The Line Unbroken – 15: The Watcher in the Water

Back on our imitation of Fellowship of the Ring, we must pass the Watcher to get into Moria through the Doors of Durin. I’ve always quite enjoyed this quest, though on previous occasions I’ve never really gone all out to exploit the scrying element of it (which test plays of my decks have shown to be a really powerful approach). And there are some elements of the quest I don’t like, such as the card Disturbed Waters. Doomed 5, ouch. Hate that card.

So as I’ve already hinted, what I want from my decks in terms of handling this scenario is primarily scrying and threat control, plus the usual willpower and combat power. I also need to be wary of the low engagement costs of the Tentacle enemies.
So, the newly released hero is our second iteration of Aragorn, often dubbed ‘Loragorn’ or sometimes Strider. That covers threat control for one deck already, and will also help a lot with willpower if I can get him the Sword that was Broken, also released in this pack. Some cards are really not a challenge to fit into decks and try to show them off. Some are, however – but since I really want to find uses for as many of the cards as I can in this series, I have to try, and preferably try and show them in more typical situations rather than very specialised ones. Which means Secrecy. We have in this pack got the Resourceful card, so Secrecy is looking a lot more workable at this juncture, so I think it’s time. With that being said, this scenario does have some serious threat pressure, so it may be not the best timing.
My original build for this was Aragorn/Denethor/Elladan on one side, Elrohir/Frodo on the other, with Elrohir enabling the use of Elrond’s Counsel to hopefully stay in Secrecy. The problem with that setup was that I didn’t have enough willpower off the bat to get a foothold questing-wise. I needed more willpower, which suggested Eowyn (standard solution to a willpower shortage). But 19 threat would seem too close to dropping out of Secrecy for my liking, plus I wanted the Frodo defensive option, so I took the Spirit out of the Secrecy deck and came up with an alternative:

Where will wants not, a way opens… again. A different way this time though.

Aragorn (Lo)
Frodo Baggins

Allies (23):
Arwen Undomiel x3
Bofur x2
Elfhelm x1
West Road Traveller x3
Wandering Took x3
Northern Tracker x2
Daughter of the Nimrodel x3
Gleowine x2
Gandalf x3
Henamarth Riversong x1

Attachments (12):
Good Meal x2
Fast Hitch x2
Ancient Mathom x2
Unexpected Courage x3
Song of Earendil x3

Events (15):
Rumour from the Earth x3
Sneak Attack x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2
Hasty Stroke x2
A Test of Will x3
Renewed Friendship x2

Thoughts: So obviously I have a couple of Galadhrim’s Greetings, which can be cheapened by Good Meals. Renewed Friendship can also be used to lower the threat of the Secrecy deck on the other side of the table. The big plan for that, though, is Song of Earendil. If I get Song of Earendil out early, I can use it to absorb all the passive threat gain the other deck accumulates to keep it in Secrecy, and then use Loragorn’s reset button once the combination of that and Frodo sends me too high. I can also use the infamous Wandering Took/Song of Earendil combo to potentially drop the second deck all the way to 0 threat if I so choose.
(If you’re not familiar with the combo, it’s as follows: 1. Transfer Wandering Took to other player, lowering your threat and raising theirs by 3. 2. Use Song of Earendil to raise your threat by 1 and lower theirs by 1. 3. They transfer the Took back, lowering their threat and raising yours, so overall you’re up 1 threat and they’re down 1. 4. Repeat as much as your like to take your threat as high and theirs as low as you like)
Arwen can boost Frodo and make him Sentinel, I can give him Fast Hitches for readying, Elfhelm can potentially absorb some encounter deck threat, West Road Travellers can swap the Doors of Durin into the staging area so they don’t cause me to get location locked if I can’t get past them quickly, and Rumour from the Earth can allow me lots of repeatable scrying to check if tentacle effects are going to go off or if I can get through the Doors of Durin at a given moment. RftE can be expensive to keep reusing, but Aragorn is intended to receive Steward of Gondor as well as Celebrian’s Stone and Sword that was Broken from the other deck.

Princes in the Wild


Allies (20):
Snowbourn Scout x3
Faramir x2
Beorn x1
Gandalf x3
Dunedain Wanderer x3
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Descendant of Thorondor x2
Winged Guardian x3

Attachments (14):
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3
Horn of Gondor x2
Sword that was Broken x3
Resourceful x3

Events (16):
Sneak Attack x3
Feint x3
Hail of Stones x2
The Eagles Are Coming! x3
Timely Aid x3
Unseen Strike x2

Thoughts: A Leadership/Tactics Secrecy deck seems like an odd idea, but I think it can work, since the other deck is set up to support it with threat reduction. Anyway, I’d ruled out Spirit and I wanted relatively low threat, which Aragorn is not, leaving two spheres. Theodred is handy because he gets me that third resource each round, also he’s the lowest threat Leadership option. Legolas is powerful as usual, and joint lowest threat Tactics with Thalin.
So, since the other deck should have the means to keep this one in Secrecy, Dunedain Wanderers become worth it (if you ever leave Secrecy they become grossly overpriced), of course I have the newly released Resourceful, and Timely Aid, which competes with Resourceful for the title of ‘best Secrecy card’. Naturally I’ve got a few more expensive allies to potentially hit with Timely Aid, and otherwise Sneak Attack works for them. Direct damage from Descendant of Thorondor and Hail of Stones may come in handy to get rid of tentacles before they engage and thus avoid their annoying effects. Snowbourn Scouts have a handy point in that as well as being used to chump-block as usual, they can also attack the tentacles which sometimes attach to a character attacking them, and thus avoid that effect hitting someone useful like Legolas. In a pinch this can also be done with Winged Guardians and Vassals of the Windlord.


I was very worried that this crazy idea of mine to use Secrecy here wouldn’t work out, but test plays have been pretty positive so I went ahead with it. Here’s the video: Watcher in the Water

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