The Line Unbroken – N17: Nightmare Foundations of Stone

Well here we are at Foundations of Stone. This was my favourite quest from the Dwarrowdelf cycle originally so naturally I’m very pleased to have come to it in Nightmare. This was always a quest with a bunch of interesting ideas, and the Nightmare deck is well realised to (mostly) focus on those interesting ideas, and as a result the quest probably remains my favourite from the cycle.

The reason for the “(mostly)” up there incidentally is the Mithril Seeker. The Mithril Seeker has nothing to do with the interesting mechanics of the quest and I don’t really like the design of it in any case. From the perspective of examining trends in encounter card design we can observe that it’s perhaps another precursor to the Corsairs in the Dream-chaser cycle, but I think it’s less well designed than the Corsairs. In particular its impact can just be too divergent depending on how your deck’s running.
The only other slight oddity in the deck is the When Revealed of Chill of the Roots. The shadow effect is Nameless Thing related, but the When Revealed is just a more generic punishing effect. I don’t particularly mind it though.

The rest of the Nightmare deck is all to do with the split staging areas and the Nameless Things, which as noted are the most interesting parts of the quest. The additional focus on the Nameless Things accentuates the need for deck consistency, and preferably primarily low cost cards. Meanwhile the couple of cards designed to mess with the split staging areas increase the extent to which things can spiral out of control while the players are separated – especially in combination with Forced effect on the Nightmare card instructing players to discard Mounts, Artifacts and allies beyond a total cost of 6 when they advance to stage 3. This really emphasises the soft reset nature of that quest advancement along with the fact two of the random quest stages remove your resources and your hand. Actually I’m a bit surprised we didn’t get new Nightmare quest cards here – not that there’s anything wrong with the existing ones, but this feels like a case where new quest cards could’ve been rather interesting.

So in building for this quest I want consistency, I want a certain level of hero power without needing too many attachments since many attachments will be lost when we advance and I need to be able to deal with some potentially very dangerous Nameless enemies, and if possible I want my decks to be fairly low cost so the Nameless enemies hopefully won’t be too dangerous. Dwarven mining is also an idea I’d like to work with, because stage 2 of the quest discards from your deck when you commit to the quest so it makes sense to bring decks which are already prepared for that as part of their game plan, Hidden Cache obviously gives nothing to Nameless enemies, and a Dwarven mining focus will of course point me also towards means of recursion from my discard pile, which once again will fit in nicely with the quest mechanics.

Undaunted by Darkness

Boromir (Ld)

Allies (26):
Gandalf (Core) x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Citadel Custodian x3
Herald of Anorien x3
Pelargir Ship Captain x3
Errand-rider x3
Defender of Rammas x3
Gondorian Spearman x3
Guard of the Citadel x2

Attachments (12):
Steward of Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3
Visionary Leadership x3
Gondorian Shield x3

Events (12):
Sneak Attack x3
Feint x3
Hidden Cache x3
The White Council x3

Thoughts: There are some potentially concerning shadow effects in this quest, so Balin seemed like a good idea, plus he’s a favourite. Going with a Gondor deck was partly me looking for heroes I hadn’t used so much and partly originally thinking I might play around with A Very Good Tale (playing into the whole deck discarding thing), but I realised this doesn’t work so well with the Nightmare card making me discard down to only 6 cost of allies when I advance. I could save it up until stage 4 of course, but it seemed simpler to just drop the idea and play my allies normally. The idea of using a Gondor deck stuck though. Beregond was added when I realised I needed some means of defending enemies in the early game, especially with things like the Mithril Seeker around.
King Under the Mountain lets me run very efficiently and works with the Hidden Caches. The White Council was initially picked because I was at that time very short on Tactics cards and wanted something for Beregond to pay for, but since it’s a means of recursion as well as the other utility effects it fits in reasonably for this quest. Additionally X cost cards if attached to Nameless enemies count for 0 since their text is not active. Gondorian Shield is the only attachment between the two decks that will get discarded when I advance to stage 3 (well, other than the Cave Torch obviously).
Beyond that it’s all pretty standard Gondor. I tried specifically to have as many of my allies costing 2 as I could to work with the Herald of Anorien (and not give too much to the Nameless enemies), but I didn’t have a lot of good options at higher costs in any case.

Delving Deeper


Allies (23):
Imladris Stargazer x3
Zigil Miner x3
Blue Mountain Trader x3
Ered-Nimrais Prospector x3
Erebor Record Keeper x3
Erebor Battle Master x2
Warden of Healing x2
Dori x1
Dwalin x1
Bofur (Sp) x1
Arwen Undomiel x1

Attachments (6):
Unexpected Courage x3
Legacy of Durin x3

Events (24):
Stand and Fight x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
A Test of Will x3
Will of the West x3
Power of Orthanc x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Feint x3
Hidden Cache x3

Thoughts: Once again I’m pulling out some Dwarves sans Dain. I’ve always been fond of Oin and even with only two Dwarf heroes he still works pretty well with access to Lore as well, and getting that Tactics icon allows for Feint and Erebor Battle Master. Bifur of course is just always a great choice for a Lore hero, and Eowyn gives me front-loaded willpower, and the ability to discard could be relevant as well given other aspects of the deck.
Here of course is where I’m going for the proper Dwarven mining theme with Ziggy Stargazer. Stand and Fight is fantastic with Zigil Miner of course and will be another help for me getting to five Dwarves and getting in the Battle Masters. Stand and Fight was the main thing I built the deck around, which is why the ability to discard to Eowyn could be significant.
Unexpected Courage is primarily for Beregond, but since this deck will need defences while split up a second copy may go on Bifur, who’s about the best defender I’ve got here. Legacy of Durin I put in after some testing since I found this deck’s hand empty a bit too often, so I figured I’d prefer a static card draw boost and avoiding the Doomed on Deep Knowledge. Will of the West of course can fit in with how much of both decks could end up discarded. Power of Orthanc covers Watchful Eyes and is another 0-cost card to mess with the Nameless enemies.



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2 Responses to The Line Unbroken – N17: Nightmare Foundations of Stone

  1. emorlecallor says:

    No Ever My Heart Rises? It’s free, won’t get discarded, and gives you threat control and readying for your Dwarves.


    • PocketWraith says:

      To be honest it didn’t even occur to me. On the other hand I don’t have much need to be readying my Dwarves anyway and I was alrady struggling to cut down (hence the second deck being 53 cards).


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