The Line Unbroken – 41: Celebrimbor’s Secret

Celebrimbor’s Secret, as I’ve mentioned elsewhere, was a pack I was very mixed about. The player cards are great, most notably hero Galadriel. Everything is better with Galadriel. But the quest… well, the theme of the quest is right up my alley, exploring the ruins of Ost-in-Edhil in search of the secrets to forging magical rings, that’s really awesome. In practice though, the mechanics can end up as more of a frustrating slog through too many locations and an annoying ebb and flow of enemies while under time pressure – this quest represents I think my least favourite implementation of the Time mechanic, because what happens if the time runs out is basically that you get more of the same things which were already causing you problems. Exacerbating all your problems makes it frustrating, as you get overwhelmed again right at the moment you felt you were starting to make headway, and the fact it happens in such a straightforward way (Bellach forcing you to all pull out another enemy and locations gradually dying) makes it less interesting to my mind than other Time effects (side note, I wonder if this accounts for some of the hatred people have for the Surge keyword – it’s not just that it makes things more difficult, but also that it does so in a way we find boring).

Enough griping, let’s talk about the player cards again. Galadriel really is amazing, as is the Mirror of Galadriel, though of course the latter has a serious risk factor involved so it’s best to supplement it with other, more standard, forms of card draw and thus minimise your chances of randomly discarding the card you just dug out. Nenya as well is good, though it’s easily the least interesting and least useful of the three Elven Rings. Celebrimbor’s Secret of course gave us our first Ent ally, and little did we dream back then of how bonkers the trait would get once it was more fleshed out. Galadriel’s Handmaiden instantly became my go-to 2-cost Spirit ally, and then there were some more niche items. Still good though. This is a pretty great pack of player cards in general, but Galadriel is definitely the star of the show (and of the whole cycle for that matter).

Alright, I’ve regained some positivity, let’s delve into the quest again. Honestly it’s pretty simple. The desire to avoid locations going under The Orcs’ Search means you want to explore them quickly before that happens; the enemies will build up to a large swarm if you’re not careful since Bellach brings out 1 per player with his Scour effect so you want to kill them in a timely fashion; the Scour effects create another incentive for getting things out of play quickly before those effects trigger; and of course the Time mechanic ticks down towards those Scour effects putting you on the clock. The thing is, that’s all just generic stuff – explore locations, kill enemies. That’s stuff you need for every quest. Once again explaining why this quest didn’t catch my interest – it’s rather generic in what it asks of you. Perhaps a bit of a greater emphasis on location control than normal is useful, but that’s it. So in constructing my decks, I instead turned to the list of cards I hadn’t used thus far for inspiration of a weird thing to do, and found it in the Palantir, which coincidentally brought me back to sort of theme I really wanted and didn’t get from the quest – magic artifacts, let’s go. The Palantir is an interesting and sometimes finicky card, but Galadriel is a natural partner to it with her innate threat-lowering ability.

Hold the line

Sam Gamgee
Aragorn (Lo)

Allies (20):
Snowbourn Scout x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Herald of Anorien x3
Galadhon Archer x3
Mirkwood Pioneer x3
Gandalf (Core) x2
Warden of Healing x2
Bill the Pony x1

Attachments (11):
Steward of Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3
Sword that was Broken x3
Gondorian Shield x2

Events (21):
Sneak Attack x3
Tighten Our Belts x3
Hail of Stones x3
Expecting Mischief x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
A Good Harvest x3

Thoughts: I couldn’t fit everything I wanted into this deck, but as you can see there’s a general direct damage theme, since that can work very well with the powerful scrying granted by the Palantir – Expecting Mischief in particular really shines if you can know for a fact how many hit points the first enemy revealed will have, but Hail of Stones can also work out nicely as I’ll know exactly how many characters to hold back for it if I want to use it. Tighten Our Belts is of course an amazing card in tri-sphere decks so I had to fit it in here. Beyond that there’s a bit of a theme here of using threat as currency across the two decks, started obviously with the idea of using the Palantir, and continued here with the optional Doomed of the Herald of Anorien and the Mirkwood Pioneer, both of which can be incredibly potent cards in the right context (Also the non-optional Doomed of Deep Knowledge, but that’s fairly standard at this point, nothing new there). Steward of Gondor here is intended for the other deck as it expects to be drawing a fair number of cards and we need to get out willpower fast to cover for a less impressive start in that respect (this was a significant reason for having Sam as the Leadership hero and also why Sword that was Broken is a x3 card).

We see much that is hidden

Frodo Baggins

Allies (23):
Minas Tirith Lampwright x3
Pelargir Shipwright x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Wandering Took x3
Northern Tracker x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
West Road Traveller x2
Greyflood Wanderer x2
Elfhelm x1
Bilbo Baggins x1

Attachments (15):
Palantir x3
Mirror of Galadriel x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Good Meal x3
Nenya x2
Hobbit Pipe x1

Events (12):
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3
Dwarven Tomb x3

Thoughts: I really like the thematic idea of this deck, with Eleanor on one side constantly gazing into the Palantir and Galadriel on the other gazing into the Mirror. Between Galadriel and the Palantir, my card draw will be pretty good, and to handle the Palantir, I’ve somewhat loaded up on threat reduction effects. Of course there are also a couple of other things which raise threat – Doomed from the Greyflood Wanderer if I really need some locations cleared, and Frodo of course. The one Hobbit Pipe is a bit more speculative, primarily there because Bilbo pulling it out will thin the deck, but still, that little bit of extra draw won’t go amiss. Dwarven Tomb is there to retrieve anything important discarded by the Mirror, but also it can let me pull back Test of Will any time I see a horrible treachery coming up, or Minas Tirith Lampwright any time I see a Surge. Speaking of which, the Lampwright is amazing when you use the Palantir to know exactly what card type to name. The one copy of Elfhelm will be handy if any cards do get placed underneath The Orcs’ Search, but mostly the plan is to not have locations go under there. The much maligned Wandering Took was originally in when I had more Hobbit Pipes as a potential third recipient, but he also fits in quite nicely since he can reduce this deck’s threat by 3 to offset the Palantir – and the threat gained by the other deck can be wiped away by the Loragorn reset. The only real worry between these two decks is, as mentioned above, the limited starting willpower. Once the decks get established they should be able to gain strong control over the game.


Youtube video: Celebrimbor’s Secret

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1 Response to The Line Unbroken – 41: Celebrimbor’s Secret

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

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