The Line Unbroken – 32: Blood of Gondor

My general feeling about the Against the Shadow cycle in a nutshell is that the quests are very good while the player cards are a lot more mixed. Blood of Gondor is perhaps the biggest strike against the “very good quests” part of that assessment. Encounter at Amon Din is easy, sure, but it’s fun. Blood of Gondor on the other hand while more challenging I think epitomises the biggest issue the Against the Shadow quests have, which is that many of them can be very randomly swingy. Whether it’s The Master’s Malice; the difference between an enemy having 1 shadow card or 9; the difference between getting a gentle walk through the Druadan Forest or walking across a pile of arrows into a wall of arrows while being shot with arrows (and incidentally having no resources); or in the case of this quest the difference between your hidden cards swarming you with enemies or all being locations/treacheries and getting discarded; the big swings made by pure random luck of the draw can be very noticeable in some of the Against the Shadow quests, and this one with the hidden cards has that front and centre as its primary quest gimmick. If you intend to flip over your hidden cards, you cannot predict how many attacks you will need to face. If you don’t, then you can, unless you get a shadow effect which forces you to do it anyway. And of course this quest does also have one of the encounter sets with all the shadow-chaining in it. I’m OK with quests being hard, I enjoy the challenge, but I prefer a slightly more consistent hard, even if it’s harder than the less consistent option.
Blood of Gondor is also weird in that we got hero Faramir in Assault on Osgiliath and then immediately afterwards we get a quest where we can’t use him because he’s an objective ally (and then Morgul Vale we’re specifically banned from using him). At least Objective ally Faramir is pretty useful to have around.

So having said all that, what do I recommend and indeed what am I going to do in terms of deck-building for this quest? Well, of course my hand is forced by the rules and principles of The Line Unbroken – I’m trying to use as much of the card pool as possible, and I have to use Caldara for this quest. Caldara means mono-Spirit, which puts me in the odd situation of running a mono-Spirit deck against a quest which spends a decent amount of its time as Battle or Siege.
So, when dealing with a quest that has severely unpredictable amounts of combat, there are a few ways to deal with the potential enemy swarms – combat trickery, lots of bodies, and action advantage. A Tactics deck could potentially make decent use of one of the new cards in the box if it saved up the resources to drop The Hammer-stroke and Thicket of Spears in the same round, and of course Tactics Boromir can just handle everything by himself if suitably set up, but that’s not necessarily what I want to do, and whatever I do has to fit in with a Caldara deck. Caldara can certainly help with the ‘lots of bodies’ approach, since even at this stage in the card pool she represents some pretty decent ally-mustering. Being mono-Spirit also enables Emery, who can kind of work as a bit of combat trickery if you chump-block with her then put another copy into play straight away, and being mono-sphere in general allows the White Tower Watchman to take undefended damage. I should also mention at this point that I’ve already roughly planned what I’m going to be doing for The Morgul Vale, and bearing that in mind, there is one mono-sphere option I have yet to use in this, the mono-sphere cycle – mono-Leadership. This also pairs well since I can muster lots of allies with Caldara and then use Strength of Arms to get lots of action advantage. I also fancy trying to get Lord of Morthond to work in a non-Outlands context, and there are a couple of reasonable ways to do that.
One other element in this quest is that it’s really great if you can kill the Black Numenorean fast, before he drives your threat up too much, so good starting attack can be important.
So here are the decks:

Dwarf of Morthond

Heroes:
Gloin
Dain Ironfoot
Boromir (Ld)

Allies (18):
Fili x1
Kili x1
Squire of the Citadel x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Dori x1
Ithilien Tracker x1
Warden of Healing x3
Gandalf (Core) x2
White Tower Watchman x3

Attachments (23):
Narvi’s Belt x3
King Under the Mountain x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Lord of Morthond x3
Tome of Atanatar x3
Path of Need x1
Citadel Plate x3
Protector of Lorien x2
Thror’s Map x2

Events (11):
Sneak Attack x3
Strength of Arms x3
For Gondor! x2
Well-Equipped x3

Thoughts: The good old Gloin jank rears its head. Not too many out-of-sphere allies, partly because that could be inconsistent if I draw them without Narvi’s Belt (though my card draw is pretty good in this deck) and also because I wanted to be pretty attachment-heavy to give OK chances of hitting with random uses of Well-Equipped – another card I’ve never actually used before. Boromir will help me both with killing enemies (especially since his ability applies to both of the objective allies) and with the Battle quest on stage 2. Dain is an odd choice, but to be honest, while his ability may come in handy, the main reason he’s here beyond the fact I haven’t used him that much in TLU is that he has 3 defence and we start out with a Siege quest. Protector of Lorien is possibly superfluous, but I wanted a way for the Caldara deck to potentially discard from hand as well as from deck (usually I’d pair Caldara with Eowyn but she’s useless for Battle/Siege). Thror’s Map allows me to avoid additional hidden cards from travelling. Steward/King get everything going, Gloin with Citadel Plates should mean I never want for resources, and I can use and recur Sneak Attack and Strength of Arms.

Fortunate Hobbits and Digging Dwarves

Heroes:
Frodo Baggins
Dwalin
Caldara

Allies (23):
Imladris Stargazer x3
Zigil Miner x3
Northern Tracker x3
Elfhelm x1
Damrod x1
Emery x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
Bofur (Sp) x1
The Riddermark’s Finest x3
White Tower Watchman x3

Attachments (10):
Good Meal x3
Map of Earnil x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Ring of Barahir x1

Events (17):
Fortune or Fate x3
A Test of Will x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
Hasty Stroke x3
Light the Beacons x1
Will of the West x1
Well-Equipped x3

Thoughts: Oh hey look it’s Dwalin again. All the enemies in this quest are orcs apart from the Black Numenorean and I plan to have deck 1 kill him straight away. With Dwalin I can accept some threat raises from Frodo without worrying too much and without needing to devote deckspace to threat reduction. Plus I needed decent combat Spirit heroes. Frodo of course is great for combat since he can take undefended attacks in perfect safety so long as I have threat to spare. He also enables Good Meal to let me play Fortune or Fate for 3 instead of 5. Beyond that, a lot of standard Caldara stuff – Fortune or Fate, Imladris Stargazer/Zigil Miner, Map of Earnil and Dwarven Tomb, and all the 4-cost Spirit allies. The one thing I omitted is the standard selection of Spirit willpower allies since we don’t use willpower for a lot of this quest. I’ve got The Riddermark’s Finest to possibly combo with Northern Trackers and keep the locations clear, one speculative copy of Light the Beacons since it can make for a big play and I can potentially fund it the same way I fund Fortune or Fate. Well-Equipped here is mostly just to fill up the discard pile. The one copy of Ring of Barahir is for Gloin if I find it, since with itself and Thror’s Map that’ll be 2 artifacts, and a couple of extra hit points on Gloin can certainly come in handy.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/1911/the-line-unbroken-blood-of-gondor
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4161/the-line-unbroken-blood-of-gondor-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4162/the-line-unbroken-blood-of-gondor-deck-2-1.0

Youtube video: Blood of Gondor

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3 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 32: Blood of Gondor

  1. INK1ing says:

    Nice to see Gloin get dusted off. That guy was a real money maker for you.

    Blood of Gondor is a funny one. My last two playthroughs I ended up keeping The Crossroads the entire game and siege questing the whole way. It worked well and was entirely accidental!

    Like

    • PocketWraith says:

      Yeah, I considered the approach of Siege questing all the way, but sooner or later Caldara would’ve brought out some Northern Trackers and screwed it up for me. Plus covering Siege questing and actual defence all game would’ve been kind of difficult with this setup. I think it’s definitely a viable strategy though.

      Like

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