The Line Unbroken – 51: The Dread Realm

And now for the final quest of the Angmar Awakened cycle, as we descend into the catacombs beneath the city of Carn Dum to try and prevent Daechanar completing his dark ritual to return to life by possessing the body of his distant descendant. Where the last quest mixed the theme of sorcery in with that of a massive pitched battle, here that dark necromancy is everything as we fight through hordes of undead, hampered by the sorceries which in turn empower the villain. This quest really nails the feeling it’s going for and it’s basically exactly what I wanted out of the cycle taking us into Angmar.

This pack also made a pretty big splash in terms of the player cards – if someone were trying to acquire the components to build power decks while buying as few packs as possible, this would be a top choice just for Arwen and Elven-light. The rest of the pack didn’t have anything like as much impact on the metagame as a whole, but some of them are also pretty powerful, just more situational.

On the quest though, it’s an interesting one and can be quite challenging, albeit it’s not on the same level as Carn Dum (nothing is, really). As I mentioned, Sorcery really takes the spotlight in this quest, and on top of that the significant other quest mechanic is the Reanimated Dead, which can really push the quest in serious enemy swarm territory on top of taking potentially valuable cards out of your deck and therefore filling up your discard when you kill the Reanimated Dead to further synergise with some of the punishing aspects of the Sorcery treacheries. The three stages divide up the quest pretty simply – stage 1 gets everything started, you take some time to set up, stage 2 is the boss fight with Daechanar (spoilers, we don’t get there in time to stop the ritual), and then stage 3 you just sprint quest to victory.
In terms of deckbuilding specifically for this quest, there are a lot of things you can do, though most of them I haven’t. With the risk of getting cards discarded or reanimated it can definitely be worth building for consistency and including three copies of anything important. The Sorceries can potentially be partially countered by bringing condition removal (some of them are conditions, though certainly not all). Direct damage can be very helpful, not just for pinging Daechanar but also for a lot of the other enemies – Reanimated Dead are only 2 hit points, as are Cursed Dead, and the Dead Lord is only 3, so you can direct damage a fair few enemies to death and thus save yourself some actions.
But as I said, I mostly haven’t concentrated on those options to specifically focus the challenges of the quest – rather I’ve concentrated on what I wanted to show off from the player cards. As I said in the last post, I want to show of the Dunedain deck in its full here at the end of the cycle. I’d also like to show off some of the power of the Valour keyword since that developed pretty nicely. I was thinking initially of making the other deck a Noldor deck to really cover everything, but I didn’t really have room to go all-out with Noldor while simultaneously including the various things I wanted to use to support the Dunedain, so that’s how it ended up. Everything focused on getting Aragorn and the Dunedain to work to full potential.

Long Line Unbroken

Heroes:
Amarthiul
Halbarad
Aragorn (Ta)

Allies (20):
Guardian of Arnor x3
Fornost Bowman x3
Dunedain Hunter x3
Sarn Ford Sentry x3
Warden of Annuminas x3
Ranger of Cardolan x3
Gandalf (Core) x2

Attachments (12):
Heir of Valandil x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Sword that was Broken x3
Celebrian’s Stone x3

Events (16):
Feint x3
Descendants of Kings x3
Sneak Attack x3
Hope Rekindled x3
Horn’s Cry x2
Hour of Wrath x2

Side-quests (3):
Gather Information x1
Send for Aid x1
Delay the Enemy x1

Thoughts: I named this series The Line Unbroken for Aragorn’s quote “For here the heirs of Valandil have ever dwelt in long line unbroken from father unto son for many generations.” That quote also turned out to be the flavour text on Heir of Valandil, the central card in the Dunedain deck archetype. So when I’m specifically building this deck to show off the Dunedain archetype for this series, what else could I call it?
The main bit of my own advice from above which I have followed is building for consistency, though I might well go this route even for a different quest. The main focus here is obviously the Dunedain allies – I’ve got all the ones which specifically key off engaged enemies, plus the Dunedain Hunter who lets me engage more enemies. The advantage of focusing somewhat on Aragorn as well as on the Dunedain in general is that with his standard suite of attachments (including the Ring of Barahir from the other deck) he becomes quad-sphere and can play all the allies. You might think on those grounds that he’d be getting Steward of Gondor, but actually since Heir of Valandil is likely to make all my allies free for most of the game, Steward is going to be played cross-table onto Galadriel, mostly to fund Elven-light.
I’ve got here the two Valour events I’ve had the most success with in other games – I think they’re the easiest to use – and also Hope Rekindled to enable them of course (most likely by reducing their costs, my draw is good enough that I should have them when I need them). Since this deck will be engaging a lot of enemies and not necessarily killing them, that’ll potentially be a lot of enemies to debuff with Horn’s Cry, while Hour of Wrath tends to be a board-clearer when needed (though here I don’t really care that much about completely clearing the board since keeping enemies around powers my allies).
Delay the Enemy is perhaps a bit of a questionable choice here – if I get it early on it might come in handy to discard an enemy engaged with the other deck (ideally pretty much all enemies should engage this deck and I’ll be aggressively using Halbarad and Aragorn to make sure that happens) but honestly I probably should’ve just put in a third copy of one of the 2-of cards.

Elven-light in her eyes

Heroes:
Arwen Undomiel
Galadriel
Beravor

Allies (8):
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Elrond x2
Galdor of the Havens x1
Mablung x1
Quickbeam x1

Attachments (22):
Forest Snare x3
The Long Defeat x3
Nenya x3
Ring of Barahir x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Star Brooch x3
Steed of Imladris x3
Silver Lamp x2
Blood of Numenor x2

Events (14):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
Elven-light x3
A Test of Will x3
Tale of Tinuviel x2

Side-quests (3):
Gather Information x1
Double Back x1
Scout Ahead x1

Thoughts: So first of all, obviously this deck is intended to support the other deck. The Ring of Barahir gives Aragorn a Lore icon to play the Sarn Ford Sentries (the extra hit points might come in handy as well), Forest Snares let the Dunedain have their bonuses without taking the attacks, Star Brooches provide a bit of extra willpower, Silver Lamp can go on Aragorn once he has Celebrian’s Stone so I can see all the shadow cards in advance, Blood of Numenor will go on Amarthiul, who can make good use of it with the extra resources he generates from his ability (it’s unlikely he’ll have to spend too many of them on cards), and Tale of Tinuviel can be used to great effect with Galadriel to ready and power up most likely Amarthiul or Aragorn to get more done in combat.
Besides those obvious points, Deep Knowledge also supports the other deck not just with the card draw but also by pushing it towards Valour when needed. Once Beravor is freed up from questing she’ll likely be targeting the first deck with her ability, while this deck gets Galadriel – in general I’ll be avoiding using Galadriel on the first deck because it wants to get into Valour, unless I’m trying to stay below the engagement cost of a Dwimmerlaik early on. The Long Defeat is my only healing, but then I don’t expect to take too much damage so it should be enough, and I’ll have enough chances to trigger it with six side-quests between the two decks. The main thing this deck will be doing a lot is just playing Elven-light over and over – hence the Steeds of Imladris to discard it more times. Everything else is pretty standard, this deck just quests and supports the other deck with attachments and card draw.

RingsDB:
http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/2779/the-line-unbroken-the-dread-realm
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5650/the-line-unbroken-the-dread-realm-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/5651/the-line-unbroken-the-dread-realm-deck-2-1.0

Youtube: The Dread Realm

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