The Line Unbroken – 42: The Antlered Crown

And now with The Antlered Crown I am coming once more to the end of a cycle. The Antlered Crown is a bit odd in that player-card-wise there’s nothing particularly special in it such as you might expect to mark the end of a cycle. Not that that’s essential, but the first three cycle-ending packs at least contained significant characters as heroes – Dain, Elrond and Theoden – whereas in this case Galadriel was released in Celebrimbor’s Secret and Antlered Crown just gives us Erkenbrand. Also none of the cards in the pack really support the themes which have been developing through the cycle – no Silvans, no Secrecy. One Doomed card I suppose fits into a theme, but in general it’s mostly a pack full of toolkit-type cards which you can swap in and out as quests demand. Plus a couple of Ents which are always good.

Turning to the quest, where I was very critical of the use of the Time mechanic in Celebrimbor’s Secret (and there’s even more I could say on that but I think I’d rather save it for another post), here I like it even though it’s basically everywhere. Some people dislike it for that reason, and I can certainly admit that keeping track of all the different Time effects around the place is difficult, but it works. It puts you under that time pressure which you’re supposed to be under. On the other hand the fact that the locations, unlike the quest cards, don’t automatically replenish their time counters means that sometimes you can just accept a negative effect knowing that you’ll only get it once rather than having to deal with it again a few rounds later. It gives scope for interesting strategic decisions, so long as you’re well set up to deal with everything. If you’re not set to deal with everything, admittedly it becomes frustrating because you can’t make headway and you’re watching the countdowns to when everything kills you. But when that happens here I feel it’s a deficiency of my decks – either in general or with regard to this quest specifically – more than anything else.
A bit of location control may be useful here to clear them out before the time goes off, and we want to be ready for combat early on. We’re up against Dunlendings so we want to be careful about card draw and hand size. And that really covers all the specific concerns of this quest. Beyond that it’s pretty much just standard “Be good at everything.”

So in building for this quest, I figured I’d do what I did at the end of Shadows of Mirkwood and try to really focus on the themes developed in the cycle – in this case that basically means Silvans. I have all the pieces for a Silvan deck at this point and I’ve been persistently not using some of them for the past few quests, but now they’re all coming out. I’ve got Celeborn, I’ve got Galadriel, I’ve got O Lorien, I’ve got all the allies. Erkenbrand actually isn’t that bad a fit either, because strong defence tends to be one of the weaknesses of a Silvan deck and he can shore that up.

The Lord and Lady of the Wood

Heroes:
Celeborn
Galadriel
Erkenbrand

Allies (21):
Errand-rider x3
Naith Guide x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Defender of the Naith x3
Galadhrim Minstrel x2
Arwen Undomiel x2
Warden of Helm’s Deep x2
Gandalf (Core) x2
Orophin x1

Attachments (15):
Steward of Gondor x3
O Lorien! x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Nenya x3
Silver Lamp x2
Light of Valinor x1

Events (14):
Sneak Attack x3
Feigned Voices x3
A Test of Will x3
Island Amid Perils x3
The Tree People x2

Thoughts: Celeborn and Galadriel are a fittingly powerful combo in a Silvan deck with all the Silvan allies having their stats boosted by Celeborn and then not exhausting to quest because of Galadriel. Silvans aren’t a perfect choice for this particular quest with its Dunlending hand size hate, since playing an event to return a Silvan to my hand will leave me with the same number of cards I started with, but on the other hand between O Lorien! and Steward (to be played on Galadriel) I should be able to play things at a decent rate. The Lore icon Galadriel gains from Nenya will be very helpful as it allows me to include key Silvan pieces Galadhrim Minstrel and The Tree People in this otherwise Leadership/Spirit Silvan deck. Outside of the Silvans, obviously I have some staples which are too good to omit, like Sneak Attack Gandalf, Arwen, Unexpected Courage and the ever-ubiquitous Test of Will, plus a couple of cards which perhaps are less necessary but which I wanted to tick off the list of cards to use and which may be useful for defences – Warden of Helm’s Deep and Silver Lamp. The latter of course depends on me not using Nenya for questing and thus having Galadriel ready when shadow cards are dealt (or giving Galadriel a Courage to ready after Nenya) but then knowing how the shadows fall will be very useful so I can decide based on that information what to defend with Erkenbrand, what to defend with allies, and what attacks to just cancel.

Unseen Archers

Heroes:
Legolas
Mirlonde
Haldir of Lorien

Allies (14):
Master of the Forge x3
Galadhrim Minstrel x3
Galadhon Archer x3
Silvan Tracker x2
Defender of the Naith x2
Rumil x1

Attachments (23):
Song of Battle x3
Ranger Spikes x3
Lembas x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Bow of the Galadhrim x3
Rivendell Bow x2
Wingfoot x2
Protector of Lorien x2
Captain of Gondor x1
Black Arrow x1

Events (15):
Feint x3
Pursuing the Enemy x3
Hands Upon the Bow x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
The Tree People x3

Thoughts: A Tactics/Lore Silvan blend, on the other hand, is liable to end up something like this – less focused on the Silvan allies and more on the strong combat heroes, powering up Haldir and Legolas to impressive levels with attachments. The only Silvan ally that’s really key rather than just a bit helpful on this side is Silvan Tracker, to let me take random points of direct damage all over my Silvans and then just watch them disappear again. The most significant ally to the strategy of this deck is the Master of the Forge to find the key attachments (fortunately for me in this Dunland quest, the Master searches cards and adds one to hand, which is not the same as drawing it). Both Haldir and Legolas are to be powered up with Bow of the Galadhrim and Rivendell Blade. Spare copies can potentially go on the allies, or if I give a Rivendell Bow to Celeborn or Mirlonde, onto them. Since there is a definite skew towards Tactics, the Songs of Battle will help smooth things out, as will the odd resource sent from the other deck via Errand-rider. Lembas is there for the non-Silvan healing, i.e. Erkenbrand, Wingfoot of course will go on Haldir and get me some extra willpower will hopefully still having him ready for combat, and Protector of Lorien can be used for more willpower and/or defence while simultaneously dropping hand sizes to guard against some Dunlending effects. How I use it will be situation-dependent, sometimes I’ll really need the willpower, sometimes I’ll want the extra defence, since the only other defensive attachment for Erkenbrand is Captain of Gondor. Since the Dunland hand size hate is out in force again, I have omitted Deep Knowledge, but retained Daeron’s Runes since it doesn’t actually increase the number of cards in your hand, so it’s only a problem if there are negative effects in play which trigger for drawing cards.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/2118/the-line-unbroken-the-antlered-crown
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4487/the-line-unbroken-the-antlered-crown-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/4488/the-line-unbroken-the-antlered-crown-deck-2-1.0

Youtube video: The Antlered Crown

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2 Responses to The Line Unbroken – 42: The Antlered Crown

  1. INK1ing says:

    Nicely done. I haven’t found this quest too difficult as it doesn’t seem to have some of those nasty tricks that previous Ringmaker quests do. Also I like that the time counters reset.

    I usually risk a few Turch defenses early on to try and get control of the enemies but as you can imagine it doesn’t always work.

    Like

    • PocketWraith says:

      A lot of times when I’ve played this quest I’ve defended something with Turch early on, he’s taken a bunch of damage and so then I never defend with him again.
      To my mind this quest really is all about getting a foothold early on. If your build up is too slow then you get hit by a hail of Time effects and it all spirals out of control.

      Liked by 1 person

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