Sagas: Is Anyone Using Road Darkens or Land of Shadow Frodo?


After torrential downpours this week led to, among other things, a really slow commute today, I was able to listen to all of the Grey Company’s most recent episode. I always enjoy listening to their Book Club episodes, which are second only to their cycle review episodes. For a few moments they batted around the question of Fellowship Frodo and how to build with him. I have three (!) campaigns going at the moment: one with my wife, one with a college buddy, and one two-handed solo. In each case, I’ve used Black Riders Frodo to great success, since the ability to shuffle a bad card away and draw another one is incredibly powerful. This is especially important in Saga mode, when surging burdens can chain together and wreck your day pretty quickly.

I’ve not been so lucky with The Road Darkens Frodo or The Land of Shadow Frodo. Don’t get me wrong–I’ve tried them, but they just don’t work well for me. In the case of the first, the benefit is obvious: “This attack deals no damage.” But consider what must be paid to achieve that affect:

  • Frodo must exhaust
  • You must pay 1 Fellowship resource
  • Each player raises his threat by two
  • You must exhaust the One Ring (!)

Goodness. Stack that up against all the combat control cards on Hall of Beorn. Not a single one of that requires you to pay that must to, in essence, mimic of Feint.

Frodo Baggins from The Land of Shadow is a bit better–pay 1 Fellowship resource and exhaust the One Ring to give him +2 attack and +2 willpower. However, if you want to use both, you’ve got to get some kind of readying on him. Again, it seems a bit too steep a price, especially when you consider Halfling Determination exists.

So, why is Black Riders Frodo so good? It’s because there are so few cards that can outright cancel the effects of a card. Granted, he’s not as powerful as A Test of Will because his ability means you still must shuffle the card back into the encounter deck, but there’s always a chance it will be discarded in some other way, for instance, as a dud shadow effect.

So, readers, what are your feelings on the Fellowship sphere Frodos? Who is a stud, and who is a dud?

Off-Brand Nightmare, or Making the Game Harder

Tonight I ran a variant of Zeromage’s Big Hero Six deck against The Fords of Isen. Hilarious. Two reasons, really:

  • Between Cirdan, BeravorDaeron’s Runes, and Gleowine, there’s a ton of card draw.
  • Like many quests in the Ring-Maker cycle, The Fords of Isen kicks you in the teeth for drawing cards or having too many cards in hand.

And, voila!, I had an off-brand nightmare quest on my hands. To date, I haven’t purchased a single Nightmare expansion (though I did win a set in a drawing at my FLGS). In truth, I’m still a bit behind on beating all the quests, though I’m catching up pretty quickly. This week I decided to return to the Ring-Maker cycle and play it from start to finish. This solo run will include (hopefully!) beating Celebrimbor’s Secret and The Antlered Crown for the first time, which I’m pumped for. But since I’ve played the Voice of Isengard box and the first few quests in the cycle so much, I thought bringing just the plain wrong, no-good deck to it would be funny.

Don’t get me wrong–the Big Hero Six deck I’ve tweaked is plenty powerful, but that power is offset by the quests just dropping bombs all over me for drawing or holding onto too many cards. So even when I have a near perfect set-up, things can go awry:

Near perfect first turn.

Near perfect first turn.

I did win The Fords of Isen, but it was mighty, mighty close. I’ve learned to hate the Dunlending Berserker, in particular.

So, I’m looking back through all the previous quests and thinking, “What deck could I bring to such-and-such a quest to make it a nightmare quest of sorts?” Any thoughts, readers? What’s a challenging pairing I should try in the future? Leave a comment!