For the month of June, I asked you, the community, about your favourite player side-quests. We have had 10 so far, and if this on-again-off-again trend continues, we are looking at 5 new side-quests in the new cycle. So I listed all 10 of the side-quests and gave every person 2 votes. And now it is time to reveal the results.
In total 110 votes were received, which should give us a good representation of the ommunity. Thank you all for voting and helping me getting some nice results every month on these questions.
I have to say, I was not taken by surprise when I saw Gather Information winning this poll. It was the first ever player side-quest we got our hands on, and can still be found in many decks. The fact that it is Neutral makes it a very easy tool to get it into play. On top of that, it is free and only needs 4 progress to clear, which is a lot less than some others on the list. When players explore the side-quest, they are allowed to look through their deck for any one card and add it to their hand. This makes it easy to get your combo pieces out, or to grab that one card you really need in order to deal with the scenario better. This is often picked with Thurindir decks as the card that is grabed at the start of the game, as it opens up the rest of all other decks. Gather Information won by quite a large margin, but has become an auto include in many decks.
In second place, we have Scout Ahead. This is a bit more of a surprising side-quest to see this high up. The Lore side-quest allows you to scry the top few cards of the deck and rearrange them in any order. On top of that, the players get to send one of the looked at cards worth no victory points, and send it to the victory display. This side-quest can provide some long term information on shadow cards and the cards that will be revealed during staging. I find it most effective in true solo, where you can see 5 cards deep, providing you with at least a few rounds of knowledge of what cards are coming up. With Lore being more of the side-questy sphere, this side-quest can find its way into many decks trying to run Legacy Blade, East Road Ranger, and Thurindir.
Sometimes, the effect of a side-quest is plain and simple, but still powerful enough to be included in a lot of decks. This is the case with Double Back, our number 3 on the list. This side-quest will lower the threat of each player by 5 upon completion. This is some very valuable threat reduction, as it should buy you quite some time before you are back at your old level. While this is limited to one copy per deck, multiple players can run this side-quest, saving the players a lot of stress with against the ticking threat-clock. This threat reduction is also nice as it allows players to more freely spend another turn of the game clearing the side-quest, instead of going up against the main quest.
The first side-quest from the Haradrim cycle that appears on the list is the Tactics side-quest Keep Watch. I run this side-quest in a lot of Tactics decks, as it will influence your combat phase quite a lot. This side-quest requires 6 progress to clear and there can only be one in the victory display. However, when it is in the victory display, it lowers the attack of each non-unique enemy in play by 1. This has a large impact on the balance of the game, this time in favor of the players. Especially during swarm quests, enemies tend to fit for less, which opens up the possibility to take more attacks undefended, saving more characters to hit back. This side-quest is the better one out of the two Tactics side-quests. Just don’t forget the debuff to the enemies once you do clear it.
Towards the bottom of the list, we find Explore Secret Ways. While I love the effect in theory, as it can be very powerful anti-location lock tool, it is quite difficult to actually pull off. There aren’t many scenarios where a lot of the same location appear in the staging area. Lost in Mirkwood is a good quest to bring this location against those Twilight Halls, but this isn’t a side-quest for every deck. The turn (or two turns) you spend clearing this side-quest won’t get you much unless the encounter deck is really pumping out the same location over and over again. In Nightmare mode, there is a place for this card, but side-quests aren’t the best cards to bring to such quests.
At the very bottom of the list, we find Delay the enemy. Not only does this quest require 8 progress to clear, but it also has the Battle keyword, meaning that characters quest with their attack strength rather than their willpower. For early life mono-Tactics players, this would ok to bring to a quest, but other than that, the Battle keyword will just hinder other players who aren’t as strong with attack strength. On top of that, the now questing characters are unable to attack the enemies that are revealed, as those characters will have likely exhausted for the quest. This inability to attack back is helped somewhat by the side-quests response, where players may discard one non-unique enemy engaged with them. This effect is bit underwhelming if you are only discarding an orc, but a little more satisfying with a Mumak or Troll. Still, 8 progress with Battle is difficult to approve in your de deck, so not many people are running it.
As for July, I wanted to focus a little more on the Hobbit trait and how its unique characters will receive some new versions of themselves. As such, I have in mind to survey what unique Hobbit characters you like best. This will include all cards with the same title (so both Hero Sam, and ally Sam), but will exclude the various Fellowship versions of Frodo. Be sure to check out the newly revealed cards from the new Deluxe for the ally versions of Merry and Pippin, as well as the new Frodo hero.
The new poll can be found in the side-bar of the blog or at the bottom of the page for mobile users. The poll will end in the final week of July 2019, so be sure to get your votes in before it is too late.