The Eagles Are Coming! (The Ring Goes South)

Good day, travelers of Middle-earth. My name is Gwaihir, Lord of the Winds, the greatest and swiftest of the Eagles of Middle-earth. Today, the winds are at your tail and the sun sails alongside you, for I have descended from the lofty heights of the Northern Misty Mountains to bestow to you the very first post of my new blog: To the Eyrie. You can read more about my blog here: Greetings from Gwaihir, Lord of the Winds!

As for now, it pleases me to give you my video play-through of The Ring Goes South, the first quest in the latest saga expansion The Road Darkens. For each video posted I will provide a brief overview of the quest, which I call “Eyrie Vision,” as well as the deck I used during the quest.

 

Eyrie Vision (Quest Overview): The Ring Goes South

Encounter Deck Spread: 12 Enemies, 12 Locations, 10 Treacheries, 4 Quest Cards

If you are playing Campaign Mode, at the beginning of this quest you earn the four boon cards: Sting, Mithril Shirt, Glamdring, and Anduril.  Playing solo, you get to add one to your hand, and shuffle the rest into your deck. The most powerful one is Anduril; the weakest is Mithril Shirt. Stage 1B is unique in that you immediately advance to stage 2A at the end of your first planning phase. But before you advance, you turn up the top 4 cards of your deck, play one for free, add one to your hand, discard one, and shuffle the last one into your deck. This is your chance to play an expensive ally or attachment, preferably one of my powerful Eagle friends. Then, you must shuffle Lust for the Ring into the encounter deck or raise your threat by 5. Shuffling the treachery is the better option, as its effect is not that horrible.

Stage 2 introduces the main mechanics of this quest in that you must travel to a location (if able) and that when enemies engage you, you must place one damage on the active location (if able). The locations in this quest all have nasty abilities (some nastier than others) which trigger when explored. The more damage on the location the worse the forced effect is. These effects range from dealing damage, discarding allies, discarding cards, to raising your threat. This means that location control is more important than combat in this quest. Make sure you can quest hard through the active location each turn or have other means of putting progress on locations in the staging area.

Stage 3 continues the same mechanics and makes you face the Great Warg Chief. He is not too bad…but make sure you are ready to engage him and another Warg when he engages you.

The final stage is the boss fight with the Watcher in the Water. He captures the Ring-bearer when he enters play so make sure you spend all of the Ring-bearer’s resources before you advance to stage 4. Although the Watcher does not engage you (and so you do not need to place a damage on the active location every round), he is “considered” to be engaged with you so he will attack every round. Make sure your chump-blockers (or a fully fed Eagles of the Misty Mountains) are ready to defend against his 6 attack strength. Once you place 6 damage on him you rescue the Ring-bearer and are then allowed to place progress on the Doors of Durin. The difficult thing is that on this stage there can be 2 active locations (Doors of Durin and another) and the latter must be explored before the Doors of Durin can be. Therefore, make sure you have plenty of willpower to push through on this stage. All you need is 9 progress on the Doors of Durin to win the quest (the Watcher is indestructible, so don’t bother trying to kill him).

In summary, this quest is fairly simple, though a lot of fun. Placing damage on the locations can get out of hand in a hurry and will be the main reason you might lose.  Also, beware of the treachery Bitter Cold, as this card alone can clip your wings and cause you to fall hard to the ground. If you plan to mass an armies of allies like I do, then you would be wise to include some treachery cancellation and threat reduction to avoid sudden doom.  In my play-through I had A Test of Will and at least one Spirit resource and a resource on Frodo Baggins (Black Riders) ready just in case. Lastly, at the end of the quest make sure you do not have Lust for the Ring attached to a hero, otherwise, you will have to add it to the Campaign pool.

 

The Deck: Gandalf & Gwaihir Fly to Mt. Doom

The deck I used during this play-through of “The Ring Goes South” showcases the new Gandalf hero and how well he pairs with Lord Elrond and his elven ring Vilya. It focuses on “cheating” expensive Eagle allies into play via Vilya combined with Gandalf’s ability to play with the top card of your deck face-up. This means 100% accuracy rate for Elrond’s ring. Gandalf’s Wizard Pipe enables you to “stack” the deck even when you draw the cards you want to play from the top of your deck. Even though this deck starts at an alarming 32 threat, most times I end the game in the low to mid-twenties because of all the threat reduction. These heroes combined made very quick work of the first quest in the Road Darkens. But will they fare so well in my next video play-through of the second quest, Journey in the Dark? Until then, enjoy this special Gwaihir, Lord of the Winds, video play-through of the Ring Goes South.

Total Cards: (55)

Ring-bearer: Frodo Baggins (Black Riders)

Hero: (3)
1x Gandalf (The Road Darkens)
1x Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
1x Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)

Ally: (23)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
1x Landroval (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
2x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)
2x Imladris Stargazer (Foundations of Stone)
1x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
1x Radagast (A Journey to Rhosgobel)

Attachment: (16)
2x Gandalf Staff (The Road Darkens)
2x Wizard Pipe (The Road Darkens)
3x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
2x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
2x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
2x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
2x Miruvor (Shadow and Flame)

Event: (16)
2x Flame of Anor (The Road Darkens)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x Grim Resolve (Core Set)
2x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)

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