even as I aim to keep a slow pace. If too many locations end up locked in the staging area, then I can actually lose the quest that way fairly easily.

ROUND 2 (0 threat in staging area, 0/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Wicked Hilltops [0/5 quest points])

Staging Area – None

DECK PREPARATION – 23 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 2, Eomer – 1, Bilbo – 1

Draw: Gandalf

New Hand: Feint, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Horn of Gondor, Escort from Edoras, Vassal of the Windlord, Gandalf

Planning: I really want to get rid of Wicked Hilltops now, before I get valuable allies into play that I will need to avoid discarding. It has 5 quest points though, which is a bit challenging in solo play. Thus, I’ll play Escort from Edoras for some strong questing power, and it gets discarded anyway as part of its effect, so Wicked Hilltops is a non-issue here. Since, I know I’ll be losing an ally this turn, with the Escort leaving, I might as well play Horn of Gondor on Eomer. Since Tactics is the minor sphere, it makes sense to grant the resource generation to him instead of the other 2 heroes.

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 0, Eomer – 0, Bilbo – 1

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

With an eye towards clearing the active location, I will commit Escort from Edoras (4 willpower), Glorfindel (3 willpower),  and Bilbo (1 willpower) for a total of 8 willpower.

Staging:

Card 1.1 – Mince Them Fine: This is exactly why Eleanor is included in this deck. If she wasn’t around, I would have no way to cancel this treachery and I would have to immediately advance to stage 2. While I might be able to claw a victory in that situation, in all likelihood the high threat in the staging area and the low power level of my current setup would lead to defeat. Thankfully, I can exhaust Eleanor here to cancel Mince Them Fine, revealing the next card instead.

Card 1.2 – Night Wanes Slow: This is an annoying reveal, as it brings those copies of Mince Them Fine and One by One back into the encounter deck.

Night-Wanes-Slow

Card 1.3 – Hungry Troll: This card simply surges, since there are no Troll enemies in play.

Card 1.4 –  One by One: Finally, we come across our old friend One by One again, possibly the copy that was just shuffled in by Night Wanes Slow. Fortunately, this card is simply discarded without effect.

Resolution:

Eleanor has really proved her quality this turn, with Mince Them Fine deftly avoided and the final card having no effect. This means that I will make the full progress of 8. 5 of these tokens are placed on Wicked Hilltops, which means I have to discard one ally. In this case, I can simply get rid of Escort from Edoras, since it would be discarded anyway due to its own ability. Eomer gains 1 resource from the Horn of Gondor.  The remaining 3 progress tokens are placed on stage 1B.

ROUND 3 (0 threat in staging area, 3/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – None)

Staging Area – None

DECK PREPARATION – 24 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 2, Bilbo – 2

Draw: Rivendell Blade

New Hand: Feint, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Vassal of the Windlord, Gandalf, Rivendell Blade

Planning: I will continue preparing for the epic Troll fight by attaching Rivendell Blade to Glorfindel. Just in case the worst happens and I somehow end up on stage 2, and to give myself more time to prepare, I will play The Galadhrim’s Greeting now to reduce my threat down to 18.

Resources: Glorfindel – 0, Eleanor – 0, Eomer – 1, Bilbo – 2

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

With 3 out of 7 progress already placed on 1B and with no active location, I really need to avoid questing too much, so I will use only Glorfindel (3 willpower) this round. Even if no threat is revealed, this will leave me at 6 progress.

Staging:

Card 1.1 – Wind-whipped Rain: This is another of the terrible treacheries in this quest. I really don’t want to have to lose the key attachments I’ve put on the board and build back up from scratch, so I will exhaust Eleanor to cancel Wind-whipped Rain. So far, she is  really proving herself a worthy addition to the deck.

Wind-whipped-Rain

Card 1.2 – Wicked Hilltops (3 threat, 5 quest points): Here’s another copy of this tricky location to deal with, but I should still be in a good position with no allies in play.

Resolution:

3 willpower against 3 threat means that I break even, which is perfect.

TRAVEL:

I will travel to Wicked Hilltops.

ROUND 4 (0 threat in staging area, 3/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Wicked Hilltops [0/5 quest points])

Staging Area – None

DECK PREPARATION – 19 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 2, Bilbo – 3

Draw: West Road Traveller

New Hand: Feint, Vassal of the Windlord, Gandalf, West Road Traveller

Planning: One of my main concerns right now is card draw, as if I continue at the current rate, it may take me awhile to get what I need onto the table. In particular, I would like to get a weapon for Eomer and some more allies onto the table to provide a buffer against the Trolls. To this end, I will play Gandalf for his card draw ability, drawing Westfold Outrider, Ethir Swordsman, and Elrond’s Counsel. This nets 2 useful allies and some added threat reduction. I have also chosen to play Gandalf as he can help me clear out Wicked Hilltops, while absorbing the ally discard effect without impacting the board state permanently.

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 0, Eomer – 1, Bilbo – 0

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I will commit Glorfindel (3 willpower) and Gandalf (4 willpower) for a total of 7. This means that even if 0 threat is revealed, I will clear out the location but not advance to the next stage. There is the chance that I might not clear Wicked Hilltops this turn, but I’d rather play it more conservatively than accidentally force myself into stage 2 prematurely.

Staging:

Card 1Red River-bank (2 threat, 5 quest points): Red-river Bank is one of the brand new Nightmare locations. This one recycles cards from the discard pile back into the encounter deck, which is not ideal. In addition, it will increase my threat over time. With this in mind, I will want to get it off the table as soon as possible.t

Red-River-bank

 Resolution:

My 7 willpower against 2 willpower leads to 5 progress, which is just enough to clear out Wicked Hilltops but no more. This actually turned out perfectly. In order to satisfy Wicked Hilltops’ forced effect, I will discard Gandalf from play. Of course, this grants another resource to Eomer in the process.

TRAVEL:

I will travel to Red River-bank to get rid of its forced effect and to have a nice buffer for questing.

REFRESH:

The top card of the discard pile is Wicked Hilltops. Red River-bank moves this to the bottom of the encounter deck and increases my threat my 3 (the threat of Wicked Hilltops).

ROUND 5 (0 threat in staging area, 3/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Red River-bank [0/5 quest points])

Staging Area – None

DECK PREPARATION – 23 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 3, Bilbo – 1

Draw: Northern Tracker

New Hand: Feint, Vassal of the Windlord, West Road Traveller, Westfold Outrider, Ethir Swordsman, Elrond’s Counsel, Northern Tracker

Planning: I will pay 2 for Westfold Outrider. This useful ally provides some extra attack and a means of boosting Eomer’s strength at will. Continuing the trend of getting allies onto the table, now that there are no Wicked Hilltops in sight, I will pay 2 from Glorfindel to put Ethir Swordsman into play for some extra questing power.

Resources: Glorfindel – 0, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 1, Bilbo – 1

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

Again, I am faced with the dilemma of questing enough to clear a troublesome location, while avoiding advancement. I will commit Glorfindel (3 willpower), Ethir Swordsman (2 willpower), and Bilbo (1 willpower) for a total of 6. This is a decent amount, but not enough to take me to stage 2. I may be stuck with the location another turn, but that’s better than the alternative.

Staging:

Card 1Troll Camp (3 threat, 3 quest points): Troll Camp is actually a useful location (see the strategy section) and one of the pieces I wanted in place before advancing to the next stage. This is because it allows Bilbo to remove Sacks. I will thus keep it in play until the Troll battle, despite the 3 threat it contributes to the staging area. Unfortunately, this does mean that I won’t clear Red River-bank this round.

Resolution:

My 6 willpower against 3 threat is not enough to clear the location, but it does lead to 3 progress tokens. I will play Elrond’s Counsel to drop my threat down to 20 and add 1 to my willpower total, for a new yield of 4 progress placed on Red River-bank. This is just 1 short of clearance. I would have kept Troll Camp in the staging area anyway this turn, so this isn’t too big of a deal, and fortunately the top card of the discard pile is a treachery, which won’t raise my threat.

REFRESH:

Wind-whipped Rain, the top card of the discard pile, is placed on the bottom of the encounter deck, which does not increase my threat.

ROUND 6 (3 threat in staging area, 3/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Red River-bank [4/5 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Camp

DECK PREPARATION – 21 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 2, Eomer – 2, Bilbo – 2

Draw: Escort from Edoras

New Hand: Feint, Vassal of the Windlord, West Road Traveller, Northern Tracker, Escort from Edoras

Planning: At the moment, there’s no real need to get any of the allies in hand onto the table. I could play West Road Traveller, but I’d rather save up for Northern Tracker in order to add some extra combat power and location management as well.

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 2, Eomer – 2, Bilbo – 2

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

With only 1 quest point left on Red River-bank, I don’t need to quest too aggressively, although I do have to take the 3 threat in the staging area into account. I will quest with Ethir Swordsman (2 willpower), Bilbo (1 willpower), and Glorfindel (3 willpower) for a total of 6.

Staging:

Card 1Troll Camp (3 threat, 3 quest points): While 1 Troll Camp in play is beneficial, having 2 may spell trouble. Once the Trolls come into play, copies of Camp in the staging area will boost their threat. It also means that there is now a total of 6 threat in the staging area.

Resolution:

I have 6 willpower against 6 threat. This means I break even and don’t clear out Red River-bank. I’m actually in a tad bit of trouble here, as I now am not able to travel to one of the Troll Camps and will now have to face off against 6 threat in the staging area next turn. Red River-bank will also stay in play and continue to raise my threat.

REFRESH:

Red River-bank moves the top card of the encounter discard pile, Wicked Hilltops, to the bottom of the encounter deck, increasing my threat by 3.

ROUND 7 (6 threat in staging area, 3/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Red River-bank [4/5 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Camp, Troll Camp

DECK PREPARATION – 25 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eleanor – 3, Eomer – 3, Bilbo – 3

Draw: Ethir Swordsman

New Hand: Feint, Vassal of the Windlord, West Road Traveller, Northern Tracker, Escort from Edoras, Ethir Swordsman

Planning: Getting a second Ethir Swordsman onto the table will help with overcoming the threat in the staging area, as now each will be questing for 3 willpower each. With that in mind, I’ll pay 2 from Eleanor to make this happen. I could have played Northern Tracker, but then I wouldn’t have had enough left for the Ethir Swordsman, and raw questing power is the main priority right now. Bilbo continues to stockpile resources for later use in removing Sacks. I should note here that I’m not interested in earning the treasures here, just beating the scenario.

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 3, Bilbo – 3

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

At this point, I really need to avoid location lock and will have to overcome the 6 threat in the staging area in order to clear out the Red River-bank. If I don’t accomplish this, I may be in serious trouble, possibly even leading to imminent defeat. Therefore, I will commit both copies of Ethir Swordsman (6 willpower total), Glorfindel (3 willpower), and Bilbo (1 willpower) for a total of 10.

Staging:

Card 1.1 – Mince Them Fine: Our primary enemy rears its head again. Eleanor will leap into the fray to discard it once more, drawing the next card instead.

Card 1.2More Like A Grocer: This treachery discards all Baggins resources on Bilbo. I’m interested in holding onto these to activate Troll Camp’s ability later, but I have time to build them up again. All things considered, this is a good draw, although Bilbo loses all of his resources.

Resolution:

With 10 willpower against 6 threat, I make 4 progress. This is enough to finally clear out the Red River-bank, while placing 3 more progress on the quest for a total of 6 out of 7. I calculated my questing power exactly so that even if a treachery was revealed, I still wouldn’t advance, which is exactly what has happened.

TRAVEL:

I will travel to one of the copies of Troll Camp to clear out some of the threat from the staging area.

ROUND 8 (3 threat in staging area, 6/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Troll Camp [0/3 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Camp

DECK PREPARATION – 26 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 3, Eleanor – 2, Eomer – 4, Bilbo – 1

Draw: Elrond’s Counsel

New Hand: Feint, Vassal of the Windlord, West Road Traveller, Northern Tracker, Escort from Edoras, Elrond’s Counsel

Planning: I will pay 1 from Eomer for Vassal of the Windlord. There is no immediate need for this ally, but there’s always the possibility that an enemy might appear, and the Vassal can provide some extra attack or serve as a chump blocker. This is particularly important given that I am only 1 point away from advancing to stage 2 and there is a real possibility that I may have to face a Troll this round if I don’t quest correctly, even though that is not my plan. I could play that Northern Tracker, but I’m holding onto resources so that I can respond strategically next turn depending upon how this turn unfolds.

Resources: Glorfindel – 3, Eleanor – 2, Eomer – 3, Bilbo – 1

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I will commit Glorfindel (3 willpower) and one copy of an Ethir Swordsman (3 willpower) for a total of 6 willpower against 3 in the staging area. This means that even if no threat is added to the staging area, I will merely clear the Troll Camp and not advance. Of course, this may end up leaving the Troll Camp stuck in the active location spot if something other than a treachery is revealed, but that is a risk I’m willing to take with some decent questing power in play. I will keep Bilbo ready so that he can use the Troll Camp ability to remove Sacks if something terrible happens (like two copies of Mince Them Fine in a row).

Staging:

Card 1 – A Murder of Crows (50 engagement cost, 4 threat, 4 attack, 1 defense, 3 hit points): Our murderous avian friends have finally arrived, and I will now have to face the first combat of the scenario. Even worse, the “when revealed” effect on this enemy brings back a random card from the encounter discard. I randomly select Hungry Troll, which has no effect with no Trolls being in play. Normally, this would surge, but the FAQ states the encounter card keywords only trigger when a card is revealed from the encounter deck. In this case, Hungry Troll is being revealed from the discard pile, so I am fortunate here in that A Murder of Crows doesn’t bring back anything nasty.

Resolution:

The massive 4 threat of the Crows has totally thrown off my quest calculations, with there now being 7 threat in the staging area against my 6 willpower. I will use a copy of Elrond’s Counsel to drop my threat by 3 (down to 23) and increase my total willpower up to 7, which is enough to break even.

ENCOUNTER:

I can’t just let A Murder of Crows clog up the staging area with its 4 threat, so I will have to engage.

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

I will defend with Eleanor, who has 4 defense thanks to Gondorian Shield. The shadow card is Night Wanes Slow, which has no effect, and Eleanor remains undamaged (4 attack – 4 defense = 0 damage).

Player Attack:

The decision to defeat the Crows or not can sometimes be a dilemma, as covered in the strategy discussion, but here I am planning on taking on the Trolls soon, and can’t afford to keep tanking a 4 attack enemy at the same time. Thus, I’ll exhaust Glorfindel, who can dispatch the Crows since Rivendell Blade reduces their defense to 0 (3 attack – 0 defense = 3 damage). They are shuffled back into the encounter deck.

ROUND 9 (3 threat in staging area, 6/7 progress on 1B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Troll Camp [0/3 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Camp

DECK PREPARATION – 24 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 4, Eleanor – 3, Eomer – 4, Bilbo – 2

Draw: Unexpected Courage

New Hand: Feint, West Road Traveller, Northern Tracker, Escort from Edoras, Unexpected Courage

Planning: Unexpected Courage couldn’t have shown up at a better time, as I will attach it to Eleanor, who can now be ready for both cancelling treacheries and defending against Trolls. Note that she can’t use Unexpected Courage to cancel two treacheries, as there is no action window during the staging step. I will also pay for Northern Tracker, who can help to manage locations, as well as provide support against the Trolls.

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 0, Eomer – 4, Bilbo – 2

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I now feel pretty confident in moving onto the Trolls, so I will commit Glorfindel (3 willpower) and both copies of the Ethir Swordsman (6 willpower total) for a combined 9 willpower against 3 in the staging area.

Staging:

Card 1 – Lots or None At All: With no Trolls in play, this card simply increases my threat by 2 (up to 26). I’d rather see this card revealed now then later, when it might bring an extra Sack into play.

Lots-or-None-at-All

Resolution:

With 9 willpower against 3 threat, I make 6 progress. This clears out Troll Camp advances the quest to stage 2. The 3 unique Troll enemies are added to the staging area, as well as Troll Cave. All cards from the discard pile are also shuffled back into the encounter deck.

TRAVEL:

Although I want to keep Troll Camp in play so that I can keep removing Sacks, I can’t afford to let it sit in the staging area, since it boosts all of the Trolls’ threats. Thus, I’ll travel to it.

ENCOUNTER:

Bert will come down to engage. Although Tom is the most troublesome, because he limits my attacks to “one character per Troll”, I can’t afford to take on 2 Trolls at once at the moment. So I will satisfy myself with taking down Bert first. Strong Sack attaches to the character with the highest printed attack, which is either Eomer or Glorfindel. I will throw it on Glorfindel, although it doesn’t matter much, as I will exhaust Bilbo and spend 1 Baggins resource to immediately shuffle Strong Sack back into the Sack deck.

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

I will pay 1 Tactics resource from Eomer and use Feint to stop Bert’s attack.

Player Attack:

I will attack back with Glorfindel, who has the most attack potential currently with Rivendell Blade. This is enough to deal 3 damage to Bert (3 attack – 0 defense = 3 damage). He has 7 out of 10 hit points remaining.

I will raise my threat by 1 to keep Bert engaged with me (up to 27).

ROUND 10 (8 threat in staging area, -/- progress on 2B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Troll Camp [0/3 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Cave, William, Tom

DECK PREPARATION – 28 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 4, Bilbo – 2

Draw: Dagger of Westernesse

New Hand: West Road Traveller, Escort from Edoras, Dagger of Westernesse

PlanningDagger of Westernesse is exactly the card I wanted to see! Now, I can boost Eomer up to his maximum potential and get these Trolls out of play as soon as possible. Therefore, I’ll pay 1 to immediately attach the Dagger to Eomer. I will also play Escort from Edoras to counter that high threat in the staging area.

Resources: Glorfindel – 0, Eleanor – 1, Eomer – 3, Bilbo – 2

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I want to quest strongly to overcome the threat in the staging area and avoid any threat increases, which might bring down the other Trolls prematurely. This also will help to thin out the encounter deck and possibly lead to victory, although I’m aiming to win by defeating the Trolls outright. I will commit Glorfindel (3 willpower), both Ethir Swordsman (6 willpower), Escort from Edoras (4 willpower), Eleanor (1 willpower and using Unexpected Courage to ready), and Northern Tracker (1 willpower). This is a total of 15 willpower against 8 threat in the staging area. I can’t use any characters beyond Eomer for attack, and the Vassal can serve as a chump blocker if necessary, so this aggressive commitment should be fairly safe.

Staging:

Card 1.1 – Hungry Troll: This treachery now has some teeth, as it would require me to engage one of the Trolls in the staging area. I will instead use Eleanor to cancel and draw again.

Card 1.2Wicked Hilltops (3 threat, 5 quest points): I’d rather see this location than Hungry Troll, but it will add threat to the staging area while requiring an ally to be discarded to explore it.

Resolution:

15 willpower against 11 threat in the staging area yields 4 progress. This clears out Troll Camp and discards one card from the encounter deck. Escort from Edoras is discarded, adding 1 resource to Eomer and boosting his attack up to 5.

TRAVEL:

I don’t want to lose an ally through Wicked Hilltops, but I also can’t just let 11 threat sit in the staging area, so I will travel to it grudgingly.

COMBAT:

Bert

Enemy Attack:

I will sacrifice the poor Vassal to Bert. The shadow card is Mince Them Fine, which returns him to the staging area while the Vassal is destroyed (adding 1 resource to Eomer). This is rotten luck, as now I not only will not be able to attack back, but his threat will be added to the staging area next turn. Even worse, I will have to engage him again, which will trigger the Sack effect once more. This is intolerable, so I have no choice but to discard Westfold Outrider to bring Bert back down once more (adding 1 resource to Eomer).

* Note: There was a play mistake here, as I should have brought out another Sack when Bert came down a second time. This definitely might have had an effect on play, but looking at how things played out, I think the overall result would have been the same.

Player Attack:

I will attack back with Eomer, who is hitting for 6 (3 attack + 2 for a character leaving play + 1 for the Dagger). This is enough to deal 4 damage to Bert (6 attack – 2 defense = 4 damage). Bert now has 3 out of 10 hit points remaining. I should be able to destroy him next turn.

I will raise my threat by 1 to keep Bert engaged with me (up to 29).

ROUND 11 (8 threat in staging area, -/- progress on 2B, 0 victory points, Active Location – Wicked Hilltops [0/5 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Cave, William, Tom

DECK PREPARATION – 30 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 2, Eomer – 7, Bilbo – 3

Draw: Foe-hammer

New Hand: West Road Traveller, Foe-hammer

Planning: It’s definitely gratifying to see Foe-hammer, as I’m running low on cards and options. I had a tough last round, losing both the Vassal and Westfold Outrider (the latter due to an unexpected need), and so am running low on bodies. I’ll definitely pay 2 from Eleanor then to put West Road Traveller into play.

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eleanor – 0, Eomer – 7, Bilbo – 3

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I don’t have Escort from Edoras this time to help with questing, but I at least have a new 2 willpower ally on the table. I will commit  Glorfindel (3 willpower), both Ethir Swordsman (6 willpower total), Bilbo (1 willpower), West Road Traveller (2 willpower), and Eleanor (1 willpower, using Unexpected Courage to ready). This is a grand total of 13 willpower against 8 in the staging area. I would like to commit more to be sure of clearing Wicked Hilltops, but this is the best I can do.

Staging:

Card 1.1 – Wind-whipped Rain: Nope. There’s no way I’m going to lose my attachments, so I will exhaust Eleanor to save my crispy, delicious bacon once more. The new card is…

Card 1.2 – Hungry Troll: I don’t have any way to avoid this treachery this time, so I’ll have to take on 2 Trolls, at least for a turn. I’ll choose to engage Tom, which brings out a A Tough Sack. This would have to be placed on either Eleanor or Eomer. I can’t afford to lose my attacking powerhouse, who will hopefully win this quest for me, so I will sadly have to pop that Sack over the head of Eleanor, who has been a faithful servant beyond my wildest expectations.

Resolution:

13 willpower against 5 threat in the staging area leads to 8 progress, which is enough to clear out Wicked Hilltops and discard 3 cards from the top of the encounter deck. I’m  happy to see Mince Them Fine among these, as I no longer have Eleanor to cancel treacheries, and this would cause all engaged Trolls to attack, as well as A Murder of Crows. Questing has certainly helped me here. In order to satisfy the Wicked Hilltops effect, I will discard Northern Tracker, as I want to keep the questing power of West Road Traveller around.

COMBAT:

Tom

Enemy Attack:

The Trolls are about to hit the fan. I wasn’t planning on fighting 2 Trolls this turn and don’t have enough characters back to handle the onslaught, so there are some tough choices to be made. First, I will have to use Eomer to defend against Bert . The shadow card is Troll Purse, which will end up in the staging area and then on a Troll at the end of combat. Eomer takes 3 damage (5 attack – 2 defense = 3 damage), with only 1 hit point remaining. More importantly, he won’t be able to attack back and kill Bert. However, I do have one trick up my sleeve… For now, I have to defend against Tom. Glorfindel could take this attack and survive, but he is also my trump card that could kill Bert this turn. However, if I don’t defend against Glorfindel, I will have to take the attack undefended and lose a hero. Which is more important: keeping all my heroes alive or killing a Troll this turn? I really don’t think I can keep tanking 2 Trolls and win, so I will send Eleanor into the sweet beyond, especially since she is currently Sacked anyway. The shadow card is Wind-whipped Rain, which has no effect since there is no defender. I will place the 5 damage on Eleanor, which destroys her. Your sacrifice won’t be in vain, Eleanor. I shall avenge you!

Player Attack:

Glorfindel uses his Rivendell Blade to smite Bert and destroy him (3 attack – 0 defense = 3 damage). This adds 3 victory points. With Glorfindel destroying an enemy, I will use Foe-hammer to draw 3 cards (Gandalf, Elrond’s Counsel, and Dwarven Tomb).

I will raise my threat by 1 to keep Tom engaged with me (up to 31). Troll Purse moves to the staging area, and I then attach it to Tom.

ROUND 12 (5 threat in staging area, -/- progress on 2B, 3 victory points, Active Location – None)

Staging Area – Troll Cave, William

DECK PREPARATION – 32 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eomer – 10, Bilbo – 4

Draw: The Galadhrim’s Greeting

New Hand: Gandalf, Elrond’s Counsel, Dwarven Tomb, The Galadhrim’s Greeting

Planning: Foe-hammer could not have come at a better time, with a hero down and victory resting on a knife’s edge. The fact that Gandalf was one of the 3 cards drawn is even better, and I will pay 5 from Eomer to put him into play. Since Tom is engaged with me, William’s prohibition on not dealing damage to non-engaged Trolls does not apply, so I will use Gandalf to drop 4 damage onto Tom (7/11 hit points remaining).

Resources: Glorfindel – 2, Eomer – 5, Bilbo – 4

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I commit both Ethir Swordsman (6 willpower), Glorfindel (3 willpower), and West Road Traveller (2 willpower) for a total 11 against 5 in the staging area.

Staging:

Card 1 – Roast ‘Em or Boil ‘Em?: This treachery deals 2 damage to each ally, since there is a Troll in the staging area, and without Eleanor, I have no means of canceling this treachery. That means that I will lose all 3 of my permanent allies (West Road Traveller, 2 Ethir Swordsman) in one stroke, while Gandalf takes 2 damage. Eomer does gain 3 resources for the trouble, but I’ve lost nearly my entire questing force. Things are beginning to look a bit grim, and I need to kill these Trolls for sure, rather than make it through the encounter deck, in order to win.

Roast-'Em-or-Boil-'Em

Resolution:

Glorfindel is the only character left of those who committed to the quest, meaning that I am left with 3 willpower against 5 threat in the staging area. I will use Elrond’s Counsel to reduce my threat by 3 (down to 29), although since there are no other characters committed to the quest, the +1 willpower will simply be wasted. I now have to raise my threat by 2 (up to 31) due to questing successfully. In this case, Elrond’s Counsel basically served as a means to mitigate this threat increase.

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

Gandalf will defend against Tom. The shadow is Lots or None At All, which would bring out a Sack, so I will spend 1 Baggins resource to cancel this effect. Gandalf takes 1 damage (5 attack – 4 defense = 1 damage).

Player Attack:

Eomer is swinging for a massive 7 at this point (3 attack + 2 from allies leaving play + 2 from Tom’s engagement cost being higher than my threat). He attacks Bert and deals 5 damage (7 attack – 2 defense = 5 damage). Tom now has 2 out of 11 hit points remaining.

I will raise my threat by 1 to keep Tom engaged with me (up to 32).

REFRESH:

Gandalf is discarded and Eomer gains yet another resource.

ROUND 13 (5 threat in staging area, -/- progress on 2B, 3 victory points, Active Location – None)

Staging Area – Troll Cave, William

DECK PREPARATION – 33 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 3, Eomer – 10, Bilbo – 4

Draw: Light of Valinor

New Hand: Dwarven Tomb, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Light of Valinor

Planning: I’m in dire need of questing power and allies, so I will use Dwarven Tomb to bring 1 copy of Ethir Swordsman back to my hand. I will then pay my last 2 Spirit resources to play the Swordsman.

Resources: Glorfindel – 0, Eomer – 10, Bilbo – 4

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I don’t have much to bring to bear here, and my resurrected Ethir Swordsman is meant to serve as a chump blocker against Tom. Thus, I will commit only Glorfindel (3 willpower) and Bilbo (1 willpower) to the quest. This is a total of only 4 against 5 threat in the staging area. I just have to hope that my threat doesn’t skyrocket so high that William comes down to engage this turn (he has an engagement cost of 38).

Staging:

Card 1 – Red River-bank (2 threat, 5 quest points): Another troublesome location returns, but at least its threat isn’t too high.

Resolution:

My 4 willpower against 7 threat in the staging area increases my threat up to 36.

TRAVEL:

I will travel to Red River-bank to clear the threat out of the staging area. This isn’t a no-brainer decision, as this location will serve as a buffer, but I am still aiming for victory through combat and I don’t have enough questing power to overcome the staging area if I leave Red River-bank where it is.

COMBAT:

Enemy Attack:

Ethir Swordsman will defend against Tom. The shadow card is Roast ‘Em or Boil ‘Em, which adds Troll Camp to the staging area. I don’t really want more threat in the staging area, but at least I”ll be able to remove Sacks, if necessary. The Ethir Swordsman is destroyed and Eomer gains a resource.

Player Attack:

Glorfindel will attack and destroy Tom (3 attack – 0 defense = 3 damage), which adds 4 more victory points to the display. This means that I can attack the last Troll, William, with as many characters as I want. Victory just may be within reach.

REFERESH:

The top card of the discard pile, Roast ‘Em or Boil ‘Em?, is moved to the bottom of the encounter deck.

ROUND 14 (8 threat in staging area, -/- progress on 2B, 7 victory points, Active Location – Red River-bank [0/5 quest points])

Staging Area – Troll Cave, William, Troll Camp

DECK PREPARATION – 37 Threat

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eomer – 12, Bilbo – 5

Draw: Gandalf

New Hand: The Galadhrim’s Greeting, Light of Valinor, Gandalf

Planning: Gandalf will come in quite useful here as I plan for an epic finish. Unfortunately, William’s ability prevents me from dropping damage on him, since he is not engaged, but I will use Gandalf to draw 3 cards (Dagger of Westernesse, Vassal of the Windlord, and West Road Traveller). All 3 cards can be used, but I’m especially happy to see some attacking support. I will play Vassal of the Windlord immediately. I will then attach Dagger of Westernesse to Eomer. Since he already has 2 “restricted” attachments (Dagger of Westernesse, Horn of Gondor), I will discard the Horn to make room for the second Dagger, since Eomer isn’t hurting for resources.

Resources: Glorfindel – 1, Eomer – 10, Bilbo – 5

QUESTING:

Committing Characters:

I’m going for broke in killing William this turn and ending the game, so I will need as many characters as possible to be ready. Thus, I’ll only commit Glorfindel (3 willpower) to the quest. As long as I don’t threat out, this strategy should work out.

Staging:

Card 1 – No Campfire: It looks like a threat bomb is headed my way. First, the Doomed 1 increases my threat to 38. I then have to choose between raising my threat by 4 or revealing another encounter card. I can stomach another 4 threat, even with the threat I’ll gain from questing, whereas another encounter card could ruin me in some way, so I will choose to raise my threat up to 42.

Resolution:

My 3 willpower against 8 threat in the staging area leads to another unsuccessful questing, vaulting my threat up to the dizzy heights of 47. I”m going all in on destroying William this turn, as Red River-bank could potentially threat me out at the end of the round.

ENCOUNTER:

William engages, bringing out A Tough Sack and A Large Sack. I will attach A Tough Sack, which goes on the character with the highest defense, to Eomer, as I plan to get rid of it immediately anyway. A Large Sack goes on the character with the highest hit points, which I will place on Glorfindel. I will exhaust Bilbo and spend 1 Baggins resource to discard A Tough Sack from Eomer, freeing him up for the finish.

COMBAT:

William

Enemy Attack:

Here comes a moment that brings out the strategic and “puzzle” element of the game. How can I muster enough attack (14) to defeat William with Eomer, Vassal of the Windlord, and Gandalf, while Glorfindel is in a Sack and I still need a defender? I have two main options:

#1) Chump block with the Vassal

This will boost Eomer up to 5 attack. I will have a total attack of 11 (7 from Eomer and 4 from Gandalf), falling 3 short of what I need.

#2) Defend with Gandalf

This will allow the Vassal to attack, but not trigger Eomer’s +2 boost. I will have a total attack of 8 (5 from Eomer and 3 from the Vassal), leaving me 6 shy of success. This does save my Vassal for a potential next turn.

However, there is a third option available. For those following along at home, do you see the way out that will allow me to win this round?

#3) Take an undefended attack and sacrifice Glorfindel

Heroes in Sacks can still have undefended damage placed on them, as seen with Eleanor earlier. If I take this route, Eomer will get his boost and I will still have the Vassal and Gandalf available to pitch in, for a total attack of 14 (7 from Eomer, 3 from the Vassal, and 4 from Gandalf), just enough to destroy William!

I choose option #3 and now I just await the whim of the shadow card. It turns out to be Night Wanes Slow, which has no effect, and Glorfindel is destroyed.

Player Attack:

I attack back with Eomer for 7 (3 attack + 2 from Glorfindel leaving play + 2 from the Daggers), the Vassal for 3, and Gandalf for 4 and destroy William (14 attack – 2 defense = 12 damage), winning the game!

SCENARIO CONCLUSION:

This was a tough win, with 1 hero left to claim a Pyrrhic victory. Eleanor was the undisputed MVP, and it is safe to say that I would have lost this quest without her inclusion. However, Eomer’s ability to deal damage all by himself, along with Glorfindel/Rivendell Blade, proved the difference in the actual Troll battle. Gandalf also made some timely appearances, as is his wont. A final point to be gleaned from this play session is the importance of strategically sacrificing heroes and taking attacks undefended in the service of ultimate victory over difficult scenarios. Choosing to give up both Eleanor and Glorfindel at the right moments ended up making the difference between victory and defeat.

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From → Strategy

11 Comments
  1. Landroval permalink

    This is a great quest and all, but to be honest, as a ‘completist’, the price and amount of Nightmare packs have put me off LOTR LCG altogether. I haven’t played it in months. FFG really should have sold the Nightmare packs at a more reasonable price point. Particularly for us in the UK where availability and shipping etc. can become an issue.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      That’s a shame. I know how it is to be a “completist”, so I won’t tell you to ignore the Nightmare packs. I think the Core Set was the worst actually, with them selling each Nightmare quest individually. At least now they package 3 quests together, which comes out to a bit cheaper.

  2. You said A Murder of Crows has “4 attack and 4 defense”, but the picture shows that it is “4 threat and 4 attack”… and only 1 defense.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Yeah, I meant to say 4 threat and 4 attack.

  3. Wow, you’re really letting your new-found statistical knowledge push up your deck sizes. 57 cards is a lot for a deck with so little card draw. But, considering a great majority of the cards are 3x, it should still be mostly consistent.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      It was an experiment more than anything. I wouldn’t do it all the time and still prefer 52 as my sweet spot, but it worked out ok.

  4. Glowwyrm permalink

    Eleanor is invaluable in the Nightmare quests, especially if you’re playing with more than one player. The treacheries are so nasty, and its so likely that you’re going to hit one, that she’s a life saver. Gondorian shield and Blood of Numenor has turned her into a viable primary defender (even better now with Blue Mountain Trader making it easy to stack all your resources on her), so she always has a spot in my multi-player decks.

    How would you compare We Must Away Ere Break of Day to the other Nightmare quests? It seems like its up there with Nightmare Dul Guldur. I’m anxious to get my hands on the Hobbit nightmare box.

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      Eleanor is definitely better than she ever has been, especially for Nightmare.

      I’ll add a full review to the Nightmare Buying Guide soon, but I’d say that it’s really difficult mainly because of that one treachery, Mince Them Fine, whereas Nightmare Dol Guldur is difficult because of a few different cards. If you don’t bring along Eleanor for consistency sake, then your win rate will probably be rather low for Nightmare We Must Away. Beyond that, though the strategy for beating it remains largely the same, so the difficulty is a bit hard to pin down. Not quite as difficult as Nightmare Dol Guldur overall, but one of the harder Nightmares because of a few nasty treacheries.

  5. Tracker1 permalink

    Nice to see you pulled it off solo. I just ordered these and was a bit skeptical. Seems like Eomer and Eleanor are becoming a thing. I have teamed them with Eowyn for Dunland trap, but Glorfindel is always a good substitute for certain quests. Nice work!

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      I have to admit that I’m not the biggest fan of this particular set of Nightmare quests. In general, I love the Nightmare packs and Nightmare Khazad Dum is awesome. I think this particular scenario, especially Mince Them Fine, rubbed me the wrong way, although it did give me a reason to bring out Eleanor again. I’ll have to play the other two quests more before I form a definitive opinion.

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