“It was Radagast the Brown, who at one time dwelt at Rhosgobel, near the borders of Mirkwood.”
Welcome to my latest article discussing thematic solo play of the LCG set in Tolkien’s wonderful world. This quest has a great theme and is a favourite of mine as I really love the Eagles of Middle-Earth. It’s also a very difficult quest and has some very nasty Treachery cards in the encounter deck that can kill your characters and Wilyador, the injured Eagle that you control as an Objective-Ally for the game. So I’m going to make a single Encounter deck tweak and rewrite a card so it makes more sense:
Exhaustion: When revealed: Exhaust any Character with 1 (or more) Damage. Shadow: Exhaust any Character with 2 (or more) Damage.
Favourite Player card: From this adventure pack it has to be Radagast as he is so thematic to this quest and how the character appears in Tolkien’s work. He’s very useful in Eagle decks but still very narrow elsewhere. A new hero version of him was just released, so this ally will likely fade from the card pool despite more Creatures being in the card pool during the latest cycle.
I thought hard about changing my deck and heroes but in the end I stuck to my dream team of Aragorn, Legolas and Beravor with starting attachments of Song of Battle, Song of Wisdom and Song of Travel respectively. My starting Threat was 31 as I didn’t use a Haven. I added more healing cards, a few more Eagles to the deck and, of course, I added Radagast that came with this set as he’s part of the theme of this quest.
The first time out went really smoothly and even though I saw no sign of any eagles (apart from poor Wilyador), or Radagast. I still beat the quest with no real problems. I think the encounter deck was really kind with no nasty enemies such as Ungoliant’s Spawn appearing, and a few early copies of Athelas that were guarded by nice locations. I also pulled out a Lore of Imladris quickly so could heal Wilyador slightly as I entered the second stage of the quest and only needed to find 2 Athelas cards to win. Getting out Gandalf to help me quest meant that stage 2 went by easily too and stage 3 is just a non-event.
Playing it a second time, the starting hand was excellent – all the cards you would want, such as Steward of Gondor, Celebrian’s Stone, Gandalf and Lore of Imladris. I did get some eagles on the table and Radagast made a fairly early appearance too so could heal Wilyador a bit as I went through stage 2 of the quest. Another lucky Lore of Imladris came out early, so this time, again with a very gentle encounter deck apart from some nasty Swarming Insects, I again only needed to find 2 Athelas to heal the wounded eagle.
For some more danger and theme, I added the Dol Guldur Stronghold for my third game. Even though I had an excellent opening hand, this was a completely different experience, not because of Dol Guldur, but because Athelas seemed to be out of season! I didn’t see one leaf of it nor a Forest Grove at all. Poor Wilyador was soon overcome by his wounds as no matter how slowly I tried to quest, we got to stage 3 too quickly.
My last attempt at the quest I used Dol Guldur again and had a very balanced session, albeit with a kind player deck with some useful cards out early. I managed to complete the quest including a final battle with Chieftain Uftak who I saw as the leader of the orcs that wounded Wilyador initially and had been tracking the company. It’s lovely when new card mechanics add to the story a quest creates.
Favourite card combo: A brilliant pair is Support of the Eagles when you have an Eagles of the Misty Mountains with a few Eagle cards under it from a Winged Guardian or Vassal of the Windlord that have left play. It can mean you can soon get a +4ATK on your Hero without having to exhaust the Eagles of the Misty Mountains.
A Hero’s Story – Prince Imrahil: A hero that was cut from the movies and only had a minor role in the books too, but is clearly an important character as Prince of Dol Amroth. He’s clearly a ‘hero’ in every sense of the word too, being part of the Leadership sphere to influence the Men around him, and more than a little resembles a cheaper version of Aragorn. Imrahil’s ability to be able to attack or defend when another character leaves play clearly indicates that, if someone under his command is killed he charges to the rescue.
I really enjoyed playing the quest again as it tells the story very effectively. I know some find it aggravating due to the last ‘stage’ being not a stage at all, but for me it was very enjoyable and very thematic to boot.
Now I think I’d better get my walking boots on as those hills look they might need some exploring…
“The Road Goes Ever On…”