The Line Unbroken – 37: The Dunland Trap

Returning from the First Age to the official content we come to the beginning of the Ring-Maker cycle with The Dunland Trap. Now before I actually get to talking about Dunland Trap itself, I want to talk briefly about a conversation I had a little while back over Discord. The subject was the fact that progression-style playthroughs of the game can become somewhat less interesting beyond a certain point, as after a while playing progression-style stops being so much of a challenge in terms of your available deckbuilding options. I think there’s definitely something to be said for that perspective, and around Ring-Maker could be seen as such a point – certainly I’ve never felt particularly restricted in my deckbuilding, and this is around the point where I got seriously into the game. That said, I still think there’s value in continuing this series, for a few reasons:

One simple one is that feeling restricted in your deckbuilding options is always a relative thing. Building with a pool up to Ring-maker wasn’t an issue when Ring-maker was new, but after gaining a certain amount of distance it feels more so.
Secondly there is more to a progression-style playthrough than just the challenge of deckbuilding with a limited card pool. A big part of it is examining how the game has changed in the course of its life so far (both with regard to player cards and quests), and that’s an area of exploration which will continue to be relevant through absolutely everything. I do however think it’s better to perform such analysis from a reasonable distance so one can look at things in a retrospective having had time to get used to the developments of a given cycle rather than just present initial knee-jerk reactions. So if, say, I was up to the Angmar Awakened cycle at this point I might postpone moving forward into it since my perspective on a lot of it is still pretty fresh, I can use a bit more time to let everything sink in and become normal so I can then examine it in a more dispassionate fashion and with the benefits of experience and hindsight.
Thirdly and finally, another significant point of such a series is to show all the different things in the game – demonstrate how all the quests work and can be beaten for people who want to see that, and in my case also try to show off as many different player cards as possible as I go, including of course always using a new hero where they were released. And that again is something which will never run out of steam so long as the game continues to be developed. There may be less interest in a general “let’s play this quest” and “let’s build a deck with all of this card pool”, but “let’s build a deck for this quest using these particular cards you’ve probably never used” is I would hope a more exciting proposition.

As a little addendum since I’m talking about The Line Unbroken as a whole moving forward, I’ll also mention here firstly that I’ve been going through all the cards I picked as favourites/least favourites/etc in my Against the Shadow wrap-up and posting card reviews for them on RingsDB; and secondly that I’m finally starting to go through all the old Line Unbroken videos adding annotations for where I made mistakes, and I’m also planning to put the decks onto RingsDB (though this will take quite a while since I have a substantial backlog to get through).

So, with that long preamble on the nature of the whole series out of the way, let’s talk about The Dunland Trap. In terms of the player cards, We start to see the development of the Silvan trait, with the enters play effects and the first event which bounces them back out again. Beyond that, it’s very mixed, and this sets the tone for all the packs in this cycle. In contrast to some of Against the Shadow, where Steward’s Fear contained almost all the Outlands cards, and Druadan Forest contained a lot of the mono-sphere cards, here everything has been spread out, so in addition to Silvans we see another mount, a couple of Secrecy cards, a utility Dwarf ally, and some interesting but perhaps somewhat niche events. When we come to the deckbuilding you’ll see that this variance has manifested itself in me using very few of the new cards here – in fact only the Naith Guide and The Tree People, since of course I’m building with Celeborn. Everything else will have to wait.
Turning to the quest, it’s a tricky one. For starters you definitely want a certain level of efficiency to get cards out when you’re repeatedly discarding your entire hand (of course from a modern perspective where we’re getting used to playing Erestor, this doesn’t seem as big a deal as it used to be). And on the other hand it very much throws into the desire for decks to work fast and aggressively, with high power heroes and/or the ability to get important stuff out fast (efficiency again). And then the massive dump of your good stuff when you hit stage 2 means you can’t be too reliant on your allies. And into this I have to fit Celeborn with the more limited selection of Silvan allies we had at this point in the game’s life. And then on the other side, nothing specifically focused on the quest itself (well, aside from a couple of handy wrinkles), but just something I really wanted to do.

Elven Realms Unite

Heroes:
Celeborn
Legolas
Elrond

Allies (25):
Naith Guide x3
Silverlode Archer x3
Silvan Tracker x3
Mirkwood Runner x3
Haldir of Lorien x1
Henamarth Riversong x1
Master of the Forge x3
Warden of Healing x2
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachments (13):
Steward of Gondor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Vilya x3
Expert Treasure-hunter x2
A Burning Brand x2

Events (12):
Sneak Attack x3
The Tree People x3
Feint x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3

Thoughts: One of the biggest benefits to more Silvan synergy is that any Silvan character with more than 1 hit point can be repeatedly healed by the Silvan Tracker. Ensuring we can afford them means Steward on Elrond (who also boosts the healing, can pay for the Leadership Silvans as well, and brings Vilya. Hopefully I can be well set up when I advance so as to rapidly re-establish a board state. It should be noted that the only attachment I will have to discard when I advance is Burning Brand. I brought no other items. The 3 copies of Feint are the only Tactics cards for Legolas, but he can pay for Neutral cards and he benefits from Silvan Tracker while being a good attacking hero. Finally, Expert Treasure-hunter is to be played cross-table, because this deck isn’t really enthused about randomly discarding things, but the other deck is very keen on it…

Mustering the Fallen

Heroes:
Eowyn
Frodo Baggins
Caldara

Allies (22):
Lorien Guide x3
Northern Tracker x3
West Road Traveller x3
Zigil miner x3
Imladris Stargazer x3
Pelargir Shipwright x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
Emery x2

Attachments (10):
Unexpected Courage x3
Good Meal x3
Map of Earnil x3
Light of Valinor x1

Events (18):
A Test of Will x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
Fortune or Fate x3
Hasty Stroke x3
Well-Equipped x3
Hidden Cache x3

Thoughts: Since Caldara was released in Blood of Gondor and that quest doesn’t spend so much time questing with willpower I couldn’t build a more standard Caldara deck for it, and since Caldara is one of my favourite heroes, I was very keen to do so at some point. So here we are! Pretty standard Caldara, discard everything and bring it all back again. I included Lorien Guides since Celeborn will boost them, but other than that and the one Light of Valinor it’s all pretty normal. Caldara works very well with the start of this quest because she really doesn’t care about full hand discards. When we advance it’ll be more of a problem since allies get mostly discarded and the discard pile gets shuffled back in, but hopefully I’ll be able to discard again fast enough to quickly re-muster my army. It’s important to note that while you lose if a hero is destroyed on stage 3, discarding Caldara does not count as her being destroyed. This handily also makes her the perfect target for the potentially devastating condition treachery, In Need of Rest. Under a lot of circumstances that treachery can spell an immediate loss on stage 3 if you can’t cancel or remove it – Caldara can just remove it by discarding herself.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/2113/the-line-unbroken-the-dunland-trap
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4477/the-line-unbroken-the-dunland-trap-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4478/the-line-unbroken-the-dunland-trap-deck-2-1.0

Youtube:
The Dunland Trap (Attempt 1)
The Dunland Trap (Attempts 2&3)

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3 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 37: The Dunland Trap

  1. INK1ing says:

    In Need of Rest is just ridiculous in this quest. Even with healing or Caldara antics it is still a game loser come the last stage. It would probably make more sense to damage the hero only if they are exhausted. Still, good job and it’s just as entertaining to see losses as well as wins.

    I think there is definitely value in continuing this series and the progression style is still engaging. Plus I like the added tweak to seeing the hero that came with the quest as part of the quest. It opens up some interesting deck ideas … that I can copy.

    Like

  2. Pingback: The Line Unbroken – Fellowship of the Ring Wrap-Up | Warden of Arnor

  3. Pingback: The Line Unbroken – Ring-maker Cycle Wrap-up | Warden of Arnor

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