The Line Unbroken – N8: Nightmare The Dead Marshes

The Dead Marshes is a quest which I originally had no particular problem with, but I like less the more I consider it. Of course I talked about the problems of Escape tests in my post on the general issues with the design of tests in quests in this game, and they’re really central to how this quest functions. On top of that there’s the fact that the quest can sometimes be beaten fairly trivially if you just throw enough willpower at it. And as with the last two quests, those problems are so inherent in the nature of the quest design that the change to Nightmare mode really doesn’t fix them.

There are some interesting designs to be found in the Nightmare cards here once again, like the catch-22 that is the Lost Soul of Lorien; and also some which I feel are just exacerbating the problems the quest started with whereby it’s all just too random, like Devilry of the Dark Land and its Escape value of 10. By and large though, to beat this quest all one really needs is still just a bunch of actions and a bunch of willpower. I can’t really think of anything more I could say which wouldn’t be repeating myself, so let’s just proceed directly to the decks:

Keep the Watch

Sam Gamgee
Pippin (Lo)

Allies (14):
Master of the Forge x3
Gandalf (Core) x2
Warden of Healing x2
Bill the Pony x1
Faramir x1
Erestor x1
Anborn x1
Haldir of Lorien x1
Gildor Inglorion x1
Gleowine x1

Attachments (19):
Steward of Gondor x3
Fast Hitch x3
Poisoned Stakes x3
Scroll of Isildur x3
Resourceful x3
Good Meal x3
Celebrian’s Stone x1

Events (18):
Sneak Attack x3
Timely Aid x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Mithrandir’s Advice x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3
Out of the Wild x3

Thoughts: This hero lineup may look hauntingly familiar. I tried to avoid it, but I really wanted Out of the Wild as a potential means of removing some high Escape values from the encounter deck. That led me to Secrecy, even though the Nightmare card preventing threat reduction means I only get Secrecy on the first round, and also to Good Meal for cost reduction and Leadership for Steward of Gondor. Once I’d gotten that far I was basically locked into repeating this hero lineup. Some of the rest of the deck is different though. Trying out Poisoned Stakes so I don’t have to engage enemies to kill them, and really focusing on Gildor’s Counsel/Out of the Wild with Good Meal to mess with the encounter deck. I seriously considered omitting Timely Aid since it’s not really a focus of the deck and I’ll only get one round of Secrecy, but it’s still just too good to turn up. There are very few Leadership cards in the deck and they’re all pretty cheap, so all the resource generation is intended to be played on my Lore heroes. This is I think the first time I’ve ever used one of the Record attachments (in this instance Scroll of Isildur) without being mono-sphere, but with that resource gen I should be able to manage, and like I said, Gildor’s Counsel and Out of the Wild are cards I’m really wanting to focus on, so getting to play them a few extra times is obviously going to be useful.

Raise the Guard

Frodo Baggins

Allies (25):
Imladris Stargazer x3
Zigil Miner x3
Northern Tracker x3
Escort from Edoras x3
West Road Traveller x3
Pelargir Shipwright x3
White Tower Watchman x3
Emery x2
Bofur (Sp) x1
Arwen Undomiel x1

Attachments (13):
Unexpected Courage x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Map of Earnil x3
Good Meal x3
Light of Valinor x1

Events (12):
A Test of Will x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
Fortune or Fate x3
Lay of Nimrodel x2
Will of the West x1

Thoughts: The need for lots of willpower pointed me towards Spirit, and I particularly thought of mono-Spirit for Pelargir Shipwrights. From there Caldara was an easy jump to make, she also gets me lots of actions by mustering somewhat of an ally army, and also I just like Caldara and now she’s available, with the card pool having expanded a bit. Being mono-sphere lets me use White Tower Watchmen who can potentially cover my defensive duties if everyone’s exhausted for Escape tests – as can Frodo, in addition to his ability to save me resources on Fortune or Fate with Good Meal. Beyond that it’s mostly fairly standard Caldara stuff – lots of good allies, lots of recursion. The fact threat can’t be lowered in this quest is in some ways quite liberating as far as my deckbuilding goes because it’s just one less thing to consider. Lay of Nimrodel may not actually help that much as I may just spend all my resources, but on the other hand I may stack some up and I could certainly find some use for a sizeable willpower boost in this quest. Looking back now (I’ve already recorded the video), I only just realised that I omitted Hidden Cache, which given my Stargazer/Miner intentions, is somewhat questionable. Never mind, it works alright regardless.


Youtube: Nightmare Dead Marshes

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2 Responses to The Line Unbroken – N8: Nightmare The Dead Marshes

  1. Qwaz says:

    Urgh, I groaned when that escape 10 rocked up. That game was done 4 rounds before it finished. As you said at the end…just too swingey. Plus side it was good to see how you dealt with some of the other encounter cards that then had a chance to show up!


    • PocketWraith says:

      Yeah, it was kind of more interesting because I failed that test, but the fact I came so close to winning that quickly kind of makes another point about the dubious design of the quest.


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