The Line Unbroken – N28: Nightmare The Steward’s Fear

The Steward’s Fear is a favourite quest for a lot of people for it’s interesting mechanics and good replay value. I’ve always been a fan of it for those reasons, but when in the past I’ve tried to carry that enjoyment over into the Nightmare version it hasn’t worked out so well for me for various reasons. The Nightmare deck adds a couple of things which can really mess you up if you didn’t bring the right kind of deck, in my experience so while I have had some successes I’m somewhat apprehensive coming into this and we’ll have to see if I can figure out something effective.
My Progression-style card pool at this point extends to the end of the Ring-maker cycle.

The big, obvious changes to Steward’s Fear for Nightmare mode are the two extra plots and the mechanics on the Nightmare card itself which put cards back into the Underworld deck so you can’t just run it out before stage 3 or save up the Clues for the most opportune moment. These are fantastic. The additional encounter cards on the other hand can be incredibly punishing if they turn up at the wrong moment – Murderous Turncoats are my number 1 reason for early losses, while the other additions really push the player towards an aggressive strategy because they get very punishing if you allow them to build up in the staging area (revealing extra Underworld cards, adding extra plots, etc). When I played the standard difficulty version of this quest in The Line Unbroken I took a while to build up an army of Outlands who could then overcome everything, but if I tried a strategy like that for the Nightmare version I think there’s a high chance that one way or another I wouldn’t survive long enough to amass that power with some of the ways the new Nightmare cards can screw you over if you don’t get things under control early on.

So my primary deckbuilding focus is simple aggro – I want to ensure I can keep the board state under control a much as possible right from the start of the game. Sounds simple, but of course I then have to reckon with ways the encounter deck may make that problematic. In particular I want to consider some of the plots – Up in Flames can hopefully be dealt with by simply winning before my decks run out, it may be cause to stop using card draw effects but won’t stop me including them; Poisoned Counsels on the other hand needs addressing since there may be other threat raises as well, not least from Doomed player cards, so threat reduction is a concern; and Assassination makes me more concerned than I would otherwise be about A Knife in the Back. Of course I could just save cancellation for A Knife in the Back and be fine, but pulling the teeth of a problematic treachery is potentially handy regardless, so I may go for that. Additionally I want condition removal for Local Trouble.

No-one questions a Wizard

Heroes:
Gandalf
Haldir of Lorien
Legolas

Allies (11):
Galadhrim Minstrel x3
Mirkwood Pioneer x3
Warden of Healing x3
Gleowine x2

Attachments (24):
Gandalf’s Staff x3
Wizard Pipe x3
Bow of the Galadhrim x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Rivendell Bow x3
Asfaloth x3
Lembas x3
Gondorian Shield x2
Wingfoot x1

Events (15):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
Foe-hammer x3
Feint x3
Hands Upon the Bow x3

Thoughts: Haldir is great for keeping the board state under control and is also flexible as both a decent quester and a good attacker. Legolas is a good attacker and his ability (especially with Hands Upon the Bow) is just a perfect fit for a case like this where I’m trying specifically to keep consistently clearing locations. Gandalf fits in nicely because he can pay for both spheres and speed up the deck, but the main reason I chose him as a hero was because I ruled out the ally version because of my idea to pull the teeth of A Knife in the Back – that being that every ally in this deck and the other has 0 attack (which of course also made it more important to have strong attacking heroes like Haldir and Legolas).
The actual content of the deck is pretty simply focused – a bit of willpower, a lot of card draw, healing, combat boosts and the two main Gandalf attachments. Oh, and Asfaloth to keep locations a bit more under control.

Trusted Allies

Heroes:
Eowyn
Glorfindel (Sp)
Erkenbrand

Allies (18):
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
West Road Traveller x3
Blue Mountain Trader x3
Herald of Anorien x3
Errand-rider x3
Arwen Undomiel x2
Bilbo Baggins x1

Attachments (20):
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Ancient Mathom x3
Thror’s Key x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Dunedain Warning x3
Dunedain Mark x2

Events (12):
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Cousel x3
The Galadhrim’ Greeting x3
Power of Orthanc x3

Thoughts: I need high willpower, making Eowyn the obvious choice. Glorfindel has good willpower and can help with attack as well, plus the bonus of Asfaloth. Erkenbrand is perhaps a less obvious choice – a lot of people would try to slot in Beregond somewhere instead, but I decided to go for the immediately and constantly available shadow cancellation.
This deck is perhaps a bit more spread than the other. It has most of my willpower, a bit of card draw, resource generation and resource smoothing with Errand-riders, some more combat boosts, readying, threat reduction, condition removal and Thror’s Key to potentially dodge some of the negative effects from the worse locations in the deck.

http://ringsdb.com/fellowship/view/4746/the-line-unbroken-nightmare-steward-s-fear
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/8799/the-line-unbroken-nm-steward-s-fear-deck-1-1.0
http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/8800/the-line-unbroken-nm-steward-s-fear-deck-2-1.0

During my first attempt at recording this, I made what seemed like a game-invalidating mistake. Since I’d been enjoying the game I decided to finish it anyway and post it as kind of a bonus:

This is the actual playthrough which as far as I could keep track is actually valid:

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1 Response to The Line Unbroken – N28: Nightmare The Steward’s Fear

  1. Landroval says:

    Thanks for the videos.

    I never actually beat this in standard mode when it was originally released and am just getting back in to the game now. Will be a good test of how my deck building has improved. Just need to finish the hobbit first.

    Like

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