…but Osgiliath which lay between was deserted and in its ruins shadows walked.The Fellowship of the Ring
Osgiliath is once more under threat. Orcs, scouts, and other beasts overwhelm the ruined city. Your objective for this quest is to escape from your pursuers and the” shadow “that follows them. You have to reach Minas Tirith alive and deliver dire news from Ithilien. The Massing at Osgiliath is the first Gen Con print-on-demand scenario produced by Fantasy Flight. When this quest came out in 2011, it was a pretty tough quest; but as the years passed and the card pool went bigger and more reach in player card options and combos, it became less difficult. Although you must be well prepared in order to beat this quest because despite the large card pool we have today, it is still a “killer” scenario against player decks that may be out-of-tune.
In this scenario, your heroes are going to travel to various locations around the river Anduin, and they’ll encounter many scouts sent by dark lord Sauron. Eventually, at some point, into the game, you’ll have to take a tough decision, on which your victory is dependent! Without further ado, let’s see what this quest is all about, from what the encounter deck consists of, its weaknesses, and what strategies we should follow to reach Minas Tirith and deliver this urgent message.
The Massing at Osgiliath
- Found in: The Massing at Osgiliath Print-on-Demand scenario. Part of the 2011 GEN CON event.
- Official difficulty: N/A
- Community difficulty: 7.5
- Encounter Set: The Massing at Osgiliath
- Play if: You are a completionist and want to beat every standalone scenario in chronological order. You want a chance to defeat The Witch-King. You like mid-heavy combat quests with not extremely tough enemies.
- What is different about this quest: The locations you can travel to are depending on whether you crossed the river Anduin or not. The Objective allies play a crucial role for your heroes during the quest.
- Solo or multiplayer: Although this quest is pretty doable in solo play, it becomes more easy with 2 players (as most of the quest in The Lord of the Rings Lcg). If you have well constructed decks, I would say you can try this quest with even 4 players, but keep in mind that some players should bring location control otherwise there is a high chance you will end up location locked.
- Can I run side-quests for this scenario?: You need to advance the quest cards as quickly as possible. The reason is that you don’t want the “West bank” locations to pile up in the staging area. However, on the Anduin Crossing quest card it is extremely helpful to have an Objective ally who comes from the encounter deck. If you decide to spare some rounds waiting for that ally to come up you can run some side-quests. All things considered, unless you really really want to play with side-quests, there is no reason to bring any.
- What to look out for: Enemies can swarm up pretty quickly, even in solo play. Shadows that force undefended attacks. Over-threating by the encounter deck..
Massing at Osgiliath is a pretty well scenario to play if you are a new player and seek a quest at a difficulty between Journey Along the Anduin and Escape from Dol Guldur. It is a quest with little to no additional ruling. The only thing important to remember for playing Massing at Osgiliath is when you have “crossed” the Anduin river. A lot of encounter cards refer to specific effects that only trigger when the players have “crossed” Anduin or if the players have not “crossed” Anduin. As we will discuss later in the article, you must keep in mind that only when you reach the 4th quest card, “Race to Minas Tirith,” the players have managed to cross the river. Any other time in the game, the players are hunted by their enemies and don’t have to cross the river. The Doomed X and Surge keywords seem to appear on some encounter cards, but those keywords are well known from the core set; thus, we won’t discuss them thoroughly.
During the setup, the players have to fill the staging area with Scout enemies. In other words, they have to search the encounter deck for 12 Scout cards and add 3 per player to the staging area. In fact, there are 3 different enemies with the Scout trait; each one has 4 copies in the encounter deck. After the players search them, they have to put each different Scout enemy in the staging area for every player in the game. If we suppose you play a 4-player game, there will be 12 (Is this the Helm’s Deep?) enemies to the staging area before even the game begins. The 3 Scout enemies you want to search for are, Wolves from Mordor, Wainriders, and Snaga Scouts. After adding the enemies, the players set The Witch-king aside, out of play, and they shuffle any unused Scout enemies back into the encounter deck.
Quest Card 1: Beyond Expectations – 7 quest points
When you end with setting up the quest, you flip the quest card and the only restriction for now is that players cannot travel to West Bank locations. Despite that, this quest card requires only 7 quest points in order to let players to progress further into the game. There are 5 West Bank locations, in total, into the encounter deck. Those locations won’t be a threat for you (at least at the moment) because their effects won’t trigger before crossing the Anduin. Remember, only when you reach the 4th quest card you have crossed Anduin. Those 5 locations have only 1 threat each, so even if you are really unlucky and reveal them all, there will be only 5 threat from those locations in the staging area. In my opinion you are not endangered by location lock at this point. Your main goal should be to deal with all those enemies who got to the staging area from the setup. It is highly advisable to defeat most of those enemies before you proceed to stage 2A.
Quest Card 2: Through the Ruins – 5 quest points
When you pass “Beyond expectations,” you reach the second quest card. The same restriction still applies. The players cannot travel to West Bank locations. An additional restriction comes to make the progress of the players much more difficult. The additional restriction is that each player cannot play or put into play more than 1 card from their hand each round. That can be brutal, especially if you didn’t build a desirable boarding state at the first quest card. Cards, such as A Very Good Tale, can, in a way, cheat that rule, as you technically don’t play any other card from your hand, but still, you can get up to 2 allies. A Vilya deck can be handy, as it can also bypass that rule, and Prince Imrahil can help out with enemies that remained in play from the first quest card. This quest card may have fewer quest points than the previous one, but it may prove more difficult to progress due to this extra (1 card per player per round) rule.
Quest Card 3: Anduin Crossing – 1 quest point
This is a crucial point in this scenario. If the players were lucky enough to find a Ranger of Ithilien along their way to “Anduin Crossing,” they probably won’t have a problem passing the Anduin. On the other hand, if the players haven’t found even one of the 2 Rangers of Ithilien in the encounter deck, this means bad news. In order to commit characters to the quest, each player should exhaust and discard a Ranger of Ithilien or a Hero (!) he/she controls. In a 4-player game, it is almost certain that a Hero is going to be discarded as a consequence of this effect. In that case, a card that can revive a fallen Hero may be handy. Some examples are Landroval, Fortune or Fate, and The Houses of Healing. On the bright side, this quest card requires only 1 quest point, but you should be certain that you will make progress by questing because if you don’t, you have to exhaust and discard another Ranger of Ithilien, or even worse, a Hero in order to commit characters to the quest, once again. As a result, before you reach stage 3, you need to have built your board state in such a manner that it can quest hard and have some spare characters for combat. The sooner you pass Anduin Crossing, the better for you since the players cannot travel to both East and West Bank locations while they are at this stage. Thus, location lock might be a real threat at this point. If you decide to take your chances and wait a couple of rounds for a Ranger of Ithilien, then you should consider bringing Scrying and Encounter deck manipulation cards with you. Those cards might save you some rounds of searching for the Ranger and help you progress sooner to the next quest card. On the other hand, while the players are at Anduin Crossing, they are unable to travel to any location (East or West Bank). That means that while they spent more time searching for that Ranger of Ithilien, more and more locations will pill up to the staging area putting the players in danger of location lock. Finding the correct momentum and timing of this quest is crucial for you to understand how to beat it with ease.
Quest card 4: Race to Minas Tirith – 15 quest points
After the players reveal this scenario’s 4th and final quest card, they have to add The Witch-king to the staging area. The players now have crossed the Anduin; thus, they can travel to West Bank locations but not East Bank locations. The only thing left to do is to outrun your enemies and put at least 15 quest points in this quest card in order to defeat the stage and win the game. Depending on how long you stayed at stage 3 there will be more locations at the staging area. In that case, you might find it difficult to place that 15 progress, but if you have built your board state, as mentioned before, you probably won’t have any trouble. In general, The Massing at Osgiliath print-on-demand scenario is a straightforward quest, with enemies that swarm up at the beginning of the game and locations that pile up to the staging area. A proper strategy is important if you wish to win this quest.
The Encounter Deck
- There are 40 cards in the There are 40 cards in the encounter deck, and if you end up defeating Witch-king, as he hasn’t the Victory keyword, he might also end up in the encounter deck. So you can have 41 cards max, both in Easy and Normal mode.
- The chance of getting a shadow effect is 51%, including the helpful shadow effect of Ranger of Ithilien. Without that, there is a 46% chance of getting a negative shadow effect; that’s roughly 1 out of 2 shadows.
- The average threat per card revealed from the encounter deck is almost 1.1 threat/cards ( 1.2 including Witch-king). But don’t fool yourself. A lot of cards can gain additional threat, depending on whether you have crossed the Anduin or not, so you have to keep in mind your extra threat. Additionally, Wainrider Captain is capable of adding more enemies to the staging area when it is revealed.
- There is only one card (with 3 copies) that has the doomed keyword printed. That’s the Massing at Osgiliath treachery. There is also Dark Pursuit treachery (2 copies), which can potentially gain surge if there aren’t any Scout enemies in play. Furthermore, if you reveal the Ranger of Ithilien when resolving his when revealed effect, it gains surge. Last but not least, as mentioned above, Wainrider Captain may not have surge but can add additional enemies to the staging area.
- Cut off is the only card (4 copies) that has the doomed keyword printed. It has doomed 1, which won’t be a huge problem, in comparison to its when revealed effect, which might be.
- There isn’t any card in this scenario that will guard cards, so you don’t have to think about that. Bringing your Traps in this scenario is pretty fun and helps you deal with the enemy swarms.
- Immunity/Passive abilities
- The only limitation comes from Witch-king on whom players cannot play attachments.
In this scenario, the only objective card is Ranger of Ithilien, who appears to have 2 copies in the encounter deck. This objective ally will help your heroes to cross river Anduin and reach Minas Tirith without casualties. This ally adds not only a mechanic to the quest (via stage 3) but also serves a thematic purpose.
- Ranger of Ithilien: He is an Objective ally whose purpose is to assist the players, cross Anduin. While on stage 3, the players have to exhaust and discard Ranger of Ithilien in order to commit characters to the quest. The players should be certain they can place that single progress on stage 3; otherwise, the next time they are going to commit characters, they have to exhaust and discard one of their own heroes! Ranger of Ithilien has some solid stats, which can be boosted in a Gondor deck. With a 2/2/1/2 stat line and potentially a +1 attack and willpower from Boromir and Visionary Leadership is proved to be an exceptional ally in your quest. Furthermore, his when revealed effect helps the players deal with the extra threat that is going to be revealed from his surge. To make matters even better, if you deal Ranger of Ithilien as a shadow on an enemy, you can still acquire him just by exhausting a character the defending player controls. On top of that, dealing Ranger of Ithilien as a shadow will damage the enemy with 2 points of damage, which in a sense cancels out the damage that could potentially do the character that you are exhausting for acquiring Ranger of Ithilien. In a way, this objective ally is an amazing card to reveal during your playthrough.
As mentioned above, enemies can easily swarm up to the staging area, especially when you setup this quest with a lot of players. Most of the deck consists of Scout enemies, but there are some Orc enemies you can benefit from. In other words, Goblin-cleaver, Blade of Gondolin, and other cards related to orcs can benefit the players. With so many enemies in this quest, it is highly advised to make your deck a little more combat-based besides. Don’t forget that you are going to deal with Witch-king eventually.
- The Witch-king: To begin with, the players are not allowed to play attachments on Witch-king. As a result, your traps won’t help you with this one. Analyzing Witch-king’s suspicious stat line of 6/6/6 and 11 hit points, one can see the resemblance to the devil’s number. It is evident that FFG wanted to depict the evil character of Witch-king in that way. Of course, it is a really tough enemy for the players to defeat, but it’s not impossible. The most effective and thematic way to do it is, of course, with tactics Eowyn. Although she cannot kill him by herself, she is capable of doing a lot of damage to the Nazgul. After the attack of Witch-king resolves, the players are forced to decide if they want to return him to the staging area or they want to be engaged with him for another round. To remain engaged, the defending player has to raise his/her threat by 3. Keep in mind that by returning Witch-king to the staging area, not only will he contribute his 6 threat to the total threat at the staging area, but also while he is there, every character in play is going to get -1 willpower, making questing a lot harder. So even if you don’t want to go for “the kill,” it’s better for you to be engaged with Witch-king. As a result, you can quest as hard as you can and defeat the final stage, winning the game. In case you don’t have spare threat to keep engaged with Witch-king, a great card that can counter Witch-king’s effect (-1 willpower per character) is Faramir. Especially in solo play, Faramir is capable to completely counter Witch-king’s effect just by exhausting him. It is possible to absolutely kill Witch-king’s willpower reduction effect even in a 2-player game. With a 2 card combo and at least a Gondor character as your hero, you and your friend won’t have to care about that willpower reduction. The first card you’ll need is, of course, Faramir. You should exhaust him to raise your friend’s characters’ willpower by 1. For your characters (assuming you play a Gondor deck, which is a strong thematic deck for this quest), you can use Visionary Leadership on a Gondor hero. In that way, you deal with this annoying Witch-king effect. On the other hand, he still will contribute 6 threat to the staging area but is a low price to pay to avoid a potential attack from him. The absence of the “Immune to player card effects” keyword makes Witch-king vulnerable to Feint and other attack cancellation cards.
- Snaga Scouts: This is one of the 3 different scout enemies you are going to add to the staging area during the setup of this scenario. It is really easy to defeat Snaga Scouts, as they have only 2 hit points and 0 defense. They are the perfect target for straight shot or Descendant of Thorondor. This enemy is always welcome during the staging step of the quest phase as it has only 1 threat and no “When Revealed” effect. If you are engaged with a lot of enemies (especially at the beginning of the quest), you can always let Snaga Scouts make an undefended attack as their 1 attack won’t be a huge problem even if they get +1 (or +2 from Wainrider Captain) attack from a shadow. On the other hand, Cut Off’s shadow effect might be a bit of a problem (if you don’t have allies in hand), so you should have some shadow cancellation with you for such cases. Snaga Scouts doesn’t have any shadow effect. All things considered, this enemy is probably one of the mildest in the game and, of course, the most welcome. The only effect of Snaga Scouts is that they engage the last player (in case of a tie, the First player decides who is going to be engaged), which only seems to be a problem if there are like 4 Snaga scouts in play; otherwise, that effect doesn’t make a difference during the game.
- Wolves from Mordor: This is the second scout enemy you are going to add to the staging area during the setup of the quest. It is tougher than Snaga scouts but still a relatively easy enemy to defeat. With 1 defense and 3 hit points, it won’t be much of a problem to defeat Wolves of Mordor. However, these wolves have a 4 point attack that probably will deal some damage to your characters. Having a strong defender like Beregond is wise in this quest but not compulsory. While Wolves of Mordor are at the staging area, they contribute only 1 threat which doesn’t seem much but don’t forget that the game starts with 3 scout enemies per player, so the total threat at the beginning of the game might challenge the players. This enemy has an interesting Forced effect, which obliges the players to shuffle Wolves of Mordor to the encounter deck if they attack and destroy a character. On the one hand, if you have a strong defender, you don’t have to worry about that effect, but on the other hand, if your play style is based on chump blockers, you will end up with one less enemy in play, but with a dangerous shadow effect in the encounter deck. In other words, if you end up shuffling this enemy into the encounter deck, there is a higher chance of dealing it as a shadow card. The shadow effect of Wolves of Mordor deals 2 damage to the defending character. This is a particularly dangerous effect because of the reason that it might lead to an undefended attack. This can happen if the defending character has 2 or fewer hit points remaining. In that case, the shadow effect will destroy the defender, and as a consequence, the attack is going to be undefended. To sum up, try not to chump block the Wolves of Mordor and defeat them as soon as possible because their high attack power will threaten your characters.
- Wainriders: This is the third and final scout enemy you are going to add to the staging area during the setup of the quest. This Easterling enemy is much more dangerous than the previous two. Not only does it have a higher threat, but also it’s tougher to kill. With 1 defense and 4 hp you might need multiple attackers for killing this enemy. However, there are some great combos you can apply here. The first one is the famous Sneak attack+Gandalf combo (or just Gandalf if you’ve got the resources) which can instantly kill Wainriders while you’ll get Gandalf for committing to the quest. The other possible combo is tactics Aragorn with Straight Shot. This can instantly kill Wainriders the moment you engage them. With 3 attack, this enemy is not certain if it’s going to deal damage to your characters, but if it will, you have to raise your threat by 1 for every point of damage dealt by Wainriders’ attack. Some shadow effects might raise Wainriders’ attack, even double it. As said above, it is highly recommended to bring some shadow cancellation to avoid any unwanted surprises.
- Wainrider Captain: This enemy, as his name indicates, is much tougher than our scout friends. Being Captain of Wainriders isn’t an easy position. You have to be strong and durable. This enemy has the stats of Witch-king but (thankfully), halved. With a 3/3/3 stat line and 4 hp is a tough enemy you probably won’t like to see revealed. To make matters worse, Wainrider Captain enters play with company! When you reveal him from the encounter deck, you have to put into play the top scout enemy in the encounter deck discard pile or the top 2 scout enemies if you have crossed the Anduin. This effect can make the enemies quickly swarm to the staging area, even in solo games. Nevertheless, his high engagement cost of 40 will give you some turns to prepare your board state and defeat some other enemies that probably got added to play along with Wainrider Captain. The Sneak attack+Gandalf combo is still possible here.
If you are capable of killing more than 1 enemy in the combat phase at any given round, and Snaga Scouts is 1 among them, I recommend leaving Snaga Scouts for last. In that way, if you reveal Wainrider Captain, you will put into play a really harmless enemy, avoiding other, tougher ones. If it happens to deal Wainrider Captain as a shadow card, you only have to worry if you went undefended. In that case, the attacking enemy will get +2 attack, but only if it is a Scout enemy. This effect is common to apply in Snaga Scouts’ attacks, so you should always keep in mind that such an effect exists and can threaten your heroes.
- Uruk Vanguard: The last enemy we are going to meet in this print-on-demand scenario is Uruk Vanguard. At first glance, he doesn’t seem to be much of a threat. With a 2/2/1 stat line, someone can say you could easily deal with him. On the contrary, Uruk Vanguard has an amazing 8 hit point life. To kill him, you need to attack with a total of 9 attack, which makes even Eowyn hardly able to kill that orc! Despite his high hp, this enemy can get an amazing +3 attack, if the players have crossed Anduin. If so, the Uruk is going to have 5 attack, which can get to higher numbers with the assist of some shadow effects. The worst situation is for the players to have crossed the Anduin and deal Captured Watchtower as a shadow card! In that case, shadow cancellation is vital for the players. This Uruk also has a shadow effect. If you deal him as a shadow card, the attacking enemy gets +1 attack (or +2 if the players have crossed the Anduin). An amazing combo you can do to this enemy, as mentioned above, is Aragorn+Straight Shot. In that case, when you engage Uruk Vanguard, you can immediately discard him with Straight Shot and don’t have to worry about his attack or his high hp.
Locations of this scenario are divided into two traits. West Bank and East Bank locations. As mentioned above, at stages 1 and 2, the players are allowed to travel only to East Bank locations, at stage 3 they cannot travel to any locations, and finally, at stage 4 they can travel only to West Bank locations because they have crossed Anduin. Most of the locations have only 1 threat, especially when the players cannot travel to them in the current stage. If the players are in a stage where they can travel to a specific West or East Bank location, that location takes additional threat via its passive effect.
- Captured Watchtower: This is a location with no significant stats but a deadly shadow effect. Captured Watchtower is a 1 threat location, which can gain up to 3 additional threat in case the players have crossed the Anduin. The 2 quest points of that location make this vulnerable to a lot of location control effects. Such effects are, Asfaloth on Glorfindel or Meneldor. Furthermore, it is a West Bank location, which means it will stay at the staging area till stage 4. Location control is recommended for this quest, but I assure you, you can survive without it. Last but not least, Captured Watchtower’s shadow effect is the worst part of this card. It forces the players to remove all defending characters from combat (so you have to forget about Hold the Lines). Then you have to treat this attack as undefended. This is definitely a card you want to cancel with some shadow cancellation cards. Dealing this as a shadow to Witch-king will almost certainly kill a hero of yours if you don’t have even a Hasty Stroke at hand.
- Emyn Arnen Overlook: This is a 2 threat East Bank location. You are allowed to travel to this location during the 1st and 2nd stages of this quest. You need to explore it as soon as it enters play because while it is in play, every scout enemy that is revealed from the encounter deck each round gains doomed 2 and surge. That keyword “combo” is amazingly dangerous, especially in a quest with 12 scout enemies in the encounter deck. To make matters worse, Emyn Arnen Overlook has 5 quest points which means that it isn’t trivial for the players to explore it while it’s in the staging area. To do so, you need a heavy location control deck. Such a deck will be really helpful in this quest, especially in multiplayer. On the bright side, Emyn Arnen Outlook doesn’t have any shadow effects.
- Morgulduin: Is one more East Bank location with 1 threat. A nice trick is to remember that all East Bank locations come with 1 printed threat. The reason is not to easily location lock the players in early and mid-game when it is forbidden to travel there. While Morgulduin is the active location, it gets a really punishing effect. When a player commits a character to the quest, that character gets 1 damage. You should prefer to clear this location while it’s at the staging area (via location control effects) rather than while it is active. The last stage of this quest requires a lot of willpower committed to the quest, and if you have to damage your characters every time they commit, you’ll end up without questers very quickly. Obviously, making Morgulduin the active location isn’t the end of the world, mainly because you probably will have to execute its effect only once. To sum up, Morgulduin’s shadow effect may prove really frustrating because if the players haven’t crossed the Anduin yet, you have to return any active location, back to the staging area, and make Morgulduin the active location. In that way, unless you don’t have some location control ready for action, you are going to deal with this location’s effect of damaging your questing characters. Needless to say, you can always cancel this effect with shadow cancellation effects cards.
- Pelennor Fields: Is the second and last West Bank location. This location has, once again, a low starting threat. Pelennor Field’s passive effect might lead the players into a trap if they don’t deal with it as soon as possible. Its effect states that if the players have crossed Anduin when faced with the option to travel, they must either travel to Pelennor Fields or each player raises his/her threat by 3. The trap here is that if there are multiple copies of Captured Watchtower to the staging area, those locations will contribute 4 threat each. As the players cannot travel to Captured Watchtower before stage 4, that means that when they cross Anduin, those Watchtowers will remain in the staging area. That might lead to a lot of total threat for the players to handle. The solutions to this problem are 2. Number 1 is to clear Pelennor Fields with location control cards. The second solution is for the players to sacrifice some of their threat in order to clear a copy of a high threat location. The second solution is only recommended for low starting threat decks; the reason is that at stage 4 there will also be the Witch-king in play. Don’t forget that in order to keep being engaged with Witch-king, you need to raise your threat by 3. By combining those cards, you will raise 6 threat in a single round, which is a lot for most decks to handle. The best you can do is to adapt your playstyle according to your deck’s capabilities and the encounter cards in play. Lastly, the 7 quest points of Pelennor Fields don’t make it an easy target for location control decks; thus, you might need a couple of rounds in order to explore it that way. As a reward for exploring this location, you can put it in the victory display, so you don’t have to worry about it again.
- Ruins of Osgiliath: Is the last location you are going to encounter in this scenario. Its effect is simple. If the players have not crossed the Anduin, Ruins of Osgiliath gets +3 (for a total of 4) threat. Thankfully, you can travel to East Bank locations before crossing Anduin, so this location won’t give you much trouble, especially if you can instantly clear it with Asfaloth or The Evening Star.
This print-on-demand scenario has only 3 different treacheries in the encounter deck. Those treacheries aim to raise the players’ threat through the doomed keyword and through the increase of the threat in the staging area during the quest phase. Additionally, they aim to discard some allies from the players’ hand. In contrast to other quests, The Massing at Osgiliath doesn’t have many treacheries (not even a fourth of the encounter deck is treacheries).
- Cut Off: Is the first of the three treacheries of this scenario. When the players reveal Cut Off, they must discard all ally cards from their hand, if able. This is a powerful treachery, especially in early game. If your deck depends strongly on allies or playing with a swarm deck, it is essential to cancel this effect. This can happen with the help of A Test of Will, Eleanor, and other cancellation cards. On the other hand, if you play with Forth the Three Hunters! you don’t have to worry about Cut Off. Despite its really powerful effect, Cut Off has the Doomed 1 keyword. Losing from over-threating isn’t much of an issue in this quest, although, sometimes, it is vital to keep a low threat in order to deal with multiple enemies one at a time. The shadow effect of Cut Off is almost as brutal as its When Revealed effect. The defending player must discard 1 ally card from his/her hand (2 allies instead if the attack is undefended) or the attacking enemy gets +3 attack! It is almost certain that you should choose to discard that ally from hand. In case you don’t have an ally on hand (or if you play with Forth the Three Hunters!), then you are in a bad situation. You would probably need some shadow card cancellation in order to deal with the +3 attack. Another solution is to defend with really strong defenders, such as Beregond (+Gondorian Shield). Although this isn’t the best strategy against Cut Off’s shadow effect, it is fine if you are out of Shadow cancellation cards. To make matters worse, the developers chose to add 4 copies of Cut Off to the encounter deck! To deal with so many copies, a great choice you have is to consider including Out of the Wild in your deck. Placing Cut Off in the Victory display makes you not worry about revealing it again and again during your game (especially in multiplayer playthroughs). An impressive combo is to “Out of the Wild” Cut Off, and if another copy comes up, you can discard it with The Door is Closed!. With that combo at hand, you don’t have to worry about Cut Off anymore.
- Dark Pursuit: Is a pretty straightforward card. When you reveal Dark Pursuit, you have to add 1 threat to the total threat at the staging area for each Scout enemy in play. This card gains surge if there isn’t any scout enemy in play. Generally speaking, this won’t be a problem in most of your games. The only instance where you might need to cancel it is when you haven’t committed a lot of willpower (which is not recommended in this scenario) this round in order to deal with the enemies in play. Even in that case, I suggest keeping your Test of Will at hand for another, more dangerous when revealed effect.
- Massing at Osgiliath: Is the last treachery of this quest. It is strongly focused on Doomed and Surge keywords, and it is possible to give you some trouble during your game. When you reveal Massing at Osgiliath, every card that is going to be revealed from the encounter deck this phase is going to get Doomed 1 (or Doomed 3, if the players have crossed Anduin). On top of that, Massing at Osgiliath Surges, so even in a solo game, you have to increase your threat from its effect. This card escalates with more players, and in the worst-case scenario, it can lead the players to elimination! This can happen, for instance, in a 4-player game, when the players reveal Massing at Osgiliath as the first card during the staging step, and they have crossed Anduin. In this case, the players might end up raising their threat with a total of 12 threat, just from a single treachery! This can lead to loss very quickly. So remember to always include when revealed cancellation cards, particularly in multiplayer. The more players are playing; the more cancellation should have. On the bright side, Massing at Osgiliath doesn’t have any shadow effects.
Tips & Tricks
- As mentioned above numerous times, shadow cancellation is essential for this scenario. Some of the best cards which can achieve this are Hasty stroke and A Burning Brand, which can work in most decks. There are other, more conditional shadow effect cancellation cards that might work in specific decks. Such cards are: Armored Destrier (it’s a really valuable card, especial at the beginning of the quest when there are a bunch of enemies in play), Quicker then Sight (for Silvan decks), Inner Strength (for One Ring decks. Great attachment for Beregond who can cancel Inner Strength’s +1 threat per usage) and Sterner than Steel (for heavy tactics decks, which focus on Armor and Weapon attachments).
- Surprisingly, despite the travel restrictions of this scenario, location control isn’t essential for your deck. I suggest thinking about location control only in a 4-player game. Where you need to focus your deck is combat. It is crucial to have great combat heroes even from round 0. Tactics is a must sphere for this print-on-demand scenario. If you combine it with a Spirit hero, you’ll probably be ready for everything that the encounter deck is going to throw you. Some “safe” choices are always Eowyn (either tactics or spirit) and Beregond (I prefer spirit Beregond because of the fact that he can lower your threat as most of the enemies won’t damage him. A detailed analysis on how to use Beregond in this quest properly is written below). To deal with all those enemies at the beginning of the quest, Dunedain decks may offer you quite a few tricks. Aragorn and Feint are always welcome in that case. Another great choice for a Tactics hero is Grimbeorn the Old. He has the amazing ability to attack the enemy that he defended and give that enemy -2 defense for this attack. Most of the time, this should be sufficient to kill an enemy before your characters’ attack.
- As been said above, Spirit Beregond is a really fun hero for this quest. If you don’t mind playing The Massing at Osgiliath in progression style, you can build up Beregond to an extreme that can defend every enemy in this quest with efficiency. Some “must use” player cards you can use on him are: Gondorian Shield (assuming you include Tactics sphere). In that way, he is going to have 6 defense so that he can block even The Witch-king. Just to be sure that Beregond won’t get any damage, you should include Arwen Undomial to your deck (+ she gives some vital willpower). To maximize Beregond’s potential, you can include him in a One Ring deck with Inner Strength. Beregond’s ability will cancel the +1 threat from Inner Strength, so you can always cancel a shadow effect each round. With all those cards in play, Beregond will end up with an impressive 8 defense and the ability to cancel shadows. In addition, if you have threat problems, the Spirit sphere gives a variety of options on how to deal with them. An optional card for Beregond, which can prove a lifesaver for multiple enemy attacks, is Desperate Defense. With that event, Beregond (or even Grimbeorn the Old) is going to have an additional +2 defense and ready himself for another attack.
- It is vital to reduce the number of enemies at the staging area as soon as possible. In order to achieve that quickly without exhausting a lot of characters for attacks, you can use the Wolves of Mordor effect to your advantage. You can play a cheap chump blocker for the attack, and then you shuffle the Wolves back into the encounter deck. Most chump blockers seem to belong to the leadership sphere (such as Snowbourn Scout and Squire of the Citadel), but there are a couple of choices in Tactics and Spirit spheres too (such as Westfold Horse-Breeder and Knights of the Swan).
- Solo Play from COTRPodcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViJlC-r6qec
- 2-Player, progression style game from The Hive Tyrant:
- 2-Handed, progression style game from Warden of Arnor:
- 2-Player, progression style game from PlayingBoardGames:
As always, it is time for my suggested deck. I’ll follow the same principle as I did with my previous articles and show you a fun deck to play with. This deck isn’t meant to totally destroy this scenario because it doesn’t follow all the previous tips and tricks. On the other hand, it is definitely fun in Massing at Osgiliath, so I highly recommend giving it a try. The deck I chose to show you for this scenario isn’t mine. It is made from TheChad via RingsDB, so if you like it, please give him a like for his amazing work. This deck is a mono leadership swarm Gondor deck that includes cards from the ALeP project.
The swarming of Gondor in this deck is going to “absorb” a lot of the effects of the encounter cards; thus, you won’t need any cancellation. It’s amazing how can such a deck defeat Massing at Osgiliath without any shadow or When revealed Cancellation. Gondorians make this quest really thematic but also fun to play.
All things considered, I believe The Massing at Osgiliath is a great quest to introduce to new players but also a fun quest if you want to playtest a new combat deck. Sometimes, without the proper preparation, it can be really harsh against the players, but it is one of those quests that gives satisfaction when you finally defeat it. I couldn’t think of a better quest to begin the Print-on-demand scenarios, which generally are considered above average difficult quests. Once again, I want to give credit to all the people who support the blog and help to make it better and larger with quality content. Special thanks to Durin’s Father for his support and help in times of need. I hope I assisted you with your playthroughs against The Massing at Osgiliath, and I’m always looking forward to your feedback. Till the next article, happy gaming!