The Line Unbroken – N42: Nightmare The Antlered Crown

Alright, I’ve reached the end of the Ringmaker cycle once again, coming to the Nightmare version of the Antlered Crown. Antlered Crown is a quest I’ve always quite liked, with the proviso that it has a lot of effects to keep track of and so it can be very easy to misplay something. This problem has arisen both times I had to record playthroughs of it for The Line Unbroken.

The transition to Nightmare hasn’t realy done anything to change the basic character of this quest. The restriction on the Nightmare card prevents the discarding of locations with Time counters on them, but not the exploration of them. I can see how the limitation avoids potentially exploit-y approaches to the quest, but exploring locations is still always going to be the more standard route taken.
The concerns for this quest then, are that I really want to start with good willpower and combat ability to (as with the past two quests) avoid cards piling up negative effects in the staging area; some location control is definitely worthwhile but it doesn’t need to be a huge focus; and because of all the Dunlending effects I want my decks to be efficient, possibly use discard effects, and generally avoid too much draw or getting too many cards in hand.

Heavy is the head that Bears the crown

Cirdan the Shipwright
Glorfindel (Sp)

Allies (18):
Arwen Undomiel x3
Galadriel’s Handmaiden x3
Westfold Horse-breeder x3
Elven Jeweller x3
Honour Guard x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3

Attachments (18):
Light of Valinor x3
Steed of Imladris x3
Gondorian Shield x3
Elven Spear x3
Arod x2
Rivendell Blade x2
Rivendell Bow x2

Events (12):
A Test of Will x3
Elrond’s Counsel x3
Elven-light x3
Feint x3

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

Thoughts: Cirdan was one of my first choices because of course he allows me a larger selection of cards while not increasing the total number of cards in my hand and not causing more instances of me drawing cards, so no additional Dunlending problems. Glorfindel is in because of Asfaloth, also the low threat 3 willpower 3 attack is always welcome. Finally Beorn can cover a lot of combat needs in a single hero slot.
One general point to note right at the start is that nothing in the deck costs more than 2 resources, thus ensuring I should be able to play things efficiently. This is helped further by the fact that the neutral Envoys can add resources back to my Spirit heroes or send them across to the other deck. Other than the Honour Guards with their obvious Beorn synergy and general goodness, the allies are all chosen for being cheap willpower, though the Horse-breeders’ ability could also come in handy to help me find some of my location control.
In attachments, obviously I have Light of Valinor for Glorfindel, then Steeds of Imladris and Arod for a bit of extra location control. Weapons to power up my combat capabilities that bit further, also of course the Elven Spears can help me empty my hand if I need to (as can the Steeds of Imladris). And of course the Gondorian Shields are intended (in combination with ally Arwen) to set up Denethor as a strong defender in the other deck so I’m not just relying on Beorn for the whole game.
Events are standard and obvious aside from Elven-light, which might seem an odd choice in a Dunlending quest. But the thing is, playing a Dunlending quest doesn’t mean you can never use card draw effects, just that you have to be careful about how you time them so you don’t trigger negatives for drawing cards and can mostly or entirely clear your hand so you don’t trigger negatives for cards in hand. Elven-light is great for that since it can be played in any action window, I should have some spare resources since the deck is so cheap, and it provides me with discard fodder if I need it for Steeds of Imladris and Elven Spears.

The Steward’s Support

Galdor of the Havens

Allies (21):
Gandalf (Core) x3
Envoy of Pelargir x3
Errand-rider x3
Herald of Anorien x3
Mirkwood Pioneer x3
Warden of Healing x3
Elven Jeweller x3

Attachments (17):
Asfaloth x3
Protector of Lorien x3
Lembas x3
Steward of Gondor x3
Cram x3
Celebrian’s Stone x2

Events (12):
Sneak Attack x3
Daeron’s Runes x3
Gildor’s Counsel x3
The Evening Star x3

Thoughts: Here I wanted two Lore heroes both for the 2-cost location control of Asfaloth and The Evening Star and for my one 3-cost card across the 2 decks (not counting Gandalf, who is primarily for Sneak ttack of course), Gildor’s Counsel. Since Evening Star is a card you generally want to hold until the right moment that ruled out a repeat appearance of Erestor, but Galdor is another prime candidate for Dunlending quests since he can provide a little bit of carefully timed very efficient draw. Denethor I picked as a defender, and with willpower already fairly well covered I figured I could take a bit of a hit in that regard to instead get the extra resources from Theodred.
The allies once again are mostly chosen for cheap willpower, with also the consideration of efficiency, thus Heralds of Anorien which could help get cards out of hand by putting them into play with Doomed, and Errand-riders of course to redistribute resources. And then of course Wardens of Healing are standard. It must be noted that while I obviously don’t have a resource match for the Elven Jewellers, I can still trigger their action to put them into play if I want.
Asfaloth is in for the good regular location control, and along with Steward of Gondor is probably about the highest priority. Protector of Lorien allows me to clear my hand as needed and also provides additional willpower, as of course does Celebrian’s Stone, which will be going on Theodred. Lembas and Cram are in for extra actions in emergencies (Cram being free is also a strong point in its favour).
Sneak Attack for Gandalf, Daeron’s Runes is good draw which doesn’t increase the number of cards in my hand, Gildor’s Counsel is just always good, and The Evening Star bolsters my location control efforts nicely.

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