The Line Unbroken – 9: Return to Mirkwood

And so we come to the end of the cycle. And for the first time in the Line Unbroken, I am going to be breaking my usual rule that I always use the new hero in one of my decks for the playthrough. The reason for this is not that I don’t like Dain Ironfoot, nor do I feel I would have any issue building a serviceable deck with him that could take on this scenario. The reason I will not be using Dain against Return to Mirkwood is that since this is the culmination of the cycle, we can see at this point in the card pool the full cycle’s worth of development on two traits – Eagles and Rohan. As such, I thought it would be fitting to put together an Eagle deck and a Rohan deck at this point, which didn’t leave enough room for Dwarves as well. Don’t worry, Dain will get his chance to shine soon enough.

So let’s look quickly at these two traits and how they’ve developed over the cycle. Of course all the cards for a cycle are designed together, and the designers then choose which ones to put into which adventure packs once they’re all done. So it makes some sense if you get really nice stuff at the end, kind of as a reward for it being the end. One could argue that it should all be equal especially since some people don’t buy all the packs, but for the players buying in sequence it is a progression, so it’s good if the final pack of a cycle gives that feeling of satisfaction with a big capstone. The West Road Traveller fits this pretty well, as I’d say she’s the best Spirit Rohan ally released in the cycle or arguably full stop at this point. On the other hand, as brought up on the Progression Series player cards reviews, why put Mustering the Rohirrim in Hunt for Gollum, at which point it’s very lacklustre, when you could have put it late in the cycle when it actual had targets? Obviously this applies similarly to The Eagles Are Coming!
Overall though, pretty much all the Rohan cards from this cycle are good. Some have fallen out of favour and been displaced by newer and shinier options, which may also be better from a bunch of perspectives, but they are all still good. Except for Nor Am I a Stranger and We Do Not Sleep, because the Rohan trait isn’t that valuable for my money, and while a bunch of characters questing without exhausting sounds nice, the Rohan characters who are good at combat aren’t very good at questing and vice versa. Adding up a bunch of ones can still be pretty effective, but it’s just not appealing enough to be worth a 5-cost event.

And Eagles. I’ve made the point about The Eagles are Coming! Actually, with how good a fetch event it can be I think it would’ve made a good inclusion for Return to Mirkwood, as a nice capstone along with Support of the Eagles, since getting out Eagles quickly really helps an Eagle deck to function properly. You’ll note that this would mean displacing Eagles of the Misty Mountains, and that thought is deliberate on my part. The case could be made that EotMM is likewise a good capstone, and certainly they’re very good, but I would argue instead that in fact EotMM is the key component to an Eagle deck, without which it doesn’t work properly. The other allies are useful to be sure, and you can include them in a variety of decks, but it won’t really hum along as a proper Eagle deck without EotMM. I would’ve thought putting EotMM back in Hunt for Gollum would’ve worked better, to catch people’s interest in the potential power of the trait so they’d want to follow it through, while also giving them a card they could actually use right off the bat, rather than a fetch event with one possible target.
Overall, again the Eagle cards are all pretty good, except for a couple of them, namely Meneldor’s Flight and To the Eyrie. I think Descendant of Thorondor is maybe a bit overpriced, but it’s still reasonably worth it, and the other allies are great. Born Aloft isn’t exactly an Eagle card though it fits in with the theme somewhat, and it’s not one I’ve used, but I see the utility of it.

Alright. Traits covered, on to decklists:

Let the Riders be marshalled!


Allies (20):
West Road Traveller x3
Elfhelm x1
The Riddermark’s Finest x3
Escort from Edoras x3
Eomund x2
Westfold Horse-breaker x2
Snowbourn Scout x3
Gandalf x3

Attachments (11):
Unexpected Courage x3
Steward of Gondor x2
Ancient Mathom x3
Celebrian’s Stone x1
Dunedain Signal x2

Events (19):
Astonishing Speed x2
Ride to Ruin x2
Mustering the Rohirrim x2
Stand and Fight x2
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x2
Sneak Attack x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3

Thoughts: The allies are just all the Rohan stuff plus Gandalf, and that’s a pretty good set of allies at this stage in the game’s development. Perhaps another copy of Elfhelm would be nice, since he can help to mitigate the threat increase for guarding Gollum. Only two copies of Steward is a bit odd, but I suppose with Theodred I already have some resource acceleration. In my desire to really showcase all the Rohan stuff from the cycle I made some sacrifices which I might not if I was just building a deck for general use. The particular demands of Return to Mirkwood also make 3 copies of The Galadhrim’s Greeting feel like a necessity, especially with Boromir in the second deck as well. The inclusion of the rarely-seen Dunedain Signal is potentially key to allow a powered up Boromir to defend for this deck, otherwise all I have for defence is chump-blockers really.

The Eagles are coming!


Allies (25):
Eagles of the Misty Mountains x2
Winged Guardian x3
Landroval x1
Descendant of Thorondor x2
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Radagast x1
Gandalf x3
Rivendell Minstrel x3
Beorn x1
Daughter of the Nimrodel x2
Henamarth Riversong x1
Miner of the Iron Hills x2
Gleowine x1

Attachments (12):
Support of the Eagles x3
Song of Travel x1
Song of Battle x1
Song of Wisdom x1
A Burning Brand x2
Blade of Gondolin x2
Horn of Gondor x2

Events (13):
The Eagles Are Coming! x3
Feint x3
Quick Strike x3
Radagast’s Cunning x2
Secret Paths x2

Thoughts: The lower quantities of some of the cards in this deck mean I’m really depending on that card draw from Beravor, but I had so many things I wanted to fit in. The Song of Travel is for Theodred to help with Spirit cards in the other deck, Battle is for Dunhere to get a Support of the Eagles since he’s the attacker for that deck, and Wisdom is so Boromir can have A Burning Brand. All in all, the idea is fairly simple – Boromir gets Support of the Eagles, the eagles themselves power up EotMM, and Boromir becomes a superhero. The reason I chose Boromir is that his readying ability makes him perfect for Support of the Eagles as it gives him the flexibility to use it for either defending or attacking. And then Beravor for the aforementioned card draw and Legolas will help us speed through the quest faster before Gollum threats us out, by killing things for progress.


Youtube video: Return to Mirkwood

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 9: Return to Mirkwood

  1. Uruk-hello says:

    Really solid showing for the Rohan contingent! The Eagles kind of soared lazily along, but the encounter deck didn’t really threaten too much. It still gave you the sweating the shadow card moment during the Attercop engagement when Boromir’s valiant defense (and life) was on the line. Nice timing of the Test of Will too for that nassssty bite. Only issue I saw was playing cards with the Gollum-holding deck during the Thranduil’s Hall stage, but the Daughter and Song didn’t really affect the outcome at all.


    • Steven A says:

      Oh, did I miss that? I’m terrible for forgetting when quest effects are disallowing me from playing cards. I’m pretty sure I kept everything correct when I was recording Massing just now, but that’s only because I was specifically taking care about it since I know I’ve accidentally cheated at that quest so many times in the past.


  2. Uruk-hello says:

    I like that you take your time in doing these videos – it really cuts down on the mistakes people make when they start rushing because they’ve reached the point where they are (or think they are) sailing toward the win. There are lots of things to keep track of during gameplay, while at the same time continuing the live narration and thought process! Good work!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s