Approaching the end of Aragorn’s journey through Moria, Foundations of Stone, is a relatively fun quest with a unique twist that makes it fun to replay. I guess if you haven’t played the quest, this article comes with a spoiler warning! This quest’s twist was the first of its kind for the game, as there are other quests now with similar mechanics, so I would not read if you are new to the game and the quest, and don’t want the quest spoiled! That being said, this means it is a quest that you kind of need to build for, specifically, or build a deck that can handle the major shakeup the quest delivers. So, that was the goal here!
Lore Aragorn is my go-to here, and he’s coming along with the same usual tools seen before. Aragorn will be able to quest, and defend, and later maybe attack, in this quest. But, primarily he’ll be questing and defending, as well as facilitating card draw thanks to Lore. The threat reduction is not a major necessity in this quest, and my threat won’t start very high, anyway. That said, it can be very helpful to have the threat lowering ability once you reach the latter stages of the quest. Strategically, my starting threat of 26 is deliberately lower than the engagement cost of the lowest-threat Nameless enemy!
Aragorn will receive the attachment Protector of Lorien to assist in defending, as well as the Burning Brand. Those are the most basic defensive attachments, and again, I play Burning Brand currently, as if it holds the new errata, making it Restricted and exhaust to cancel a single Shadow effect, as opposed to blanketing all Shadow effects.
Other attachments will help along the way with healing and card draw. These attachments, (as well as the Burning Brand) must be played carefully, as the quest will wipe them away, so I have to be careful when playing them, because I may never get them back if I play them early. The Dunedain Pipe is a card that enables me to filter my hand and draw, and can be used as a way to possibly affect the quest late, depending on what you put at the bottom of your deck with the Pipe. I’ll touch on that later. Also, Athelas is included as it allows Aragorn to heal, mostly himself, and can remove a Condition attachment, because Watchful Eyes is in the quest, and that card stinks.
So, Aragorn will use those attachments, primarily, to defend, but he can also quest, and maybe attach with Unexpected Courage. One of the supporting heroes will enable Aragorn’s questing as seen below!
I don’t want to rehash the inclusion of Glorfindel again, and he really doesn’t do much but receive Light of Valinor and quest/attack as usual! The return of Spirit Legolas is the more fun supporting hero. I used Legolas in Episode 3‘s deck because for that one, I needed some Ranged characters. The need is not as great for Ranged characters in this quest, but the keyword does come in handy. Also, I love the ability of Legolas to quest, and ready another questing hero by discarding a card.
While Legolas doesn’t need to serve as an attacker straight away, thanks to Glorfindel and Light of Valinor, he gets to quest and this allows Aragorn to quest, and ready. This ability also adds in the mechanic to discard Elven-light, allowing some card draw. Legolas is also a target for Unexpected Courage so he can later quest and attack.
He needs to attack the highly annoying Moria Bats. This is an enemy that isn’t threatening at all, on its own, but if you have more than one enemy engaged, they become dangerous, and only Ranged characters can attack or defend them. So Legolas is the only character that can attack or defend it! As a questing character, Legolas also will benefit from the Mirkwood Long-knife to boost his willpower and attack.
Allies are pretty standard, and without Arwen as a hero, I’ve added her in ally form. She adds some willpower to questing, and defense to Aragorn. Her twin brothers are also here, as usual with my Lore and Spirit decks. They are able to also receive the Ranger Bow, which is a card I really enjoy, especially with relatively low-threat decks. These two can either quest, or can exhaust to damage enemies in the staging area, which can deal with the Moria Bats, or any Nameless enemies that I don’t have to immediately engage. With orc enemies in the Encounter Deck, they of course can also ready when optionally engaging an Orc enemy.
The Dunedain Lookout is a standard body, but he can also receive the Dunedain Pipe for more hand filtering and card drawing. Also, he can negate the pesky Goblin Follower When Revealed effect along the way. Lastly, the Silvan Refugee is a generally great questing ally that I love to play because they are so cheap!
Opening Hand and Strategy
As with any deck that includes Glorfindel, I try to get Light of Valinor in my opening hand, but otherwise, I would like to see Protector of Lorien, or some card draw to start. Also, it’s good to have Arwen in the opening hand. There aren’t many cards you need right off the bat (besides Light of Valinor for the action advantage). Since the quest will inevitably wipe out your Item, Weapon, and Armor attachments, those cards aren’t ones you need or necessarily even want to see immediately!
I avoid playing those types of attachments for most of the game, simply for that reason. However, some attachments like Athelas or the Dunedain Pipe are valuable to play before the Wash Away stage, simply because Athelas is played when you need to heal, and Dunedain Pipe is useful along the way, and can be replaced later. The Mirkwood Long-knife is one you don’t really want to play and get discarded.
Also, due to the fact that the Nameless enemies will receive your own cards attached to them by some effect, I’ve kept my card cost very low. Only 4 cards have a cost higher than 2, with Elladan and Elrohir being in the deck at only 2 copies, each, and costing 3 resources. The Dunedain Pipe can actually help you later in the game, if you have it early, because you can place cheap cards at the bottom of the deck, so that the Nameless enemies receive those 1, or 0-cost cards and have low attack and low hit points! I would not recommend putting a spare copy of Elrohir on the bottom of the deck with the Pipe. Instead, I would discard that extra copy with Legolas’s ability, or with Daeron’s Runes.
Because of the low cost of many of my cards, the Nameless enemies do not pose much of a threat in the end! With Legolas receiving his knives later in the game, and Glorfindel attacking, I can handle them easily. Also, in the end, with only a few named allies, and some generics, I can easily handle questing with only committing 3 allies to the quest, on the Stage 5, which limits how many allies you can commit. This makes Legolas with the knives, and the ability to ready Aragorn, handy again, as it means my attacking characters aren’t useless for questing.
The random ending to this quest is a fun opportunity to replay it, to experience the various Stage 4 cards. The worst, I’d say is the Old One Lair, simply because revealing 4 cards in solo, is pretty tough. Otherwise, I also hate the Shivering Bank, since it discards your entire hand and reveals 2 cards. Playing solo, however, negates the cool aspect of “splitting up” from your party.