Seastan’s Reduced Quest Gauntlet

At the time of this writing, there are nearly 100 quests available for this game. Two months ago I embarked on a mission to play through each one of them (in nightmare mode, when available) with a single deck, with no modifications.

The result can be found here: http://ringsdb.com/decklist/view/8682/the-one-deck-1.0

I really enjoyed the challenge because it forced me to replay every quest, even the ones I don’t like and would never revisit otherwise. I wanted to take the opportunity, while all these quests are still fresh in my recent memory, to outline what I call the Reduced Quest Gauntlet (RQG).

The idea of the RQG comes from the fact that I want to design other decks that can be considered “One Decks” that can beat every quest in the game, without the actual tedious part of playing through literally every quest out there. I would like to have a shorter list of quests, such that any deck that can beat all the quests in the shortlist can beat all the quests in the game. This is the RQG.

For instance, it’s hard to imagine any sort of deck that can beat every quest in the game except for Passage through Mirkwood. So for a deck to be considered a One Deck, I don’t think it’s ability to beat this quest even needs to be checked.

Just how short can we make the RQG? Well, we have a number of quests that are auto-includes because they include prisoner heroes. These quests are sufficiently unique in that they can completely cripple a deck that relies on the synergy between the heroes:

  • Escape From Dol Guldur (1 hero captured)
  • Escape from Mount Gram (2 heroes captured)
  • Flies and Spiders (all heroes captured)

I’ve left out Uruk-Hai (1 hero captured) and Long Arm of Mordor (all heroes captured) because they represent easier versions of one of the quests above.

We then need some quests that place specific demands on the player deck. These are:

A lot of willpower questing, with no time to turtle:
  • Race Across Harad
A lot of battle and/or siege questing, with no time to turtle:
  • The Battle of the Five Armies
A lot of combat early, with no time to turtle:
  • The Three Trials
A lot of allies. I chose the hardest sailing quest for this:
  • A Storm on Cobas Haven
Few allies:
  • Mount Doom
Low starting threat:
  • The Morgul Vale
Good threat management:
  • Return to Mirkwood
Good resource generation:
  • The Druadan Forest
Good healing:
  • The Ruins of Belegost

Good card draw:

  • Riddles in the Dark (if playing standard)
  • Watcher in the Water (if playing nightmare)

I would’ve liked to include a quest that demands a deck with good location control, but in solo I can’t think of any. Quests with that focus, like The Hills of Emyn Muil, tend to be on the easier side and can be beaten by a generic deck. If you have a recommendation, let me know.

The same goes for a quest that demands good card draw. A quest like The Long Dark is too easy. However, I think good location control is somewhat already covered by the demand for good willpower, and good card draw is just naturally going to be found in any sort of power deck, so I don’t think we definitely need a quest to challenge these aspects. Still,

Now that we’ve required our deck to be good at all the general aspects of the game, we need to take a look at what quests remain, and whether they have any demands that aren’t met by a standard well-rounded deck.

The quintessential example is of course:
  • A Journey to Rhosgobel

Which requires not just good healing, but a specific type of focused healing. It might also be beaten by a clever trick using location control to clear the Rhosgobel location, followed by more generic healing. Either way, this quest definitely puts some unique demands on the player deck.

We should also include:
  • Shadow and Flame

For the unique 0-threat mechanic it starts out with, followed by a boss enemy attacking you from turn 2 onward unless you’ve got some repeatable threat reduction.

Then there’s:
  • The ​Nin-in-Eilph

Now, this quest demands a lot of willpower and threat management, which have already been taken care of above to a more extreme degree, but Nin-in-Eilph is unique in that its first stage places a severe restriction on your deck which makes it difficult to set up properly.

I think we also need:
  • Deadmen’s Dike

Because it directly counters Erestor-type power decks that win by burning through the player card deck and dumping everything on the table quickly. At the very least, such a deck needs to either win while playing more conservatively, or find room for Will of the West in the deck list (in Deadmen’s Dike you lose if your deck runs out of cards).

Now we come to a split depending on whether you’re doing the standard version or the nightmare version of the quests. For standard mode, we add:
  • The Battle of Carn Dum

Since it’s one of the toughest quests in the standard quest pool (it’s nightmare version is eclipsed by other nightmare quests).

Nightmare mode has a couple more to contend with:

  • Encounter at Amon Din Nightmare
  • The Blood of Gondor Nightmare
  • The Lonely Mountain Nightmare

Just in terms of how many encounter cards and/or attacks that these three scenarios can throw at you, I found them to be pretty challenging in their own ways.

Ordering

The last thing I want to do is set an ordering for the Reduced Quest Gauntlet, from what I consider the easiest to hardest quest for a One Deck candidate to beat. This ordering serves two purposes. One is to see how far you can get, starting at the easier end and going forward. The other, which I plan to use it for, is to start at the hard end, so that if you get stuck you can make tweaks to the deck before you get too heavily invested in the process. It would be a shame to get to the last and hardest quest in the list only to realize that the only way your deck can beat it is with a couple changes.

Just one note before I get to the list. This is not what I consider to be an overall ranking of quest difficulty. This is what I consider a difficulty ranking specifically for One Deck candidates that are supposed to be good at everything. Note how Journey to Rhosgobel is near the end of the list. This is because it’s hard for a well-rounded deck to beat. Overall it’s actually a very easy quest if you specifically build for it.

If you are playing standard:

  1. Riddles in the Dark
  2. Flies and Spiders
  3. The Druadan Forest
  4. Escape from Mount Gram
  5. Race Across Harad
  6. A Storm on Cobas Haven
  7. The Morgul Vale
  8. Deadmen’s Dike
  9. Shadow and Flame
  10. The Three Trials
  11. The Battle of Carn Dum
  12. The Ruins of Belegost
  13. The ​Nin-in-Eilph
  14. A Journey to Rhosgobel
  15. Return to Mirkwood
  16. The Battle of the Five Armies
  17. Mount Doom
  18. Escape From Dol Guldur

If you are playing nightmare:

  1. Flies and Spiders
  2. The Watcher in the Water
  3. The Druadan Forest
  4. The Lonely Mountain
  5. Escape from Mount Gram
  6. Race Across Harad
  7. A Storm on Cobas Haven
  8. The Morgul Vale
  9. Deadmen’s Dike
  10. The Blood of Gondor
  11. Shadow and Flame
  12. The Three Trials
  13. Encounter at Amon Din
  14. The Ruins of Belegost
  15. The ​Nin-in-Eilph
  16. A Journey to Rhosgobel
  17. Return to Mirkwood
  18. The Battle of the Five Armies
  19. Mount Doom
  20. Escape From Dol Guldur

Can you beat them all? Did I miss any? Let me know!

Addendum

After further reflection, I’ve added a few more quests to the RQG because they present unique challenges to an all-round type deck. I will keep this section updated with any future releases that belong in the gauntlet as well. These quests should be added to both the standard and nightmare RQGs.

  • Journey to the Cross-roads

Because you essentially have to deal with an extra enemy every round on top of the regular encounter card, with no time to turtle.

  • The City of Corsairs

Because typical decks do not have a good answer to the sudden engagement of a huge battleship and a Corsair, as well as whatever else comes off the top of the encounter deck, all on the first turn.

  • The Steward’s Fear

Because it demands your deck to be highly adaptable partway through the quest, needing to be able to reduce threat or conserve your deck, etc. (thanks for the suggestion rouxxor).

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Boromir and Galdor

Boromir and Galdor

Main Deck

Hero (3)

Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)

Boromir (The Dead Marshes)

Galdor of the Havens (The Grey Havens)

Ally (6)

3x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)

3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)

Attachment (22)

3x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)

2x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)

3x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)

3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)

2x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

3x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)

3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (22)

3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)

2x A Test of Will (Core Set)

3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

1x Dwarven Tomb (Core Set)

3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)

3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)

3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)

3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)

1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards

Cards up to The Grey Havens

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Minimum Purchase – Into Ithilien

Minimum Purchase – Into Ithilien

Main Deck

Hero (3)

Beravor (Core Set)

Gimli (Core Set)

Théodred (Core Set)

Ally (28)

1x Beorn (Core Set)

3x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)

3x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Númenor)

3x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)

2x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)

2x Faramir (Core Set)

3x Gandalf (Core Set)

1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)

2x Horseback Archer (Core Set)

3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)

2x Son of Arnor (Core Set)

3x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)

Attachment (13)

2x Citadel Plate (Core Set)

2x Forest Snare (Core Set)

2x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)

3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)

2x Self Preservation (Core Set)

2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (9)

2x Feint (Core Set)

1x Grim Resolve (Core Set)

2x Quick Strike (Core Set)

2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

2x Valiant Sacrifice (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards

Cards up to Heirs of Númenor

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Awaken the Ents – The Druadan Forest – Nightmare

Awaken the Ents Solo

Main Deck

Hero (3)

Gandalf (The Road Darkens)

Merry (The Black Riders)

Pippin (The Black Riders)

Ally (19)

1x Beechbone (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

3x Booming Ent (The Antlered Crown)

3x Derndingle Warrior (Escape from Mount Gram)

2x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)

1x Skinbark (The Land of Shadow)

3x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

3x Wandering Ent (Celebrimbor’s Secret)

3x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)

Attachment (16)

1x Ent Draught (The Treason of Saruman)

3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)

2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)

2x Good Meal (The Redhorn Gate)

3x Narya (The Grey Havens)

2x Shadowfax (The Treason of Saruman)

3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (15)

3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)

3x Boomed and Trumpeted (Escape from Mount Gram)

3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

3x Entmoot (The Treason of Saruman)

3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards

Cards up to The Grey Havens

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Dunedain Trappers – Carn Dum

 

Dunedain Trappers

Main Deck

Hero (3)

Amarthiúl (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)

Damrod (The Land of Shadow)

Ally (20)

2x Dúnedain Hunter (The Lost Realm)

2x Dúnedain Watcher (The Dead Marshes)

3x Galadriel (The Road Darkens)

3x Guardian of Arnor (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)

3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)

2x Sarn Ford Sentry (The Lost Realm)

2x Warden of Annúminas (The Lost Realm)

Attachment (17)

2x Celebrían’s Stone (Core Set)

3x Forest Snare (Core Set)

1x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)

2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)

2x Heir of Valandil (The Lost Realm)

2x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)

3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (13)

3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)

2x Descendants of Kings (Escape from Mount Gram)

3x Feint (Core Set)

2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards

Cards up to The Land of Shadow

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Moneymaker – Flight to the Ford Nightmare

 

The Moneymaker

Main Deck

Hero (3)

Arwen Undómiel (The Dread Realm)

Gríma (The Voice of Isengard)

Théodred (Core Set)

Ally (11)

1x Galdor of the Havens (The Treachery of Rhudaur)

3x Gandalf (Over Hill and Under Hill)

1x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

1x Lindir (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

3x Sailor of Lune (The Grey Havens)

2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)

Attachment (21)

2x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)

2x Gandalf’s Staff (The Road Darkens)

3x Keys of Orthanc (The Voice of Isengard)

2x Narya (The Grey Havens)

3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)

3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

3x To the Sea, to the Sea! (The Grey Havens)

3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (18)

3x A Test of Will (Core Set)

3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)

3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)

3x Elven-light (The Dread Realm)

3x Gaining Strength (The Steward’s Fear)

2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)

1x Will of the West (Core Set)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards

Cards up to The Grey Havens

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Solo Mono Tactics

Solo Tactics – Aragorn Hama Merry
Total Cards: 50

Heroes (starting threat: 27)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Hama (The Long Dark)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Allies (18)
1x Bofur (Over Hill and Under Hill)
1x Boromir (The Road Darkens)
3x Defender of Rammas (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
2x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
Attachments (19)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Blade of Gondolin (Core Set)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
1x Rivendell Bow (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
Events (13)
2x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Goblin-cleaver (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Straight Shot (On the Doorstep)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)

Deck built with Rivendell Councilroom

Minimum Purchase – Shadow and Flame

Minimum Purchase – Carn Dum – Elrond Theodred Eowyn
Total Cards: 50

Heroes (starting threat: 30)
Elrond (Shadow and Flame)
Theodred (Core Set)
Eowyn (Core Set)
Allies (43)
1x Faramir (Core Set)
3x Guard of the Citadel (Core Set)
2x Silverlode Archer (Core Set)
3x Snowbourn Scout (Core Set)
2x Son of Arnor (Core Set)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Gondorian Spearman (Core Set)
2x Horseback Archer (Core Set)
3x Veteran Axehand (Core Set)
3x Veteran of Nanduhirion (Khazad-Dûm)
2x Northern Tracker (Core Set)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)
3x Zigil Miner (Khazad-Dum)
2x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
2x Erebor Hammersmith (Core Set)
1x Gleowine (Core Set)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
2x Miner of the Iron Hills (Core Set)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
Attachments (7)
1x Celebri­an’s Stone (Core Set)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Vilya (Shadow and Flame)

Deck built with Rivendell Councilroom

Solo Trap Deck

Traps – Glorfindel Damrod Pippin
Total Cards: 50

Heroes (starting threat: 20)
Damrod (The Land of Shadow)
Glorfindel (Foundations of Stone)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Allies (13)
1x Arwen Undomiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Wellinghall Preserver (Across the Ettenmoors)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
Attachments (20)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Blood of Numenor (Heirs of Numenor)
3x Light of Valinor (Foundations of Stone)
1x Ambush (The Land of Shadow)
3x Asfaloth (Foundations of Stone)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
2x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Numenor)
Events (17)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Elrond’s Counsel (The Watcher in the Water)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)

Deck built with Rivendell Councilroom

Dúnhere the Elf-friend


Dunhere the Elf-friend – Dunhere Merry Pippin
Total Cards: 50

Heroes (starting threat: 20)
Dunhere (Core Set)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Allies (11)
3x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Ethir Swordsman (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Anfalas Herdsman (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
Attachments (17)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
3x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
3x Rivendell Blade (Road to Rivendell)
2x Spear of the Mark (The Morgul Vale)
3x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)
3x Elf-friend (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
Events (22)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Straight Shot (On the Doorstep)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
1x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Peace, and Thought (Shadow and Flame)
3x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)

Deck built with Rivendell Councilroom