The Line Unbroken – 38: The Three Trials

So we come now to The Three Trials. I think I would not be alone in saying this is definitely my favourite quest of the whole Ring-maker cycle. It’s just an incredibly well put together quest – which is perhaps even more impressive given that if I’m remembering rightly from a Cardboard of the Rings interview, Caleb basically fobbed this quest off onto Matt because he had no idea what to do with the concept.
And along with the great quest came… some player cards. Some interesting player cards, I like the hero a lot, but there are a few cards in here which are really kind of niche (and as I’ve found, much less useful if you have a generally limited card pool and thus less stuff to put with them). Idraen is good, though she’s a better fit for higher player counts, the Silvan bits are good, Elven Mail is good though it’s not something I use all that much. Then we have some kind of OK Secrecy cards, a couple of location control cards which many would consider outclassed by the alternatives (I’d be more willing to argue the point about Warden of Arnor, but even then I’ve been known to forget it’s the name of a card as well as my blog); and Message from Elrond. Now Message from Elrond is actually a card with some pretty interesting potential uses once you start to think about them properly, which I won’t go into too much detail on because it’s probably going to merit a full RingsDB card review when I finish up the cycle, but suffice to say I think it could have some pretty impressive applications if you actually build your decks on the assumption of using it, and hopefully I’ll get to show off some uses later in the cycle. In general though, and if you’re not building co-operatively, it tends to be of limited use.

Back to the quest then. We face off against a series of three boss enemies (in a random order) and three tricky locations (in a random order), against the backdrop of three rather different quest stages (in an order we choose). The upshot of this is that we need to be ready for combat early and ideally we want to be prepared for dealing with any of the Guardian and Barrow effects at any point. Threat can be an issue, particularly with the Stone Barrow, and between the Cave Barrow and Curse of the Wild Men, it’s not a good idea to be too reliant on allies. So let’s look at an approach which relies on hero power and perhaps a few more powerful (unique) allies, and/or some disposable chumps. Aside from this and the inclusion of Idraen pushing me towards location control a bit, my deck-building decisions were motivated more by the desire to cross a few more odd cards off my list of things I haven’t used – for all that this quest can be challenging, it doesn’t concern me so much as to prevent me pulling together some weird jank against it and still feeling I can win. So let’s move on to the decks:

The Fall of Gimli-Galad


Allies (12):
Brok Ironfist x3
Landroval x3
Gandalf (Core) x3
Faramir x2
Beorn x1

Attachments (18):
Steward of Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3
Citadel Plate x3
Cram x3
Dunedain Cache x3
Firefoot x2
The Fall of Gil-Galad x1

Events (20):
Sneak Attack x3
Feint x3
A Good Harvest x3
The White Council x3
Well-Equipped x2
The Wizard’s Voice x2
Close Call x2
Blade Mastery x2

Thoughts: I’ve had this in mind pretty much since I started The Line Unbroken, though I wasn’t entirely sure when I’d end up doing it – getting Brok Ironfist into play by combining him with The Fall of Gil-Galad and Sneak Attack Landroval. I figure now’s a pretty good time, since this quest is a good fit for a strong focus on heroes and a few unique allies. That focus and a desire to cross more cards of the list of things I haven’t used also guided a lot of the other deckbuilding, with things like Close Call and The White Council (since it can ready a hero) fitting nicely into this context. I primarily want those power plays for towards the end of the game when I have to deal with all 3 Guardians at once, at which point The Wizard’s Voice also becomes a good option for me to have to cancel two attacks with one card and 3 Doomed. Blade Mastery was a slight afterthought as one more card I could cross off the list, but it’s not too out of place here since it’s not out of the question I could have some spare resources, and it gives whichever bonus I need at a given moment from one card (thus saving on deckspace), like a weaker but not trait-specific equivalent to Durin’s Song or Halfling Determination. Dunedain Cache is a good choice here since I’m mostly just working with my heroes rather than allies for attack power and it’s unpredictable as to where the Guardians will be when I want to kill them. My hero selection came down to a few things – Gimli was locked in for Fall of Gil-Galad/Brok Ironfist purposes; Balin gets me a little extra utility from Well-Equipped and has a very useful ability for a quest with some tough combat, plus he’s a favourite; Eomer was mostly just because I wanted to use Firefoot, but also he can get high attack without much help and characters should leave play enough to make that at least somewhat worthwhile.

Eriador Explorers

Glorfindel (Sp)

Allies (14):
Master of the Forge x3
Blue Mountain Trader x3
Imladris Stargazer x2
Arwen Undomiel x2
Gildor Inglorion x2
Ravenhill Scout x2

Attachments (15):
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Asfaloth x3
Protector of Lorien x3
Warden of Arnor x2
The Fall of Gil-Galad x1

Events (21):
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
A Good Harvest x3
The White Council x3

Thoughts: Once again I’m pulling in some cards I hadn’t used before. Fall of Gil-Galad is here as well, and this deck doesn’t need to use A Good Harvest or Well-Equipped for it (important to note that The Fall of Gil-Galad is not unique despite being limit 1 per deck); it also can find it easier with Master of the Forge. I’ve also got in Blue Mountain Traders here to help smooth out some resources and a couple of speculative Ravenhill Scouts who might go OK with Idraen. It would be hard for me to leave out Warden of Arnor of course since (surprisingly enough) it’s a card I’m quite fond of, but it also may work out pretty well since there are a few locations with 3 quest points so it can combine with Asfaloth to explore those instantly. The White Council has the same benefits here as in the other deck. Beyond that it’s all fairly standard – Imladris Stargazers are intended more likely to set up the other deck for more precise uses of King Under the Mountain and Well-Equipped. Arwen and Gildor obviously fit the pattern of powerful unique allies, and Protector of Lorien gives me a use for all these duplicate unique cards I’ve put in both decks; and the rest should be self-explanatory.


Youtube video: The Three Trials

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3 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 38: The Three Trials

  1. INK1ing says:

    The Brok / Gil-Galad worked a treat. Were you not tempted to throw in a few secrecy cards to benefit from the threat drop?

    Man I love Blue Mountain Trader. It’s one of those cards that just fills so many roles. He is a useful dwarf for sure.


    • PocketWraith says:

      To be honest the goal of Brok/Gil-Galad was more to actually make use of Brok/Gil-Galad so I could say “Look, I did it!” I didn’t actually think about the benefit of having a low threat afterwards (also it wasn’t until recently that I noticed Fall of Gil-Galad was non-unique so having two copies was a relatively late change to the plan).
      Yeah, Blue Mountain Trader is still useful even post-errata.


  2. Pingback: My Top 10 Favourite Cards Which I Never Use | Warden of Arnor

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