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Guest Campaign: Into Ithilien Part 1

by on January 20, 2016

ithilien

Thomas R. continues his thematic campaign against Heirs of Numenor, focusing on a good narrative rather than following strict campaign rules. This time around, he prepares for the perils of Into Ithilien.

-Ian

Here we go for the second episode of the adventures of Imrahil, Éomer and Aragorn. Sorry for the delay between the two articles, but a burglar stole my computer, and it was psychologically hard to do the translation again. Anyway, I am back now!

So, here is the fist part of the second episode of my campaign. In the first episode, the heroes managed to escape from Pelargir, but almost died in the process. As I said in the conclusion of the previous article, the next scenarios are pretty tough, and they have the reputation of being among the hardest quests. But well, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be fun.

THE DECK
I will try to keep roughly the same deck for every scenario, for thematic reasons. However, some changes need to be made if I still want to win.

Heroes:
Éomer
Aragorn (Leadership)
Imrahil

My heroes are in the center of my story, I will not change them.

The cards I added are in green.

Allies (25):
Snowbourn Scout x3
Errand-rider x1
Gandalf x3
Emery x3
Guard of the Citadel x3
Knight of the Swan x3
Herald of Anorien x3
Lossarnach Warrior x3
Defender of Rammas x3

Removed:
Dùnedain Watcher x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Errand Rider x2

For this scenario, the global strategy stays the same: sacrifice allies to use my heroes at their best. However, the scenario is packed with siege stages. For this kind of trouble, my heroes will need some help. I then need to pick allies with a strong defense value. The Defender of Rammas is an obvious choice: with his 4 points of defense, and thematic suitability, he is the best choice for this task. The Lossarnach Warrior is my second choice. I do not like to play Outlands much (although I am not sure they are that overpowered in the end), but he is cheap and fits thematically. As my allies tend not to stay in play for a long time, I will not be able to use Outland synergy, so I am fine with this.

I had to make room in my allies rank. The Envoy of Pelargir was first removed for thematic reasons. Then, the Dùnedain Watcher was too expensive for this scenario, and I really needed to be sure that I would be able to play the allies I have in hand all the time.
Finally, I intended to keep the Errand Rider, but as I had lent two of my three copies to a friend, I had to replace him with the Herald of Anorien. He is still affordable, and even if threating out is a real danger in this scenario, I really want to put as many allies as I can on the table.

Attachments (15):
Firefoot x2
Born Aloft x3
Steward of Gondor x2
Gondorian Shield x3
Horn of Gondor
Dùnedain Warning x3
Path of Need

Removed:
Firefoot x1
The sword that was broken x3
Dùnedain Quest x3
Celebrían Stone x1

For the previous scenario, I was sure to face at least one classical stage of questing, and so I needed to increase my heroes willpower. Here, it is likely (well, very likely as we’ll see later) that I will only have to face battle or siege quests. I will then remove all my willpower boosting equipment to replace them with those that increase defense. As I already included the Gondorian Shield, the only other choice I have available (at the time I wrote the article) is Dùnedain Warning, again a a good thematic choice. I also remove one Firefoot copy, as I really want to avoid having useless cards in my hand. I do not touch the other attachments.

Events (12):
Feint x2
Valiant Sacrifice x2
Sneak Attack x2
Blade Mastery x3
For Gondor! x2
Grim Resolve

I still have room to add some events. It’s a good thing, because I still lack some defense boosting cards. Blade Mastery is really good for this deck, as it is quite versatile : you can either boost attack or defense. For Gondor! is also interesting, from a thematic view as well as a strategic one. Finally, with Steward of Gondor in play, I always have enough resources to play Grim Resolve, a very convenient card to use my heroes as often as possible, or for being able to quest and defend with my allies.

In the end, the deck has not evolved as much as I feared, and I did not make many un-thematic choices. I did not includd the Naith Guide, because I do not see how I can put her in the story. However, I think it would be the best addition to this deck. Éomer does not always shine as he should because I do not have many ways to ready him, and it’s a problem because once on Firefoot, he becomes the best attacking character and quester of the deck. I would love to use him more.

INTO ITHILIEN, GLOBAL STRATEGY

As with the previous article, the owner of this blog did a wonderful job explaining how to tackle this scenario. I will then only add a few tips on how to use this deck against this scenario. I had to play a lot of games before being able to win on a semi-consistent basis. To be fair, I started winning a lot, but when I started writing the article, I lost very often. It is because this deck has great strength, but also great weaknesses that need to be understood.

So long Celador…

Celador

The second stage of the quest depends on Celador’s life or death. If he survives, we go through a secret path, which mean a normal questing stage, where we cannot engage enemies. If he dies, we instead have to face a siege quest with archery included. Unfortunately for our ranger friend, this deck is much more effective at the second option. All of my heroes have 2 points of defense, and the Gondorian Shield allows this value to increase really quickly. On top of this, the final stage is also a siege quest if our threat is above 37. With this deck starting at 33 and a lot of threat increasing effects, there is absolutely no chance that I will arrive below this threshold in the last stage.

Except for attack, my heroes are not strong enough by themselves to win. I prefer then focusing on improving only defense rather than defense plus willpower. That explains my attachment choices. As a conclusion: do not go to stage 2 if Celador is still alive. In any case, as he takes one damage every time a character leave play, there is a lot of chances he will die anyway, given the global strategy of this deck.

We are not here to tread water

The longer the game lasts, the more our chances of winning decreases. There are so many enemies that can tear our deck to pieces, including a very fat elephant, plus threat increasing treacheries and shadow effects. On top of this, there are many direct damage effects that even some stupid bats can be the cause of your instant death. So, do not take it slowly, except maybe in stage 1 if Celador is still here. But still, it is very important to clear the Ithilien Road as fast as possible, as for once, some enemies have a higher engagement value than our starting threat. Very often, I lost because I did not quest aggressively. The turtle strategy is defintely not the way to go with this deck in this quest.

You need only two stones to kill one bird

Mûmak

Except the Mûmak, all of the enemies can be killed with an attack value of 6, which is exactly the attack of any two of my heroes. There is no enemy with the surge keyword, so you will never have more than one enemy per turn revealed during staging in solo. It means that if you always have a chump blocker, Aragorn and Imrahil will be enough to kill your opponents. And if you are sure to kill one enemy every turn, you should not be overwhelmed. So, do not hesitate to quest with Éomer.

Beware of the wolves

The Blocking Wargs treachery is probably the worst card in the encounter deck. It does not seem that bad at first glance, but it can quickly bring disaster when all of your heroes are questing. So keep in mind that it is there and can kill your heroes with only one health point left. The problem is that it will often be during the last turn that you are in this situation, and you need to rush to victory. So you can not really do anything about it. I think this single card is the cause of most of my defeats, so if it also happens to you, it’s ok, you are not alone.

Well, that is it for the first part, thanks again to Beorn for the illustrations. I hope to come back soon with the game itself!

 

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From → Strategy

2 Comments
  1. creston permalink

    Did you ever best the quest?

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