The Line Unbroken – 35: To Catch an Orc

On from the Fords we come to Isengard to do the bidding of Saruman the White, and thus begin the principal plot of the Ring-maker cycle, wherein it seems we are unwittingly helping Saruman to assemble all the forces he later uses to assail Rohan, not knowing of his treachery and of course being beguiled by his voice. In this particular case of course we are capturing an orc chieftain who one imagines may be the basis of the Uruk-Hai.

So, now that I can use Grima in his hero form rather than as an objective ally, let’s talk about Doomed player cards. They had an interesting execution. The ones in Voice of Isengard are generally fine, since the cost in threat is potentially hefty, but they provide correspondingly large bonuses to all players, at least for the most part – The Wizard’s Voice is problematic since you can’t guarantee that all players will have enemies they need to stop attacks from at the same time, and the cost of Doomed 3 is difficult to stomach for that reason. Another little thing we might analyse is that while one could easily imagine an exchange rate of 1 resource to 1 Doomed, in practice I would say that resources are more valuable than threat – certainly for a single player, the relation becomes perhaps trickier to quantify when you’re spending everyone’s threat on a benefit for only one player, as with Grima’s ability and some of the optional Doomed abilities in the cycle. That said, threat management has become much easier with time and more cards, and the fact the Doomed cards mostly have no cost in resources so they can be played at any time gives them tremendous value.

So onto the quest. To Catch an Orc has another odd mechanic in the out of play deck. What this means for my deckbuilding is that once again I want to bring heroes who can manage regardless of my draw, since I can’t depend on drawing any particular card, and that I probably want my decks to be very consistent. Oh, and means of recurring cards from my discard pile wouldn’t go amiss either. And into these requirements I have to fit Eomer and Grima. Here goes:

The Swift Sons of Eorl


Allies (18):
Faramir x1
Snowbourn Scout x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Saruman x2

Attachments (12):
Path of Need x1
Steward of Gondor x3
Blade of Gondolin x3
Mighty Prowess x2
Rohan Warhorse x3

Events (20):
Legacy of Numenor x1
Second Breakfast x3
Sneak Attack x3
Feint x3
Quick Strike x3
The Wizard’s Voice x1
Hidden Cache x3
The Seeing-stone x3

Thoughts: OK, so firstly to the points where I’m specifically playing into the quest mechanics – the Search mechanic dumps a sizeable number of cards into your discard pile, so lots of recursion makes sense, thus Hama and Second Breakfast. Hidden Cache gets in on a handy technicality – your out of play deck is still your deck, and the Search mechanic discards cards from it, so free resources! (Edit: A little while after I made this post someone asked and the ruling came down that your out of play deck doesn’t count as your deck and so the Search mechanic does not trigger Hidden Cache.) The Seeing-stone can be useful anyway, but here its primary purpose is not to dig other Doomed cards out of my deck, but simply to allow me to look at my deck and find out what is still in it, and therefore what is in the out of play deck instead. This deck is mostly pretty standard aside from those aspects, with 1 copy of each of the Leadership and Tactics Doomed events making an appearance, plus our newer wizard friend.

Counsel your Doom

Glorfindel (Sp)

Allies (15):
Arwen Undomiel x3
Wandering Took x3
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Isengard Messenger x3
Warden of Healing x3

Attachments (13):
Light of Valinor x3
Song of Earendil x3
Unexpected Courage x2
Asfaloth x2
Keys of Orthanc x3

Events (25):
A Test of Will x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Stand and Fight x2
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
Hidden Cache x3
The Seeing-stone x3

Thoughts: Hidden Cache and Seeing-stone are here for the same reason as in the other deck, but this one is less standard in other respects. The Isengard Messengers of course are new, but they’re pretty good if you plan on triggering Grima regularly. Recursion again with Dwarven Tomb and Stand and Fight, and to handle all the Doomed I’ve got the Wandering Took/Song of Earendil combo and some standard threat reduction events. It may be overkill to be honest, I could probably manage with just the events, but it’s too late to go back and change the decks now!


Youtube video: To Catch an Orc

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3 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 35: To Catch an Orc

  1. svartelric says:

    I am currently tackling this adventure, my partner uses a deck very close to your mono-Tactics, but I am struggling to find a good complementary questing deck… I might try your second deck, although I wanted to avoid Glorfindel (I really overplayed him, seems I can’t win an adventure without him anymore :/ – but I digress)


    • PocketWraith says:

      I totally get the Glorfindel problem. I try to avoid using him too much myself, but the fact of it is that playing progression-style there aren’t that many Spirit heroes who are easily and flexibly usable at this point (Nori/Oin are dwarf-specific, Dunhere/Dwalin/Caldara are finnicky, Pippin’s bad, and often you want a decent quester rather than support like Eleanor or Fatty), so it’s hard to avoid. With a larger card pool I manage to use him a lot less.


      • svartelric says:

        Yep, I get you – in fact, I’ll probably try beating the adventure with an Eowyn/Glorfindel(Spirit)/Denethor(Lore) deck, while my girlfriend will use her Theoden/Hama/Beregond steamroller…


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