The Line Unbroken – 25: Flies and Spiders

Alright, I’m done with my Christmas/New Year break and most of the other stuff I wanted to get written between boxes, so now we return to The Line Unbroken for the second Hobbit box. I’m fonder of the quests in this box than in the first, while the player cards are arguably more of a mixed bag, but still pretty cool. That said, the variety of odd stuff these quests demand combined with some of the assorted options I want to play around with mean my decks for this box may be going outside my usual rules. But I’ll come to that for Lonely Mountain and possibly Battle of Five Armies (though I haven’t made any definite decisions on that one). For Flies and Spiders, everything is still standard.

So the heroes from this box are ones I’m pretty fond of. Balin may still be my favourite Leadership hero in the game. Super useful ability, relatively low threat which is rare in Leadership, and unlike all the other Dwarves from the Hobbit expansions, there’s no requirement for him to be played in a Dwarf-focused deck. Oin and Bombur on the other hand obviously are Dwarf-specific, but very useful in that context, and severely underrated for it so I’ve been having fun making them work in test plays. Oin in particular I’ve previously tended to view as a lower priority for reaching the five dwarf threshold, but in fact I’ve been finding that the ability to bring that resource-fixing online early and reliably is actually really useful. Meanwhile Bombur is the best defender Dwarves have outside of Dain. Finally, Bard is a really effective attacking hero in multiplayer.

So taking these guys up against Flies and Spiders, what do I need? Well, the big things are the poison mechanic and getting separated on stage 3/4 (with the deck on stage 3 having everyone made unconscious). A lot of poison can be avoided if we have strong enough defences to just not take damage from the spiders, and this isn’t too hard to ensure since most of the shadow effects in this scenario apply poison rather than boosting attack. On the other hand, those shadow effects apply poison, which is the whole thing we want to avoid. So shadow cancellation is significant if I want to keep defending with the same characters over and over. If I don’t, I still have to be careful who I use to block, because an untimely poison shadow can render a chump unconscious and leave me with an undefended attack to deal with. So shadow cancellation, defence boosts and some combat trickery will deal with most of the poison problems. For the separation, powering up Bilbo a bit is a good idea, since he’ll be alone to start with. Get him Sting, get him some readying, make him a credible defender. There may also be something to be said for not playing too many allies on the side that’s going to stage 3, because they’ll just end up unconscious and contributing nothing. So that’s a fair number of requirements I’ve just listed, so I’ll want good card draw to ensure I get everything I need. Fortunately Dwarves are good at card draw. Here are the decks:

[Insert Deck Name Here]

Bard the Bowman

Allies (21):
Gandalf x3
Landroval x2
Faramir x2
Erestor x2
Errand-rider x3
Fili x2
Kili x1
Longbeard Elder x3
Veteran Axehand x3

Attachments (11):
Steward of Gondor x3
Born Aloft x2
Horn of Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3

Events (18):
Straight Shot x3
Foe-hammer x3
Sneak Attack x3
Feint x3
Valiant Sacrifice x3
Goblin-cleaver x3

Thoughts: I originally tried to make this more of a Dwarf deck, but that was really only for thematic reasons and it’s difficult to make 5 Dwarves stuff work when you start from only one. Similarly for powering up Battle Masters, with the added point there that since I start with Beorn and Bard, I really don’t need that much more attack. So, Landroval is there for Beorn, obviously, while Errand-riders smooth out the resources and everything else is fairly standard. Steward is intended to be played cross-table onto Oin, while Balin gets the Horn and King Under the Mountain. Born Aloft is in for a couple of reasons – one is that it can trigger the Horn and Valiant Sacrifice, the other is that I can potentially revive an unconscious ally by returning them to my hand and playing them again. Finally some of the tactics trickery allows for getting kills without taking attacks, thus avoiding potential buildup of poison. Of course, you may notice that I have no weapons in the deck to trigger the events, but of course Orcrist, Glamdring and Sting are all weapons, and the version of Bilbo for this box can dig treasure cards out of the deck. Hero-wise, Balin and Bard came in by my normal rules, and Beorn is fantastic for Flies and Spiders because he can’t be poisoned.

[Insert Second Deck Name Here]


Allies (26):
Bifur x1
Dwalin x1
Dori x2
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Miner of the Iron Hills x3
Zigil Miner x3
Erebor Record Keeper x3
Warden of Healing x2
Arwen Undomiel x2
Landroval x1
Master of the Forge x3
Bofur (Sp) x2

Attachments (14):
A Burning Brand x2
Unexpected Courage x3
Fast Hitch x2
Ring Mail x3
Legacy of Durin x2
Song of Wisdom x2

Events (10):
Feint x3
A Test of Will x3
Untroubled by Darkness x2
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2

Thoughts: This one is more of a standard Dwarf deck, though once again I omitted Battle Masters, finding them to be surplus to requirements. The enemies in this quest aren’t really that tough. I’ve got Dori in here to help keep Beorn alive, plus another copy of Landroval. And then the other hero-specific stuff is Ring Mail and Burning Brands for Bombur and Bilbo (Bilbo will of course need a Song of Wisdom as well), and Fast Hitches for Bilbo. With Mail, Sting and a Brand, Bilbo can defend most of the spiders with no worries, and get some pre-emptive kills with Sting. Getting this set up (along with some readying) is my intended solution for when the decks get split up and everyone falls unconscious at stage 3.

As I said, there are a fair number of moving parts to this, but between King Under the Mountain, Ori and Legacy of Durin, I should have enough draw to find everything.


Youtube video:
Flies and Spiders

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