The Blood of Gondor

Every once in a while, the developers give us with a scenario that has some special mechanic that really flips the normal phases of the game upside down. The Blood of Gondor is such a quest. Not only does this quest give players a ton of enemies, but the enemies might engage players when they are not prepared yet. This can lead to ambushes set up against you and can make for some close games. The scenario also features a boss enemy, various locations, and 2 objective allies that help out the players in the first stage of the game.

The Blood of Gondor

  • Found in Against the Shadow cycle, Adventure Pack 5
  • Official Difficulty: 7
  • Community Difficulty: 5.7
  • Encounter Sets: The Blood of Gondor, Ravaging Orcs
  • Quest cards: 2
  • Play if: You want an exciting quest that is unlike any other, you want to test decks that are great all-round, you haven’t played this quest in a while.
  • What is different about this quest?: Hidden card mechanic, Boss enemy from turn 1, unique locations that give the player the option of Battle and Siege questing, 2 objective allies
  • Solo or Multiplayer?: This game can get quite messy in a 4 player game, with everyone having a lot of hidden cards. It is therefore quite possible to run out of cards in larger player counts. With quite a lot of progress needed on the quest, I would recommend playing this with 2-3 players, as true solo might lead to location lock since you will have to keep characters back for combat. More players will lead to more threat in the initial staging area because of the Black Numenorean.
  • Can I run side-quests for this scenario?: You can if you are finding yourself in a good position to deal with the quest. Remember that you will still have to take Hidden cards from the main quest every round. Getting some side-quests in the victory display on the first stage can help you get a foothold against the encounter deck. On the later stages, side-quests can get you a couple of rounds of rest to get more attack strength on the table while going up against side-quests with your willpower characters. Be aware that side-quests will have Siege on them if the Cross-roads location has not been explored.
  • What to look out for: Siege and Battle questing, Sudden engagements with Hidden cards, a large amount of threat to overcome in the first round, easy location lock with big locations.

The Quest

Hidden Cards

This mechanic is so different from anything we have seen before, that I will cover it on its own before talking about the quest itself. The Hidden card mechanic revolves around getting dealt face down encounter cards from the encounter deck due to quest effects, encounter card triggers or shadow card effects. These cards will belong to a certain player and will be placed in his/her play area. The Hidden cards must stay hidden (flipped over so you don’t know which card is what) until a quest/objective/encounter card effect tells you to flip them over. When flipped over, you must flip the cards over one by one in any order you like. The location and treachery cards are discarded without resolving any of the when revealed effects. The enemy cards now remain and will all engage the player of who the Hidden cards belonged to in the first place. They engage one at a time, disregarding any threat level the player might have.

Remember that the enemies from the Hidden cards will engage you, meaning that any Forced effect on the enemies will resolve. Doomed or Surge will not trigger at this point, so say goodbye to any Ranger of the North you flipped over, he is placed in the encounter discard pile. Since this counts as an official engagement by the enemy, effects like Followed will trigger on the first enemy that engages you. The engagements will be forced though, so cards like Roheryn do not work as the engagement was not optional.

An important note regarding the encounter deck, normally it only gets replenished during the quest phase. But if a player should ever need to take a Hidden card and the encounter deck is empty, the encounter discard pile gets shuffled back into the encounter deck and the player takes a card from that pile. The encounter deck seems to run out fast in this quest, so you will likely have to reshuffle a couple of times during the quest. Even more so in multiplayer.

Setup

There is quite a bit of setup to be done for this quest. First, the unique Cross-roads location and the unique Black Numenorean enemy get added to the staging area. The two objective allies, Faramir and Lord Alcaron join the first player. Now, the players each have to reveal 1 card from the top of the encounter deck and add it to the staging area. It will be a hard first turn if players reveal a bunch of locations and/or enemies, as the threat in the staging area for the first round can be brutal. Once the first few rounds are over, the threat in the staging area will stabilise a little.

Good cards to reveal at this point

  • Scourge of Mordor: Adds threat to the staging area outside of the quest phase. While players lose a card from their deck, this treachery will not count its threat during the quest phase.
  • Lying in Wait: No hidden cards yet in play, the treachery will whiff
  • Conflict at the Crossroads: Will just surge, great to get out of the deck for the first few rounds.

Nasty cards to reveal

After every player has revealed a card from the top of the encounter deck, the players will be looking at a threat of 2.5 X + Y where X is the number of players in the game and Y the total number of Hidden cards in play. This does not count any cards that may have surged. Players will now be allowed to flip the quest stage and advance to stage 1B. Note that Y will become larger than 0 before the first quest phase because of quest card text.

Quest card 1: The Ambush – 11 quest points Regular quest/Siege

The quest card has no When Revealed or Forced effects, instead it has 2 passive lines of text that can be quite easy to forget. The first line dictates that every player must take a hidden card at the beginning of the quest phase. This will be important, as any scrying you may have done during planning will not reveal the cards you get for staging. This effect will keep your pile of hidden cards filled. The effect cannot be cancelled, as it is a passive text on a quest card. The effect will still be active if the players are going up against side-quests.

The-Cross-roads
Zoom in on the head, it will not disappoint

 

The second line of text is more troubling and presents the players with a choice. Either receive another hidden card from the top of the encounter deck or turn all of your hidden cards face up. The effect is triggered at the beginning of the combat phase, so any enemies you turn over will engage you and receive shadow cards.

Now, the choice of when to flip over your hidden cards due to this effect entirely lies with you and the deck you are bringing. If you are not yet engaged with an enemy and are quite capable of taking an enemy, you might want to flip over your hidden cards. If you are lucky, all cards will end up not being enemies, but thanks to the distribution of cards in the encounter deck, this is unlikely once you flip over more than 3-4 cards. Pray to the gods of RNG for getting more locations with this effect. During the first few rounds, I tend to not flip over the hidden cards and instead deal with the Black Numenorean. Killing him will allow you to take more hidden cards instead of dealing with a sharp increase in threat.

The Black Numenorean is the boss-level enemy of this scenario and comes into play immediately instead of at the end of the game. Killing him will not be a prerequisite of passing the quest, but it will be difficult to win without putting him in the victory display. For tips on how to cheat your way around this enemy, check his paragraph later in the article.

The Cross-Roads will present you with an initial Siege quest while it is in play. This means that the quest card will gain Siege and that you will be questing with defence while this location is not explored. Fortunately, there are some things you can do about this. Getting Asfaloth out on turn 1 can automatically clear the location, allowing you to commit willpower instead of defence. You can also use Explorer’s Almanac to explore the location without wasting a turn travelling to it. Getting rid of this location from the start will be important, as you will need your defence characters up and running from the start of the game for combat. Alternatively, players can consider putting all their eggs in the Siege basket and keeping the location in the staging area for all time. This makes the entire quest a Siege quest, allowing players to disregard their willpower characters, and instead focus more on their attack and defence strength. This makes mono-leadership decks with Leadership Elfhelm a great deck to bring if you can get Mounts out. Steed of the North is my favourite, as you will be able to ready your defender when needing to defend an enemy. This strategy is very interesting and can make your deck around this quest a lot differently. Note that the Cross-roads targets the active quest card, so side-quests are also influenced by it. This makes side-quests Siege quests as well, overruling any other Battle keywords if there are any.

In order to pass the first stage of the game, you will have to obtain 11 progress tokens. While these might be difficult to come by in the first rounds of the game, the average threat in the staging area will stabilise over time, making it easier to quest past it. Try to not get too crazy with the hidden cards if you are looking to proceed. Getting more than 7 cards will make for a very *interesting* second stage with you engaging a ton of enemies. After the final progress token has been placed here, the players immediately advance to stage 2. Since you are about to lose both of your objective allies, send them to the quest on this final push or use the ability on Lord Alcaron before you lose him. Try to keep back a couple of combat characters or chump blockers instead, as the next combat phase might be tricky.

Quest card 2: Captured! – 15 quest points: Battle/Siege

Immediately after you transition to this stage, the players lose control over the two objective allies. Note that they are not out of play, so their bold text does not trigger. That would break the scenario and make it impossible to win. Instead, the objectives are considered to be in play, but under no players control. This also means that players are still not allowed to play any copy of Faramir during this second stage.

After the objective allies are placed underneath the quest stage, every player must turn over all of his hidden cards. This makes for a kind of Russian Roulette style gameplay, which can be very enjoyable in multiplayer. Again, all revealed enemies engage the player who flipped them over, which can make the combat phase a bit hectic. A very nice combo would be to have one player play both The Hammer-Stroke and Thicket of Spears in order to engage all enemies and cancelling all of their attacks. This kind of play will rely on a lot of support from fellow players in the form of Ranged attacks or direct damage.

After that initial combat phase, the players will have to be ready to deal with Battle questing. With a lot of enemies engaged with you, Battle questing might be the last thing you want to do since you want to get rid of those enemies. I would recommend players go up against a side-quest at this point so that they can quest with willpower and keep their attack strength ready for the combat phase. Once the players have gotten a hold over their opponents, they can start battle questing. If the players have not yet cleared the Cross-roads location, then the Battle keyword is overruled and the quest becomes a Siege quest.

Another strategy that works fine at this stage, is to go all in on the main quest and pray that it will be enough to clear the final stage. If the players have stalled a little on stage 1 or have cleared side-quests, they should have a decent number of characters in play that have got enough attack strength to burst through the stage. Since there is no other restriction on the stage beside the 15 progress tokens, there is nothing stopping you from yolo-questing your way through this. Be warned though, there are some cards that will add a lot of threat to the staging area, so you might fail the quest. If you have gone all in and now find yourself engaged with a host of enemies, well, sucks to be you. This is the risk you are taking with this sort of game style.

There are also new passive texts on this quest stage. First off, the players will still need to take one hidden card at the beginning of the quest phase. This is the same as the previous quest card and the effect can still not be cancelled. Second, there is now a limit to how many hidden cards each player is allowed to have, 5. This is to prevent players from hoarding all of the encounter cards as hidden cards and then never revealing them. Different from the first stage, the players now have no choice but to flip over their hidden cards when they receive their fifth.

In order to win this scenario, the players have to place the 15 points of progress on the quest stage. After the final progress token has been placed, they immediately win the scenario. Since they have lost control over Faramir and Alcaron, they have to rescue the two Nobles in the next and final pack of the Against the Shadow cycle, The Morgul Vale.

The Encounter deck

Global

  • The encounter deck for this scenario is quite small, with only 34 cards to be revealed in Normal mode and 25 in Easy mode. In a multiplayer game, you will find yourself reshuffling the encounter deck often.blood of gondor
  • Shadow effects are not as common in this quest as in some other scenarios. In Normal mode, 56% of cards have a shadow effect. In Easy mode, this is reduced to 48%.
  • Average threat on cards revealed is 1.5 for both modes. There are some cards that will be more punishing on threat than others though.
  • Surge is present on Mordor Looms (3x) and on Conflict at the Crossroads if it gets revealed
  • Archery is only present on The Dark Woods. If you are playing solo, Archery is not really a concern.
  • Doomed is not on any card. This opens up the possibility to play some Doomed cards of your own. Be careful to do this after the Black Numenorean has been killed though, as he raises your threat quickly.
  • No encounter cards are immune to player card effects or attachments. Players will be allowed to bring every trick in the book to this quest.

The statistics above do not count the two objective allies, the Black Numenorean, and the Cross-roads location as they are put in play at the start of the game and get added to the victory display if they are defeated. The important part of this quest is the percentage of enemies in the encounter deck. You can try to decrease this percentage by adding player cards to the encounter deck or by removing enemies from play and placing them in the victory display. Playing in Easy mode will also help to reduce the chances of revealing enemies.

Objectives

This scenario features 2 unique ally objectives that get captured at the transition between the stages. The allies can be very useful in preventing Hidden cards from screwing over the players in the early game or they can help in combat. Note that they both have the Gondor and the Noble trait and will therefore also benefit from Leadership Boromir and Visionary Leadership. If either one of the allies leaves play, the players will automatically lose the game. Their uniqueness and Noble trait also opens up Proud Hunters from the start of the game (Faramir is a Ranger as well), Terrible to Behold is a decent card with Alcaron, and Well Warned can lower your threat consistently if you have a Scout character in play (one of your heroes perhaps).

  • Faramir: Love the art on this version of Faramir, and he is actually a great ally to have for this quest. FaramirHis stats make him a pretty decent attacker, but he can also commit to the quest for 2 willpower. His ability is a combat action where players can exhaust Faramir to turn 1 hidden card face up. This card can belong to any player. If that hidden card is an enemy, Faramir deals 3 damage to it, killing all but the Brutal Uruk. Killing an enemy in this way will not trigger its forced effect. I often find myself using ally readying effects on this ally as his ability is not restricted. This version of Faramir is also eligible for Sword of Morthond if you are running an Outlands deck, making him even better. Be prepared the lose the attachment though, as Faramir will be captured when transitioning between stages.
  • Lord Alcaron: This version of Lord Alcaron is slightly less useful than Faramir, but he will still be a nice ally to get if you are the first player. Lord-Alcaron.jpgLord Alcaron has decent defending stats and you could defend some Evil Crows with him without risking too much. There are a couple of nasty shadow trains that can kill him though so it will be better to get other defenders online as quickly as you can. Lord Alcaron has an action which allows the controller to pick any enemy engaged with a player. Then, that enemy gets returned to the staging area. I don’t find myself using this effect a lot in solo, but it is quite useful in multiplayer if a player has more enemies engaged than he can handle. You can return the enemy to the staging area before engagements or after shadow cards have been dealt to cancel his attack. The problem with this ability is that the enemies will generally not stay in the staging area for long, as they have very low engagement costs. On top of this, they tend to have abilities that trigger upon engaging a player. I will note that this objective ally is great in a Trap deck, as you can send an enemy back to the staging area at will, triggering a Trap you just placed there. Do this during the planning phase, and you can even play a Trap afterwards to potentially trap 2 enemies on the same turn.

Enemies

The standard enemies in this encounter deck stand out because of their very low engagement costs. This makes it difficult for Secrecy players to keep clear of enemies. The enemies also have a couple of forced abilities when they attack or engage a player. Try to remember these, as it can be easy to forget.

  • Black Númenorean: This enemy starts off in the staging area during the setup and will cause a lot of trouble for you if you are playing with multiple people. The Black Numenorean has a variable threat cost of X, where X is the number of ALL hidden cards in the game. This can get crazy when combined with Mordor Looms or other effects that force you to take a hidden card. Black-NúmenoreanIf players are already swarmed with enemies and don’t want to flip over their hidden cards, the Black Numenorean will just keep growing. On top of his high threat, he also has a forced ability at the end of the round. If the enemy is still in play, players will have to raise their threat by the number of hidden cards in their play area. This number varies a lot during each round. There are a couple of really sweet combinations that can be used to mitigate the Black Numenorean for the most part. Radagasts Cunning will drop his threat to 0, allowing you to make a big quest push for the cost of 1 lore resource. This Core Set card will easily quest for more than 5 in a multiplayer game. Revealed in Wrath is also an amazing card that you can use as the enemy isn’t unique (perhaps a case of uniqueness symbol misprint). This allows you to set the value of X to 0 and avoid the threat ability at the end of the round. Alternatively, players can flip their hidden cards to lower the value of X throughout the game. In combat, the Black Numenorean is not as tough as you might expect. Its attack of 5 is enough to kill an ally, so try to block with a decent defender. With only 5 hitpoints and 3 defence, it will not take too much in order for you to kill this enemy. I will advise getting rid of this enemy as soon as you can, as he will only get bigger as the game progresses. Once the Black Numenorean is destroyed, it gets added to the victory display, so you don’t have to deal with him again for the remainder of the quest.
  • Evil Crow: At first glance, you might expect the Crow to be Thalin fodder, but unfortunately this enemy has an extra hitpoint to prevent this easy way around enemies. The Evil Crow is by far the weakest enemy in the encounter deck and can be swatted out of the sky by every character with just 2 attack. It also has 0 defence, which opens up a quick and easy Straight Shot. The Crow will force you to take a hidden card when it engages you, which can push you over that 5 hidden card limit from stage 2. I often find myself taking the damage from the crow undefended, but there are some shadow effects that punish you for this. Getting an Orc Ambusher as a shadow card can really screw you over if you aren’t defending this enemy. My preferred strategy with this enemy is to defend it with a Gondorian Spearman, preferably with a Spear of the Citadel to kill him outright, but without the spear is fine as well. This is one of the few enemies with a single digit for its engagement cost, so Hobbits are unlikely to get bonuses for this enemy.
  • Brutal Uruk: This enemy lives up to his name, he is quite brutal if you have a number of hidden cards and need to chump against this enemy. If you do, you must turn over all of your hidden cards, forcing all enemies engaged with you. Then, you must deal a shadow card to all new enemies and resolve their attacks as normal. This puts you in a very tight spot, with lots of enemies engaged and a lot of attacks heading your way. Using Hour of Wrath on a defender can do great against these attacks, allowing you to absorb all the attacks on one hero and using the rest of your characters to strike back. Dunedain synergy also goes well with this enemy, allowing you to defend with Guardian of Arnor for a decent amount, and using Fornost Bowman to kill everything you don’t want to keep engaged. A combined defensive stat of 6 is tough to crack, also considering that the Uruk has 5 hitpoints, meaning that Faramir and Gandalf won’t get rid of this enemy on their own. A defence value of just 1 can easily be reduced to 0 with Tactics Aragorn. This enemy is also great to put into a Forest Snare/Followed. This will remove him from the encounter deck and just sit there in front of you, doing nothing.
  • Orc Ambusher: I have lost so many allies to this enemy, it’s unreal. This enemy has decent entry level stats for an enemy but combines it with a low engagement cost and he becomes a very real threat. When the Orc Ambusher engages you (from a hidden card or the staging area) the engaged player must discard 1 non-objective ally he controls. I tend to run allies like Squire of the Citadel or Envoy of Pelargir in my decks to counter this enemy, but there are other decent options out there. Rohan synergy goes really well with this enemy so you might want to consider bringing Snowbourn Scouts or other cheap Rohan allies you can discard to this enemy. His 3 attack will require some attention, but a decent defender can deal with it without too much sweat. His 1 point of defence and 3 hitpoints make him a good target for Quickbeam, Ents in general, and Beorn, who all have high attack stats and can take care of this enemy without too much trouble.

Brutal-Uruk

Locations

The Cross-roads of Ithilien is nicely represented in this scenario with 5 unique locations. A central location and a road heading in each direction. The locations will be a welcome sight if they are turned over as hidden cards. But less so if they were revealed as a part of Lying in Wait. The unique Cross-roads location has already been covered in the scenario analysis so you can go back to that for more information.

  • Northern Road: The Northern Road leads to Henneth Annun and the Black Gate. The location has a staggering 4 threat, making it a bad card to reveal during staging. The location does only have 3 quest points, making Asfaloth and Warden of Arnor enough tech to clear it. There are of course a host of other effects that can do great against this location. When you get the option, I would advise going to the Northern Road, as it removes a big chunk of threat out of the staging area. Ghan-Buri-Ghan will now also be an effective quester if you are still on the first stage.
  • Western Road: The Western Road runs from the Cross-roads back to the Eastern side of Osgiliath. It is a rather innocent looking location, having only 2 threat that you can leave in the staging area for a while. It is protected by a passive text that grants it 5 additional quest points while it is in the staging area. This protects it against a lot of location control cards, but also makes it a nice target for Northern Trackers and Rhovanion Outriders who can slowly chip away at this 9 quest point location. Only travel to this location if you have no other options, there is little harm in leaving this one in the staging area for a while.
  • Southern Road: This road leads to the crossings of the river Poros and the lands of Harad after that. The location only has a travel cost that should look familiar by now. The road is not protected against location control but still requires 4 progress tokens to clear if you don’t want to travel to it. There isn’t much else to say about this location other than to travel if you have the chance and otherwise commit a couple of cards to clearing it in the staging area.
  • Eastern Road: The Eastern Road leads to the Morgul Vale and the city of Minas Morgul. The location is also the nastiest from all 4 roads at 4 threat. The 2 quest points may look innocent enough, but the location is protected against location control by getting 5 extra quest points while it is in the staging area. Thror’s Key will be great tech against this location, as it will blank the 5 quest points, allowing you to get rid of 4 threat by exhausting Asfaloth. If you do not have this option available, try to make this location your top priority when considering where to travel to.
  • The Dark Woods: This is actually the only non-unique location in the encounter deck and the only instance of Archery you will see during the scenario. The location is a regular 2/2 location which makes it extremely easy to clear with cards like Asfaloth. There are a bunch of these locations, so bringing some location control will be a great way around these locations. When the Dark Woods are explored, the first player may discard any hidden card from play. This not only reduced the stats on the Black Numenorean but also allows one player to take fewer potential enemies during the combat phase. If you have scried the encounter deck and know what hidden card is an enemy, use this effect to get rid of that hidden card.

 

Treachery

Unsurprisingly, the treacheries in this quest have to do with the hidden card mechanic. They will force the players to take more cards, flip them over or count more threat in the staging area. Cancelling these treacheries can make it easier to overcome the number of enemies engaged with you.

  • Lying in Wait: In all honesty, this is probably the card you will want to cancel. The first player will basically reveal all of his hidden cards as if they were regular encounter cards. The enemies will all engage the player. The locations will all get added to the staging area (making location lock a real problem), and all treacheries get their When Revealed effects triggered. This can be terrible if the first player has not been flipping over his hidden cards in a while. This effect does not trigger the surge keyword on Mordor Looms, but the player will have to flip over the additional card unless his last hidden card was Mordor Looms. The act of flipping over your hidden cards must be fully completed until there are no other cards remaining. The only real thing you can do against this treachery is to prepare yourself if you are the first player and to cancel it if able. Getting multiple copies of this card go off on the same player shouldn’t be a big deal, as you can only flip those cards over once. Any second copy of Lying in Wait will just whiff. If the players really want to avoid revealing the cards from that particular player, another player can use Follow Me! to become the first player and reveal his cards instead. There are actually quite a lot of copies of Lying in Wait in the encounter deck, so there is a fair chance of it being revealed twice during staging if you are playing a multiplayer game. Its effect is also not triggered if you reveal this treachery as a hidden card that you must trigger thanks to an earlier copy.
  • Mordor Looms: The effect seems innocent enough, but Mordor Looms can really start a long chain of hidden cards to pile up for all players. This, in turn, increases the threat from the Black Numenorean and makes the game more difficult. Getting this card for setup will force you to have at least 2 hidden cards by the beginning of the first combat phase. In the end, this card is best to just stomach, as players won’t be able to do much about the Surge that is on this card as well. It might be better to hold off on cancelling this treachery and just take the hidden card. This effect can push you over the 5 hidden cards, which means you will have to flip them over if you are on stage 2 of the quest.
  • Conflict at the Crossroads: Love the art, hate the card. This treachery will force players to count the threat of all Orc enemies engaged with players as if they were in the staging area. Note that the card only targets Orc enemies, so the Black Numenorean doesn’t contribute his possibly insane threat to the staging area. However, this card can still contribute a lot of threat to the staging area since a lot of enemies will be engaged with you. This really is the card to cancel at the later stages of the game if you are burst questing to clear the stage. This is one of the cards that can screw you over in that case. If there are no enemies engaged at the time that this treachery is revealed, the card just surges. It is great to get rid of this nasty effect via either this way or when it is a hidden card. If you do not want to see this card, play easy mode, as both copies are then removed from the encounter deck. Also, guess what the title of this scenario was originally called before it was changed to The Blood of Gondor… Guess it sounded too similar to Conflict at the Carrock.

Lying-in-Wait

Tips and Tricks

  • Leave your Dunedain Hunters and Wait No Longer in the binder for this one. You do not need more enemies engaged without besides the regular engagement checks and the Hidden card engagements. Getting even more enemies engaged will quickly result in taking undefended attacks and losing heroes.
  • Wind from the Sea and Ranger of the North are decent cards to include in your deck for this scenario. While they are discarded if they are revealed as a hidden card, they will be recycled often enough that they will eventually hit. They will be a good way to delude the encounter deck of enemies and help the players at an unexpected point during the game.
  • As with the Morgul Vale, you will not be allowed to play Faramir in any form. He is an objective ally in this scenario, which fills his unique slot for the game. Even after the first stage, quest 2A specifically states that the objective allies are still in play, so you are unable to play a player card names Faramir.
  • Another good way to delude the encounter deck of enemies is by putting them in the victory display. Scout Ahead, None Return, and Out of the Wild will be great ways to reduce the number of enemies in the encounter deck for this quest. This will mean that hidden cards become a smaller threat statistically.
  • Weapons and other attack strength increasing cards will not only serve your characters well during combat but can also help in clearing the final battle quest.
  • The two Core Set 1 cost Lore events: Secret Paths and Radagast’s Cunning can help to alleviate some of the big locations/enemies in the staging area. These cards have helped be a couple of times by negating the high threat on the Black Numenorean or the Northern/Eastern Road. Especially in the early game, these cards can be great value until you get your questing army going.
  • With a majority of locations having just 2 quest points, Asfaloth is a great card to add to your deck for this quest. It will be great to trigger this card (or any other location control) to get rid of some threat in the staging area. Clearing The Dark Woods will also help in getting rid of Archery ánd getting rid of a hidden card.
  • Other location control can also make quick work of most locations. Since none of the locations are immune to player card effects, they will be excellent targets for The Evening Star, Northern Trackers, Rhovanion Outriders, and a host of other effects.
  • Easy mode stays true to its name for this quest. Not only are a lot of enemies removed from the game, making hidden cards easier, but some nasty treacheries are also removed. A thinner encounter deck will also mean you have a higher chance of coming across the player cards you put in there. The chance of getting a shadow effect is also reduced in easy mode, making it easier to get away with undefended attacks. Try this mode out if you find yourself getting beaten by this quest a lot.
  • Engaging the Black Numenorean in the first few turns will make sure you keep clear of his insane threat. Killing him is not required by the quest, though it is advisable, as he will start to raise your threat with every hidden card that is in the game. In a multiplayer game, you will want to kill this enemy in turn 1 or 2, but not later as players might get threated out at that point.
  • A nice trick I tend to use for clearing a Battle quest like stage 2 is to use Tactics Eowyn to contribute her boss-killing +9 attack boost to the quest. This is an amazing hero to use in such an instance. For stage 1 you are also able to use her in combination with Grappling Hook, to contribute her attack instead of willpower to the quest.
  • This is not a Secrecy friendly quest. The enemies from the hidden cards will still engage you and make it difficult to survive the combat phase. Any other enemies revealed from the encounter deck also have a very low engagement cost, making Hobbits not a reliable archetype for this quest. The threat gain from the Black Numenorean will also assure that you will not stay in Secrecy for long.
  • While the Orc Ambusher will discard allies and the Dark Woods will contribute some points of Archery to the quest, there isn’t a lot of ally hate or direct damage to characters in this quest. Get out a few chump blockers and a pin cushion for the Archery to be completely safe. This encounter deck does not really mind low hitpoint allies, so Silvans are a good archetype to bring to the quest.
  • With a lot of enemies engaging you, it might be an idea to use Dunedain decks against this quest. You will be getting great stats on your allies as most of the enemies have very low engagement costs. Use Forest Snares to keep the enemies engaged with you, while ignoring their attacks.
  • The Cross-roads location offers you a chance of making the entire quest a Siege quest, including your side-quests. This can force you to specialize in defence and attack strength, and completely ignore willpower for the rest of the game. This can make your decks more capable of handling enemies, but you will need readying effects on your characters to have defenders ready for combat.
  • To be ready for the initial Siege quest, it might be a good idea to get a Winged Guardian or a Defender of Rammas out as quickly as you can. These allies will help you in questing sufficiently during the initial turns. The rest of the game, they can be used to block any enemies that engaged you.
  • If you want to have a laugh, look closely at the art on the stone head of the Cross-roads location. That mouth still makes me chuckle.

Playthrough

This was the final analysis of the Against the Shadow cycle. I will now start looking at the Ringmaker cycle and its scenarios. If you would like to make the Nightmare editions of these articles, it would be very much appreciated. I will get to them eventually, but cannot pinpoint a precise date on when I will start with that series. Since this concluded the cycle, I will get some more articles out on staples and archetype analyses before I continue with the Ringmaker cycle. I do have other people helping at the moment so the scenario analyses won’t disappear completely.

One thought on “The Blood of Gondor

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