The Line Unbroken – N25: Nightmare Peril in Pelargir

With the Hobbit sagas done, my journey through the Nightmare quests comes to Heirs of Numenor and the Against the Shadow cycle. In my opinion this point marks a definite improvement in the Nightmare design. It was at this point the Nightmare versions of the quests started featuring some more significant mechanical alterations which are always interesting, and they also started making changes to the encounter decks more along the lines of rebalancing than just increasing the difficulty, sometimes actually removing particularly punishing cards which skew the balance and difficulty of the quest (i.e. the kind of cards I tend to complain about).
At this point the Nightmare decks were coming quite close together, so the only new additions to my Progression-style card pool are The Road Darkens and The Nin-in-Eilph.

So, Nightmare Peril in Pelargir. This Nightmare deck adds a mechanic to encourage the players not to just drop Alcaron’s Scroll and only pick it up when they need to advance the quest, but otherwise the quest remains basically the same – lots of dangerous enemies to deal with, Battle questing. The most notable change to my mind is the removal of Collateral Damage from the encounter deck – one of those unbalanced cards I mentioned further up. This doesn’t really influence my deckbuilding though. My main focus is that of course I need lots of attack power for Battle questing and to keep the enemies under control. Ideally keeping the board entirely clear of enemies most of the time should solve any potential problems with Alcaron’s Scroll.
Following a suggestion from a reader/viewer I want one of my decks to be mono-Tactics so I can use Trained for War to make the third quest stage Battle as well as the first two and just ignore the usual willpower requirements in my deckbuilding. Besides that my only real guiding principle is that I need to be able to handle Battle questing and something of an enemy swarm. There are of course multiple approaches I could bring to this. I do also remember the problem posed by the Zealous Traitors engagement effect, so if I can focus on my heroes more than my allies that’d be good. Some means of avoiding enemy engagements and killing enemies in the staging area could be handy though not essential. Based on all these ideas this is what I ended up devising. Perhaps not ideal in retrospect, I could’ve made some changes to probably improve effectiveness and/or consistency, but they turned out fun to play, which is the most important thing:

Fight Through the Throng


Allies (12):
Bofur (Ta) x3
Galadhon Archer x3
Vassal of the Windlord x3
Gandalf (OHaUH) x3

Attachments (23):
Gandalf’s Staff x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Elven Mail x3
Bow of the Galadhrim x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Dagger of Westernesse x3
Rivendell Bow x3
Mighty Prowess x2

Events (15):
Feint x3
Foe-hammer x3
Goblin-cleaver x3
Trained for War x3
Hands Upon the Bow x3

Thoughts: The sons of Elrond are heroes who I don’t use that often, but they’re a pretty good way of dealing with an enemy swarm, so I figured I’d go for it. Since Nin-in-Eilph was just added to my Progression-style card pool Mablung is an obvious choice for being generally good and giving me the extra resources I may not want to be spending from Elladan given his ability. Finally Thalin is always good for Battle/Siege questing and I’ve built around a certain amount of direct damage in general since that’s also a decent way of handling an enemy swarm.
The combination of Bofur, weapons and Foe-hammer is very important of course since I want to get through the deck quickly to ensure I find Trained for War in time for stage 3 of the quest. Of course in addition to Foe-hammer the weapons can also be used for Goblin-cleaver, supplementing the other direct damage from Thalin, Galadhon Archers and Mighty Prowess to keep the enemies under control. Hands Upon the Bow is intended in a similar vein – of course it can only be used by the allies or once Elladan has a Rivendell Bow, but along with the direct damage I may be able to kill some enemies before they can engage and thus avoid those frustrating engagement effects.
Gondorian Shields and Elven Mail are intended primarily for Elrohir in the other deck, Trained for War is as mentioned so I can continue Battle questing even on stage 3 which normally switches back to willpower. Vassals of the Windlord are purely for Battle questing, which is also the main use of the Galadhon Archers – there’s a disadvantage in them only having 1 hit point so a Zealous Traitor will definitely kill them, but I should come out OK unless I’m very unlucky in that regard.
The one really unusual thing here is the use of OHaUH Gandalf, but if I can manage the threat (with the help of the other deck) he is of course very useful. He’s equally good at questing for Battle or willpower in the event Trained for War doesn’t turn up in time, and he’ll also help out a lot with combat. And since I’ve got him, why not use Gandalf’s Staff as well? It’s a very powerful little booster to have available.

Strategic Maneuvering

Glorfindel (Sp)
Haldir of Lorien

Allies (8):
Errand-rider x3
Warden of Healing x3
Ithilien Tracker x2

Attachments (18):
Steward of Gondor x3
Dunedain Signal x3
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Asfaloth x3

Events (24):
Campfire Tales x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
Noiseless Movement x3
A Test of Will x3
Stand and Fight x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting

Thoughts: So with the first deck being mono-Tactics this one ends up tri-sphere. Elrohir of course is to manage all my defences – as such even though Dunedain Signals are obviously redundant to Elven Mail I included them so I can make Elrohir a Sentinel as fast as possible. Glorfindel was somewhat inevitable since I need a Spirit hero with attack power for Battle questing, not to mention the benefits of Asfaloth to keep the staging area clear (which is useful regardless of questing type). And then Haldir’s ability to perform pre-emptive attacks is great for keeping an enemy swarm under control, including potentially killing them in the staging area and avoiding their Forced effects when they engage – hence the inclusion of Noiseless Movement so I can specifically choose to leave certain enemies in the staging area when strategically useful.
Since Elrohir is getting Steward of Gondor and there will after a certain point only be so many enemies to deal with, Errand-riders are needed to keep things efficient. Wardens of Healing are essential, while Ithilien Trackers cancel threat in the staging area for better questing of any type – you’ll note between this and a few other things that while my main plan is to play Trained for War to make stage 3 a Battle quest like the first two stages I have built in some backups.
Unexpected Courage is most likely going on Haldir and/or Elladan so they can Battle quest and still be ready to attack. Threat reduction is important for this deck to avoid engaging enemies and let Haldir do his thing and for the other to counteract Gandalf. Finally Stand and Fight is included to potentially revive any of the other deck’s 1 hit point allies which get killed by Zealous Traitors engaging so I don’t lose all my Battle questing power.



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