The Line Unbroken – 48: Across the Ettenmoors

I once described Across the Ettenmoors as ‘Continue to Escape from Mount Gram: Now with 100% more trolls!’ As far as the story is concerned, that is what’s happening, but in gameplay terms and in terms of what’s actually happening this is much more similar to Wastes of Eriador, we’re just trekking across a different bit of the wilderness and being harassed by a different set of enemies. This isn’t particularly a bad thing, just to be clear – the quest still has its own mechanical identity and is enjoyable for different reasons to the other quests it bears a similarity to, but the similarities certainly exist.

In terms of player cards, Ettenmoors is an interesting selection of cards, most of which I would describe as niche, but good in the right context. The Spirit cards and the Wellinghall Preserver have more widespread applications than the others, though still a bit limited; otherwise though we have victory display, Valour, side-quest support, an OK defensive/mining Dwarf, the resource equivalent of Ancient Mathom, the least popular side-quest of this cycle, and of course Dori, the hero people love to hate. He’s not as bad as he looks, but he certainly could easily have been better and I still wonder why he isn’t. There are just too many restrictions on that ability which don’t need to be there. I found decent use for him in my decks for this quest though.

So in building for this quest there are a few things to consider. One is damage – damaged characters can present various problems besides the usual one of just ending up dead, so healing is a must. This quest has a bunch of side-quests, so I want to be ready for that and probably not bring any of my own. The second stage will generally have me revealing an extra card each round so I want powerful questing, and Gildor’s Counsel could be an idea to keep things under control. At least the Safe locations can provide a respite from a lot of these effects.
In general though, this quest doesn’t tend to play out as particularly difficult, so to some extent I can just do whatever I want. With that in mind, what do I want to do? Well, there are still more previously unused cards I can try to slot in. And I wouldn’t mind going for another Dunedain deck since I didn’t get to pull that off properly back in Chetwood, plus Dunedain with their somewhat variable defensive needs can be a nice fit for Dori (I was considering Dwarves, but this left room for more of those interesting cards I’ve been skipping over and I find Dunedain much more interesting anyway). In some ways this is contrary to how I often play this quest where I tend to just avoid most of the enemies, but that’ll be interesting and perhaps closer to what was intended.

The Troll Farm

Heroes:
Halbarad
Idraen
Dori

Allies (21):
Dunedain Watcher x3
Dunedain Hunter x3
Honour Guard x3
Warden of Annuminas x3
Northern Tracker x3
Ranger of Cardolan x3
Gandalf (Core) x2
Arwen Undomiel x1

Attachments (12):
Heir of Valandil x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Star Brooch x2
Blood of Numenor x2
Gondorian Fire x2

Events (17):
Descendants of Kings x3
Tighten Our Belts x3
Sneak Attack x3
A Test of Will x3
Feint x3
The Hammer-stroke x2

Thoughts: Do not adjust your set, I did in fact omit Steward of Gondor from this deck which includes Leadership. And no, it’s not in the other deck. While the deck might be more efficient if Steward were put back, it would be put back at the expense of me cutting something more interesting. And it’s interesting to run without Steward sometimes. Tighten Our Belts will work out nicely for this deck since I’m tri-sphere – if I had more room I would’ve liked to include Ranger Provisions as well because the Leadership resources are probably the most expendable.
That being said, there’s still value in not spending those Leadership resources, because they can be stacked up for use with Blood and Fire (given the Dunedain strategy of engaging everything and not killing it, Blood may be more important, but Fire to kill some of the big Trolls/Giants when I want to could come in very handy). Heir of Valandil allowing me to play allies for cheap or free will have a big impact on my ability to potentially get good use out of Blood and Fire. This deck has a definite weakness in card draw, but that can be bolstered by Beravor from the other deck.
With Halbarad, Heir of Valandil, Descendants of Kings and all the Dunedain allies, obviously this deck is intending to engage every enemy that comes up and leave nothing for the other deck which will therefore be free to concentrate on questing and healing, with maybe a few tricks to be thrown around. Oh, and traps. Meanwhile between Feint, Blood of Numenor, Honour Guards and Dori this deck can take some pretty strong attacks safely if need be, or it can potentially take a swarm of little ones still fairly safely. Most likely there’ll be a mixture of the two throughout the game.
The Hammer-stroke I initially put into this deck speculatively figuring that it’d help if I got too many enemies in play so I could save the second deck from having to take something it couldn’t deal with, but I also found while testing the decks that it was very handy since travelling to a Safe location returns engaged enemies to the staging area, which is bad for the Dunedain deck so it was useful to be able to just pull them all straight back again.

Snares of All Sizes

Heroes:
Mirlonde
Damrod
Beravor

Allies (22):
East Road Ranger x3
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Warden of Healing x3
Wellinghall Preserver x3
Wandering Ent x3
Elrond x2
Ithilien Tracker x2
Treebeard x1
Quickbeam x1
Mablung x1

Attachments (9):
Forest Snare x3
Poisoned Stakes x3
Ithilien Pit x3

Events (19):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Mithrandir’s Advice x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3
Don’t Be Hasty! x3
Forest Patrol x3
Infighting x2
Waters of Nimrodel x2

Thoughts: When I started figuring out my decks for this quest I didn’t specifically plan to have a mono-Lore deck, but given the significance of healing it worked out nicely. Despite that, I haven’t gone too far with the healing, I’m assuming that the Wardens can mostly keep up with it and then I’ll have Waters of Nimrodel to just wipe away all the damage at a crucial moment (like when I’m trying to blitz through stage 3 of the quest).
Then I’ve got traps to help out the other deck. Forest Snares are the main one of course, but Poisoned Stakes and Ithilien Pits could certainly help out with enemies I actually want dead. I omitted Ranger Spikes as they work counter to the Dunedain “engage everything” approach, and also to my inclusion of The Hammer-stroke in the Dunedain deck. I have brought along Forest Patrol and Infighting as additional means of sorting out the kills when I actually want them, whether it be killing a trapped enemy or using the damage from a trapped enemy to kill a different enemy using Infighting.
The other significant point was that with the first deck planning to handle all the combat I want this deck to take a hefty share of the questing load if possible. In mono-Lore at this stage of the card pool that mainly means Ents, who also fit nicely enough into this damage-heavy quest since they have good hit point pools which can be preserved by the Wellinghall Preservers. I think the Preservers might be part of the reason I included Don’t Be Hasty! Since readying one lets me heal another Ent. It’s also an alright speculative choice for the Dunedain deck if I realise I’m going to have more combat than I can otherwise deal with, or if I’m questing with Beravor and then realise I don’t need to be so I can pull her back and draw cards instead. It’s a speculative inclusion though, and I think part of the reason I left it in over other options was because those other options cost resources. Speaking of free cards, I left out Deep Knowledge because I should have enough draw anyway with Beravor in the mix, and I want this deck to keep its threat down below engagement costs since I want all the enemies to engage the first deck.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/2612/the-line-unbroken-across-the-ettenmoors
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5304/the-line-unbroken-across-the-ettenmoors-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5305/the-line-unbroken-across-the-ettenmoors-deck-2-1.0

Youtube: Across the Ettenmoors

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