The Line Unbroken – 60: City of Corsairs

So we come to City of Corsairs and the end of the Dream-Chaser cycle. It has been a fun trip, and in particular I think this cycle might be my favourite story we’ve had in this game. Certainly I’m on record as saying Sahir is the best villain we’ve had, a sentiment which I stand by, and he is obviously very significant to the storyline. Further to that point, of course this quest gives us our final boss fight with Sahir, and that also is something I love. This is a pretty great quest.

The player cards other than the hero are pretty much all kind of niche effects. For most of them there are decks which are very glad to have them, but they’re much more limited outside of those specific contexts. Except the hero, Timrahil is fantastic, very fun to play with and much more versatile than the other cards in the pack.

The quest is really defined by its first and last stages. Stage 2 is purely transitional and stage 3 is just kind of there. On the other hand, the first stage is the last bit of Sailing for the cycle and presents the challenge of either defeating the Stormcaller in combat or successfully Sailing and questing through while fending it off since here it has a rather low engagement cost of 20; and stage 4 is the final boss fight with Captain Sahir. When I picked Sahir as the best villain we’ve had I also expressed my liking for that final boss fight and it is a rather interesting one. Actually I’d really like to see how it plays out in a case where the players are struggling more, but I’ve always had things pretty under control by the time I arrive at it. Maybe when I get to the Nightmare version.

In building for this quest I have many guiding principles to consider:
If I choose to try and simply destroy the Stormcaller at stage 1, which I do, then the primary challenge of the quest throughout is combat. Potentially I don’t really even need to bother about Sailing. I can’t neglect my willpower of course, but combat is a huge focus, to take down both swarms of Corsairs and the big hitters of the Stormcaller and Captain Sahir.
When reaching the end of the cycle I do like to try and exemplify the types of deck which got their development in that cycle – here that’s not so much a thing though, the only significant trait development was Noldor, but that started out in early Angmar Awakened and was really capped off early in this cycle. The one consistent theme which comes up in this cycle is effects to do with throwing resources around, so I can try to include some of those.
Timrahil is mandated by my usual rules, and so I have to build around his ability with plenty of allies he trait matches. I also need to factor in the consistent cost of his ability and make sure I have enough resources to play cards in the Planning phase and still spawn in temporary allies for Combat with said ability.
Although it makes the resource demands substantially harder to handle, I’ve always wanted to end the cycle with Na’asiyah taking her revenge against Captain Sahir, powering up with her ability to smash her way through first his ship and then him. For the former, my mental image was always of her powering up and basically superhero punching her way straight through the hull of the Stormcaller to sink it, a mental image which coincidentally got emulated in a recent superhero film.

I Have Nothing To Prove To You

Prince Imrahil (Ta)
Denethor (Ld)

Allies (22):
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Azain Silverbeard x3
Marksman of Lorien x3
Squire of the Citadel x3
Veteran of Osgiliath x3
Weather Hills Watchman x3
Dwarven Sellsword x2
Beorn x2

Attachments (17):
Steward of Gondor x3
Rune-master x3
Dunedain Warning x3
Dunedain Mark x3
Dunedain Remedy x3
Dunedain Signal x2

Events (9):
Legacy of Numenor x3
Gaining Strength x3
Feint x3

Side-quests (2):
Gather Information x1
Send for Aid x1

Thoughts: Given that I decided to combine Imrahil (who keeps spending resources on his ability) with Na’asiyah (who wants to use resources for her ability and also can’t pay for allies), obviously I needed to throw a bunch of reources around. This became somewhat of a theme across both decks in the end. Denethor was an obvious choice for third hero since he can shuttle resources to Imrahil, there are some good Leadership allies eligible for Imrahil’s ability, he can play Steward round 1 by himself, etc.
Rune-master is a card I’ve always liked the idea of but never gotten that much use out of. But here it fitted in quite nicely since it allows extra reources to go potentially on any hero via playing Signals around. Initial intention is that Warnings and Signal go on Denethor, Marks on Na’asiyah and Remedies wherever needed (for the healing or just as a way of adding an extra resource to someone via Rune-master), but Na’asiyah could also take Warnings and a Signal since although I’m primarily intending her to attack she’s flexible as to her combat role. Steward of Gondor is intended to go on Denethor despite the fact he’s the one hero here I don’t want to be stacking up resources – it’ll make it easier to play all those Leadership cards, as already mentioned he can shuttle resources to Imrahil through his ability, but also he can effectively move resources around via Envoys of Pelargir and the aforementioned Rune-master, so it should be fine.
There are many events I could have included to gain extra resources – I considered Captain’s Wisdom and Wealth of Gondor, but given my desire to power up Na’asiyah specifically, it seemed best to narrow down to the ones which can naturally help her – Gaining Strength can work for anyone, and of course Legacy of Numenor works for everyone at once, tying into the general theme of more resources everywhere.
Finally, the allies. Weather Hills Watchman is in of course to accelerate the deck somewhat by digging out the Signal attachments, and every other ally in the deck matches a trait with Imrahil so they can be brought into play by his ability. Envoys and Squires can repace that spent resource by entering or leaving play respectively which can be handy, and the others are all primarily intended to be used for extra attack since we’ll potentially have many Corsairs to fight (though they could also defend/chump if needed, because again, many Corsairs). Since I’m throwing around a certain amount of Doomed getting into Valour to power up the Veterans of Osgiliath is pretty likely, Marksmen of Lorien and Beorn are super-great to drop in anyway, and Azain can come in really handy if I have spare Tactics resources to spend (which by the design of the deck, I really should), especially since there is one Corsair enemy who only has 2 hit points. If any of these allies end up in my hand, I probably can’t get enough resources on Imrahil to play Beorn, but any of the others are fine, and with the amount of resource generation I have going around, it’s pretty plausible that I can pay the 1 Leadership resource per round to keep a Sellsword in play if I want to.
Side-quests are great if I can get them on stage 1, since I intend to largely ditch Sailing and not make any progress on the main quest anyway. Speaking of stage 1, this deck will be using Narelenya to save a resource or 2 in the early game since resources are again what it’s kind of all about here.

Higher Further Faster

Arwen Undomiel

Allies (22):
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Bilbo Baggins x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Westfold Horse-breeder x3
Gleowine x3
Galadhrim Minstrel x3
Henamarth Riversong x1
Mablung x1
Quickbeam x1
Robin Smallburrow x1

Attachments (12):
Unexpected Courage x3
Gandalf’s Staff x3
Keys of Orthanc x3
Shadowfax x2
Wizard Pipe x1

Events (14):
Daeron’s Runes x3
Deep Knowledge x3
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
The Galadhrim’s Greeting x2

Side-quests (2):
Gather Information x1
Double Back x1

Thoughts: Carrying on the theme of generating a bunch of resources we have Arwen, who can generate them for herself by discarding, Grima, who can cost reduce and trigger the Keys of Orthanc to generate additional resources, and Gandalf, who can generate resources on anyone with Gandalf’s Staff (and also by using him as a hero I avoid the debate of whether Sneak Attack Gandalf should be in the first deck).
As in the previous quest, I’ve divided the decks very sharply into combat and questing, this being the questing. While I can bring some combat power over here with Gandalf (especially once Shadowfax is in play) and potentially Quickbeam, that’s to be avoided if possible, and if it comes up it should be supplemented by Dunedain Signal using heroes, the Ranged of the Marksmen of Lorien and the direct damage of Azain Silverbeard. Other than Gleowine, who is intended primarily to help the draw of deck 1,the allies in this deck were basically all chosen for their cheap willpower – though Envoys can again handily transfer resources around, Bilbo, Horse-breeders and Minstrels speed up the draw of this deck and the little bits of threat reduction from Handmaidens are always welcome.
Keys of Orthanc are intended to go on Na’asiyah to help power her up to destroy the Stormcaller and Sahir, Courages are intended for Denethor and Na’asiyah, obviously the Gandalf attachments go on Gandalf. The Staff can primarily be used to generate resources wherever they may be needed at a given moment, but supplementing the card draw or discarding the odd shadow card may also come in very handy.
Events simply cover draw, cancellation and threat reduction, the latter being very important to counteract the Doomed. Double Back is a very handy side-quest to have available for that same reason.
A notable absence from this deck is any healing – this quest doesn’t have a lot of direct damage except for a one-off effect when you advance to stage 2, so I’m hoping the Dunedain Remedies can keep my heroes healthy, not worrying about my allies, and I used the freed up deckspace to accommodate Gleowine and slightly more card draw than I had in the first draft of this deck. Although the first draft versions did beat the quest, I think it should be more consistent this way.

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