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Guest Campaign: Heirs of Numenor Part 1

by on April 9, 2015

ithilien

In this guest article, Thomas R. begins planning a thematic campaign against the Heirs of Numenor scenarios.

Introduction

Hi, my name is Thomas and I am a French fan of this blog. First of all, I must thank Ian for two reasons. First, for writing this blog, which made me really try this game and helped me overcome the first difficulties. Second, for publishing this article. I really enjoy the game reports with flavour texts, because I think it shows how this game really tells stories. So, I decided to do the same. I first wrote those game reports on a French website, so for those of you who speak French, you can find them here.

I will try to play the three scenarios from the Heirs of Nùmenor. It won’t be done in a campaign mode, and if one of my heroes dies in a game, he will still be in the next adventure. The reason for that is simply that I think I am not that good, and I would probably not succeed otherwise. However, I will try to make a deck as thematic as possible to help the story.  Speaking of which, let’s start with the deck description!

The Deck

I recently read The Lord of the Rings again, and I was very surprised to re-discover that during the battle of Pelennor Fields, Aragorn, Éomer and prince Imrahil (I had completely forgotten him) played a key role and really appeared to be the saviors of the day. I then decided to create a deck around those 3 characters. Éomer and Imrahil both have an ability based on allies leaving play; I will therefore try to make a deck around this archetype.

I chose the scenarios I will play for two reasons. First, because the heroes I picked seem more effective against quests with the battle or siege keyword. Second, from a thematic point of view, I feel those scenarios are the best fit for a meeting of our three characters. Even if they first meet during the time period of the books, I do not think that things would have been different if they had met before.

Éomer

Heroes

Éomer
Aragorn (Leadership)
Prince Imrahil

The first issue with this trio is a starting threat of 33, which is kind of big. I do not have access to the Spirit sphere, so I just have to deal with it. I will then try to take the best from my heroes, because their high cost goes with really good stats in several areas. As a result I need ways to ready them regularly. The good news is that two of them have a native readying ability.

Allies (24)emery

Snowbourn Scout x3
Dùnedain Watcher x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Errand Rider x3
Gandalf x3
Emery x3
Guard of the Citadel x3
Knights of the Swan x3

The allies choice was made with a simple idea in mind : they will mostly be used as chump blockers to activate my heroes abilities. I then need cheap allies, preferably humans to fit with the theme. With this in mind, I immediately picked the Snowbourn Scout, the Envoy of Pelargir, the Errand Rider, the Knights of the Swan and the Guard of the Citadel.

The Dùnedain Watcher was added for two reasons. First, it can be discarded at will, which fit the global strategy, and second, it allows dealing with shadow cards. Emery is the only proxy I am using in this deck. True, I can not play her normally, but her ability is just too good for this deck. She could be read as an event saying, “Discard Emery and the top 3 cards of your deck to ready one hero and add two attack to another one.” Finally, Gandalf is here to cover two main weaknesses of this deck: card draw and threat reduction.

Attachments (19)Firefoot

Firefoot x3
Born Aloft x3
Steward of Gondor x2
Gondorian Shield x3
Horn of Gondor
Sword that was broken x3
Dùnedain Quest x3
Celebrían’s Stone
Path of Need

With three high threat heroes and allies continually leaving play, I need to boost my heroes with strong attachments. Firefoot is a natural choice in any deck featuring Éomer, and it makes him an impressive quester during battle quests. The Steward of Gondor is a staple, and I need to be sure that I will be able to pay for my allies and ready Aragorn. The Horn of Gondor seems also a good pick for a deck built around allies leaving play.

My heroes will often take defense duty, so the Gondorian Shield also becomes an important choice. I am glad that all of those attachments fit nicely to the theme. This is not the case for Born Aloft, but it makes a very good combo with Gandalf and my allies leaving play strategy. The willpower is still a bit low in this deck, and a classic quest stage can be a problem. Even if most of the chosen scenarios contain quest stages with the battle keyword, there is often a normal quest stage which can be my doom. Therefore, I added all the cards that boost my willpower, namely Sword that was broken, Dùnedain Quest and Celebrían’s Stone. Again, I am very pleased to see that they fit perfectly with the theme! Finally, I have Path of Need, one of my favorite cards. It can be seen as a readying effect, and it can really save your bacon.

Events (6)

Feint x2
Valiant Sacrifice x2
Sneak attack x2

Only few slots are left for event cards. Feint is a staple in a Tactics deck, and allows me to keep my heroes for attacking or to save an ally for a round. I only have access to Valiant Sacrifice as a card draw effect, so it was included automatically. It also matches the deck strategy. Finally, how could I pass on the Sneak Attack-Gandalf combo in a deck based around allies leaving play ?

Global Strategy

The global strategy is straightforward : put in play as many allies as possible and use them as cannon fodder to boost my heroes. I will try to get the Steward of Gondor and a few allies in my first hand.

Possible Improvements

I must add one thing. I do not have all the expansions of the game, only one core set and do not like to use proxies. That explains some of the choices I made for this deck. If you are not as much of a slave to theme as I am, or have access to a larger card pool, some interesting changes can be made. For example, the Vassal of the Windlord is a far better choice than the Knights of the Swan, for the same cost. Faramir is a good pick regarding willpower improvement. I did not include him because the goal of the scenarios is to bring him a message. It would then be weird to see him tagging along with the heroes while they are looking for him.

Naith Guide is also a great choice, and a briliant combo with Éomer and Born Aloft. The Squire of the Citadel remains the chump blocker of choice, but I do not have this card. The first version of the deck included the Herald of Anorien to help putting allies in play. However, the doomed cost finally proved to be too expensive for this deck.

Peril in Pelargir – General Strategy

We will now discuss the general strategy I will deploy against the Peril in Pelargir scenario. A very good article on this topic was written on this blog, so I will not discuss in detail how to beat the scenario. I will rather give you some advice in how to best use the particular deck discussed in this article. The deck is ok, but I had to play few games before starting to win on a regular basis, and so here is what I learned.

Expect To Lose Aragorn

One of the treacheries in this scenario, Local Trouble, can make Aragorn almost impossible to use. This treachery attaches itself to the highest threat hero in the game, and raises your threat by 1 anytime the hero exhausts, readies or uses an ability. For a deck starting with a high threat and relying on its heroes, it can be a real pain. As there is no way to prevent or get rid of it, Imrahil should receive the willpower boosting attachments rather than Aragorn, as he probably won’t be available for the last round.

Local-Trouble

Sacrifice Your Allies One By One

The bonuses you get from discarding an ally are activated only once a turn. It is then useless to sacrifice two allies in the same round, if you can prevent it, as you will probably need them the next turn. Which leads to the next piece of advice:

Do not play all of your allies on the same turn.

The Zealous Traitor is one of the worst cards for your allies, because he will destroy a big chunk of them just by engaging you. It is often a very bad thing, because you’ll lose most of your chump blockers at once. So, playing only the allies you need for a current turn is a good option. Remember that in a one player game, only one enemy can be revealed every turn.

Zealous-Traitor

Only Grab The Scroll When You Really Need It

As Ian said in his article, this is a very important thing to keep in mind. A lot of shadow cards deal damage to the hero that holds the scroll. This effect can have several consequences. For example, the damage of the attack can go that hero instead of the chump blocker. If the blocker you used did not had any defense (after all, why would a chump blocker need to have good defense?), it could be as if the attack was undefended. With most of the enemies attacking for 3, it can be a really bad thing for your hero.

If the ally survives the attack, it can also prevent Imrahil from readying and you can fall short of one defender, with the dire consequences that implies. There are only two moments when you need to have the scroll: an the end of stage 2 and in order to win the game. If you lose it during stage 3, wait until you have made all the progress needed before grabbing it (if your threat is low enough). Also it’s better if the scroll is lying on the ground rather than in the hand of one enemy.

Keep Gandalf For The Last Stage

This deck really lacks willpower. That’s why you really want to keep Gandalf until the third stage, when he will be game-changing.

So, good bye to you all. Next time I will be sharing the play report from Peril in Pelargir. Thanks to Dan from hallofbeorn.com for letting me use his card illustrations.

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From → Strategy

17 Comments
  1. Traekos77 permalink

    Looks good! Just a quick note, there are 20 attachments in trouble deck, not the listed 19.

    Good luck on the quests!

    • Traekos77 permalink

      Trouble = your

      • Fouilloux permalink

        Hi, thanks for pointing it. Actually, the mistake is the x3 with Firefoot. I usually put only two copies of unique cards.

  2. Philkav permalink

    I use a pretty similar deck (I call it Victors at Pelennor Fields) but I got to admit I never thought of using Emery in that way. Nice find but, personally, I would be too scared of discarding key stuff like Steward of Gondor.

    • Fouilloux permalink

      Well, yes it does happen sometimes. However I do not think it’s a problem. Because there are so many cards you will not see anyway, I just tell myself that, well this crucial card I just discarded with Emery could also have been in the bottom of my deck and I would not have get it anyway. The fact that you will get a card or not is just random, so I do not bother. As one of my friend says :”You don’t cheat with randomness” 😉

    • yea, I feel like Westfold Outrider would be infinitely better, more useful, and more thematic in this deck!

      • fouilloux permalink

        You mean instead of Emery? If so, I do no see the thematic issue, she is Gondor.

        Regarding play issue, the Outrider was actually in the deck in the beginning. But most of the games I played, he stayed in my hand, for several reason. First one, I often have better tactics cards to play, and I often do not have enough ressources for it (I could add a song to smooth the ressources, but I do not see what to remove instead). Second, at least again the heir of numenor scenario, I often don’t use the ability of my allies, because I do not have time for it, because they die really quickly. The main reason I think is that with only Gandalf to lower my threat and so many threat increasing cards in the encounter deck, I need to be very fast in order to win. It mean that I must be very agressive with questing, while quickly dispaching the enemies, and do not have room to play and use him at anything but beinga chump blocker.

        It’s true that I could use the Outrider to pull out an ennemy from the staging area and remove it’s threat, while giving the bonus to my hero. But Emery does almost exactly that, minor pulling out the enemy, but she is free and can be used anytime.And with teh awfull effect done by the ennemies in Peril in Pelargir if you do not engage them optionnaly, I’d rather pass on that.

        Although I agree he might be usefull, I did not manage to make him work, and Emery is really wonderfull (by the way the idea came from the owner of this blog so thank to him!)

        • You know what… I’m an idiot. The Emery trick does sound very cool. I was just thinking that Outrider is neat because you can decide whether or not to trigger him after you see whats revealed in staging. But… you can do that with her too! I obviously have never used her and didnt realize that her ability was an action and not a response.

          This is why I’m not writing a blog! You guys are geniuses, please ignore me 😉

          • fouilloux permalink

            Well, as I said, pulling out and enemy from staging would a huge boost in some case (namely a stage where willpower is needed), and as the enemy often engage me anyway, using the Outrider is really not a bad idea. I just did not manage to make this work, but there might be some ways.

  3. James Sharman permalink

    >

  4. lordofchance permalink

    I look forward to your session report.

    • fouilloux permalink

      It’s on the translation stage 😉 Pretty hard because I did put a lot of flavour text, and it is harder to translate.

      • lordofchance permalink

        Je le comprend. Je suis de Montréal et mon propre session report fut long à fignoler en anglais. Tu peux le trouver a http://www.boardkit.net. Bon courage.

        • fouilloux permalink

          Merci! Du coup j’ai déjà publié mes rapports de parties en français sur le site ludovox.fr . Avec une recherche sur le mot “Pelargir” tu devrais trouver celle ci.

  5. Fingolfin permalink

    But can you play the action of Emery without a Spirit Hero ?
    You need to attach the Celebrian Stone first to Aragorn ?

    • TalesfromtheCards permalink

      You can play it without the resource match because she is put into play through her action rather than being played from hand.

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