The Line Unbroken – N37: Nightmare The Dunland Trap

The Dunland Trap was one of my favourite quests from the Ring-maker cycle, though it was also one of the more difficult quests in the cycle, so it’ll be interesting to see how it changes going into Nightmare. Though sometimes the already difficult quests don’t get changed that much in the Nightmare transition, presumably because the difficulty is already there and therefore doesn’t need to be specifically added.

This was also of course a separate Nightmare release and so my available card pool has expanded as far as Treachery of Rhudaur. That’s some very fortuitous timing because Erestor fits into this quest really well.
So, what really marks Nightmare Dunland Trap? Well, one of the more notable things about it is a lack of change rather than the presence of one – the Nightmare setup card doesn’t say anything beyond “You are playing Nightmare mode.” There are of course a bunch of new cards in the Nightmare encounter deck, but they’re all just working with the same themes which were already present in the original quest – primarily punishing you for drawing cards. The big challenge to handle then is the same as it was in standard difficulty – the crippling of your board state on arriving at stage 2 combined with the punishing of card draw effects potentially making it more difficult to rapidly establish yourself, and all this while dealing with some tough Dunlending enemies.

Since the stage 2 effect gets rid of all but one ally for each player, it makes sense to put a certain amount of focus on strong heroes instead. Since it also discards all Item and Mount attachments, I should also look into attachments without those traits. Given the various Dunlending effects I want to be wary about card draw effects, with the exception of the aforementioned Erestor, who simply changes the number of cards drawn in the resource phase and therefore doesn’t trigger Dunlending effects any more than they already would be. Stage 1 also already discards your hand every two rounds, which is a complete non-issue to an Erestor deck which already discards it every single round and is built around that. With that in mind in general, both decks want ideally to be built around a certain amount of efficiency, both to make the most of their cards on stage 1 and to rapidly re-establish a usable board state after everything gets discarded.

Walking into the trap


Allies (14):
Defender of the Naith x3
Galadhon Archer x3
Derndingle Warrior x3
Naith Guide x3
Orophin x1
Rumil x1

Attachments (22):
O Lorien! x3
Dunedain Mark x3
Dunedain Warning x3
Bow of the Galadhrim x3
Rivendell Blade x3
Elven Spear x3
Keeping Count x3
Black Arrow x1

Events (12):
Feigned Voices x3
Pursuing the Enemy x3
Feint x3
Keen as Lances x3

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

Thoughts: Given the forced ally discard at stage 2, Silvans make a certain amount of sense as they kind of work around being temporary, and if the cards align I can maybe even deliberately pull some back to hand immediately before advancing and play them again afterwards. Thus Celeborn.
Legolas I picked because theoretically it could be beneficial to advance to stage 2 in the combat phase and thus get another Planning phase to play more allies before having to deal with the newly spawned enemies. And then I was considering the additional cards added to my available card pool and realised Dori potentially makes some sense here, since he’s a defence boost which isn’t an Item attachment.
For allies, I brought the obvious Silvans, and then Derndingle Warriors of course are great defenders and one of them might well be my choice of ally to keep when advancing depending on circumstances. Notable absence of Gandalf for a couple of reasons – under the conditions of stage 1 I couldn’t rely on getting him and Sneak Attack in hand simultaneously, and in a non-Sneak Attack context he’s expensive and I want to be playing cards efficiently rather than waiting for resources.
O Lorien obviously I wanted for Silvans. I omitted Steward of Gondor because being unable to reliably hold onto cards until I could afford them I didn’t want to build around the assumption of having Steward, and if I didn’t need the extra resources it would provide then it would just be cluttering up the deck (especially since with only 1 Leadership hero I couldn’t necessarily play it if I did draw it on stage 1). I did bring 3 different possible weapons for Legolas to use, including the Elven Spear, which fits in well with stage 1’s forced discards, but I also picked out a few combat boosting attachments which will remain in play – Dunedain Marks and Warnings are Signals and thus safe, while Keeping Count is traitless. Of course Keeping Count isn’t super reliable, but the extra draws imposed by stage 1 may help with that. A further recommending point to Keeping Count and Elven Spear is that they’re free and so I can definitely play them when I draw them – in general I mostly tried to keep the deck cheap.
Event-wise, the two in-sphere Silvan events and Feint are pretty obvious inclusions. I want to do the whole Silvan thing and also these are good combat boosts. The possibility of drawing into attack cancellation I think is also more significant when your draw is not as strong and so you can’t rely on getting defenders fully established. Finally Keen as Lances makes sense given the second deck.
Side-quests are good, especially since I can use them on stage 3 (which doesn’t require progress) to restore my board state.

Throwing caution (and cards) to the winds


Allies (20):
Arwen Undomiel x3
Galadhrim Weaver x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Warden of Healing x3
Galadhrim Minstrel x3
Silvan Tracker x3
Henamarth Riversong x1
Haldir of Lorien x1

Attachments (12):
Light of Valinor x3
Unexpected Courage x3
Protector of Lorien x3
Elf-friend x3

Events (15):
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Leave No Trace x3
None Return x3
The Tree People x3
Keen as Lances x3

Side-quests (3):
Gather Information x1
Double Back x1
Scout Ahead x1

Thoughts: Again, I was considering the additional cards made available to me and realised Rossiel also sort of fits in, because she also gets boosts to questing and defence which are not dependent on other cards in play. Traits are pretty consistent in this quest as well. Erestor I mentioned further up just makes a lot of sense to bring to this quest so you can just laugh off the Time effect on stage 1. Eowyn ensures my questing will be good regardless of the state of allies, and gives a use for extra cards I can’t play fast enough on stage 1.
The allies are almost all Silvans, chosen for their synergy with Celeborn and O Lorien! The only exceptions are Wardens of Healing, because obviously healing can be significant and I don’t want to be entirely reliant on Silvan Trackers for it; and Arwen, because she’s another non-item defence boost (plus Sentinel for Rossiel).
None of the attachments here are Items or Mounts so they’ll be safe when I advance. We have action advantage so I can get more out of my heroes when I lose my allies, Protector of Lorien for another defence boost (potentially willpower as well), and Elf-friend speculatively to spread the Silvan Tracker love around.
For events, Elrond’s Counsel is standard (also free which is good), The Tree People is of course the most impactful Silvan event, and then we have the victory display stuff minus The Door is Closed!, because of course cancellation makes less sense when you can’t hold it in hand until need it but have to discard it at the end of the round having likely not revealed anything you could cancel. For the same reason, there are no Tests of Will in the deck.
Once again, side-quests are good.

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