After defeating The Watcher in the Water, our intrepid adventurers have ventured once again into The Long Dark of Moria. You might think that their earlier brush with The Nameless Fear would have put them off the mines for good, but apparently some heroes don’t learn from their mistakes…
The Khazad Dum and Dwarrowdelf cycles have already given us some very thematic quests, but The Watcher in the Water takes things to a whole new level: the entire card set constitutes one enemy and one location. That is not to say that there are only two encounter cards, but instead multiple cards that key off a single confrontation between the characters and a terrifying creature known only as The Watcher that dwells in a stagnant pool near the Westgate of Moria. Enemy cards represent the creature’s many tentacles, and treacheries and locations represent the imminent threat and literal dangers of The Watcher.
A recent BoardGameGeek thread has reignited my interest in beating Escape from Dol Guldur using a single-core progression deck, and over the past few days I have played through the scenario numerous times, and chalked up a handful of victories. For anyone masochistic enough to try this for themselves, here are my strategy notes.
The first piece of advise given to new players struggling to win their first game of LOTR LCG is to forget about playing the pre-built Tactics deck that comes with the core set. Lopping the legs off giant spiders with a Dwarven Axe might make you feel like a badass, but a serious willpower deficit means that Tactics decks tend to fare poorly against even the easiest scenarios. Now that I have completed the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, and have a full complement of Eagles at my disposal, I thought it was time to revisit the core set with a mono-sphere Tactics deck to see how it fared.
Return to Mirkwood was clearly designed with multiplayer in mind, and is considerably tougher solo due to the fact that your threat increases by 4 each round, but it is possible to consistently beat the scenario solo if you are clever about your deck building and tactics.
Some of the challenges your deck needs to handle are spiralling threat, powerful enemies, treacheries that can instantly kill a hero, and a quest stage in which you can’t play cards from your hand. So we have our work cut out for us!