The Line Unbroken – 26: The Lonely Mountain

The Lonely Mountain is a bit of a gimmicky quest, and a less popular one as a result. The quest can be challenging on a willpower front but is very short on combat, since Smaug doesn’t attack you for most of the game. The focus is rather on the Burgle mechanic, that being the big gimmick of the quest and the thing about it which a lot of people are less fond of. The way it works, requiring you to match a certain card on cost/sphere/type, is similar to the Riddle mechanic in Dungeons Deep and Caverns Dim, which again is rather unpopular. For me, though, and I expect to reiterate this point in the video, burgling is much more palatable than answering riddles, because for the riddles the only answer is to make your deck overly consistent, because you have to just guess. With burgling, however, you reveal a random card and then try to match it from your hand, and this can be easily solved by simply drawing a lot of cards into your hand to improve your chances of having a match. Certainly I could take a couple of my riddle decks against Lonely Mountain and the consistency would serve them well for burgling, but it’s really not necessary for me to focus that hard on such consistency.

Now, in the Flies and Spiders post I mentioned that I’d be going outside some of my usual rules for this quest (Battle of Five Armies still undecided). This is because, as I said, there’s not a lot of combat in this quest. As such, including a combat focused hero like Bard is not going to be very useful, and including shadow cancellation in the form of Balin will not be useful either. In fact, since I care far less about actual shadow effects than I do about Smaug getting shadow cards with Burgle effects on them and thus making additional attacks, the fact Balin’s ability deals him an additional shadow card after cancelling the first makes it a spectacularly bad idea. So those two are out for this quest. They’ll be back for Battle of Five Armies.
So that starts me on the question of what I need for this quest. As one might expect, the big challenges to be faced are burgling and Smaug. Burgling requires card draw to make sure I have some matches, with special value being placed on on-demand card draw effects, as these can be triggered after the card I need to match is revealed, to draw that card into my hand – and of course it will inevitably be a match for itself. I will note at this point that although it is possible to skip forward to stage 3 after any successful Burgle test, I have never played this quest without burgling all 5 treasures, and this time will certainly be no exception. This leads into one part of the Smaug issue – I will be remaining on stage 2 for a while, with the Lonely Mountain itself steadily gathering threat, and needing to contend with Smaug the Golden, whose threat is of course equal to the number of questing characters who aren’t Bilbo – as such only characters of at least 2 willpower will have any impact, and I’ll get more benefit out of willpower-boosting cards than I usually would. Finally, the second part of the Smaug problem is Smaug the Magnificent, with his tendency to chain-gun through your chump blockers when dealt shadow cards that have Burgle effects. This can be resolved by simply having an excessively large number of chump blockers available and/or ensuring you finish the quest quickly, before he has a chance to make too many attacks, but the safer solution is instead to include cards which allow you to simply discard his shadow cards without flipping them over. And so a couple of cards I’ve previously neglected come back out to show their quality in this niche situation. Here are the decks:

The King Returns To His Halls

Thorin Oakenshield

Allies (17):
Longbeard Elder x3
Fili x1
Kili x1
Zigil Miner x3
Rider of the Mark x2
Faramir x2
Gandalf (Core) x3
Arwen Undomiel x2

Attachments (16):
Steward if Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3
Narvi’s Belt x3
Celebrian’s Stone x1
Dunedain Quest x3
The Favour of the Lady x3

Events (19):
Durin’s Song x3
Untroubled by Darkness x3
We Are Not Idle x3
Dawn Take You All x2
A Test of Will x3
Ever Vigilant x2
Sneak Attack x3

Thoughts: Both this deck and the other do contain some 1 willpower allies, despite what I said above – this is of course because they can benefit from Untroubled by Darkness and Faramir, because they can be used on stage 3 (and 4 if I end up there), and because I want to get my 5 Dwarves effects up and running quickly. Plus they can chump block the dragon if necessary. Gloin is an odd hero choice given the lack of combat to damage him with, but on the other hand the non-dragon enemies aren’t too dangerous, so undefended attacks are an option, even just a couple of resources here and there may help, and also if I buff him up a little with Ring Mail from the other deck and Arwen he can potentially defend Smaug on occasion, building up a lot of resources. Otherwise, besides the basics like Sneak Attack Gandalf, Test of Will, etc, it’s willpower boosting attachments and events (Durin’s Song can also be applied to having a hero defend Smaug), including Ever Vigilant to potentially do a double Faramir if required, and shadow discarding effects with the Riders of the Mark and Dawn Take You All. Note that both decks contain a Spirit hero so the Riders can be repeatedly shuttled back and forth. The willpower boosting attachments are primarily intended for Bilbo, since he doesn’t increase Smaug’s threat by questing, and will always remain committed even if Fighting Among Friends is revealed. Steward of Gondor is intended to be played across onto Oin once again.

The Company’s Support


Allies (26):
Bifur x1
Dwalin x1
Bofur (Sp) x1
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Miner of the Iron Hills x3
Zigil Miner x3
Erebor Record Keeper x3
Gleowine x3
Henamarth Riversong x2
Rider of the Mark x3
Warden of Healing x3

Attachments (9):
Legacy of Durin x3
The Favour of the Lady x3
Ring Mail x3

Events (15):
Untroubled by Darkness x3
A Test of Will x3
Secret Paths x3
The Lucky Number x3
Burglar Baggins x3

Thoughts: The same lineup from Flies and Spiders again, because it worked so well there. This is basically the same sort of principle as the other deck, willpower boosting (plus Secret Paths to cancel out some of the annoying high threat locations) and shadow discarding. Plus card draw of course, Gleowine being on-demand card draw that can be triggered while burgling to draw the revealed card into hand as described above (King Under the Mountain can serve the same purpose in the first deck). Other than that, Hammersmiths can recover any attachments I have to discard while burgling, Henamarth can scry the top of the encounter deck to let me reliably travel to the Secret Entrance, and it should be noted that if the situation arises, the two Baggins events can potentially be combined for a big willpower swing, by increasing Bilbo’s willpower and then adding that willpower to another character.


Youtube video:
The Lonely Mountain

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1 Response to The Line Unbroken – 26: The Lonely Mountain

  1. Pingback: Breaking the Game: Flies and Spiders/The Lonely Mountain | Warden of Arnor

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