The Line Unbroken – 55: Flight of the Stormcaller

Alright, Flight of the Stormcaller. Rated by some people as one of the best adventure packs this game has had, and pretty reasonably since it’s a great quest and gave us one of the best glue heroes we have and some other good cards. It’s also the second Sailing quest and therefore where Sailing starts getting that bit more interesting since the first one was kind of a tutorial.

So how about those player cards, huh? Leadership Denethor made quite a splash on release, immediately taking over the front page of RingsDB, and rocketing up the ranks of commonly used heroes. And honestly the main reason for that is entirely in his Setup ability. The second ability and the fact he has stats (and a low threat cost) are nice, but the big reason for playing Denethor is just that those two extra starting resources make things so much easier. Extra resources are a big deal and the start of the game is generally the hardest part so getting that early boost is huge. That aside, Azain Silverbeard and even more so Glorfindel are great unique allies, with Glorfindel, Imladris Caregiver and Guardian of Rivendell just adding that little bit more to the already impressively developed Noldor archetype. Vanish from Sight is a niche card but enables some very interesting shenanigans. And oh yeah, there’s Heed the Dream – now I would mitigate some of the hype around this card, it’s not the best choice all the time for every deck, but it is an absolutely fantastic card.

Meanwhile, the quest. Flight of the Stormcaller puts an interesting twist on the usual quest mechanics by making things more symmetrical – rather than us questing towards a static objective while the encounter deck tries through various means to stop our progress, the players and the Stormcaller are both questing and it’s essentially a race between these two sides. Of course The Uruk-Hai also worked with a similar story, but presented it in a somewhat different way with the Pursuit value in that quest as opposed to the Stormcaller having its own separate quest deck in this one.
As far as building for the quest goes, that interesting mechanic doesn’t actually influence a whole lot. Regardless of other concerns, you still win by questing to victory through the norml means (or defeating the Stormcaller in combat, but that tends to be more difficult). The main point which influences deckbuilding decision-making is the fact that this is a Sailing quest – as such we want a decent supply of cheap allies for Sailing tests, and combat is a more problematic prospect because one Ship turns into one Ship and multiple Corsairs on being engaged. I don’t want to disregard combat entirely, but I do expect that my victory will come through questing and as such combat is a lower priority.
One thing I want to do for a Sailing quest because it can be a very interesting and effective strategy is to use scrying. If you scry the encounter deck prior to making a Sailing test you can potentially be more precise with how many allies you send on the test and have more actions available for other things.
Interesting point: While I haven’t specifically checked all my previous decks, I think Flight of the Stormcaller is the first time my Line Unbroken decks have actually used none of the cards from the new pack (other than the hero). Not something I planned, just how it turned out.

Surpassing in Knowledge

Denethor (Ld)

Allies (22):
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Errand-rider x3
Galadhrim Minstrel x3
Ithilien Lookout x3
Gleowine x3
Ithilien Tracker x2
Warden of Healing x2
Gandalf (Core) x2
Henamarth Riversong x1

Attachments (9):
Palantir x3
Steward of Gondor x3
King Under the Mountain x3

Events (19):
Sneak Attack x3
Keen As Lances x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3
None Return x3
Leave No Trace x2
The Door is Closed! x2

Thoughts: Like I said, scrying can be great for Sailing quests, and the Palantir is still the best scryiing you can get. A decent amount of the time when I use Leadership Denethor he ends up not using his actions much anyway, so devoting them entirely to scrying with the Palantir seems reasonable, not to mention thematic. I picked Rossiel and Bifur primarily for their low threat so I have more room for Palantir threat raises, but of course Bifur is always a good option while Rossiel works thematically by fitting in with the sort of magic theme with the Palantir and mechanically for this quest because all locations share the Ocean trait and all enemies the Corsair trait.
The allies were mostly chosen for being cheap but also useful – I don’t think I’ve ever built a Rossiel deck without Galadhrim Minstrels because events are so important to the victory display archetype, Envoys are always great for shifting resources around, and the other cheap allies I think are fairly self-explanatory. Gandalf of course is primarily intended for Sneak Attack. The Ithilien Lookout is the one more expensive ally (as I will not expect to be getting into Secrecy), but his ability fits in with the scrying theme and he should be affordable between putting Steward of Gondor on Rossiel, Bifur’s ability, and the fact this deck will be using Narelenya as its Ship objective, providing a discount on the first ally played each round.
The attachments are prett obvious here. The Palantir provides scrying and card draw, Steward of Gondor goes on Rossiel and provides resources for everything else, King Under the Mountain provides even more card draw.
Sneak Attack pairs with Gandalf as usual, Daeron’s Runes is standard card draw (but I omitted my typical Deep Knowledge given the threat problems of the Palantir), and Gildor’s Counsel of course is always good, especially with access to the scrying from the Palantir potentially giving me predictable staging even after Sailing. The suite of victory display events obviously goes with Rossiel – I skipped Out of the Wild as it’s expensive and not as significant as the others. Likewise Leave No Trace tends to be less important, and The Door is Closed! only works later in the game, so they made sense to cut to two copies to free up deck space.

The Call of the Sea

Cirdan the Shipwright

Allies (20):
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Galadhon Archer x3
Arwen Undomiel x3
Galadhrim Weaver x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
West Road Traveller x3
Celduin Traveller x2

Attachments (15):
Light of Valinor x3
Mirror of Galadriel x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Dagger of Westernesse x3

Events (15):
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Dwarven Tomb x3
Feint x3
Keen As Lances x3

Thoughts: I picked out Galadriel to potentially help the first deck with its threat, and Legolas as my Ranged attacker since every bit of progress potentially counts. That left me a bit light on willpower, and of the two 4 willpower heroes I chose Cirdan rather than Eowyn for the extra draw.
The allies are mostly standard cheap Spirit willpower. Arwen is a higher priority than sometimes as my only source of Sentinel, and since I’m light on starting defence. The Galadhrim Weavers also work nicely with both Cirdan and the Mirror of Galadriel. The Celduin Traveller makes potential sense for the same reason as the Ithilien Lookout in the first deck, though it’ll be harder to afford the Traveller, probably depending on resources transferred via Envoy of Pelargir or Errand-rider. Galadhon Archers help get me more attack to take out enemies efficiently, while the defensive duties are intended to be placed on Rossiel, who can be boosted with None Return, Arwen, and Gondorian Shield (for the full +2 since she’s the intended recipient of Steward of Gondor).
Light of Valinor is intended for Rossiel so she can use both of her boosts, and I already mentioned the Gondorian Shield. The weapons of course are for Legolas, though the Rivendell Blades can equally be placed on Galadhon Archers. The Mirror of Galadriel of course just helps me dig out whatever cards seem most important at any given moment.
The events are three simple standard choices, plus Dwarven Tomb which I always like when using the Mirror in case of unfortunate random discards, and Keen As Lances which of course works with the victory display cards in the other deck.

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