Play Report: Return to Mirkwood

Bonus content! For those interested in this sort of thing, I have recorded a turn by turn account of my first victory against Nightmare Return to Mirkwood. Enjoy!

Turn 1: Stage 1 (0 / 12)

through-the-forest-1b

Opening Hand: Saruman, Ranger of Cardolan, Henamarth Riversong, Arwen Undómiel, Galadriel’s Handmaiden, A Test of Will
I decide not to mulligan.

Setup: I take control of Gollum. I reveal Wasted Provisions, a Tantrum Treachery that discards the top 10 cards of my deck.

wasted-provisions

Resource: I draw Light of Valinor

Planning: I spend 1 from Galadriel for Light of Valinor and 1 from Aragorn for Henamarth Riversong. I exhaust Henamarth Riversong to look at the top card of the encounter deck (Dry Watercourse).

Quest: I exhaust Galadriel to guard Gollum. I commit Aragorn and Glorfindel to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Dry Watercourse. (Staging area: Dry Watercourse) 5 willpower – 2 threat = 3 progress.

dry-watercourse

Travel: I travel to Dry Watercourse.

No Enemies.

Refresh: Raise my threat by 1 to 27.

End of round: Raise my threat by 3 to 30.

Turn 2: Stage 1 (3 / 12)

Resource: Draw A Watchful Peace. (Hand: Saruman, Ranger of Cardolan, Arwen Undómiel, Galadriel’s Handmaiden, A Test of Will, A Watchful Peace)

Planning: I exhaust Henamarth Riversong to look at the top card of the encounter deck (Wasted Provisions). I spend 1 from Galadriel and 1 from Glorfindel to play Arwen Undómiel.

Quest: I exhaust Galadriel to guard Gollum. I commit Aragorn, Glorfindel, and Arwen to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Wasted Provisions, a Tantrum Treachery that discards the top 10 cards of my deck. (Staging area: empty) 7 willpower – 0 threat = 7 progress, 2 of which goes on the Active Location, Dry Watercourse, exploring it. I spend 1 from Glorfindel to play A Watchful Peace, placing Dry Watercourse back on top of the encounter deck.

wasted-provisions

Staging area is empty.

Refresh: Raise my threat by 1 to 31.

End of round: Raise my threat by 3 to 34.

Turn 3: Stage 1 (8 / 12)

Resource: Draw A Watchful Peace. (Hand: Saruman, Ranger of Cardolan, Galadriel’s Handmaiden, A Test of Will, A Watchful Peace)

Planning: I spend 1 from Glorfindel and 1 from Galadriel to play Galadriel’s Handmaiden, lowering my threat by 1 to 33.

Quest: I exhaust Galadriel to guard Gollum. I commit Aragorn, Glorfindel, Arwen, and Galadriel’s Handmaiden to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Dry Watercourse. (Staging area: Dry Watercourse) 9 willpower – 2 threat = 7 progress, advancing to stage 2.

dry-watercourse

Travel: I travel to Dry Watercourse.

No Enemies.

Refresh: Raise my threat by 1 to 34.

End of round: Raise my threat by 3 to 37.

Turn 4: Stage 2 (0 / 3)

escape-attempt-2b

Resource: I draw Lembas. (Hand: Saruman, Ranger of Cardolan, A Test of Will, A Watchful Peace, Lembas)

Planning: I exhaust Henamarth Riversong to look at the top card of the encounter deck (Hummerhorns). I exhaust Galadriel to lower my threat by 1 to 36 and draw a card (Henamarth Riversong). I spend 3 from Aragorn and 1 from Glorfindel to play Ranger of Cardolan.

Quest: I exhaust Aragorn to guard Gollum. I commit Glorfindel, Arwen, Galadriel’s Handmaiden, and Ranger of Cardolan to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Hummerhorns. (Staging area: Hummerhorns) 9 willpower – 1 threat = 8 progress, 2 of which goes on the Active Location, Dry Watercourse, exploring it. I spend 1 from Galadriel to play A Watchful Peace, placing Dry Watercourse back on top of the encounter deck. I advance to stage 3.

hummerhorns

Refresh: Raise my threat by 1 to 36. I trigger Aragorn’s Refresh Action and reset my threat to 26.

End of round: Raise my threat by 3 to 29.

Turn 5: Stage 3 (0 / 7)

to-the-elvin-kings-halls-3b

Resource: I draw Gandalf. (Hand: Saruman, A Test of Will, Henamarth Riversong, Lembas, Gandalf)

Planning: I cannot play cards while at this stage.

Quest: I exhaust Galadriel to guard Gollum. I commit Aragorn, Glorfindel, Arwen, Galadriel’s Handmaiden, and Ranger of Cardolan to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Dry Watercourse. (Staging area: Hummerhorns, Dry Watercourse) 11 willpower – 3 threat = 8 progress, advancing to stage 4. I search the encounter deck for Attercop, Attercop and add it to the staging area.

Travel: I travel to Dry Watercourse.

Encounter: All Enemies engage me due to the Forced effect on Stage 4. I deal 5 damage to Galadriel (5 / 4) due to the Forced effect on Hummerhorns, destroying her.

Combat: I defend Attercop, Attercop with Henamarth Riversong. (Shadow effect: Web-spinner, which exhausts a character I control, but I have none) Henamarth Riversong takes 8 damage (8 / 1) and is destroyed. I take the attack from Hummerhorns undefended, dealing 2 damage to Gollum (2 / 5).

Refresh: Raise my threat by 1 to 30.

End of round: Raise my threat by 3 to 33.

Turn 6: Stage 4 (0 / 2)

ambush-4b

Resource: I draw Daeron’s Runes. (Hand: Saruman, A Test of Will, Henamarth Riversong, Lembas, Gandalf, Daeron’s Runes)

Planning: I play Daeron’s Runes to draw 2 cards (LembasShadow of the Past) and discard 1 (Lembas). I spend 1 from Aragorn to play Henamarth Riversong. I exhaust Henamarth Riversong to look at the top card of the encounter deck (Gollum’s Bite).

Quest: I exhaust no-one to guard Gollum, and so suffer the effects of the top Tantrum Treachery in the discard pile (Wasted Provisions, which discards the top 10 cards of my deck). I commit Arwen and Ranger of Cardolan to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Gollum’s Bite, a Tantrum Treachery that deals 4 damage to a Hero I control. I choose Glorfindel (4 / 5). (Staging area: empty) 4 willpower – 0 threat = 4 progress, 2 of which goes on the Active Location, Dry Watercourse, exploring it.

gollums-bite

Staging area is empty.

Combat: I defend Hummerhorns with Aragorn, who takes no damage. I defend Attercop, Attercop with Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Shadow effect: Dry Watercourse, which has no effect) Galadriel’s Handmaiden takes 7 damage (7 / 1) and is destroyed. I spend 2 from Glorfindel to play Shadow of the Past to return Dry Watercourse to the top of the encounter deck. I exhaust Glorfindel to attack Hummerhorns, which take 3 damage (3 / 3) and are destroyed.

Refresh: Raise my threat by 1 to 34.

End of round: Raise my threat by 3 to 37.

Turn 7: Stage 4 (2 / 2)

Resource: I draw Lembas. (Hand: Saruman, A Test of Will, Lembas, Gandalf, Lembas)

Planning: I spend 2 from Aragorn and 1 from Glorfindel to play Saruman, raising my threat by 3 to 40.

Quest: I exhaust no-one to guard Gollum, and so suffer the effects of the top Tantrum Treachery in the discard pile (Gollum’s Bite, which deals 4 damage to Aragorn (4 / 5)). I commit no-one to the quest.

Staging: I reveal Dry Watercourse. (Staging area: Dry Watercourse) 0 willpower – 2 threat = raise my threat by 2 to 42.

dry-watercourse

Travel: I travel to Dry Watercourse.

Staging area is empty.

Combat: I defend Attercop, Attercop with Arwen, who takes 7 damage (7 / 2) and is destroyed. I attack Attercop, Attercop with Aragorn, Glorfindel, and Saruman, dealing 7 damage (7 / 6) destroying it.

All Enemies have been defeated. Victory!


I hit some fantastic strokes of luck this game, especially with the top 3 cards of the encounter deck being softballs and drawing several copies of A Watchful Peace right when I needed them. Even so, this game shows this deck doing exactly what it was designed to do: extend an early game advantage long enough to achieve victory!

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