The Line Unbroken – 24: Siege of Cair Andros

And so we conclude the Heirs of Numenor box with the Siege of Cair Andros. Now to reiterate the comparison between Cair Andros and Ithilien, Into Ithilien is a quest which now, with a full card pool and some experience and the benefit of hindsight, I can appreciate how it challenges you in all areas (though I still hate Watcher in the Wood). However when first introduced to it, and when coming back to it playing progression-series-style with the correspondingly limited card pool, I did not and do not like it. It’s just too tough. Siege of Cair Andros, on the other hand, I liked right from the off. The first four times I ever played it I won all four, so I never felt it had the same level of unfair difficulty, but it was still a definite challenge, and I enjoyed taking on that challenge and trying to build decks specifically for it because it’s noticeably different to other quests.
An interesting aspect of Siege of Cair Andros is that it really starts the introduction of the whole mono-sphere theme of the Against the Shadow cycle. While this gets developed later on through the player cards and we start getting the stuff that specifically depends not just on resource icons but printed resource icons, from the encounter deck we just get the more basic stuff that doesn’t care about printed or gained through cards with things like the archery value on the Orc Arbalesters scaling to the number of resource icons in play, the Orc Vanguard encouraging mono-Tactics specifically, and of course the ever-memorable Master’s Malice. The Master’s Malice is a card with a somewhat problematic design, but the others I quite like, because they make it a trade-off – there are positives to sticking to mono-sphere and you can choose whether or not to take those positives or have the full range of options of more spheres available to you.
So, in building for this quest I want to pay at least some attention to the possibility of mono-sphere. Of course since I have to use Boromir and Beregond, that would lead me to mono-Leadership and mono-Tactics. Beyond that, the big thing with Cair Andros is that while in theory it contains all three different kinds of questing, in practice you plan to clear The Banks and thus never need willpower, because it makes it so much easier to build for the quest. Now, one of the other good options for decent defence, and a thematic one at that, is Denethor, plus the healing effects in Lore could help with archery. On the other hand, I don’t expect my threat to be such an issue, and the only treachery that really, really bothers me is Orc Assault, so I should be able to manage OK without Spirit. Enough preamble, here are the decks:

The House of Stewards

Heroes:
Boromir (Ld)
Prince Imrahil
Denethor

Allies (18):
Guard of the Citadel x3
Errand-rider x3
Citadel Custodian x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Dunedain Watcher x3
Warden of Healing x3

Attachments (17):
Steward of Gondor x3
Dunedain Mark x3
Ranger Spikes x3
Song of Kings x3
A Burning Brand x2
Cram x3

Events (15):
Sneak Attack x3
For Gondor! x3
Valiant Sacrifice x3
Campfire Tales x3
Daeron’s Runes x3

Thoughts: I found a use for Song of Kings! Given my concern about The Master’s Malice and the fact that it as I mentioned, it handily doesn’t specify printed icons, using a Song to give Denethor a Leadership icon will protect him against it. This also handily means I don’t need to be as careful about my sphere balance, which means I can avoid including too many Lore allies which would remain susceptible. I’ve still got Wardens to counteract archery damage, but I’ll probably only play them one at a time, to be safe, or wait until both copies of Master’s Malice are out already.
Beyond that, it’s a fairly standard suite of allies and useful attachments, plus plenty of card draw so I can get rolling quickly.

Aid from the North Kingdoms

Heroes:
Beregond
Beorn
Brand Son of Bain

Allies (22):
Eagles of the Misty Mountains x3
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Winged Guardian x3
Landroval x1
Gandalf (Core) x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Bofur (Ta) x3

Attachments (13):
Spear of the Citadel x3
Blade of Gondolin x3
Citadel Plate x2
Horn of Gondor x2
Support of the Eagles x3

Events (15):
Feint x3
Thicket of Spears x3
Behind Strong Walls x3
Foe-hammer x3
The Eagles Are Coming! x3

Thoughts: Once again eagles are great for Battle and Siege questing, but in this case of course I don’t have to worry about Blocking Wargs killing them off. Card draw again, though of course Foe-hammer has its limitations. It’d be more reliable with more weapons in the deck of course, but I’m hoping for some luck or for Bofur to carry me through. Citadel Plate of course can be played cheaper on Beregond, and also may help Denethor, as an alternative means to survive The Master’s Malice. Of course playing a mono-Tactics deck means I can finally slot in Thicket of Spears as well. As far as the hero choices go, Beregond is mandated but also just an incredibly good choice regardless, Beorn can help cover defence in the early game when I need my high defence characters for Siege questing as well as being strong enough to tear through a fair number of enemies, and Brand’s main draw is his ranged 3 attack combined with my personal liking for him, though his ability may also be useful as he can ready Denethor to scry the encounter deck at the end of the combat phase. All in all, I think it should be a pretty effective setup, so let’s see how it works out.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/1906/the-line-unbroken-siege-of-cair-andros
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4151/the-line-unbroken-siege-of-cair-andros-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4152/the-line-unbroken-siege-of-cair-andros-deck-2-1.0

Youtube videos:
Siege of Cair Andros
Siege of Cair Andros Take 2

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