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Spotlight Slapdash: Ever Onward!

by on November 9, 2015

In Spotlight Slapdash I make awful decks and do crazy things with them so that you don’t have to.  Hi! I’m Piero, and my job is to distill bloody and painful experiences into something light and fluffy to read!  Today’s offering brings us the second card illuminated by Ian’s Card Spotlight: Ever Onward. And boy what a doozy!  This bloated vacuum sucks 3 resources from your coffers to cancel a threat raise when you quest unsuccessfully (description straight from FFG’s promotional materials).

We are tasked with finding a use for this. While it’s tempting to bend our powers of observation, claim that the Dwarf on this card is just about to lift up his axe (the lifting up is in process), squeeze him into Dwarves Holding Things Up, and call it a day, we at Madhouse Piero have got something better in store for you.

What’s the most colorful and satisfying way to scrape almost FOUR YEARS’ worth of dust off this card?  How about making it the Tootsie Roll center of stratagem in a deck built for one of the most challenging scenarios in recent memory!

I’ll give you 10 seconds to figure out what I’m going to do with this card.

OK my turn: Helm’s Deep has -150 resistance to side quests.  It relies on the Defense keyword to make progress and advance through quest stages.  The Defense keyword is only active while a quest with the Defense keyword is the current quest.  Slap a side quest up in the staging area, choose it as the current quest, and Hey Presto! Helm’s Deep is broken.  As long as you can manage the massive amounts of threat it puts up into the staging area.  What’s that you say?  Oh Piero, if only there were a card that cancelled threat from questing unsuccessfully…. ah– watch out here comes a play report!

NEVER ONWARD IN HELM’S DEEP

SETUP

Hero lineup:

Opening hand, after mulligan: King Under the Mountainx2, Dunedain Message, Ever Onward, Citadel Custodian x2.  Ever Onward in our hands right at the beginning of the game! This card is DYING to be played!

Next in Setup: shuffle in the Poisoned Counsels burden, then play Citadel Custodian for free

ROUND ONE

Draw:  White Tower Watchman

Play: King Under the Mountain on Balin

Action: King Under the Mountain (finds Veteran of Osgiliath, Guard of the Citadel, keeping Veteran of Osgiliath)

End of round: Proceed to quest stage 2 and follow its instructions:  Add Soldier of Isengard and The Defense of Helm’s Deep to the staging area, make Deeping Wall the active location.  Reveal a card: Devilry of Orthanc. 3 progress goes on quest stage 2 as a result.

A pretty innocuous start.

ROUND TWO

Draw: Second Breakfast.

Action: King Under the Mountain (Dunedain Message, Second Breakfast.  Keep Second Breakfast)

Play: Veteran of Osgiliath

Quest:  Boromir says: Hey guys, great idea!  NOBODY QUEST!

Reveal: Reckless Hate.  Forces that Soldier of Isengard to attack.  Erkenbrand defends.   Shadow is nil, Erkie gets one damage.  Result of questing: 4 progress goes down, clearing Deeping Wall and pushing threat up by 4 (from the Wall’s Forced effect).  Defense of Helm’s Deep gets one resource token.

Engage: none.

Combat: 1 Archery damage on Citadel Custodian.

End of round: 1 progress goes on the quest because there’s an enemy in the staging area.

ROUND THREE

Threat at 36

Draw: King Under the Mountain – oh good, now we have all 3!

Action: King Under the Mountain (Citadel Custodian, Follow Me!, keeping Citadel Custodian)

Play: White Tower Watchman

Quest: Boromir says: NOBODY QUEST!

Reveal: Night Without End.  Threat up 2 and remove 1 resource from The Defense of Helm’s Deep (now it’s 0).  Result: enough progress to clear stage 2.  No problem, not sweating yet.  Per stage 3’s effect, Helm’s Gate is fetched and becomes the active location.  Defense of Helm’s Deep gets a resource and is now at 1.

Engage: Soldier of Isengard

Combat: 1 Archery on Citadel Custodian.  Soldier of Isengard vs. Erk, shadow is nil, 1 damage goes on Erk.  Boromir, Balin, and a Veteran of Osgiliath swing for 6 attack and destroy the Soldier of Isengard.

ROUND FOUR

Threat at 39

Draw: Ever Onward

Action: King Under the Mountain (Steward of Gondor, White Tower Watchman.  Keeping the Steward)

Play: Steward of Gondor on Balin, Citadel Custodian (for 2 resources), and another Citadel Custodian (for 1 resource)

Quest: Boromir STILL says NOBODY QUEST!  Is this guy OK?  Should somebody call the Steward?

Reveal: Wild Hillman.  Result: 4 progress, clears Helm’s Gate (enemies get +2 attack) and 2 progress goes on stage 3.  Defense of Helm’s Deep to 2.

Engage: Wild Hillman

Combat: Time to sacrifice the wounded Citadel Custodian like the cold and calculating leaders that we are.  That’s right, take an arrow for us, Cus.  Now take another.  Now step in front of this guy’s axe.  For Gondor!  Shadow effect: exhaust a character, we’ll exhaust another Citadel Custodian, the flunkies of Gondor.  Attack: Boromir and Veteran of Osgiliath for the kill.

ROUND FIVE

Threat at 40

Draw: Guard of the Citadel

Action: King Under the Mountain (Campfire Tales, Tome of Atanatar, keep the Tome)

Play: Dunedain Message, fetch Gather Information (!!).

Play: Gather Information  — a side quest!  All the moving pieces are in place!

READY!

Letting suspense build…

Play: Guard of the Citadel

Quest: Boromir says: send a Guard of the Citadel (Boromir coming to his senses?).  Go check things out for us, guy.

Reveal: Uruk-hai Fighter.  Result: 3 progress on quest, now a total of 5.   Defense of Helm’s Deep to 3.

Engage: Uruk-hai Fighter

Combat: Erk vs. Uruk-hai Fighter.  Shadow is nil, no damage. Swing back with everyone and kill.

ROUND SIX

Threat at 41

Draw: Steward of Gondor

King Under the Mountain (Veteran of Osgiliath, Dunedain Message, keep the Veteran of Osgiliath)

Play: Veteran of Osgiliath

.. Ever Onward’s moment is almost here!

SET!

cream puffInterjection: This crazy stunt is brought to you by Cream Puffs.  This is an example of a cream puff.  Cream puffs are delightful for taking the sting out of that string of consecutive losses.  This particular example of a cream puff contained lemon and kept my spirits up after failing to break this quest 3 times in a row.  4th time’s the charm!

GO!

Quest: Boromir says: NOBODY QUEST! Current quest: Gather Information.

Reveal: Isengard Uruk.  Result: threat up 5, cancelled  by EVER ONWARD!!  Forced: reveal a card (because we didn’t put progress on stage 3).  Reveal: Devilry of Saruman, 3 progress on Gather Information.  Defense of Helm’s Deep to 4.

Engage: Isengard Uruk.

Combat: 2 Archery on 1 Citadel Custodian (flunky).  Isengard Uruk vs White Tower Watchman.  Shadow is +1 attack, 2 damage on White Tower Watchman.  Swing back with lots of swords and destroy.

Because sometimes you forget to triumphantly slap the card on the table.

ROUND SEVEN

Threat at 42

Draw: Herald of Anorien

King Under the Mountain (Sneak Attack and Gandalf, you saucy Dwarf! This is your revenge for the Holding Up article– keep Gandalf)

Play: Herald of Anorien, and a Tome of Atanatar on Boromir

Quest: Gather Information is the quest.  Boromir’s quick thinking: let’s quest this round.  Balin, 2 Veterans of Osgiliath, Herald of Anorien and Citadel Custodian (include Cus in something other than damage soak to avoid federal inquest) for 8 willpower.

Reveal: The Hornburg, result: 1 progress on Gather Information (cleared)- oh crap DON’T PANIC WE PLANNED FOR THIS.  Use Gather Information’s effect, search for Poisoned Counsels and add to hand (no draw!), then Forced: from the quest card, reveal a card (again because we put no progress on quest stage 3).  Reveal: Postern Door. Defense of Helm’s Deep to 5.

Travel: The Hornburg

Combat: none

ROUND EIGHT

Threat at 43

Draw: Guard of the Citadel

King Under the Mountain (Follow Me!, Ever Onward, keep Ever Onward—no one will ever type those words again)

Action: Tome of Atanatar to play Dunedain Message from the discard pile and retrieve Send for Aid from the deck.

Play: Send for Aid – back in business!

Play: Second Breakfast to retrieve Tome of Atanatar

Play: Tome of Atanatar on Boromir

Quest: Boromir says: NOBODY QUEST!  But we’ll let quest stage 3 be the main quest.

Reveal: Uruk-hai Fighter. Result: 11 progress, The Hornburg is explored and the quest stage is cleared.  1 damage goes down per The Hornburg’s effect.  Putting it on Veteran of Osgiliath.  Quest stage 4 reveal: shuffle the discard pile back in, discard until you get an enemy.  Got Wild Hillman.  Defense of Helm’s Deep to 6.

Travel: Postern Door

Engage: Wild Hillman and Uruk-hai Fighter.

Combat: Wild Hillman vs Erkie, shadow is +1 attack, cancelled with Balin.  Replacement is nil, no damage.   Forced effect places one progress on Postern Door (1 of 2 quest points remaining).  Uruk-hai Fighter vs Citadel Custodian, shadow is nil, 2 damage on the Custodian (flunky).  Boromir + Herald of Anorien take the Wild Hillman, Veteran of Osgiliathx2 and Guard of the Citadel (8 attack) for the Uruk-hai Fighter.

dohh 6

ROUND NINE

Threat at 44

Draw: Gandalf

King Under the Mountain (Errand-Rider, Sneak Attack.  Keep Sneak Attack)

Play: Guard of the Citadel

Quest: Boromir says: NOBODY QUEST!  Main quest is Send for Aid.

Reveal: Postern Door.  Result: threat up 9, cancelled by EVER ONWARD!!  Defense of Helm’s Deep to 7.

Travel, Combat: None

dohh 7

ROUND TEN

Threat at 45

Draw: Follow Me!
King Under the Mountain (Gandalf, Herald of Anorien.  Keep Gandalf)

Quest: Boromir says: NOBODY QUEST!  Current quest is Send for Aid.

Reveal: Scaling Ladders (card reads: attach to the active location and then ignore this card).  Surges into Scaling Ladders.  Surges into Fighting Uruk-hai treachery.  Fetches Uruk-hai Fighter, who engages me.  Result: raise threat by 13, cancelled by EVER ONWARD!!  Defense of Helm’s Deep to 8 (!!) and advance to stage 5.  Stage 5 effect: shuffle encounter discard pile back in, then discard cards until we get an enemy (Wild Hillman), who goes to the staging area.

Travel: none, Postern Door is still the active location (1 of 2 quest points remaining)

wh vs door dialogueEngage: Wild Hillman (Uruk-hai Fighter already engaged)

Combat: DRAMA!  If the Wild Hillman attacks, he will place one progress on the Postern Door, clearing it and triggering its forced effect: enemies cannot be attacked!

So we’ll Sneak attack+ Gandalf onto Wild Hillman to destroy with his Response.

gandalf vs wh dialogue

Erk vs Uruk-hai Fighter, shadow is nil, no damage.  Whole army jumps on this last guy with 26 attack for the win.

Final score: damage on heroes 2 + 90 for 9 completed rounds =92, + 45 threat = 137, – 9 victory points = 128

Ladies and gentlemen the message is clear: it is OK to annoy your wife by staying up an hour past bedtime in order to pull off crazy Lord of the Ring stunts.  Today we have redeemed one very hard to use event card (Ever Onward buffered 27 threat), which pretty much works in Helm’s Deep and nowhere else in the game. All in FFG’s master plan, saw this coming four years ahead of time.  We didn’t quite break Helm’s Deep, but we did turn it on its head and stuff it into a metal garbage can (the kind with the satisfying “clang” when you put the lid on).

Helm’s Deep relieves us of the tedious duty of questing, Side Quests relieve us of the tedious duty of placing progress tokens on the main quest, and Ever Onward relieves us of the tedious duty of rolling the threat dial.  But no relief from the tedious duty of thinking up a use for it in the first place.  And the real question that will keep me up tonight: would we have done better with this very same deck if we had sent characters questing and not tried hard to use Ever Onward?  You win this round, Ever Onward!  You win this round.

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7 Comments
  1. Owen Edwards permalink

    That was amazing.

  2. Tony F permalink

    Very clever strategy. Very cheesy, but very clever. Well played!

  3. I was wondering if one could break any quests with the help of side quests. Thanks for answering this question 😀

  4. Fouilloux permalink

    Did you just break one of the hardest quest using what everybody thought was a coaster. I need to quote toenail8 : “wow”

  5. Jerogah permalink

    Loved your article, especially the humour! 🙂 I’ve rarely had so much fun reading 😉

  6. Impressive… most impressive…

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