The Line Unbroken – 31: Assault on Osgiliath

Back to the regular run of deluxes and cycles, and to Gondor. After wrapping up that whole conspiracy thing and stopping off to rescue some villagers on the way back to Minas Tirith, now we get into the big picture stuff, Gondor versus Mordor, as we lend our aid to the army seeking to retake the city of Osgiliath. Assault on Osgiliath is an interesting and sometimes interestingly problematic quest – there are a couple of ways in which it can get rather broken in the players’ favour, especially at lower player-counts, but it also gets to be a fairly interesting challenge if you don’t hit those oddities. The whole mechanic of taking control of locations and having to avoid losing them is difficult, though sometimes I struggle to keep track of the things I can’t do without losing locations. In particular being unable to take undefended attacks is sometimes bothersome, and not being able to have characters leave play obviously seriously messes up certain archetypes (though that particular location is really easy to get back, so I may well do it anyway). Regardless, it definitely is something of a pattern that the fourth quest in a cycle is somehow location focused, and Assault on Osgiliath is my favourite 4th quest of a cycle up to this point in the card pool.

On the player card front, this is a somewhat eccentric pack. Nothing I would consider a dud (though not everyone would agree with me on that), but all of the cards in this box really need to fit into a particular type of deck, none of them are really things you can just throw into a deck without thinking about it. Mono-sphere, Outlands, attack boost requiring resource generation, Lore direct damage, and scrying in exchange for threat raises. Oh, and Lore Faramir of course. Faramir is a hero who a lot of the community tend to deride, but personally I like him. I mean, I wouldn’t rate him as absolute top-tier and I prefer his Leadership hero incarnation, but all-rounder statlines are much better than a lot of people consider them, and there’s something to be said in my opinion for a hero who can reach 5 attack without using up his restricted slots. Some would say it’s too much work to get him powered up reliably, but I’ve found he tends to do pretty well even if you just put 3 copies of Ranger Spikes in your deck and call it a day, and since Ranger Spikes is generally agreed to be a pretty great card, that’s not exactly a hardship.

So in building for Assault on Osgiliath, what does one do? To be honest, mostly just cover the standard bases. The Master’s Malice appears in this quest, so I considered mono-sphere, but on glancing through the encounter deck the other treacheries mostly didn’t look too bad so I figured I could manage by just being ready to cancel it if really necessary. Given the issue of losing Ruined Squares when characters leave play I figured I’d omit Gandalf. And given the presence of the Mumak I figured I could put in some silver bullets for it in the form of Rivendell Blades and Straight Shot. Beyond that I mostly looked at what heroes I haven’t used that much and picked some I thought I could make work.

Brothers in Arms

Heroes:
Elrohir
Elladan
Dwalin

Allies (6):
Arwen Undomiel x3
Silvan Refugee x3

Attachments (24):
King Under the Mountain x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Blade of Gondolin x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Rivendell Bow x2
Light of Valinor x1
Power in the Earth x3
Unexpected Courage x3

Events (20):
Campfire Tales x3
Feint x3
Foe-hammer x3
Straight Shot x2
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x3
A Good Harvest x3

Thoughts: Yes you read that right, I put Power in the Earth into this deck. The thing is, shortly after declaring in the Hobbit wrap-up post that I didn’t think I would ever use it, I realised that this is one quest in which it actually could make some sense. The problem with Power in the Earth is that you attach it to a location, then you explore the location and your attachment is now gone and you’ve mostly wasted that resource. The exception is if there’s a location which you’re definitely not going to explore and thus have to leave in the staging area forever, in which case Power in the Earth becomes 1 resource for the equivalent of 1 willpower for the rest of the game. Assault on Osgiliath includes two 1 threat locations which cannot be travelled to, which are often my choices for starting locations and among the last locations I explore at the end of the game and the quest doesn’t let you place progress in the staging area so they’re the perfect targets. To be honest, there are probably still better choices, but just finding a case where that card doesn’t completely suck I count as a win, so I’m going to take it.
So I’ve always figured I should make more use of Elrond’s twin sons than I do. At the very least, it would be a great disservice not to show them off again at some point in The Line Unbroken now I have access to the standard Elrohir combo of Steward of Gondor + Gondorian Shield. I’ve also included a bare minimum of Leadership cards in the deck so Elrohir can save them for his ability and defend the entire table – hence three copies of Arwen to hopefully get him Sentinel as fast as possible. In deference to the tri-sphere (and also saving resources on Elladan) all the cards are cheap and I’ve included A Good Harvest to smooth things out. Silvan Refugees fit since I already fixed on the plan of not having any characters leave play so my Ruined Squares will stay with me. Dwalin allows me to not worry about threat reduction cards in the deck since about half the enemies in this quest are Orcs, and since he’s a Dwarf I get King Under the Mountain for more card draw. Blades of Gondolin will help him kill Orcs, while the Rivendell Blades go on the twins. I already mentioned including Straight Shot as a precaution against the Mumak.

Wise Counsels

Heroes:
Elrond
Faramir
Mirlonde

Allies (17):
Imladris Stargazer x3
Gildor Inglorion x1
Haldir of Lorien x1
Gleowine x1
Henamarth Riversong x1
Ithilien Tracker x2
Master of the Forge x3
Warden of Healing x2
Envoy of Pelargir x3

Attachments (15):
Vilya x3
Unexpected Courage x3
A Burning Brand x2
Protector of Lorien x3
Ranger Spikes x3
Song of Wisdom x1

Events (18):
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3
Mithrandir’s Advice x3
Secret Paths x3
A Good Harvest x3

Thoughts: Yeah, so basically I like Elrond and Vilya so I built a deck with Elrond and Vilya and figured I’d go mono-Lore. Ranger Spikes help out Faramir like I said. Song of Wisdom means Elrohir can have a Burning Brand as well, and with Daeron’s Runes, Mithrandir’s Advice and Master of the Forge, plus Vilya churning through the deck, I stand a pretty good chance of getting it in play. Protector of Lorien allows for controlled questing and defence boosts and ditching of surplus uniques, you can never have too many copies of Unexpected Courage, and then I can mess with the encounter deck a bit, cancelling threat or cutting out a reveal with Gildor’s Counsel.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/1910/the-line-unbroken-assault-on-osgiliath
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4159/the-line-unbroken-assault-on-osgiliath-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4160/the-line-unbroken-assault-on-osgiliath-deck-2-1.0

Youtube video: Assault on Osgiliath

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