The Line Unbroken – 29: The Druadan Forest

Having uprooted the conspiracy in Minas Tirith, we follow its leaders to the Druadan Forest. This is a quest I’ve had a spotty relationship with. The first couple of times I played it I felt that it was easy. Then I had a two player game wherein we got what felt like all the archery in the world at the start of the game, and had pretty much every character maxed out on damage before we drew any healing at all (including Glorfindel having to defend an attack as the only way to avoid a hero death along the way). We did then manage to recover and win though. Point is this quest can be highly variable in difficulty between different plays of it, and also from what I’ve heard between different player counts – apparently 4 player TDF is absolutely brutal.
As far as player cards go, this was the pack which really pushed the mono-sphere focus of the cycle the hardest. With mixed success – I’ve found the White Tower Watchman to be pretty useful, and Strength of Arms is a phenomenal card; but Trained for War and Against the Shadow are problematic because they cost you extra to use characters for a purpose they’re not naturally designed for where you could more easily just use characters who were designed for that purpose, while Advance Warning can be a useful card, but mostly only in certain niche cases. The less mono-sphere focused cards are pretty good if you use them in the right decks, apart from Forlong who in an Outlands deck is ridiculous rather than just pretty good.

Back to the quest. The significant aspects of the Druadan Forest are a lot of archery and resource problems – some cards which sap your resources, in particular via the Prowl keyword on some of the enemies, and others which punish you for not having resources. So in building decks for this quest I wanted to make sure I included healing, some resource generation (and mostly cheap cards so as to not run myself out), and a reasonable dose of front-loaded power to make it more feasible to manage without spending so many resources. Of course I also had to fit these desires around the desire to make proper use of Mirlonde, who of course shows her quality best in a mono-Lore context (this is alright since mono-sphere helps with the imposed resource scarcity of this scenario); and also a desire based on my own preferences to do something different to what I’ve seen done before and try to keep mixing up what heroes I use as far as possible.
One thing I found myself realising as I was building the decks was why some heroes were as ubiquitous as they were at this point in the card pool. Glorfindel is a prime example – the selection of available Spirit heroes was very limited, with Dunhere requiring a very specific approach, Eleanor being mostly a pure support hero, Dwalin being quest-specific and difficult to make work, and Nori and Oin being Dwarf-specific. It’s not just that Eowyn, Frodo and Glorfindel were the best options for Spirit heroes, in some cases they were pretty much the only options. Similarly picking attacking heroes, at this point there weren’t a lot of options for Ranged.
Finally, while test plays went alright, when I actually came to recording I kept failing. I did eventually eke out a victory, but I still felt somewhat unsatisfied with how things had been going. After musing on it for a little while I realised my problem – I’d added in more card draw while editing in the hopes of drawing key stuff faster, but I’d done so at the expense of not having enough key stuff to draw. And in particular having potential card draw from Ancient Mathom wasn’t doing me a whole lot of good when I was getting location locked because I wasn’t drawing into my decent willpower allies. And with that small change, suddenly things worked out a lot better. As much as card draw is king, in this case it worked out better to cut down on some card draw to include more willpower to draw.
Here are the two decks:

Secret Crafts of the Three Kindreds


Allies (20):
Master of Lore x3
Silvan Tracker x3
Mirkwood Runner x2
Warden of Healing x2
Gleowine x2
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Haldir of Lorien x1
Gildor Inglorion x1

Attachments (12):
Steward of Gondor x3
Resourceful x3
A Burning Brand x2
Asfaloth x2
Fast Hitch x2

Events (18):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Mithrandir’s Advice x3
Needful to Know x3
Out of the Wild x3
A Good Harvest x3
Timely Aid x3

Thoughts: While one approach with Mirlonde can be to use her starting threat reduction to compensate for two high threat heroes while starting at a reasonable level, I decided to go the other way and play a mono-Lore Secrecy deck. Of course this deck starts at 20, so it can’t absolutely guarantee more than one round’s worth of Secrecy, but with the card draw effects available in Lore the chances of getting some decent cards in that first round are reasonable, and I have the other deck set to provide threat reduction (plus Gandalf, and potentially Needful to Know, though obviously that’s less reliable).
Of course in the wake of Seastan’s championing of A Good Harvest, I’ve been considering it more and more, and the card draw available to mono-Lore makes this a very good fit for it, which of course allows me to get in Timely Aid as well as Steward. Then with Resourceful and Steward I can potentially end up with a lot of resources sitting around, at which point Master of Lore actually becomes decent again. Obviously it takes a little while for a Master of Lore to recoup his own cost, but you can definitely benefit from it, with the one difficult aspect being paying for him in the first place, so with all this resource generation it makes it a lot easier.
Finally of course, Silvan Tracker gets pretty crazy in this quest, because once you have one in play, you have a few essentially free targets for archery, in the Tracker herself, the Mirkwood Runner, Haldir if I find him, and Mirlonde, since they’ll all heal up each round naturally. For that reason I ended up considering Silvan Tracker more significant than Warden of Healing.

This deck name left intentionally blank

Bard the Bowman
Frodo Baggins
Glorfindel (Sp)

Allies (16):
Defender of Rammas x3
Bofur (Sp) x1
Arwen Undomiel x3
Silvan Refugee x3
West Road Traveller x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3

Attachments (19):
Gondorian Shield x3
Rivendell Blade x2
Rivendell Bow x2
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Good Meal x3

Events (15):
Feint x3
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3
Dwarven Tomb x3

Thoughts: All fairly standard stuff really. Of course Legolas would’ve synergised better with the Silvan Trackers in the first deck, but I don’t want to overuse him, and Bard does work nicely for early-game power to kill the enemies fast. As I said, I edited this deck late on to take out a little card draw and put in a little more willpower – specifically I removed 3x Blade of Gondolin and 3x Foe-hammer in favour of 3x West Road Traveller and 3x Dwarven Tomb. The Travellers aside from being willpower can help me deal with the Gardens of Poisons in particular, where I may struggle to pay the travel cost, and the Dwarven Tombs in addition to their standard use recycling Test of Will can also work for my threat reduction cards and my Silvan Refugees if they get discarded. Silvan Refugee is always a card I have mixed feelings about including given her fragility with other characters leaving play, but in this case she’s an obvious choice just because she’s cheap and I want to be careful how I spend my resources in this particular quest. Beyond the standards, being prepared for questing and combat, the big thing I wanted with this deck was to be able to help the Mirlonde deck stay in Secrecy, thus 3x Galadhrim’s Greeting and 3x Good Meal so I can play it cheaper.


Youtube video: The Druadan Forest

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1 Response to The Line Unbroken – 29: The Druadan Forest

  1. Pingback: Deck – Master Manipulator | Warden of Arnor

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