Encounter Set Review: Dol Guldur Orcs

If YOU, Players, were appeased by the previous Encounter set, Passage Through Mirkwood, the next one will put you backon solid ground. Dol Guldur Orcs is coming up with, as the name indicates, many Orcs, ready to crush many skulls. Forget about East Bight Patrol – these Orcs can fight. The Encounter set won’t spare even from the view of locations and treacheries, which Players haven’t met yet at all. Oh, have We introduced you to The Necromancer’s Reach already?

Summary review

Enemies

Locations

Treacheries


Enemies

Dol Guldur Orcs

The first enemy is called after the name of the whole Encounter set – Dol Guldur Orcs. It’s a very common kind of Orcs because Players can encounter 3 copies of them. These sympathetic creatures have 10 Engagement cost, so Players haven’t any chance to voluntarily avoid them – Dol Guldur Orcs will engage Player immediately in the next Encounter phase and attack him (of course, if Player won’t cheat by using events like A Light in the Dark). Dol Guldur Orcs enrich the staging area by average 2 Threat Strength and if engaged with Player, he must prepare for 2 Attack, 0 Defense and 3 Hit Points. Well, they are not big champions in combat. 2 Attack won’t hurt many heroes, maybe some chump blockers. Without any Defense, Players won’t have any problem to eliminate these Orcs. It’s also because they belong to very common but not too strong Dol Guldur creatures.

Nevertheless, We like to reveal Dol Guldur Orcs during staging, thus Players will be cursing the Encounter deck… and that’s definitely a good sign! While in the direct fight they will fall quickly, during revealing they deal 2 damage to a character, which is committed to a quest. About dealing damage decide the First Player. It doesn’t mean the First Player must choose a character he controls, not at all – he just choose a character, sent to a quest, of any Player. It at least prevents the situation in a multiplayer environment that the ability wouldn’t have any effect if the First Player doesn’t send anyone. 

2 damage is a decent amount of direct damage dealt to a questing character. The best targets for this ability are allies and fragile heroes. Questing allies don’t own a large pool of Hit Points, so dealing 2 damage to them may be equal to their quick death. And the death of characters during questing means the reduction of Willpower strength. Fragile heroes are Our very, very favourite and desired targets because their life is nicely endangered. Like Éowyn – she used to be the most powerful Player’s quester, committed to a quest each round. But when she is damaged, the Player risks her loss, especially if he send only her to a quest. The weak side of Dol Guldur Orcs’s ability is that the First Player chooses the target for dealing 2 damage, not We. So he can protect his most precious characters before death by dealing damage to less important questers. We then must rely on Player’s naivety, inexperience or arrogance – the fewer characters he sends to a quest, the fewer options he has during choosing a character, who gets the damage. 

The most fiendish plan we can invent with Dol Guldur Orcs is revealing them with The Necromancer’s Reach. Because they are found in the same Encounter set, there always exists the great possibility this combo comes true. So one Player’s character will get 3 damage for sure. And that’s a high amount of damage for any character.  

Shadow effect:

These Orcs owns a very straightforward, simple and uncompromising shadow effect. It boosts to attacking enemy +1 Attack and +3 Attack if the attack is undefended. The basic shadow effect won’t harm significantly, it just adjusts the default Attack. But undefended, +3 Attack causes virtually the certain death of a hero. Even if attacking enemy has only 1 Attack, with this shadow effect it attacks for 4. Many heroes have 4 and less Hit Points and on the contrary, only a few heroes (AragornGimli) can survive it unboosted (for example by Citadel Plate). But the enemy with 2 and more Attack means the instant KO for any hero. 

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

Dol Guldur Orcs accompany Spiders and other Creatures here. While Dol Guldur Orcs don’t make a combo with any of them downright, Players learn to have respect for these Orcs during staging and during revealing Shadow effects.

In Journey Along the Anduin:

During the stage 2 (Anduin Passage), due to the effect of Massing at Night or Surge of Eastern Crows, We try to utilize the revealing one more card during the staging, thus revealing more than one copy of Dol Guldur Orcs has a higher possibility. Dealing in overall 4 damage due to revealing of 2 copies of Dol Guldur Orcs belongs to our most favourite pastime. Also, if We strengthen Hill Troll by the shadow effect of Dol Guldur Orcs, it surely crushes the skull of any hero.

In A Journey to Rhosgobel:

Absolutely deadly combos Dol Guldur Orcs make with many treacheries here. Exhaustion, Swarming Insects and Festering Wounds belong to the best companions of these Orcs and on the contrary, it causes the true nightmare for any Player. In this scenario, Dol Guldur Orcs really excel.

In The Hills of Emyn Muil:

Here Dol Guldur Orcs look very lonely, without solid support. Although they are one of the several enemies in this scenario, they, unfortunately, don’t pose any problem for Players.

In Lost in Mirkwood:

Except for the stage Dol Guldur Orcs, where Dol Guldur Orcs (enemy) can gain Surge, they don’t fulfill any special role here.

Danger level


Chieftan Ufthak

From Dol Guldur is coming one of the most brutal Orcs that Players will ever meet, and Our loyal servant at the same time, Chieftan Ufthak.

He is the indisputable champion of this Encounter set, who deserves respect. 3 Attack will overcome the defense of many characters, who look like children against it. And if these children want to try some ridiculous counterattack, they first must get through impressive 3 Defense, then somehow cope with 6 Hit Points! What else than the perfect combat skills We should expect from the chieftain of all Dol Guldur Orcs? It is unbelieving that Chieftan Ufthak owns only 2 Threat Strength, so he doesn’t endanger Players in the staging area very much. As one of the most powerful enemies, he has quite high Engagement cost, 35. So the Players have the time for mobilization. Still, if Players reach 35 threat, it provokes Chieftan Ufthak to attack. And when Chieftan Ufthak attacks, the heads are falling. After this Orc attacks, he gains 1 resource. And each resource means the boost +2 Attack. This will happen every time Chieftan Ufthak attacks, so he in total may have 5 Attack, 7 Attack, 9 Attack…. The real berserk will be born, hungry for blood and unable to stop.

Because Chieftan Ufthak hasn’t any weakness, the Players have to concentrate only on him and send everything they have got into offensive and pray for the miracle. If Chieftan Ufthak fall, the Players get 4 Victory Points. Still, Players will cry over the dead bodies of their characters and it will get worse if Players won’t be able to kill him early. The first, default attack is survivable, the second attack will kill the most of characters, the third attack would survive only Aragorn and Gimli with attached Citadel Plate. The situation is even more favourable when Chieftan Ufthak is boosted by the shadow effect of Dol Guldur Orcs. He gains +1 Attack (+3 if undefended) because the whole squad of Orcs covers its back. No wonder, that Players start to shudder when Chieftan Ufthak is revealed.

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

Excluding Ungoliant’s Spawn, Chieftan Ufthak is the most dangerous enemy for Players in this scenario. Either Players must try to have below 35 Threat, or they must challenge Our champion. We bet on Chieftan Ufthak.

In Journey Along the Anduin:

Chieftan Ufthak successfully seconds Hill Troll, the main menace of Journey Along the Anduin. In the best case, he supports Hill Troll during the combat. The fight on two frontlines can’t Players hold too long. On the other hand, many enemies will provide to Chieftan Ufthak good support in the form of Attack-boosting shadow effects (Eastern Crow, Wargs).

In A Journey to Rhosgobel:

In the environment, where Players need to save as many Hit Points of characters as possible (because treacheries are hitting with the power of plague), Chieftan Ufthak gives the impression of the heavy hammer, killing all seriously wounded characters. The potential shadow effects of these treacheries at Chieftan Ufthak is just the icing on the deadly cake.

In The Hills of Emyn Muil:

The absence of the peak predator moves Chieftan Ufthak to this position. Together with Orc Horse Thieves, they can cause extensive losses among characters.

In Lost in Mirkwood:

If Chieftan Ufthak becomes “the nemesis” in the stage The Forest of Great Fear, Players should expect hard times. Besides his great ability, he gains also permanent +2 Threat Strength, +2 Attack and +2 Defense and immunity to player card effects. So no 4 damage from Gandalf anymore!

Danger level


Dol Guldur Beastmaster

Dol Guldur Beastmaster is closing the list of Orcs from Dol Guldur. When We send him into the staging area, Players will firstly face 2 Threat Strength. During engagement checks, he engages the Player with 35 and above threat, so it takes some time before Dol Guldur Beastmaster’s hound scents him. When it happens, this Orc strikes with 3 Attack – enough for wounding many characters. It’s because Dol Guldur Beastmaster doesn’t strike alone, but with the help of terrifying hound. Concerning his defending abilities, it doesn’t worth it much. He owns respectable 5 Hit Points but protected by 1 Defense. Still, it is enough to keep Players busy with defending him and killing him, because Players are worse warriors than Our forces, aren’t they? So Players will surely fight with Dol Guldur Beastmaster for at least 2 rounds. 

During the Combat phase, the Player will be persuaded that he doesn’t fight with one, but with 2 enemies – Orc and his hound. It illustrates Forced effect he owns: “After Dol Guldur Beastmaster attacks, deal it 1 additional shadow card.” One shadow card for Orc and one for his beast, that means double trouble for the Player. It increases the chance that Dol Guldur Beastmaster will get some nice shadow effect, for example, from Dol Guldur Orcs. We highly support any increased Attack for Our strong servants, because they become even stronger and hardly defendable. It also decreases the effect of Player’s Hasty Stroke, because still 1 shadow card with a potential shadow effect will remain.

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

Though in Passage Through Mirkwood We don’t own many very dangerous shadow effects, still there exists some chance to make a nice “shadow combo” for Dol Guldur Beastmaster against Player: like Dol Guldur Orcs and East Bight Patrol or Hummerhorns.

In Journey Along the Anduin:

We have prepared to Players absolutely deadly “shadow combo” for Dol Guldur Beastmaster in this scenario (it’s the sign of our geniality). When one of the shadow cards appears to be Massing at Night, Dol Guldur Beastmaster became the most terrifying Orc Player is facing. With more Players, the dangerousness of Dol Guldur Beastmaster is rapidly increasing. And so he can get multiple attacking boosts from shadow effects of WargsEastern Crow and other creatures to easily destroy the defending character. 

In A Journey to Rhosgobel:

The higher chance of revealing the shadow card with shadow effect can cause serious damage for the weak Wilyador and for other characters. One attack of Dol Guldur Beastmaster may clear the great area on the board. 

In The Hills of Emyn Muil:

Dol Guldur Beastmaster profits mainly from the variable shadow effects. In this scenario, apart from shadow effects, We have made up in Journey Along the Anduin (Easter Crow, Pursued by Shadow), Players won’t, unfortunately, meet many dangerous shadow effects. But Dol Guldur Beastmaster will at least annoy Players by incessant returning to the staging area due to shadow effects of Rauros FallsThe Shores of Nen Hithoel or The Outer Ridge

In Lost in Mirkwood:

Our servant can be boosted by many very nice shadow effects, like that from Ravenous Spider or Gathering Gloom.

Danger level


Locations

Necromancer’s Pass

Our most iconic location of the whole Core set Players already met in Passage Through Mirkwood scenario. We are proud of Our location, from where all Orcs raid the Players. Necromancer’s Pass is just the showpiece of locations from the Core set.

Only 2 copies of Necromancer’s Pass is located in Encounter deck, but from Our experience, it seems like Players are encountering this location ceaselessly. That’s quite understandable… We like to see how Players try to avoid to travel into Necromancer’s Pass. The reason doesn’t lie in 3 Threat Strength it owns – on the contrary, such a high Threat Strength should be the main reason for Players, why to move out this location from the staging area. After all, it has only 2 Quest Points, so Players will be done with Necromancer’s Pass really quickly (especially if they play with that coward Northern Tracker). However, traveling there causes such a fear in Player’s heart that the First Player will abandon 2 random cards. The fewer cards he is keeping in hands, the less choice he has in discarding cards. The funny thing is the Player often discards 2 cards he cares a lot about. That’s a great consuming effect because Players in common don’t like removing cards, especially if they can’t decide about it by themselves. We won’t make it easier for them – if they want to enter to Necromancer’s Pass, they must pay!

But it’s true, that if Player owns only 1 card or even none, he cannot travel here, because he doesn’t fulfill the basic precondition of Our location that he must keep at least 2 cards. We don’t care, the Player will struggle with the overall Threat Strength in the staging area after all.

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

Necromancer’s Pass belongs to the most powerful locations in the very first scenario. Here, it has the highest Threat Strength and very troublesome ability, which may neutralize the positive effect of Forest Gate. It’s also a great addition to the treachery Eyes of the Forest – the Player removes all events from his hands, then he has fewer options during discarding cards if he travels to Necromancer’s Pass. Our direct enemies are the “drawing-cards” effects. When the Player plays cards like Lórien’s WealthValiant Sacrifice or the ability of Beravor, it devalues the nice Travel effect of Necromancer’s pass. We need as fewer cards Player has as possible in order to this location could work correctly. 

In Journey Along the Anduin:

Together with Gladden Fields (3 Threat Strength) and The Brown Lands (5 Threat Strength) exists a fairly good probability to “lock” the staging area.

In A Journey to Rhosgobel:

Necromancer’s Pass takes over here the leading position of the most dangerous locations again – not many locations occur in this scenario. Rhosgobel and Forest Grove are the only new locations and to be honest, they don’t belong to Our most competitive locations.

In The Hills of Emyn Muil:

Because Necromancer’s Pass misses victory points, it shouldn’t be the main target for exploring. Which is definitely good, because it will bother Players with 3 Threat Strength in the staging area. However, into The Hills of Emyn Muil Players tends to bring nasty Northern Tracker, who can get rid of Our favourite location during two rounds.

In Lost in Mirkwood:

Because Necromancer’s Pass is just Stronghold and Dol Guldur, it can’t profit from the effect of quite good Encounter cards like Dark Black Woods or Vastness of Mirkwood

Danger level


Enchanted Stream

When Players come to Enchanted Stream and drink and take a bath in its waters, they will fall under the influence of Our dark spell and forget on everything. It’s the short, but accurate description of another location from Dol Guldur Orcs set.

Players, unfortunately, won’t be afraid of Threat Strength and Quest Points of Enchanted Stream. 2 Threat Strength belongs to the pure average value, while 2 Quest Points mean the invitation to the fast exploring. Like Necromancer’s Pass, Players will hesitate to travel into Enchanted Stream, if there exists any chance they won’t explore it in a single round. How is that possible? Enchanted Stream has a really brilliant passive effect, which prevents Players in the basic and indispensable operation: drawing cards. At least, during the whole time when Enchanted Stream is chosen for the active location. We must smile to hopeless Players who travel here and get trapped by location lock. It’s Our recipe for long and painful death with slowly increasing overall Threat Strength in the staging area and without the possibility to change it anyhow. Even Player cards like Beravor or Gléowine can’t change that, because the effect is applied even to them.

The biggest issue with Enchanted Stream is the effect itself in the combination with the number of Quest Points. That is, Players know very well this location is very dangerous, so they travel there only if they can assure the smooth and fast exploring. They are using the nasty tricks like putting progress tokens via Snowbourn Scout or Northern Tracker. A Player controlling Legolas can even get rid of this location within the same round when it became the active location, due to killing the enemy and putting 2 progress tokens onto this location. We often are not able to persuade the Players to travel here and be captured by location lock. 

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

It’s one of the few Encounter cards, which is self-sufficient and it doesn’t need any combo. It works simply as long as it sits on the spot of the active location. When Players cannot draw cards, they are very vulnerable to many Encounter cards, because they can’t effectively support their army. 

In Journey Along the Anduin:

In tense situations, when Hill Troll sows the destruction among Players and Enchanted Stream is the active location, worth it for Our smile. Players actually can’t get help from their deck to fight with Hill Troll and they become very vulnerable.

In A Journey to Rhosgobel:

The main task of active Enchanted Stream is to prevent Players to obtain A Test of Will and Hasty Stroke, which they can use against Our flawless, deadly treacheries.

In The Hills of Emyn Muil:

Like Necromancer’s Pass, Enchanted Stream won’t be the main target for exploring, because it misses victory points. Northern Tracker may remove this location during two rounds, so it really doesn’t excel in The Hills of Emyn Muil.

In Lost in Mirkwood:

Nothing changes in Lost in Mirkwood. Enchanted Stream doesn’t cooperate in combo with any Encounter card here. Almost every location from here (except for these from Passing Through Mirkwood set) is more dangerous than Enchanted Stream.

Danger level


Treacheries

Driven by Shadow

Sometimes the Encounter cards in the staging area aren’t enough to cause trouble for Players. We reveal few locations, few enemies, but Players are still overcoming the overall Threat Strength and also they are making the progress. How We should stop them? For example, by revealing the treachery called Driven by Shadow.

The power of this treachery arises from the number of Encounter cards, present in the staging area. When Driven by Shadow is revealed, all Encounter cards, which are currently in the staging area, get +1 Threat Strength until the end of the phase. In number is strength. So the more Encounter cards are present in the staging area, the higher is the threat increment. We are considering at least +3 Threat Strength for a decent increment, where the potential consequences begin to be interesting. The best environment for Driven by Shadow is undoubtedly in multiplayer games. If 4 players stand against us, then the potential effect of Driven by Shadow might be the most devastating. On the contrary, in a solo environment, the impact of this treachery will be probably the least. 

We are not proud of the part of the effect, which is saying that it boosts only already revealed Encounter cards – it doesn’t count with Encounter cards that haven’t come yet. That’s a shame because Our staging area is losing the additional Threat Strength. Also, if Players can generate a great amount of Willpower, Driven by Shadow won’t help Us. The situation is even worse if We have added into the staging area only a few Encounter cards. And what happens, when no Encounter card sits in the staging area? Then Driven by Shadow has a backup plan – it gains the Surge. It’s Our very favourite keyword.

So to summarize it, Driven by Shadow worth it if in the staging are sit many Encounter cards (at least 3 and more) or none. If none, then we start the “plan B” with Surge, so Players can encounter at least some unpleasant surprise.

Shadow effect: 

This shadow effect belongs among these, which the Player doesn’t wish to reveal if the attack of an enemy is undefended. If it happens, he must discard ALL attachments he controls. What splendor! Imagine the shock of Player who must do such a thing! Discarding all these stupid cards like Steward of Gondor, Unexpected Courage, Celebrían’s Stone and other these toys will very help to Our matter. He won’t be a problem for us anymore. When the Player defends such an attack, the shadow effect of Driven by Shadow is considerably weaker – the defending Player has to choose and discard one attachment from the defending character. When that character doesn’t own any attachment, then the shadow effect comes to nothing, unfortunately.

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

We would like to somehow create the combo with Forest Spider, which shares a very similar shadow effect. Alas, both Encounter cards don’t correspond with each other. Maybe in the ideal world, it could work, if both shadow effects were revealed and both discard one attachment… but Driven by Shadow can replace Forest Spider’s shadow effect to the full extent, if the attack is undefended. Well, even if they cannot cooperate, they can work side by side – they increase the probability that Players reveal the “discarding attachment” shadow effect. That is one of the nastiest effects for Players.

In Journey Along the Anduin:

Driven by Shadow really shines in the second stage of Journey Along the Anduin (Anduin Passage), where Players must reveal one additional card during staging. Because Players don’t make the Engagement check here, enemies tend to gather within the staging area. It makes the perfect environment for incoming Driven by Shadow.

In A Journey to Rhosgobel:

Because A Journey to Rhosgobel is mainly the scenario of really good treacheries, Driven by Shadow won’t play a significant role. However, one interesting combo may arise from the undefended shadow effect of Driven by Shadow, followed by revealing Swarming Insects in the next round. Because this treachery deals damage to each unattached character, removing attachments seems like a good idea here.

In The Hills of Emyn Muil:

If Players face to location lock (due to the increased number of locations in this scenario), then Driven by Shadow can do a lot of dirty work for Us.

In Lost in Mirkwood:

In stage 2A-B (Spiders of Mirkwood) and stage 2C-D (Dol Guldur Orcs), there is a higher chance to get Surge, when the first Spider or Orc arrives. Therefore, with more cards in the staging area Driven by Shadow can cooperate against Players.

Danger level


The Necromancer’s Reach

The Eye of Sauron gazes on its enemies with mad anger, prepared to punish everyone who wants to cross his plans. The Necromancer’s Reach shows Our brilliance that in simplicity is power. When Players reveal this treachery, it deals 1 damage to all exhausted characters, no matter if exhausted due to questing or usage of ability. Such a straightforward effect will send many characters of careless Players to the grave. No quester is safe before The Necromancer’s Reach and We like to see how the Hit Points of Player’s favourite characters like Éowyn are decreasing, one by one. If Player doesn’t own any healing spell, then The Necromancer’s Reach poses the most dangerous aspect due to staging because then Players can’t (or shouldn’t) commit to a quest any character they will take into their head. They should check and monitor the Hit Points of sent characters, otherwise We will take care of them in Our way.

The biggest enemy for The Necromancer’s Reach is undoubtedly A Test of Will. Players will try to cancel Our precious because it actually limits them and threatens them. Fortunately, Players won’t probably avoid The Necromancer’s Reach completely, because the Encounter deck contains 3 copies of it. Sauron’s gaze is just omnipresent and every time Players look into the eye of His Majesty, they will suffer.

The Necromancer’s Reach can directly influence the amount of overall Willpower. With each character’s death, the strength of Willpower reduces, thus the chance for questing unsuccessfully is increasing. Like We said, in simplicity is power, however even The Necromancer’s Reach likes combos. In Dol Guldur Orcs set, there isn’t a better companion for The Necromancer’s Reach than Dol Guldur Orcs. With this enemy, the Player must deal in overall 3 damage to one of his characters (2 from Dol Guldur Orcs and 1 from The Necromancer’s Reach). This amount of damage will kill many characters. And because also Dol Guldur Orcs are in 3 copies, the chance for occurrence of this combo isn’t negligible.

In Passage Through Mirkwood:

The Necromancer’s Reach will ruin the progress of Players considerably. More Players play this game, the higher is the probability of revealing more copies of The Necromancer’s Reach during the single turn. It is valid in any scenario with Dol Guldur Orcs set, but because Passage Through Mirkwood used to be the first scenario Players will ever encounter, the new and non-experienced Players will suffer from the devastating effect of this treachery at most just in this scenario.

In Journey Along the Anduin: 

The difficulty here is raised, thus The Necromancer’s Reach finds here really good use. The environment, where Players are punished by sending characters to a quest (The Necromancer’s Reach, Dol Guldur Orcs) or by NOT sending them to a quest (Pursued by Shadow) creates a perfect pressure on Players, that can’t be certain, what actually is best to do. The schizophrenic situation is strengthed namely in the stage Anduin Passage, where Players MUST quest quickly, so they are sending everything that has any Willpower.

In A Journey to Rhosgobel: 

The true nightmare occurs in A Journey to Rhosobel. It doesn’t suffice Players are encountering The Necromancer’s Reach, but they also face such fantastic treacheries like Swarming Insects, Exhaustion and Festering Wounds. All these treacheries together decimate the forces of Players to a great extent. We are really proud of The Necromancer’s Reach here, how it provides excellent support for other damaging treacheries.

In The Hills of the Emyn Muil: 

While other cards from Dol Guldur Orcs must contend with worse applicability in The Hills of Emyn Muil, The Necromancer’s Reach maintains its quality even in this environment. It is caused by the aim of the whole scenario, which forces Players to explore as many locations as possible. Therefore, We can enjoy many characters on the journey, which means more targets for uncompromising The Necromancer’s Reach. The best combo We can make up with The Necromancer’s Reach also occurs here – if Players reveal with it also Rockslide, it sends many characters right to the discard pile, especially such troublesome questers like Éowyn. 

In Lost in Mirkwood: 

Far away from the scenarios of Shadows of Mirkwood, We return the faded glory of The Necromancer’s Reach in Lost in Mirkwood. Players will experience deja-vu and We the pure joy from damaging exhausted characters.

Danger level


Summary review

Enemies

Dol Guldur Orcs is home to many common Orcs that will follow Players during the whole Shadows of Mirkwood cycle. Some of them may keep busy the whole Player’s defense, while others excel in different things than combat skills. The most common “foot orc” is undoubtedly Dol Guldur Orcs – after them the whole Encounter set is called, after all. Players won’t like them not because of their combat skills (which are average at best), but because of their nice When revealed effect, which deals 2 damage to a character committed to a quest. Because of the existence of Dol Guldur Orcs Players tend to send more characters to a quest in order to deal damage to the most expendable character. And that’s a trait of successful Encounter cards – if they force Players to influence their behaviour. Dol Guldur Orcs are definitely different Orcs than East Bight Patrol, which looks like a weaker cousin. 

On the higher hierarchic level stands Dol Guldur Beastmaster, who is able to annoy the Player in combat. He gets up to two shadow cards and so his final power is very variable and… unpredictable. This characteristic We see as one of the strongest and most effective against Players – when they don’t anticipate, what surprise awaits on them, they can’t prepare well. And being not prepared means to be vulnerable. And Dol Guldur Beastmaster can utilize it perfectly.

The leader of all Orcs from Dol Guldur has a talent in destruction. Chieftan Ufthak can kill any character thanks to his berserk nature, which strengthens him each round. If boosted, he becomes the unstoppable killing machine. Players at least learn to respect Us, but it’s, of course, better to be afraid of Us, because after encountering Passage Through Mirkwood set Players could think that Encounter decks are in common funny.

Danger level


Locations

Necromancer’s Pass and Enchanted Stream are the only locations of Dol Guldur Orcs set. Both locations can be easily explored because they share 2 Quest Points. So Northern Tracker is the greatest enemy for them because Players actually won’t wish to enter these locations. Why? Necromancer’s Pass causes randomly discarding two cards from the hands of the First Player. If he doesn’t hold trash, We are sure it will hurt him, because it means that the First Player loses his control over the situation.

Traveling to Enchanted Stream means that Players decide to give up their big advantage – drawing cards. The best that we can do is lock the staging area and let Players die due to a lack of incoming help. It would be a very slow and painful loss…

We are glad that the locations reach another quality than the locations from Passage Through Mirkwood. There is nothing positive on them (from the Player’s view), these locations punish Players as it should be right. Their main weakness, however, lies in the number of Quest Points they own.

Danger level


Treacheries

Both treacheries from Dol Guldur OrcsThe Necromancer’s Reach and Driven by Shadow, demonstrate what treacheries are capable of, why Players should be afraid of them… and why We love them so much. If the Player pulls out Thalin on us, We will answer by revealing The Necromancer’s Reach. You, Player, want to deal 1 damage to each revealed enemy? Then eat this – We hurt every exhausted character for 1 damage! A couple of these treacheries will cleanse the board from superfluous characters and make more space for Our forces.

If the staging area is full of Encounter cards, there isn’t anything better than add threat proportional to the number of Encounter cards by Driven by Shadow. It very depends on the number of Players – in the solo environment We expect the least impact, while in 4-Players environment We expect true nightmare for Players. If no Encounter card sits in the staging area, then Driven by Shadow gains Surge and summon another Encounter card. That’s a very modern concept of how treacheries should work.

From Our view, treacheries of this Encounter set deserve the biggest attention and respect. On enemies Players can prepare, locations can be explored simply by Northern Tracker… but against treacheries are Players helpless, if they don’t hide A Test of Will in hands, or if Eleanor isn’t in the game.

Danger level


Overall evaluation

From the “opening Encounter set” We have finally moved to solid Encounter set, with good enemies, dangerous treacheries and uncomfortable locations. Player will probably remember at most all Orcs and the iconic treachery The Necromancer’s ReachDol Guldur Orcs set belong to classic – that means it is the classic representative of Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, which set the certain difficulty standard. From the view of all Core Encounter sets We wouldn’t call it the most dangerous Encounter set, however, its straightforward approach is causing to Players considerable troubles, difficult to resist or avoid.

Danger level


YOUR NIGHTMARE

When Chieftan Ufthak enters the scene, Players must pay attention to their threat. If they hit 35 threat, Chieftan Ufthak encounters them. He is strong, he is dangerous and he has the deadly ability, which is making from him the killing machine. However, in early game Players can prepare for his presence in their Engagement area well. They can use chump blockers to eliminate his strength and then send everything that can hold swords, axes, polearms, and other weapons. And moreover, the Players will encounter him only once per whole Encounter deck. Meanwhile, The Necromancer’s Reach is unavoidable. Players must quest, so they must exhaust their characters (with exceptions like Aragorn, or hero with Unexpected Courage). And exhausted characters are becoming the victim of The Necromancer’s Reach, which may strike up to three times per Encounter deck. Many allies will fall due to this effect, many heroes will balance between life and death. This treachery used to be the reason, why Players attempt to bring A Test of Will or Eleanor to the game. To the perfection of this treachery, We lack just some shadow effect. But the title of YOUR NIGHTMARE belongs to this treachery rightly.


GOBLIN CARD

Enchanted Stream may Players roughly press if they choose this location as active and they are not able to explore it quickly at the same time. It paralyzes Players because it cuts off the supply of cards. So, why We see Enchanted Stream as the biggest weakness of the whole Encounter set? It has such a composition of characteristics that makes from Enchanted Stream expendable card, which Players may simply ignore. 2 Threat Strength doesn’t pose a significant problem for Players, maybe only in the full staging area. And only 2 Quest Points suffice for the full exploring of this location, thus it’s very vulnerable to cards like Snowbourn ScoutStrength of Will or by Us very hated Northern Tracker. Unfortunately, Enchanted Stream is frequently left in the staging area, unnoticed and forgotten.


SHADOW HORROR

In Dol Guldur Orcs we may be proud only on 2 shadow effects – from 2 shadow effects overall. We would like to produce more shadow effects, alas We must accept what We have got. If defended, both shadow effects of Dol Guldur Orcs and Driven by Shadow may (not) hurt Players. Here the danger isn’t the immediate threat. Quite another situation happens when some Player is so naive that he let the attack undefended. Dol Guldur Orcs gain quite a decent chance to kill a hero. And Driven by Shadow removes all attachments of that Player. This effect We see as really well-done – the complete discarding attachments the Player controls gets rid of the Player’s huge advantage. If the Player risks and he decides to let the attack of enemy undefended, the shadow effect of Driven by Shadow is a true SHADOW HORROR, that he will be afraid of.

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