The Line Unbroken – 17: Foundations of Stone

Foundations of Stone is definitely my favourite quest from this cycle, possibly still one of my favourite quests full stop. It’s not one I replay that often, as the particular demands of it mean it doesn’t necessarily suit all kinds of decks, but I always enjoy it when I do (and the fact I don’t replay it that much means I still sometimes have those interesting moments of “Oh yeah, that happens in this quest”).
I’m trying now to think of why I like FoS so much, and while the mechanics are solid, I think it mostly comes down to the theme of the quest. Which is odd, because I don’t really consider myself a very thematic player. When I’m playing this game my mind tends to be primarily on the gameplay mechanics, figuring out the best course of action at a given moment rather than telling the story in my mind or appreciating the art (though I do love the art in this game when I take the time to stop and look at it). But despite that, a lot of my favourite things in the game kind of win that distinction on their theme – the magic of the three rings, elves, the Dunedain, etc. In this case, Foundations of Stone is exploring the deepest depths of Moria, with the Nameless Things which Gandalf tells us are older than Sauron. That really catches my interest.
On top of that of course, the mechanics are very well implemented. The reason I don’t necessarily replay the quest that often is because while the mechanic of splitting up the players is very interesting, it obviously doesn’t suit any decks which are more specialised and therefore designed to work in tandem with other decks to cover the other aspects of the game. So in building for this quest I really need to build two decks which can both manage on their own. Besides that, while the Locate tests in The Long Dark kind of hates on your hand (though badly and inconsistently as noted in my video playthrough), Foundations of Stone hates on your deck. Stage 2 you have to discard cards from your deck when you commit to the quest, and then the Nameless Things will take cards from your deck to grant them their stats. So I want to try and build decks which are consistent and can therefore manage pretty well however I draw, even though decent amounts of them may get discarded.
Of course, I also have handily acquired the hero who I dubbed the ‘Broken Express to Overpowered Nonsense’. As a commenter on the article in question put it, “Always BEtON Glorfindel!” So that’s going to be helpful, as he’s a powerful hero (useful for a deck which needs to stand on its own and not rely on help from others) without being high threat. Of course, he’s also good for Secrecy decks for that reason, but I’ve decided to move away from Secrecy for this quest, I think I’ve done it enough on the last two. Also FoS is more difficult, and with the splitting up, I’m not so confident that a two hero deck could manage so well alone. However, I am going to finish off my attempts to do without each sphere, so no Leadership this time round! Anyway, these are the decks I’ve eventually come up with:

“The strongest must seek a way”

Aragorn (Lo)

Allies (20):
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Erebor Record-Keeper x3
Rivendell Minstrel x3
Erebor Battle Master x3
Warden of Healing x3
Trollshaw Scout x2
Veteran Axehand x3

Attachments (22):
A Burning Brand x3
Song of Wisdom x2
Horn of Gondor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Asfaloth x3
Song of Travel x2
Love of Tales x3
Legacy of Durin x3

Events (8):
Feint x3
A Test of Will x2
Daeron’s Runes x3

Thoughts: Boromir and Aragorn are both powerful heroes who can cover a bit of everything, and Aragorn’s threat reset can allow me to ready Boromir with impunity. Beyond that I’ve got kind of a mixture of things. Dwarf allies will trigger Legacy of Durin and leave me with a decent number of cards in hand which in turn can fund repeated use of the Trollshaw Scout. I kind of wanted to play around with Love of Tales, which is a tough card to build around. Since I had other things I wanted to fit in, it’s kind of an afterthought, but it might still work out, and the inclusion of songs does allow me to splash in Test of Will and Unexpected Courage. I’ve avoided any cards with particularly high costs to keep the Nameless Things from being too powerful, and made sure to include 3 copies of anything I think may be significant.

The Friendship of Eregion

Glorfindel (Sp)

Allies (18):
Imladris Stargazer x3
Zigil Miner x3
Veteran of Nanduhirion x2
Erebor Battle Master x3
Bofur x2
Arwen Undomiel x2
Veteran Axehand x3

Attachments (15):
Light of Valinor x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Ever My Heart Rises x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Citadel Plate x3

Events (17):
Heavy Stroke x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Feint x3
Hasty Stroke x2
A Test of Will x3

Thoughts: (Eregion/Moria in the Second Age of course being the time and place that the Noldor and the Dwarves were most friendly with each other)
Once again, 3 copies of everything that really matters. In this case, I can use the Imladris Stargazer + Zigil Miner combo to generate extra resources and churn through my deck faster. If I manage to clear my entire deck out then the Nameless Things can’t take it! Though I’m not sure how likely I am to achieve that. I wanted to make sure I had some decent Dwarf heroes to get use out of Ever My Heart Rises, since every location in this quest is Underground. Other Dwarf cards could have been safely left for the Hobbit boxes, which are chock-full of Dwarves, but since I was doing some Dwarves, I figured why not go a bit further for it. In both of these two decks, there was more stuff I wanted to fit in but couldn’t.


Youtube video: Foundations of Stone

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