Lord of the Rings:LCG - reviews and general thoughts

It all started with accepting 100 plays challenge and pledging to comment each play. Soon my thoughts outgrew the BGG comment format and also FFG's forum. I decided to post them in a form of a blog here. In time I got rid of session reports and replaced them with expansions reviews. Enjoy.
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Did I really Escaped Dol Guldur solo?

Wojtek Wojcik
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Board Game Designer
I very much like designing games but I think I prefer to play them.
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I described my feelings about playing Escape from Dol Guldur with only core cards here: Escape from Dol Guldur - the one cursed by all solo players. Then after playing Mirkwood cycle (and Massing at Osgiliath) I attempted it again with extended card pool (you can find brief comments here: play comments) and failed miserably again. At that time I made a resolution to play it after each full cycle and see if at some point I will be able to create a deck that will be able to deal with this scenario on a semi-regular basis. Just before taking my time out from the game I exactly did that. In March I attempted the bane of all solo players scenario and ...

(Long pause) ... YES I DID IT ... I beat Dol Goldur with tournament legal deck solo!

I have to say that satisfaction when I did that for the first time was really someting. Even better I was able to beat it few more times after that. I was not able to achieve my "holy grail" goal of >50% win percentage (I got around 45%, but who's counting) nevertheless I was/am so proud. Unfortunately my limited time/burn-out phase kicked in right after that and I only have half of the comments about my plays. Still you can find at least those below.

[Session Comment]

Date: 16 Mar 2013
Heroes (spheres): Aragorn (WitW), Frodo, Glorfindel (FoS) (spirit/lore)
Played 7 times, won three of those
[Session Report] Due to being a bit sick I've spent the weekend escaping from Dol Guldur. Due to decent amount of plays details are a bit hazy:
- Started with a defeat. Frodo was the first prisoner. Initial objective "guardians" were not so bad but soon enough got attacked by Chieftan and Ungoliant Spawn.
- FIRST win against this scenario for me. Frodo was again the prisoner. Manged to get to him quite fast due to nice balanced mix of enemies, locations and treacheries. Had a little trouble killing the Nazgul (Chieftan Ufthak was assisting him). Gandalf helped greatly and after that I was off to my first win.
- Another win this time Aragorn was taken prisoner. I was able to rescue him just in time for threat reset.
- Three losses in a row (Glorfindel was in prison). Once I got double Caught in a web early. Once I got 5 location turn one (even Gandalf couldn't help). Once I had three Dol Guldur orcs at the start and even despite killing them soon Ungliant appeared and sealed the deal.
- Finally won with Glorfindel in prison. Got an fairly easy start (two no effect treacheries which helped a lot)
[General thoughts] At this point I was very satisfied with my deck (only changes I mad was pretty obvious swap of Peace, and Thought for Miner of Iron Hills. I assumed that it will be always easier to win if Glorfindel is not in prison (Light of Valinor is a huge help in starting hand and Asfaloth can help as well). I was very happy to finally beat this bane of all solo players quest. FFG always gets bashed for including it in core set and I tend to partially agree as I think it was not tested enough in solo mode. On the other hand it was nice to comeback with great pool of cards to this core set quest and find that most of its theth are still pointy and lust for solo player's blood. It was a joyous moment after 250+ plays to add this quest to my "completed" list (I refuse to comment on performing small victory dance).

[General Thoughts]

Here I will only include my deck if someone else wants to test it out:
Glorfindel - Foundation of Stone
Aragorn - Watcher in the Water
Frodo Baggins

3x Gandalf - Core set

3x Northern Tracker
3x Arwen Undomiel
3x Bofur - The Redhorn Gate
3x West Road Traveller
2x Wandering Took

3x Miner of the Iron Hills
2x Henemarth Riversong
3x Master of the Forge

2x Unexpected Courage
3x Light of Valinor
3x Ancient Mathom

3x Fast Hitch
1x Asfaloth

2x Dwarven Tomb
3x Test of Will
3x Hasty Stroke

3x Daeron's Runes
3x Radagast's Cunning

What are your opinions on this scenario? Do you think it will ever become a pushover scenario in solo?
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