The Line Unbroken – N4: Nightmare Hunt for Gollum

Well, after Escape from Dol Guldur, Hunt for Gollum will be a welcome more relaxing nightmare quest. Of course it’s not like standard difficulties scale up directly to nightmare difficulties, but it certainly holds true in this case – Hunt for Gollum was pretty easy as a regular quest, and in nightmare mode it’s still easy by the standards of nightmare quests. Glancing down the nightmare cards, none of them are particularly threatening in and of themselves. What capacity they have to threaten the players is more in their interaction with cards from the standard version of the quest, most prominently Hunters from Mordor. Of course that can be one of the interesting aspects of playing nightmare, that it actually turns out to be some of the non-nightmare cards which make you lose rather than the nightmare ones, with there being more impact from the greater consistency of encounter deck than the new cards, but in this case for the most part there’s just nothing really that concerning.

The only additional mechanic on the nightmare setup card is that unclaimed clues in play are attached to Mordor enemies, and if ever there are four clues attached to enemies then you lose the game. Given that I don’t think I’ve ever had four clues in play at the same time, this has never particularly worried me. Some of the nightmare cards also punish players for not having clues yet, and while this could have turned out like the Dol Guldur cards punishing the players for unclaimed objectives, there are a couple of crucial differences: One, the clues don’t have sizeable negatives attached to claiming them; and two, most of the effects punishing players for not having clues yet aren’t that bad (with one exception). If anything, this is actually kind of good design, since one of my issues with the base quest was that it didn’t really encourage you to pick up the clues until you reached stage 3 when suddenly you had to revert to stage 2 if you hadn’t claimed them yet.

The one nightmare card which I really feel could cause me trouble is the Hunting Warg, for its ability to pull the actually potentially dangerous Hunters from Mordor out of the encounter deck if I don’t kill it right away, so my one thought going into deckbuilding was that I should have some strong attack right out the gate. Beyond that it was just a question of what I felt like, and I opted for just drawing all the cards. Incidentally, my card pool is slightly expanded here, as the nightmare decks for the first half of the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle were released (at an estimate) after Encounter at Amon Din, as opposed to the nightmare Core quests being just after Heirs of Numenor (Note that I’m going for an estimate of when they were first put out for organised play events rather than when they became available as Print on Demand products, so I’m going by a mixture of news articles, old forum posts and guesswork. If anyone who was actually playing the game at the time wants to contradict me, feel free).
In any case, here’s what I came up with for decks:

The old burglar still has a few tricks

Heroes:
Beravor
Bilbo Baggins
Frodo Baggins

Allies (19):
Arwen Undomiel x3
West Road Traveller x3
Silvan Refugee x3
Erebor Record Keeper x3
Gleowine x2
Warden of Healing x2
Henamarth Riversong x1
Bofur (Sp) x1
Ithilien Tracker x1

Attachments (13):
Fast Hitch x3
Good Meal x3
Unexpected Courage x2
A Burning Brand x2
Dark Knowledge x2
Boots from Erebor x1

Events (18):
A Test of Will x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x3
Small Target x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3
Secret Paths x3

Thoughts: Like I said, I want to draw all the cards. I’m also going for the good old super-Bilbo setup with Burning Brand, Fast Hitches and Ring Mail/Dunedain Warnings (from the other deck). Plus I may be able to pull some shenanigans with Dark Knowledge + Small Target against the potentially high attack Hunters from Mordor. Good Meal will be flexible here, since I can use it equally on Frodo for Galadhrim’s Greeting or on Bilbo for Gildor’s Counsel. Arwen is a x3 because she can boost Bilbo’s defence early if I want and make him or Frodo Sentinel in case of unexpected Ravenous Hawks. Most enemies should end up engaging this deck though. Beyond that, a lot of standard stuff, the only thing particularly tailored to the quest being that Secret Paths I put in specifically because The Old Ford is a ridiculous card. To be honest, given the amount of draw available, I could probably make this deck work better with Protector of Lorien, but it should work fine as is, since as noted, it’s not like Hunt for Gollum is a particularly difficult quest.

Like Grandfather, Like Grandson

Heroes:
Balin
Bard the Bowman
Brand son of Bain

Allies (17):
Errand-rider x3
Longbeard Elder x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Faramir x2
Erestor x2
Snowbourn Scout x2
Gandalf (Core) x2

Attachments (18):
Steward of Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3
Dunedain Mark x3
Dunedain Warning x3
Ring Mail x3
Dunedain Signal x2
Black Arrow x1

Events (15):
Sneak Attack x3
Campfire Tales x3
We Are Not Idle x3
Feint x3
Quick Strike x3

Thoughts: My first hero pick for this quest was actually Bard, since he can one-shot Hunting Wargs by himself right from the start of the game so long as they engage the other deck. Balin of course is a favourite and feeds into my plan to draw all of the cards since he enables King Under the Mountain, while Brand is another favourite, works nicely with Beravor, also has some willpower, and it’s a nice if thematically weird idea to stick him and his grandfather in the same deck. I think basically everything in this deck is kind of standard except the bits which are in there specifically for the purpose of powering up Bilbo, which I mentioned when talking about the first deck. Quick Strike I suppose isn’t absolutely standard, but if I power up my attackers suitably they can one-shot enemies, and in Brand’s case this could also provide emergency readying to the other deck.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/3037/the-line-unbroken-nm-hunt-for-gollum
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5939/the-line-unbroken-nm-hunt-for-gollum-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5940/the-line-unbroken-nm-hunt-for-gollum-deck-2-1.0

Youtube: Nightmare Hunt for Gollum

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2 Responses to The Line Unbroken – N4: Nightmare Hunt for Gollum

  1. INK1ing says:

    I think I have been playing this wrong. After I successfully quest enough to progress onto Stage 2 I never trigger Stage 1’s forced effect. I always figured the framework effect of progressing to the next stage came first and did away with the forced effect as it was no longer there.

    Like

    • PocketWraith says:

      Nah, there was a ruling about this way back in the day I think. As I recall, the significant point is that questing successfully and actually placing the progress are separate things, so technically you trigger the forced in between the two (but the amount of progress you need to place is already determined and doesn’t change even if you add more threat to the staging area). It’s a weird ruling, but I try to stick to the rules as much as possible even if they don’t make sense to me on occasion.

      Liked by 1 person

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