The Line Unbroken – C6: Breaking of the Fellowship

And so still grieving the loss of Gandalf in Moria, I must continue on to the final quest of this saga box, Breaking of the Fellowship. The end of Journey in the Dark is quite possibly the most impactful campaign choice we’ve had so far and it may well remain such. Either you escape without killing the Balrog (assuming you’re not playing Nightmare) and have to take all four Burdens rather than only two, which could be devastating in the long run, or you have to sacrifice a hero, meaning you can never use any version of that character again (Shh, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain holding the cards from the next saga expansion) and all players get +1 to their starting threat for the rest of the campaign. And even then you still have to take two pretty nasty Burdens. Campaign mode Journey in the Dark can be a pretty hefty kick in the teeth.

A note here: I don’t know how representative my experience is, but when I’ve played campaigns I’ve never gotten fallen heroes except from killing the Balrog. Of course since you’re allowed to replay quests to get better results anyone can do that but that doesn’t mean they do. I just tend to find that if I start losing heroes I probably lose the game as well, whereas if I get into a winning position then I can keep everybody alive. I’d be curious if other people have had differing experiences.

Not much else to say about campaign mode, of course I wrote a post a little while back going into more detail about campaign choices for boons and burdens, so you can look there if you’re interested in more detailed thoughts on the subject. Now to the Line Unbroken campaign specifically, and Breaking of the Fellowship. How am I going to modify my decks to accommodate the loss of Gandalf and prepare for this next scenario?
Well, one of the big impacts was when I realised that since I’d thrown Gandalf off a bridge, I now can’t Sneak Attack the ally version either. Given that 3x Sneak Attack and 2x or 3x Gandalf (Core) are pretty much constant in any deck I build with Leadership, that was a fairly impactful realisation. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The first question was of course, which hero do I replace him with? I wanted to stay fairly thematic and pick a member of the Fellowship, which left me with not much choice – Sam, Boromir and Gimli were the only ones not yet accounted for. Gimli I wasn’t so keen on because it’d give me an overabundance of Tactics, especially problematic for a quest where the players get split up and have to quest separately. Sam I was trying to avoid because the next opportunity to change heroes without a threat penalty is after The Uruk-Hai which would mean Sam would have to be there for that before running off back towards Mordor to help Frodo. Leaving me with Boromir. Perfectly reasonable choice, it is I suppose somewhat thematic that he gets his chance to shine at this point in the saga, though I don’t plan on having him fall into evil. So I grab Leadership Boromir and obviously he can get me some good questing with Visionary Leadership, plus combat power from his own ability, all sounds good aside from my aforementioned inability to Sneak Attack Gandalf.
Beyond that, what does the quest demand? Well, mostly just the same as Journey in the Dark, though in different and more extreme ways. Where in Journey I wanted to avoid enemies on stage 1 and then kill them all on stage 2 where it’s essential for quest advancement, for Breaking it’s pretty much impossible to deal with enemies on stage 1 and then when you hit stage 2 they automatically all rush you. The demon of direct damage also rears its head once more in the form of many enemies with archery. Returning briefly to the discussion of campaign mode choices on burdens, this is the point to be incredibly glad I killed the Balrog and chose to take Overcome by Grief rather than Grievous Wound, because the latter would be an immediate nightmare in this quest. And the final rather crucial point to bear in mind is that as I mentioned further up the decks will get split up and have to quest separately so they need to be decent all-rounder decks.
So, here are the decklists:

Boromir the Bold

Boromir (Ld)

Allies (25):
Galadriel x3
Squire of the Citadel x3
Citadel Custodian x3
Pelargir Ship Captain x3
Errand-rider x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Faramir x2
Bofur (Ta) x2

Attachments (17):
Steward of Gondor x3
Visionary Leadership x3
Sword that was Broken x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3
Blade of Gondolin x3
Glamdring x1
Anduril x1

Events (10):
Campfire Tales x3
Feint x3
Hands Upon the Bow x2
A Good Harvest x2

Thoughts: There are not actually that many Tactics cards I really wanted for this quest, so a lot of the time I may want to shuttle away my Tactics resources with Errand-riders, or spend them on Leadership cards with Good Harvest. The bulk of this deck is dedicated to setting up willpower machines on both sides of the table, with Celebrian’s Stone and Sword that was Broken for Aragorn, and Visionary Leadership plus a bunch of Gondor allies for this deck; plus Faramir can work for either deck. The Blades of Gondolin I put in partly because all the enemies in this quest are orcs and thus susceptible but mostly because it’s a way to supplement questing with combat. Bofur can help to find the small selection of weapons a bit faster, but given the demands of the quest it’s more likely he’ll just be used in his capacity as a 2 willpower Tactics ally. Ally Galadriel of course provides more willpower and hopefully will accelerate the deck with her ability bringing out an attachment immediately.

Now may I make a right choice

Aragorn (Lo)
Pippin (Lo)
Fatty Bolger

Allies (18):
Elrond x3
Warden of Healing x3
Master of the Forge x3
West Road Traveller x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
Gleowine x2
Saruman x2

Attachments (17):
Ranger Spikes x3
Fast Hitch x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Protector of Lorien x2
Ring of Barahir x2
Fellowship of the Ring x2
Sting x1
Mithril Shirt x1

Events (17):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
A Test of Will x3
Hasty Stroke x2
Desperate Alliance x2
Dwarven Tomb x2
Shadow of the Past x2

Thoughts: Ally Elrond is a crucial inclusion for this quest because I need to be able to remove Fallen into Evil should it get attached. His healing could also be useful. This deck may suffer a little from a shortage of resources, but in theory the other deck should be able to help with that, while this deck in turn can help that deck with its card draw via Deep Knowledge and Gleowine. Standard cancellation and readying, Desperate Alliance for Loragorn, Shadow of the Past for Gildor. Sting and the Mithril Shirt were the boons I thought were more important to get out faster, thus they’re here in the deck with Master of the Forge. This deck may end up a bit shorter on willpower than the other, but it can still keep up, especially when it gets Sword that was Broken. Plus it has Ranger Spikes and Fatty to help manage staging threat. Plus an unexpected appearance from Saruman to help fight his own Uruk-Hai. This is partly because it amuses me based on the theme, but also he could actually be useful, with his ability to treat something in the staging area as out of play. In particular I’ve always wanted to put something out of play before advancing to stage 2, since then it will still be out of play while encounter cards are being divided up between the new stage 3 staging areas, so by my interpretation it’d remain at stage 2 and then vanish when stage 2 was discarded. Maybe I’ll get to do that, maybe not. Arwen and Protector of Lorien will help with my defences (Protector also crucially does willpower), while 3 Wardens of Healing will of course make it that much easier to stomach the archery. That’s also why I put in the Ring of Barahir, as when struggling against a lot of archery damage, the ability to get Aragorn up to a pool of 9 hit points would be rather helpful.


Youtube video: Breaking of the Fellowship

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