The Line Unbroken – C2: A Knife in the Dark

With the two special event/PoD quests from 2014 out of the way we come back to the Black Riders box for Knife in the Dark. In my opinion, this quest is where campaign mode really starts to make an impact on how quests play out – well, specifically the resolution of this quest. The choice at the end of Shadow of the Past between Gildor and Mr. Underhill, and Gandalf’s Delay and The Ring Draws Them certainly can be an impactful one, but the optional boons from the two optional PoD quests much less so (Old Bogey-stories is a nice bonus but also easy to manage without, and Ho! Tom Bombadil! is a one-time-only thing so you tend to hang on to it), and the stat-bonus/trait-gaining boons from this quest kind of blow them out of the water in terms of changing how your campaign plays out in my opinion. For that reason, they’re one of the main things I’d consider planning around when picking my heroes to start a new campaign. There are so many incredibly interesting options I think I’ll have to save discussing them for a separate post specifically on that subject.
This quest is an interesting challenge, with the question of how you deal with Bill Ferny, the potential for enemies to build up when you can’t engage or kill them while Midgewater’s active, all the Nazgul coming out to kill you once you hit stage 3 so you definitely don’t want to have other enemies hanging around at that point, and of course, the on-going struggle to avoid adding those Nazgul into the deck in the first place. So what do we want? A decent general build-up of questing and combat power will help with everything, and in particular I need to be combat-ready for stage 3. Engagement trickery can help deal with Bill Ferny, as can direct damage, or alternatively I can let him boost my threat up and then drop it back down again once he’s gone. Otherwise, since The Prancing Pony allows for a free ally, it feels thematically appropriate to maybe go for more than one. And there’s a neat trick one can potentially pull off with Thror’s Map and the Weather Hills…

A Conspiracy of Friends

Sam Gamgee
Pippin (Lo)

Allies (13):
Bill the Pony x1
Erestor x1
Faramir x1
Son of Arnor x2
Beorn x1
Descendant of Thorondor x2
Landroval x1
Barliman Butterbur x1
Haldir of Lorien x1
Gandalf (Core) x2

Attachments (15):
Hobbit Cloak x3
Dagger of Westernesse x3
Mighty Prowess x1
Rivendell Bow x2
Elf-stone x3
Fast Hitch x3

Events (22):
Sneak Attack x3
Timely Aid x3
Feint x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Out of the Wild x3
A Good Harvest x3
Shadow of the Past x2
Frodo’s Intuition x2

Thoughts: A bit ally-heavier would obviously make more sense for Timely Aid, but I should still have decent chances of hitting something good with it. I’ve also got Elf-stone in there for even more free allies as I said, and Son of Arnor to pull down Bill Ferny. Other than that it’s all fairly standard stuff. Although I’ve got slightly more Secrecy in this version of the deck, I’m still not bothering with Resourceful since I’m still in a state where a lot of the deck is cheap even without Secrecy. Plus the other deck can potentially help me out with threat reduction.

All that is gold does not glitter

Aragorn (Lo)
Fatty Bolger

Allies (13):
Arwen Undomiel x2
West Road Traveller x3
Master of the Forge x3
Warden of Healing x2
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments (20):
King Under the Mountain x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Celebrian’s Stone x2
Sword that was Broken x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Unexpected Courage x3
A Burning Brand x1
Thror’s Map x2

Events (17):
Sneak Attack x3
A Test of Will x3
Desperate Alliance x2
Daeron’s Runes x3
A Good Harvest x3
Shadow of the Past x3

Thoughts: A Good Harvest is absolutely key here to help get Aragorn his artifacts and thus smooth out his resources to pay for everything. Master of the Forge will help me find these important attachments, and of course Desperate Alliance remains an incredibly potent combo with Loragorn.


Youtube video: A Knife in the Dark

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