After making it over Caradhras and the dangerous Redhorn Gate, this quest now has us traveling north to Rivendell, escorting Arwen home, so we have the objective ally Arwen with us again. This quest is pretty notorious because of two absolutely back-breaking treachery cards. You absolutely do not want to get hit with a Sleeping Sentry at the wrong time, and Followed by Night can also be pretty brutal, especially if you see them back-to-back, which happened to me in testing. But, this deck has consistently beaten the quest without much trouble!
I didn’t change Aragorn at all from the last quest, and he still is going to fulfill the same role. While there is a limit to how effective you can be with defending in Lore, I find this way of playing a defender to be the most fun. If you load up a Hero with armor, they may never take damage. But, with defending in Lore, it really feels like a fight most of the time, as Aragorn’s 2 defense will often see him taking some licks, but of course, he’ll keep getting back up.
Since he’s my primary defender, Aragorn will be equipped once more with A Burning Brand (you’ll note the card image here has been updated to include the Brand’s errata, which I abide by in the game for this quest, though it is not “official” as of yet), Self-Preservation, and Protector of Lorien. These three attachments allow him to power through combat without too much trouble. Add Unexpected Courage or two, and he can take care of everything. The last stage of this quest, however, prevents you from healing any characters, so I make sure that Aragorn doesn’t have leftover damage on him before advancing to the final stage. It’s best to be setup well enough to just quest through it in one turn, anyway.
As usual I’m adding Spirit to the deck, with Spirit Glorfindel, who is just a perfect quest/attack hero. There isn’t much to say about him, as he’ll primarily only be equipped with Light of Valinor. Unlike the last quest, there are no weapons for Glorfindel, so I have to rely on his base attack, combined with other characters to get the job done.
The Dunedain, Beravor, returns to the series, and this means I have a ton of card draw in the deck. Mainly Beravor will do nothing but draw cards, since the Arwen ally makes things easier on you by giving a 2 willpower questing character from the get-go. I can use Beravor to draw cards exclusively, until later in the quest, I may add an Unexpected Courage to her so that she can maybe quest, or contribute to attacking.
In terms of allies, because I added Elladan and Elrohir to the last deck, but only 1 copy of each, and they actually turned up, I added them here in a full 3 copies. That may have been overkill due to how much card draw I have, but I wanted to see them as soon as possible. Even though Glorfindel will take longer to pay for Elrohir, ally Arwen will at least help him out. With both brothers in play, I have very good combat allies, and good quest allies. However, their abilities to ready when you optionally engage an Orc enemy, notably does not work with the Ambush keyword in this quest. I have to make sure to not mess that up during the game!
For the other allies, I kept it pretty simple. Warden of Healing is present to heal Arwen and other allies, since there are effects to damage all allies, or one ally in play, etc. I won’t rush to play him, though, except on a turn after allies take damage, because he will die to any of those ally damaging effects. Ethir Swordsman is a straightforward ally who will make up for the lack of allies in general with their great willpower. Those are the only two allies that fall out of my “theme” (Dunedain with Noldor).
Dunedain Pathfinder, which I love, and Dunedain Lookout, are the other allies. Dunedain Pathfinder I really like because he’s free, and generally you can judge whether he will have good odds of staying in play, depending on the quest. Also, for this quest, it’s great to play him and see a Warg Lair in the top 5 cards. It’s a lowly 1 threat, and since the Pathfinder adds the location to the staging area, and does not reveal it, you can avoid the When Revealed effect of that location that has you add a Mountain Warg to the staging area. Also, the Dunedain Lookout counters the Black Uruks and the scary Chieftain of the Pit, and I made him a late addition to the deck, replacing Gandalf. I did not include Gandalf at all, simply because I found that I did not need him!
Since I have a number of Ranger characters, and Dunedain characters, I included the Dunedain Pipe, which can filter out the many unique cards I have to help draw more cards. Also, after my adventure in Return to Mirkwood, I thought the Ranger Bow was a fun addition also. This can be played on Elladan and Elrohir, and they can damage enemies in the staging area. This is helpful for the pesky Mountain Warg, which may constantly bounce back to the staging area if it doesn’t get a Shadow effect. Also, it’s good to get rid of the Goblin Archer, which annoyingly cannot be optionally engaged, and will deal damage each time an enemy is revealed. So, the brothers will try to out-snipe him!
Opening Hand and Strategy
Of course, any time you have Spirit Glorfindel, you’d want to see Light of Valinor in your opening hand. In addition to that, I’ll look for cards that help Aragorn defend, either Burning Brand, or Protector of Lorien. I don’t feel the healing is necessary immediately. Those cards are my primary targets and I’m not too worried about seeing card draw like Elven-light or Daeron’s Runes, because I have Beravor already.
The biggest threats in this quest are the two treacheries Sleeping Sentry and Followed by Night. It’s terrible to see these, and often they can end the game immediately if you aren’t careful. A Test of Will is always good to see, and I will always try to find one as soon as possible. Arwen also will give her resource to Glorfindel so that I can spend his resources during planning, and still have 1 available during questing for A Test of Will.
Also, it is a good idea to play a copy of Protector of Lorien onto Glorfindel, so that there’s an attachment on him that isn’t Light of Valinor. If a Black Uruk is revealed when there isn’t a Dunedain Lookout in play, and Glorfindel is the only questing character with an attachment, it’s very painful to see Light of Valinor go away. The threat raise is not a worry at all, but the lack of action economy is the bigger disappointment. I like to play a Dunedain Pathfinder and attach a Dunedain Pipe to him, so that questing with him allows for a target to discard to Black Uruks.
The Ambush keyword is a fun mechanic, but I often find it to be not a major threat. Most of the enemies with the keyword have a low enough engagement cost that they will engage me, which actually means I quest better. So, I’m never really upset to see an enemy Ambush me. The most annoying Ambushing enemy is the Goblin Taskmaster, because it discards two attachments. The ideal targets for this, obviously, are Dunedain Pipe and Ranger Bow.
I know this quest has a notorious reputation because of how awful Sleeping Sentry is, but I’ve found this deck consistently beats this quest without worry. Most of the time, Sleeping Sentry doesn’t hurt me that badly, of course, in extreme cases, it can still wreck my day. But, I think this deck can handle the quest 9 times out of 10!