Turn by Turn Report – Escape from Umbar

I received Sands of Harad earlier this week and have been having a great time playing through the three quests and experiencing the new mechanics and daring new setting.
All three quests are amazing and are all very unique and different from anything we have ever received in the past. I will try to do Turn by Turn reports on all three in time as none of them are particularly difficult for my decks (except perhaps the third which can be tricky due to the captive heroes) and all three are really interesting and somewhat tricky to overcome.

The first quest, which I will be doing a Turn by Turn Report of today, is a thrilling quest that requires you to quest efficiently while also managing the swarms of Haradrim trying to block your escape. Both quest stages cannot have more than 15 progress points/tokens on them (the exact amount needed to beat both stages) and there are plenty of effects in the quest that remove progress tokens from the main quest at various times. You also cannot beat either quest stage while any player is engaged with an enemy so between these various requirements and effects you will see it can often be much harder than it appears to advance in this quest. Admittedly I have already played and beaten this quest twice so know what to plan for but due to the nature and mechanics of the quest I have just described you never know what to expect and often right when you think you have things under control or are about to advance in the quest something blocks you and puts you back at square one. Like a recent Nightmare quest I played, Flight to the Ford, this quest also has a treachery card that can remove all progress points from the main quest in one go. I don’t want to give too much away and it will be more exciting to discuss the encounter cards as I see them appear in my game so lets dive straight in!

Setup and Opening Hands

Now I don’t need the most optimal starting hands for this quest as it doesn’t start off overly difficult even with the copies of Umbar Sentry that start the game engaged. The effect on Seize Them however can lead to an early loss if you aren’t able to get a couple of progress points on the main stage during the first round and keep them there as you lose if there are no progress points on the main quest at the end of the round.

Seize-Them.jpg
That second ability is quite a doozy and can lead to an early game loss if you can’t place some progress on the main quest quickly!

This means I do need to be able to quest for a decent amount right out of the gate. An alternative solution is to place progress on the main quest during the first round by not traveling to a location and placing progress via Legolas killing an enemy. This is pretty risky though and it will be far more ideal if I am able to place progress during the quest phase. I also want to be able to handle the two Sentries and any other enemies that might appear during the first round of staging so the first few rounds will require an extremely careful balance of questing and combat until I have things a little more under control.
I draw Vilya, Nenya, Unexpected Courage, Rhovanion Outrider, Galdor of the Havens and Galadrim Healer as my opening hand for Vilya+Nenya and decide to keep it. The rings and UC are fantastic cards to see in any opening hand and the various allies are great opening draws as well. I draw Naith Guide, Hands Upon the Bow, Foe Hammer, Gandalf, Dagger of Westernesse and Sneak Attack as my opening hand for An Unlikely Friendship and keep this as well. Sneak Attack + Gandalf right out of the gate is fantastic and will help me place some early progress as well as take out a foe at the same time. Dagger is also nice and will allow Legolas to kill the Umbar Sentry engaged with the other deck. Foe Hammer should draw me 3 cards nice and early boosting the combat deck massively.

For quest setup I add Seize them to the staging area. I then put a copy of Umbar Sentry into play engaged with each player and put a copy of Port of Harad and Umbar Street into the staging area. I shuffle the encounter deck and its time for the first round of the game!

Round 1: Stage 1B (0 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws Unlikely Friendship (ha!) and Vilya+Nenya draws another copy of Vilya which I will simply discard for a resource.

An Unlikely Friendship
32 threat (First Player)
Hand: Unlikely Friendship, Naith Guide, Hands Upon the Bow, Foe Hammer, Gandalf, Dagger of Westernesse and Sneak Attack

— Aragorn: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Gimli: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Legolas: 1 resource, 0 damage

Allies:

-none

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Empty

Vilya+Nenya
31 threat (Second Player)
Hand: Vilya x2, Nenya, Unexpected Courage, Rhovanion Outrider, Galdor of the Havens and Galadrim Healer

— Elrond: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 1 resource, 0 damage

Allies:

-none

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Empty

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Umbar Street and Port of Harad in the staging area. There is no active location.

Planning Phase

An Unlikely Friendship uses Unlikely Friendship to put a resource on Gimli and draw Steward of Gondor (couldn’t reveal a better card at this point!). I play Steward for 2 and exhaust it to put Gimli back on two resources. I play Dagger of Westernesse for one tactics resource and attach it to Legolas.

Vilya+Nenya plays both Vilya and Nenya (this is getting to be too much, perhaps the new Deck names were poor choices..) for all three resources then I discard the extra copy of Vilya to Arwen’s ability to place a resource on Elrond.

Staging and Quest Resolution

First off I Sneak Attack Gandalf into play and deal 4 damage to the Umbar Sentry engaged with Vilya+Nenya destroying it outright.
I commit Gandalf, Arwen, Elrond and add Galadriel’s 4 willpower to Elrond via her Ring for a total of 14 willpower. I reveal Southron Captain and Haradrim Estate making the total threat in staging 9. I place 5 progress on Stage 1B and return Gandalf back to my hand.

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Haradrim Estate is a fairly annoying but interesting location. It can’t be explored while in staging and has 3 threat but forces you to search for a Harad enemy and put it into play engaged with the first player if you travel to it. It does place a point of progress on the main quest while doing so however so can actually save you from losing the game if it is the only things that places progress on a main quest stage that has been in play all round.

Travel

I travel to Umbar Street which has no nasty travel or forced effects.

Encounter

The Southron Captain even with Umbar Street reducing engagement cost by 5 still has an engagement level of 35 so I simply leave him in staging for now.

Combat

The Umbar Sentry does 1 archery damage to Legolas. I then remove 1 progress from the main quest (putting it on 4) to keep Umbar Sentry from getting +2 attack for its attack this turn. I defend with Gimli who takes no damage thanks to no shadow effect. Aragorn attacks and destroys the Umbar Sentry (thanks to his -1 defense to enemies) allowing me to engage the Southron Captain who I then attack with Legolas dealing 3 damage to it.

Refresh

All characters are unexhausted. Each deck raises threat by 1. No player actions are taken.

Round 2: Stage 1B (4 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws Dunedain Warning and Vilya+Nenya draws Imladris Stargazer. With Stargazer, Vilya and UC in play I will have my Vilya engine up and running and should have complete control over this quest within a few turns so long as things continue to go my way.

An Unlikely Friendship
33 threat (Second Player)
Hand: Hands Upon the Bow, Naith Guide, Foe Hammer, Gandalf and Dunedain Warning.

— Aragorn: 2 resources, 0 damage
— Gimli: 4 resources, 0 damage
— Legolas: 1 resource, 0 damage. Dagger of Westernesse attached.

Allies:

-none

Engaged With:

-Southron Captain (3 damage)

Discard Pile:
Sneak Attack and Unlikely Friendship

Vilya+Nenya
32 threat (First Player)
Hand: Imladris Stargazer, Unexpected Courage, Galdor of the Havens, Galadrim Healer and Rhovanion Outrider.

— Elrond: 2 resources, 0 damage. Vilya attached.
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 1 resource, 0 damage. Nenya attached.

Allies:

-none

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Vilya

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Harad Estate and Port of Harad in the staging area. The active location is Umbar Street (with no progress) and there is 4 progress on the main quest.

Planning Phase

Vilya+Nenya plays Imladris Stargazer and UC on Elrond. I exhaust Stargazer to reveal the following from the top of my deck top to bottom: Test of Will, Elrond’s Counsel, Elven Light, Rhovanion Outrider and Miruvor. I put them back in the following order top to bottom: Outrider, Test of Will, Miruvor, Elven Light then Counsel. I exhaust Elrond and Vilya to play Outrider for free then ready Elrond with UC.

An Unlikely Friendship plays Dunedain Warning on Gimli for 1 resource then uses all its remaining resources except 1 on Aragorn to play Gandalf and deal 4 damage to Southron Captain destroying it. I keep a tactics resource back to use Hands Upon the Bow if need be.

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A Fearsome foe indeed but no match for my decks even this close to the start of the game. He won’t be boosting his Haradrim brethren in this game!

Staging and Quest Resolution

I commit Elrond, Arwen, Rhovanion Outrider (who places 1 progress on Port of Harad and gets +1 willpower) and Gandalf then use Galadriel and her ring to give Elrond +4 willpower for a total of 16 power. I reveal the encounter side quest In Enemy Territory which has surge, Nowhere to Hide which puts a copy of Southron Archer into play engaged with Vilya+Nenya (I choose to remove 2 progress from the main stage rather than discard an ally) and finally a copy of Enemy Pursuit and I decide to simply remove the remaining 2 progress on the main quest stage. There is a total threat of 4 in the staging area so I place a very decent 12 progress tokens 3 of which clear Umbar Street and 9 of which are placed on the main quest stage.

Travel

I travel to the Port of Harad and deal a single point of damage to Gandalf as there is only one enemy engaged with players.

Encounter

There are no enemies in staging

Combat

I deal a further 2 archery damage to Gandalf thanks to Southron Archer. Gimli defends against the Southron Archer and takes 1 damage. The shadow effect forces me to discard an attachment and I discard UC which is not ideal at all and somewhat cripples my Vilya+Stargazer engine as I need Elrond for questing duties as well. I counter attack with Legolas who does 2 damage to the Archer.

Refresh

All characters are unexhausted. Each deck raises threat by 1. No player actions are taken. Gandalf is discarded.

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This encounter side quest is not so bad and so long as you keep player hand size low you can use it to your advantage to draw cards and never discard anything. If it appears at the right time though it can force multiple players to discard multiple cards at once. Luckily it has appeared at a point in the game where it shouldn’t do much damage at all.

Round 3: Stage 1B (9 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws Armored Destrier and Vilya+Nenya draws A Test of Will.

An Unlikely Friendship
34 threat (First Player)
Hand: Armored Destrier, Hands Upon the Bow, Naith Guide and Foe Hammer.

— Aragorn: 2 resources, 0 damage
— Gimli: 3 resources, 1 damage. Steward and Warning attached.
— Legolas: 1 resource, 0 damage. Dagger of Westernesse attached.

Allies:

-none

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Sneak Attack, Unlikely Friendship and Gandalf

Vilya+Nenya
33 threat (Second Player)
Hand: A Test of Will, Galadrim Healer, Galdor of the Havens and Rhovanion Outrider

— Elrond: 1 resources, 0 damage. Vilya attached.
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 1 resource, 0 damage. Nenya attached.

Allies:

-Imladris Stargazer

-Rhovanion Outrider

Engaged With:

-Southron Archer (2 damage)

Discard Pile:
Vilya.

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Harad Estate and In Enemy Territory in the staging area and the active location is Port of Harad with 1 of 4 progress on it.

Planning Phase

An Unlikely Friendship plays Armored Destrier for 2 leadership resources on Gimli. Vilya+Nenya plays Galadrim Healer for 2 healing the point of damage off Gimli. I then exhaust Stargazer to reveal the following cards from the top of my deck top to bottom: Miruvor, Elven Light, Elrond’s Counsel, Burning Brand and Lembas. I put them back in the following order top to bottom: Miruvor, Lembas, Elven Light, Counsel and Burning Brand.
I exhaust Elrond and Vilya to play Miruvor for free and I attach it to Elrond. I discard it to ready him and put a resource on him.

Staging and Quest Resolution

First off I decide to make In Enemy Territory the active quest for this turn. If I can clear it both decks get to draw a card which is pretty great and it would also be ideal to remove it from play before I advance to Stage 2. I commit Aragorn, Arwen, Elrond, Galadhrim Healer, Rhovanion Outrider and exhaust Galadriel and her ring to add +4 willpower to Elrond for a total of 14 willpower.
I reveal Southron Champion (which is a fairly nasty sidequest) which results in a copy of Southron Soldier becoming “The Champion” and then reveal the treachery Injured Companion which I cancel with test of will. There is a total of 8 threat in the staging area so I place 6 progress which clears Port of Harad and places 3 progress on In Enemy Territory. I figured I probably wasn’t going to clear it in one go but it is still disappointing nonetheless.

Travel

I do not choose to travel this round.

Encounter

An Unlikely Friendship optionally engages “The Champion” (a buffed copy of Southron Soldier) and I choose to remove 2 progress from the main quest as a result of the forced effect that triggers when this enemy engages you.

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One hell of a nasty encounter side quest that buffs an enemy turning it into “The Champion” and stops you from advancing the main quest stage until you defeat the champion. A side quest you need to clear quickly for sure!

Combat

I deal the two archery damage to Aragorn. Gimli defends both of the enemies and takes a total of 3 damage doing so as the only shadow effect that appears is one that stops the defending character from readying but it is revealed as the shadow card for the Archer who attacks after the Southron Soldier so it does nothing as I cannot ready Gimli further anyway (Armored Destrier allowed him to defend against both enemies). Legolas attacks and destroys the Southron Archer allowing me to place a further 2 progress on In Enemy Territory, if only I had placed a few extra progress tokens while questing!!! I use Foe Hammer which draws me Guardian of Arnor, Rivendell Blade and Sneak Attack.

Refresh

All characters are unexhausted. Each deck raises threat by 1. No player actions are taken.

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A copy of Southron Soldier has the lucky distinction of being made “the Champion” and gets +2 attack, defense and threat and is immune to player card effects. The Southron Soldier is already a fierce enemy and being made the champion only makes him even stronger. I was glad to be able to remove 2 progress instead of facing an additional 5 strength attack from this foe when it engaged me.

Round 4: Stage 1B (7 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws Elven Mail and I am forced to discard a card as the combat deck now has 6 cards in hand and the side quest In Enemy Territory only lets each player/deck have 5 cards in hand total. I discard Elven Mail as Elrond has no readying effects and is not being setup as a back defender at all in this game so far so Elven Mail won’t do very much for me at this point. Vilya+Nenya draws Lembas which I really need for Gimli right now.

An Unlikely Friendship
35 threat (Second Player)
Hand: Hands Upon the Bow, Naith Guide, Guardian of Arnor, Sneak Attack and Rivendell Blade.

— Aragorn: 3 resources, 2 damage
— Gimli: 4 resources, 3 damage. Steward, Armored Destrier and Warning attached.
— Legolas: 2 resources, 0 damage. Dagger of Westernesse attached.

Allies:

-none

Engaged With:

-“The Champion”, a copy of Southron Soldier that is buffed by the encounter side quest Southron Champion.

Discard Pile:
Sneak Attack, Unlikely Friendship, Foe Hammer and Gandalf.

Vilya+Nenya
34 threat (First Player)
Hand: Rhovanion Outrider, Galdor of the Havens and Lembas.

— Elrond: 2 resources, 0 damage. Vilya attached.
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 1 resource, 0 damage. Nenya attached.

Allies:

-Imladris Stargazer

-Galadhrim Healer

-Rhovanion Outrider

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Vilya, UC, Test of Will and Miruvor.

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Haradrim Estate in the staging area as well as the two encounter side quests: In Enemy Territory (which has 5 progress on it) and Southron Champion. There is no active location.

Planning Phase

Vilya+Nenya plays Lembas on Gimli and then uses the remaining three resources to play a second copy of Rhovanion Outrider. I exhaust Stargazer to look at the top five cards of my deck and reveal in order: Elven Light, Elrond’s Counsel, Burning Brand, Haldir and Silver Harp. I put them back in the following order top to bottom: Haldir, Elven Light, Silver Harp, Elrond’s Counsel and Burning Brand. I exhaust Elrond and Vilya to play Haldir.
An Unlikely Friendship simply plays Naith Guide and Rivendell Blade on Legolas.

Staging and Quest Resolution

Rather than In Enemy Territory again I instead choose the new encounter side quest Southron Champion to be the chosen quest for this round. I cannot beat the main quest with this side quest in play anyway and also cannot kill “The Champion” until I have at least 4 progress on this side quest. I commit Arwen, Haldir (who does not exhaust to quest thanks to Galadriel), both Outriders, Galadhrim Healer, Naith Guide, Aragorn (who also does not exhaust to quest thanks to Naith Guide) and Gimli and then exhaust Galadriel and her ring to give Arwen +4 willpower for a nice total of 17 willpower. I reveal Injured Companion and each deck chooses a different option, the combat deck raises threat by 4 thanks to its single ally in play and the questing/support deck discards Galadhrim Healer (reducing total willpower committed to 16) rather than having to raise threat by 7 or so points. I then reveal Umbar Sentry which surges into a copy of Umbar Square. I use Hands Upon the Bow in the action window before quest resolution and destroy the Umbar Sentry in the staging area with Legolas. This also allows me to place 2 progress on Southron Champion immediately and I am easily going to get the other 2. There is a meager total threat of 5 in staging so a whopping 11 progress is placed on Southron Champion. Time to take the Champion out!

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Injured Companion offers an interesting choice. I usually discard a character when able so long as it is a fairly unimportant ally such as a Galadhrim Healer or Naith Guide. If I can’t afford to discard a character or have no allies/only one or two I will take the threat gain instead. I really love treacheries like this that offer an option as you can minimize the damage by deckbuilding/preparing for whichever effect is the least harmful to your play style or decks.

Travel

Once again I do not travel so that Haradrim Estate or Umbar Square do not add an additional enemy to the staging area that I will then have to take on this round. I want to focus on destroying the Champion this round and getting rid of that side quest. I am also building a very nice amount of willpower up and also have Rhovanion Outriders in play that can help to clear locations in the staging area so these locations do not pose much of a threat right now.

Encounter

There are no enemies in staging thanks to Hands Upon the Bow.

Combat

First and foremost I ready Gimli with Lembas and heal 3 damage from him. He defends against the Champion and I pay 1 resource to ready Legolas and give him +1 attack. Gimli takes 2 damage (no shadow card) and readies with Armored Destrier. Legolas, Gimli, Aragorn and Haldir all attack the Champion and manage to take him down with ease. The Champion is no longer in play and the side quest Southron Champion is immediately added to the victory display! Now that I have that out of the way time to advance to Stage 2! (I will get rid of In Enemy Territory at some point during my time at Stage 2 or will simply not bother clearing it if it isn’t actually discarding any cards at any point)

Refresh

All characters are unexhausted. Each deck raises threat by 1. No player actions are taken.

Round 5: Stage 1B (7 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws another copy of Hands Upon the Bow and Vilya+Nenya draws Elven Light. I am actually quite pleased to see the other copy of Hands Upon the Bow so soon as I have loaded Legolas up with two weapon attachments so I should easily be able to use this second copy to destroy yet another enemy without it ever getting to engage or attack me which is pretty handy in this quest considering all the when this enemy engages you effects and fact I cannot progress to the next Stage if I have any enemies engaged with players.

An Unlikely Friendship
40 threat (First Player)
Hand: Hands Upon the Bow, Sneak Attack and Guardian of Arnor

— Aragorn: 4 resources, 2 damage
— Gimli: 4 resources, 2 damage. Steward, Armored Destrier and Warning attached.
— Legolas: 1 resources, 0 damage. Dagger of Westernesse attached.

Allies:

-Naith Guide

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Sneak Attack, Unlikely Friendship, Foe Hammer, Gandalf, Elven Mail and Hands Upon the Bow

Vilya+Nenya
35 threat (Second Player)
Hand: Galdor of the Havens and Elven Light.

— Elrond: 1 resource, 0 damage. Vilya attached.
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 1 resource, 0 damage. Nenya attached.

Allies:

-Imladris Stargazer

-Haldir

-Rhovanion Outrider x2

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Vilya, UC, Test of Will, Miruvor, Galadhrim Healer and Lembas

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Haradrim Estate and Umbar Square in the staging area. There is also the encounter side quest In Enemy Territory (which has 5 progress on it) in the staging area. There is no active location.

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Umbar Square is a location I love in this quest. Although you do have to reveal an encounter card to travel here it has an effect that can be highly beneficial and can even save you from losing the game on a certain round by placing some much needed progress on the main quest via killing enemies. I really love the art of this location as well and it perfectly captures the imagery and feel of the city of Umbar. Although in this particular game I do not travel to any copies of this location in other games I have played of this quest this location has been extremely useful in ensuring there is always at least a few points of progress on the main stage.

Planning Phase

An Unlikely Friendship plays Guardian of Arnor. Vilya+Nenya exhausts Stargazer to reveal the top 5 cards of my deck in order top to bottom: Silver Harp, Elrond’s Counsel, Burning Brand, Galadhrim Healer and Daeron’s Runes. I put them back in the following order top to bottom: Healer, Runes, Harp, Counsel and Brand. I exhaust Vilya and Elrond to play Galadhrim Healer for free who heals 2 damage off both Gimli and Aragorn! Perfect timing!
I then discard Elven Light to Arwen’s ability to place a resource on Elrond. I use Arwen’s single resource to return Elven Light to hand and draw Daeron’s Runes. I use runes and draw Silver Harp and Elrond’s Counsel and choose to discard Elven Light.

Staging and Quest Resolution

Rather than attempt to clear the side quest In Enemy Territory I hope to advance to Stage 2 this turn. I commit Aragorn, Naith Guide, Haldir, Galadrim Healer, Arwen, both Outriders (who both place a progress token on Umbar Square and get +1 willpower) and I exhaust Galadriel to add +4 willpower to Aragorn. I then also use Elrond’s Counsel to lower threat by 3 and give Arwen +1 willpower. All up this generates a total of 18 willpower which should be more than enough to advance to Stage 2. I reveal Southron Archer then Umbar Sentry which surges into Enemy Pursuit… I don’t want to split 7 damage among characters in play so choose to remove all progress from the main quest instead… this is somewhat of a crippling blow as it may keep me on Stage 1 for at least another turn. I use Hands Upon the Bow before quest resolution to attack and destroy the Southron Archer with Legolas and I put 2 progress on the main quest. There is a total of 6 threat in the staging area so I place 12 progress on the main quest bringing it up to 14! Time for Legolas to shine and get me to Stage 2 during the combat phase.

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Enemy Pursuit can be an awful card to see at a critical moment like this one removing all my hard earned progress and putting me back at square one. At least I have built up attachments and allies and have a handle on combat.

Travel

I do not travel this turn as I am going to clear Umbar Square with an Outrider next turn anyway.

Encounter

An Unlikely Friendship optionally engages Umbar Sentry.

Combat

Legolas can place two progress from killing Umbar Sentry but I only need 1 more point to clear Stage 1B so I remove a point of progress from the main quest to keep Umbar Sentry at 2 attack for this combat phase. I deal the single point of archery damage to Aragorn. Gimli defends against the enemy and takes no damage (shadow effect that forces you to engage an enemy in staging but there are none), readies with Armored Destrier and pays 1 resource to ready Legolas via his ability. Legolas attacks and destroys the Umbar Sentry placing the final 2 points of progress on the main quest! With no enemies engaged with either player I am able to immediately advance to Stage 2A! Screw you Enemy Pursuit! So much for being forced to remain on Stage 1! I immediately end the current phase and advance to Stage 2A. I shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and discard cards until an enemy is discarded by each player and is put into play directly engaged with them. An Unlikely Friendship winds up engaged with a Southron Archer and Vilya+Nenya winds up engaged with another pesky Umbar Sentry. An Unlikely Friendship is forced to discard Naith Guide due to Southron Archer’s effect as there is no progress to remove from the main quest.

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At five copies in the encounter deck you see plenty of these sentries in this quest. So long as you can afford the progress removal they are not too bad but if you cannot they have a very decent and worrying 4 attack strength alongside their archery 1. I love how the developers have cut back on surge in this deluxe and the last deluxe and cycle. It only appears rarely now and usually makes sense on the cards it appears on rather than just being slapped on for no reason.

Refresh

All characters are unexhausted. Each deck raises threat by 1. No player actions are taken.

Round 6: Stage 2B (0 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws Feint and Vilya+Nenya draws Burning Brand. Feint will be a handy card to have in hand and should allow me to maintain control over the combat phase this round regardless of what I see during staging.

An Unlikely Friendship
41 threat (Second Player)
Hand: Feint and Sneak Attack

— Aragorn: 4 resources, 1 damage
— Gimli: 3 resources, 0 damage. Steward, Armored Destrier and Warning attached.
— Legolas: 2 resources, 0 damage. Dagger of Westernesse and Rivendell Blade attached.

Allies:

-Guardian of Arnor

Engaged With:

-Southron Archer

Discard Pile:
Sneak Attack, Unlikely Friendship, Foe Hammer, Gandalf, Elven Mail, Hands Upon the Bow x2 and Naith Guide.

Vilya+Nenya
33 threat (First Player)
Hand: Galdor of the Havens, Burning Brand and Silver Harp.

— Elrond: 3 resource, 0 damage. Vilya attached.
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 2 resource, 0 damage. Nenya attached.

Allies:

-Imladris Stargazer

-Haldir

-Rhovanion Outrider x2

-Galadhrim Healer

Engaged With:

-Umbar Sentry

Discard Pile:
Vilya, UC, Test of Will, Miruvor, Galadhrim Healer, Lembas, Daeron’s Runes, Elrond’s Counsel and Elven Light

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Haradrim Estate and Umbar Square (with 2 of 3 progress) in the staging area. There is also the encounter side quest In Enemy Territory (which has 5 of 8 progress on it) in the staging area. There is no active location.

Planning Phase

Vilya+Nenya plays Galdor of the Havens and Silver Harp on Arwen with all of its resources. I use Stargazer to look at the top 5 cards of my deck and reveal in the following order top to bottom: Burning Brand, Elrond’s Counsel, Glorfindel, Imladris Caregiver and Lembas. I put them back in the following order top to bottom: Glorfindel, Lembas, Caregiver, Counsel and Brand. I exhaust Vilya and Elrond to play Glorfindel for free. An Unlikely Friendship does nothing this planning phase!

Staging and Quest Resolution

I decide to just leave the side quest In Enemy Territory alone as both decks have few cards in hand and it seems more wise to simply sprint for the finish instead while I am able to. I commit Galdor and Glorfindel (who do not exhaust to quest thanks to Galadriel), both Outriders (once clears Umbar Square from the staging area with a third and final point of progress), Arwen, Healer, Haldir and Galadriel exhausts with her ring to give Arwen +4 willpower. All up this generates a total of 17 willpower. I reveal Nowhere to Hide which puts a copy of Umbar Sentry into play engaged with Vilya+Nenya then reveal Umbar Square. There is a total of 5 threat in staging so I place a very decent 12 progress on Stage 2B.

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Nowhere to Hide puts an enemy directly into play engaged with the first player which can often stop you from advancing from Stage 1 (or beating Stage 2) just from having enough progress and forces you to deal with the newly engaged foe before being able to advance. If you are already engaged with multiple enemies this card can also lead to being overwhelmed by foes. Not the worst treachery in this quest but one that can certainly throw a wrench in your attempts to progress in this quest and one that perfectly fits in with the theme and mechanics of the quest.

Travel

I do not travel to Haradrim Estate and just leave it in staging instead.

Encounter

No enemies in staging

Combat

First off the 4 archery damage in play. I deal 2 of it to Aragorn and 1 to each of the Outriders. I then use Feint on Southron Archer. I remove 2 progress from the main quest (bringing it down to 10) to keep both Umbar Sentries at 2 attack for this combat phase. I take one of the attacks undefended (shadow card forces you to engage an enemy in staging but there are none) dealing 2 damage to Galadriel and Gimli defends the other attack, takes no damage and readies with Armored Destrier. Now I defended in this strange manner so that I would still have enough firepower to destroy all engaged foes: Glorfindel and Galdor attack and destroy one Umbar Sentry and Legolas attacks and destroys the other placing 2 progress on the main quest. Aragorn, Gimli and the Guardian of Arnor team up to attack and destroy the Southron Archer freeing up both decks from engaged foes!

Refresh

All characters are unexhausted. Each deck raises threat by 1. No player actions are taken.

Round 7: Stage 2B (12 of 15 progress)

Resource Phase

An Unlikely Friendship draws another copy of Feint and Vilya+Nenya draws Lembas. Another Feint is boring but still very useful. Lembas will be perfect to get that 3 damage off Aragorn and allow him to attack and quest in one turn.

An Unlikely Friendship
42 threat (First Player)
Hand: Feint and Sneak Attack

— Aragorn: 5 resources, 3 damage
— Gimli: 6 resources, 0 damage. Steward, Armored Destrier and Warning attached.
— Legolas: 2 resources, 0 damage. Dagger of Westernesse and Rivendell Blade attached.

Allies:

-Guardian of Arnor

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Sneak Attack, Unlikely Friendship, Foe Hammer, Gandalf, Elven Mail, Hands Upon the Bow x2, Naith Guide and Feint.

Vilya+Nenya
34 threat (Second Player)
Hand: Burning Brand and Lembas

— Elrond: 1 resource, 0 damage. Vilya attached.
— Arwen: 1 resource, 0 damage
— Galadriel: 1 resource, 0 damage. Nenya attached.

Allies:

-Imladris Stargazer

-Galadhrim Healer

-Haldir

-Rhovanion Outrider x2 (1 damage on both)

-Glorfindel

-Galdor

Engaged With:

-nothing

Discard Pile:
Vilya, UC, Test of Will, Miruvor, Galadhrim Healer, Lembas, Daeron’s Runes, Elrond’s Counsel and Elven Light

Staging Area/Active Location

There is a copy of Haradrim Estate and Umbar Square in the staging area. There is also the encounter side quest In Enemy Territory (which has 5 of 8 progress on it) in the staging area. There is no active location.

Planning Phase

Again An Unlikely Friendship does nothing during the planning phase. Vilya+Nenya plays Lembas on Aragorn. Then I exhaust Stargazer to reveal from my deck in order top to bottom: Imladris Caregiver, Elrond’s Counsel, Burning Brand, Test of Will and Galadhrim Healer. I put them back in the following order top to bottom: Test of Will, Galadrim Healer, Caregiver, Elrond’s Counsel and Burning Brand. I have plenty of willpower and should easily be able to place the last 2 points necessary to beat Stage 2B and win the quest but I also can’t have any enemies engaged with either deck in order to achieve victory so I decide to exhaust Galadriel to reduce her deck’s threat by 1 and draw Test of Will. This way if the treachery Nowhere to Hide appears I can cancel it and avoid any enemies being engaged during quest resolution. I’m pretty sure I should be able to finish this game off right now and here without any risk of failure thanks to Test of Will and finishing off all enemies in play last round. I also exhaust Elrond and Vilya to play Galadrim Healer for free who heals 2 of the 3 damage off Aragorn, so much for needing Lembas!

Staging and Quest Resolution

Now first off the effect on the Quest Stage triggers and ends up putting a copy of Southron Archer into the staging area because both decks are not engaged with any enemies (this occurs if ANY player/deck is not engaged with an enemy). I commit Glorfindel, Galdor, Healer x2, Arwen, Outrider x2 (who both place a progress token on Umbar Square and get +1 willpower) and Aragorn for a total of 16 willpower. I reveal Narrow Alleyway and Southron Archer. There is a total of 11 threat in the staging area so i place the last 3 progress tokens on Stage 2B and win the game as there are no engaged enemies!
Sweet sweet victory and a successful escape from Umbar!

Here is my final board state at the end of the game:

DSCN0611.JPG
For reference: Yellow dice are resources, black dice are damage, Eye of Sauron tokens represent characters being exhausted and Southron Champion is in the victory display. Test of Will and Burning Brand remain in the support/questing decks hand and Feint and Sneak Attack remain in the combat decks hand. There are actually several locations and two enemies in the staging area but because I am not engaged with any enemies and have the necessary 15 progress on Stage 2B I have achieved victory. I would have been able to easily deal with the two Southron Archers in staging if need be but thankfully I didn’t have to. 

CONCLUSION

Even though this is my third time playing this quest I still had a great time as this new deluxe box really has a ton of replayability. Thanks to interesting and varied encounter side quests, plenty of treacheries that allow you to make a choice between two effects and extremely interesting and unique quest mechanics you get a different experience every time you play any of these new quests.
This first quest is definitely the easiest for my decks and during this particular game I absolutely cleaned house. There was a slightly worrying moment when Gimli had lots of damage on him from defending against two fierce foes but thanks to a copy of Lembas appearing at a key moment I was able to heal Gimli and remove any risk of Gimli falling during battle. The round I was able to play both Galdor and Glorfindel and both quest and attack with them effectively in the same round was a key moment as well and really boosted my board state by a ton. The same is true of my careful defending during the same second last turn and the undefended attack I took on purpose (which I could have easily defended with Gimli or Guardian of Arnor) which allowed me to save offensive power and then counter attack and destroy all enemies in play that same turn. If I still had a single enemy engaged from that round, on the final round I would not have achieved victory when I did and would have had to first deal with both Southron Archers and whatever enemy carried over from the previous round to achieve victory. I may very well have had to remove several points of progress as well due to the Southron Archers nasty forced effect which would have blocked victory that turn entirely and forced me to play on for at least another round if not more.

WDTVxSC.jpg
Southron Archer is a nastier foe than it appears to be at first sight. Four attack is nothing to laugh at, archery 2 is pretty nasty (especially when combined with other archery values in play) and the forced effect can be a big blow if you are unable to remove progress tokens and are forced to remove a powerful/useful ally. Even removing progress can be a blow and can seriously slow you down to stop you from advancing altogether at a critical moment.

Having played this quest a few times already however I was prepared for these what if scenarios and potential downfalls and this was the very reason for me putting so much effort into making sure I destroyed enemies as quickly as possible and did not leave enemies engaged with players whenever possible. I also carefully chose when to remove progress and when to let other alternative effects trigger instead which you really need to be clever with if you want to do well in this quest. I even specifically used Galadriel to get that copy of Test of Will last round just so that I could cancel a copy of Nowhere to Hide if it appeared during the final round of staging.

Both copies of Hands Upon the Bow were extremely beneficial and Legolas was clearly the MVP of the game placing progress on the main stage constantly with his ability. I never let a single character fall from an enemy attack (avoiding the first effect on Seize Them! altogether) and managed to easily overcome pretty much everything thrown at me. I rarely had to travel and defeated the strongest foe in the encounter deck the Southron Captain very early on without him ever making a single attack.
I had a blast playing and recording this quest and I hope this article helps someone else in their journeys throughout Harad! The new deluxe box is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend getting your hands on it if you have not already. Tune in next time for a turn by turn report of Desert Crossing!

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2 thoughts on “Turn by Turn Report – Escape from Umbar

  1. Hey dude!
    Following your blog all the way and especially the Nightmare Saga articles are great.
    While reading through your turn-by-turn report (i just played this quest and beat it last weekend) i come across an error you have with the rules. No bashing, just want to make sure i am correct with it:
    In Turn 3, during battle: Legolas attacks and destroys the Southron Archer allowing me to place a further 2 progress on In Enemy Territory, if only I had placed a few extra progress tokens while questing!!
    As far as i know, the side quests can only be the “active” quest during the adventure/staging phase, and in combat, always the main quest is the active one. So you are not able to put markers on side-quests in battle(in your case it doesnt matter here, but its important in some cases)

    Keep up the good work

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Walkofgames
    Thanks so much =) I’m hoping to get a bunch of new content up soon.
    Good job on spying that mistake you are indeed correct that sidequests can only be the active quest during the quest phase. Annoyed at myself for missing it but thanks for pointing it out! Thank goodness it doesn’t affect my outcome in any way considering I gave up on that side quest ultimately and it stayed in play right till the end.
    If you have any quests you’d like me see do turn by turn reports on or nightmare quests you’d like to see reviewed let me know!

    Like

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