This quest, is admittedly, uneventful. It’s definitely the worst in the box, from a fun perspective, because you really just need to quest hard and it’ll be over in a minimal amount of turns. So, that is really the crux of deck building for this one: willpower. But, while I could just load up on that and nothing else, I wanted to at least make things a little more interesting. I’ve definitely focused on willpower, but also tried to splash in some fun theme cards given the story and location.
The hero choice for Aragorn in this one is Lore Aragorn. I definitely wanted card draw, but also Lore offers some fun little thematic cards, and some tech for the hard questing needed to just get out of the forest as quickly as possible. Also, because some of the enemies in this quest raise your threat by 2, and those are the enemies I’m going to choose (when given the choice) to engage, I definitely wanted Aragorn’s threat reduction ability.
There’s virtually no combat in this quest, so as a defender, he’s an emergency and I’ve brought a couple cards that help with that. Otherwise, he can quest and maybe attack if I get into trouble. But, like I said, questing is really the only requirement here, so he’ll do so most of the time. I’m bringing along Arwen Undomiel as usual, for the willpower and defense help, if Aragorn has to defend. Aragorn will also get a Protector of Lorien to not only help boost my willpower when I need it, but could also boost his defense, since the enemies have high attack values.
To keep the Rohan theme, I am bringing along 2 Rohan heroes in Spirit Theoden and Spirit Eowyn. For Theoden, I love the cost reduction for Rohan allies, and while I’m not intending to swarm allies, because the quest will hopefully be over quickly, it’s very helpful to possibly save a resource for Test of Will, or using Elven-Light. He also has a nice Mount in Snowmane that will help in questing and having Theoden ready to grab Mugash, since a hero has to exhaust. Hopefully, this only happens once in the game, because if Mugash gets away, then you’re in trouble.
Since the quest requires willpower to just blast through it, Eowyn is the obvious choice. Her Mount attachment, Windfola, gives her an additional willpower, but she’ll also be getting Protector of Lorien so that she can, effectively boost her own willpower by 4 (1 to her effect, and 3 uses of Protector). This can be pretty key to toss away your hand to finish the quest stage or the game quickly. There’s also a terrible treachery, In Need of Rest, that removes a questing hero from the quest, which Windfola can counter. The only problem is that it also deals damage, so I don’t really want to put it on Eowyn, but Windfola acts as just another layer of insurance.
I’ve already mentioned Arwen, but also the other allies are all Rohan theme, or funny enough, Ents. Since we’re going into Fangorn, I tossed in a few Ent allies for fun, such as Quickbeam and Wandering Ent. There are angry and wild trees coming to get us, but let’s just say there are some of these friendly Ents around to maybe quell the forest’s anger and help us along. I would love to get some of them into play, but of course, this was just a fun splash of theme for the deck.
Since I’m playing 2 Mount attachments, the Westfold Horse-breeder (horse-whiffer) is an easy, free ally to toss into the deck. Hopefully she gets Windfola or Snowmane for me, but as we all know, she whiffs quite a lot when looking for your trusty steed. (But hey, she’s free!). Also, Eomund is a great questing character, and the Escort from Edoras will help bomb willpower for a questing push to win. Gleowine is also helpful to draw cards, and I never really play him in a Rohan deck because of the Lore sphere requirement (never have I played Grima hero, yuck).
I’ve rounded things out with typical “good stuff” like A Test of Will, Unexpected Courage, and Elven-Light for the Eowyn and Protector of Lorien actions. But, also I’ve added just a couple copies of Power of Orthanc to get rid of In Need of Rest if I can’t cancel it (effectively, 5 cards to combat this Condition treachery). It is such a brutal treachery in this cycle with the Time mechanic, so I always will plan for it.
I also want to make sure I’m drawing cards, so Deep Knowledge is helpful and thematic if we’re working for Saruman, here. If I play Lore Aragorn, I’m almost always included Deep Knowledge in my deck (although, I’ll think about it if it’s multiplayer just to consider my teammates). Far-Sighted is another Doomed card that is borderline OP in solo. Looking ahead at the top 5 cards of the encounter deck for 0 cost makes it easy to plan ahead, and Aragorn is great at scouting the wild to see what threats lay in front of you.
Opening Hand and Strategy
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of strategy to this quest beyond “get willpower ASAP.” With Eowyn, that is kind of already handled, but I really want to see the Protector of Lorien and Elven-Light combo in my opening hand. Card draw is always a consideration when I am looking at my opening hand because you never want your deck to stagnate and top-decking feels so bad. So that’ll mean Deep Knowledge and/or Gleowine in my opening hand is pretty nice to have, too.
I also want to see at least one of the mounts, or if not, the Horse-breeder in my opening hand. I prefer to have Theoden grab Mugash from the Edge of Fangorn, since he is my defender of last resort, and if the character holding Mugash takes damage, you lose the orc again. So Snowmane is key to that, or it means I have to leave Theoden out of questing when I’m prepared to clear the Edge of Fangorn, so he can exhaust to grab Mugash.
Once we’ve got Mugash, the goal is simply to quest, quest, quest. If Protector of Lorien is in play, as I mentioned before, toss away your hand to get all the willpower you can muster. Since the enemies will remove progress instead of attacking you, overloading quest stages is never a bad thing. Hammering through stage 2 in one turn is doable with this setup, especially if we’ve looked ahead with Far-Sighted, you know exactly how much willpower is needed.
I guess I’ll say something about the enemies, since the Hinder keyword makes them a little unusual. You have to remove progress from the current quest for each enemy engaged with you, and this doesn’t really happen often, but it can! There are a few points where you get the choice of what enemy to put into the staging area, or engaged with you and I always will choose the Dark-Hearted Huorn. It raises my threat, but we’ve got Aragorn to quickly go back down. Since these effects happen at the beginning of the resource phase, you can plan around it to where you go to the absolute limit before dropping with Aragorn.
Onward, to Fangorn!