The Line Unbroken – N18: Nightmare Shadow and Flame

Well, I’ve reached the end of the second cycle of Nightmare. Shadow and Flame’s Nightmare deck doesn’t do one thing people might have hoped for or at least expected – it doesn’t stop people breaking it – but it does certainly ramp up the challenge significantly and in some fairly interesting ways if you’re not breaking the quest.

Of course, for The Line Unbroken, I’m not going to be breaking the quest – in any case, my card pool still precedes the easiest way to break the quest, that being hero Galadriel. I could use Nori but I’m not going to. I feel like the quest is more interesting when not broken. So let’s focus on the big change which did happen – the Balrog deck shadow cards for Durin’s Bane.
The cards in the Balrog deck are kind of problematic. They’re designed to interfere with any defensive strategy you use other than the Hama-lock. Chump blocking can work, but Terrible Strength will force you to spread extra damage around and Morgoth’s Bidding will force you to burn through your chumps even faster. So maybe you figure a super-defender is the way to go – but then Blazing Grip is there to ruin your day. Discards all attachments to put you back to your base defence and can’t be cancelled so Burning Brand is no help. The extra one damage just adds insult to injury as it means this shadow effect is liable to screw over chumps as well, because so many obvious choices for chump blocking have only one hit point. The only approach which might work consistently would be hit point boosts and undefended attacks (presumably with Gloin), but with it being 6 attack every time you’d need your hit point boosts and your healing set up very fast. I will not be attempting this. Some means of discarding shadow cards would be effective, but with the card pool available to me I don’t have a cheap repeatable means of discarding shadow cards. Rider of the Mark could do it, but that requires a fair bit of setup and is very expensive in the long run.

There is one obvious way to approach the diverse unpleasantness of the shadow effects in the Balrog deck, and that is with Silver Lamp. If you can see the shadow card ahead of time then you know exactly what kind of response you need. Of course this entails certain restrictions – I need a Spirit hero to hold it and stay ready up to the Combat phase. And once I can see the shadow effects I still need to have a useful way of reacting to that knowledge. Which most likely means a super-defender for most effects and 2 hit point chumps for Blazing Grip. That places a fair number of demands on my deckbuilding for both decks, but let’s not forget I also need enough attack power to take down Durin’s Bane at the end and enough willpower to quest through and reach that point. At least I can use Secrecy cards.

Resisting the Flame

Sam Gamgee

Allies (25):
Gandalf (Core) x3
Rivendell Scout x3
Dunedain Wanderer x3
Herald of Anorien x3
Errand-rider x3
Westfold Outrider x3
Envoy of Pelargir x2
Defender of Rammas x2
Beorn x1
Landroval x1
Bill the Pony x1

Attachments (13):
King Under the Mountain x3
Dunedain Warning x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Resourceful x3
Steward of Gondor x1

Events (12):
Feint x3
Sneak Attack x3
Timely Aid x3
A Very Good Tale x3

Thoughts: Beregond is my choice of super-defender to take most of the Balrog attacks if I can get him set up. Balin’s ability is of limited use when dealing with Durin’s Bane since I’m basing my strategy around having advance knowledge of the shadow effects, which doesn’t work with Balin since he can only cancel and replace once the effect is triggered (and therefore after I declare my defender), but he could still be a lifesaver with other enemies and he gets me King Under the Mountain. Sam is mostly just in for the willpower, but also starting at 0 threat I should be able to make use of his readying when dealing with the other enemies in the quest.
Between Timely Aid, Herald of Anorien (Doomed is easy to manage when you start at 0 threat) and A Very Good Tale, this deck is mostly just trying to swarm allies. Of note, in order to be prepared for Blazing Grip, I did look specifically for decent allies with 2 hit points so I should have chumping options. Rivendell Scouts, Bill the Pony and Errand-riders are the top picks in that regard because they cost 0, 0 and 1 respectively and their stats are negligible or non-existent other than the 2 HP. Although I should have a decent number of resources and Timely Aid obviously doesn’t care about cost, for the purposes of Herald of Anorien I stuck mostly to cheap allies, with the exception of Gandalf who’s great utility, Beorn who’s great for killing Durin’s Bane, and Landroval who can save a hero from dying.
Dunedain Warnings serve as backup if I don’t draw the Gondorian Shield early on or can boost other defenders than Beregond. There’s only one copy of Steward of Gondor because I also have the three copies of Resourceful and I don’t need to have all the resource generation in play at once.

Under the Shadow

Frodo Baggins

Allies (19):
Arwen Undomiel x3
West Road Traveller x3
Gleowine x3
Ithilien Lookout x3
Erebor Hammersmith x3
Warden of Healing x2
Imladris Stargazer x2

Attachments (14):
Resourceful x3
Silver Lamp x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Ranger Spikes x3
Fast Hitch x2

Events (17):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
Out of the Wild x3
A Test of Will x3
Out of Sight x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2

Thoughts: Frodo is here to hold a Silver Lamp, Eowyn is here to quest, and Faramir is here because he should work reasonably well with Durin’s Bane always being in the staging area and starting at 0 threat meaning I’m below everything’s engagement cost at least to start with.
Top priority here is Silver Lamp of course, but also significant are Unexpected Courage for Beregond, potentially Arwen for more defence boosting, this deck’s selection of potential chumps with more than 1 hit point, and the card draw. Gleowine is intended purely for this deck, since the other has King Under the Mountain.
Obviously in order for the Silver Lamp to work Frodo will need to be ready in the Combat phase, which means I can’t quest with him until he gets a Fast Hitch. At some point Faramir might also get an Unexpected Courage so he can quest and attack, or attack twice.
Out of Sight fits in very nicely, because while it’s primarily intended just to stop Durin’s Bane attacking, this deck may well be engaging more enemies than the other to get more benefit out of the Silver Lamp and Out of Sight will stop all of them as well. Top targets for Out of the Wild are the treacheries which attach to Durin’s Bane – the two weapons and Counter-Spell, most especially the sword, because I can manage 6 attack Durin’s Bane but 9 attack Durin’s Bane is much more of a problem.
A couple of the cards in here are a bit more speculative – The Galadhrim’s Greeting is just on the off-chance I can drop one or both of the decks back to 0 threat to skip a Balrog attack or two, while Imladris Stargazer is so I can stack a deck to ensure victory at the end, but since the primary plan is to reduce Durin’s Bane to 0 HP that may well be unnecessary.

It took me three attempts to get this one right, though I could’ve just won the second if I’d made a slight adjustment near the end, but it’s all interesting play to my mind.


Youtube: (Attempts 1 & 2) (Attempt 3)

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1 Response to The Line Unbroken – N18: Nightmare Shadow and Flame

  1. Onidsen says:

    Welcome back! I love watching your videos.


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