Into Ithilien report – The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game

I’m terribly behind with my play of the Lord of the Rings LCG. My solo gaming time is way down, in any case, with LotR particularly affected. I’ve continued buying packs as they get released, however, because you get days like today when I find myself with the urge to return to the game.

Into Ithilien, the second scenario of the Heirs of Numenor expansion, has a reputation for being more difficult than the box suggests. I don’t follow LotR strategy, rather preferring to explore the game on my own terms, so I wasn’t aware of it as I pulled out the last deck I’d constructed – a Secrecy deck – and threw it against the scenario.

Well, that was a mistake!

The set-up for Into Ithilien has a location that basically says, “Ignore the fact you’re secret, the monsters will find you.” My Bifur and Glorfindel deck said “Oops” and died quickly. I played it again, just for the amusement value, and it died just as quickly. So, new deck time!

Glorfindel, Elrond and Denethor had a few games together, before I finally wised up to the fact that I needed more attack and defence to deal with the threats than my deck was providing. “BED” were doing well enough for me to tinker with the deck a bit, but not well enough to actually get anywhere near winning the scenario.

The final deck-build was Beregond, Boromir and Elrond, with Beregond hoping to get a shield as quickly as possible to hold off the attackers. Elrond took Vilya very quickly in the first game I played with it, and we got very close, but the biggest problem the deck has is a lack of threat management, and so despite reaching the final stage, I reached 50 threat and failed needing only one more turn.

The next game went far better. Beregond held off the enemies with ease, Elrond and Boromir quested, and the Eagles came out to play. Vassal of the Windlord is astonishingly good in this deck. Normally, the three attack for one resource is balanced by it being a one-use card: once it attacks, it gets discarded. However, given that you can Quest with it in the first stage, it makes it an invaluable card if you can get it early. Get two? You’re laughing – as long as a Mumak doesn’t arrive and start ripping you apart. 

The second part of the game was where I could have run into trouble – needing Willpower to quest is a problem. However, I’d managed to drop enough allies on the table to keep ahead of the monsters, and was able to quickly move into the final stage.

This was a siege, and so the defense of my characters was relevant. I’d dropped a Gondorian Shield on Beregond at the beginning of the game, so he was contributing 6 to the questing, but a draw from Gleowine of a second shield to place on Boromir was just delightful. I was able to complete the final stage in a single turn with a lot of allies and heroes questing.

Poisoned Stakes proved quite useful – the deck is excellent defensively, and though it potentially has a good offence, it needs to spend a lot of time using that offence to quest.

Is it the be-all and end-all of decks? Not at all, but I’m glad to have got through Into Ithilien. The next quest now beckons!

Hero (3)
Beregond (HON) x1
Boromir (TDM) x1
Elrond (SaF) x1

Ally (24)
Gleowine (Core) x2
Beorn (Core) x1
Descendant of Thorondor (THoEM) x2
Eagles of the Misty Mountains (RtM) x3
Winged Guardian (THfG) x2
Vassal of the Windlord (TDM) x3
Gondorian Spearman (Core) x3
Warden of Healing (TLD) x2
Snowbourn Scout (Core) x3
Gandalf (Core) x3

Attachment (13)
Poisoned Stakes (TBoG) x3
Protector of Lorien (Core) x1
Dwarven Axe (Core) x2
Spear of the Citadel (HON) x1
Gondorian Shield (TSF) x3
Horn of Gondor (Core) x1
Vilya (SaF) x2

Event (13)
Radagast’s Cunning (Core) x3
Gondorian Discipline (EaAD) x3
Feint (Core) x3
Behind Strong Walls (HON) x3
Blade Mastery (Core) x1

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