Emile de Maat
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I'm looking for help with the Siege of Cair Andros scenario.

My friend and I are having a lot of trouble completing this scenario. We've made about ten attempts now, and only once did we reach the last stage; never did we come close to victory.

Our first attempts used a Lore/Spirit secrecy deck with lots of Encounter deck manipulation, and a Leadership/Tactics combat deck. It didn't take us long to realise that we should have looked more closely at the encounter deck. The secrecy deck was easily shut-down by the Orc Vanguard, and offered too little combat support to deal with the host of enemies.

So, we switched tactics - to mono Tactics. I am playing an eagle deck with Háma, Gimli and Thalin. My friend plays a ranged deck with Beregond, Brand Son of Bain, Legolas. After an initial failed attempt, we felt confident that these decks would be able to succeed. But this turned out to be not the case. We still lose. Main causes are:
- Losing The Banks before we can explore them, due to early Siege Rafts or similar cards. Our decks contain too little spirit to get through stage 2.
- Gaining a lot of threat when Orc Assault causes us to fail a quest badly.
- (After completing stage I) Getting more attacks against us then we can deal with, through Haradrim Elite and Southron Support.

So, it seems clear we need to make some changes. Now, we are thinking to bring along a Spirit hero with A Test of Will. Still, relying on having that one card at the right time, when the hero is now shut-down by an Orc Vanguard still doesn't seem to be a reliable approach.

Of course, we can just try it out, but I wanted to see if there are better ideas out there. We are probably not going to give this scenario many more tries, as the attempts haven't been the most fun experiences. However, we've been trying to go through the chapter packs in order, and we would be rather happy if we could keep that up - so I would be very happy to discover a way to defeat that scenario now rather than later

We are not using the Saga Expansions. We do have two Core sets, the entire Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, Khazad-dûm, the Dwarrowdelf cycle and Heirs of Númenor.
 
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Strategy I've used against Siege of Cair Andros in 2 player game was Hama + Thicket of Spears.

Mono Tactics handles enemies by recycling Thicket of Spears over and over again, summoning 2 cost 4 defence allies whenever they accumulate 5 or more resources,

The other person deals with heal, threat reduction, and draw power with Spirit/Lore deck.


Or alternatively even though I've never tried it on practice, attaching Thror's Key to one of the siege location should break the game and allow you to take as much undefended attacks as you want during stage 1, allowing you to build an army of allies to smash through future stages.

Edit: forget the last bit, just realized thror's key comes with Saga Expansion.
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Emile de Maat
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That sounds like a working plan (though perhaps a bit boring for the player with Háma and Thicket of Spears )

Do you remember which other heroes you brought along?
 
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Purple wrote:
Do you remember which other heroes you brought along?


Mono Tactics deck had Legolas/Hama/Beregond
Other deck I used had Eleanor/Beravor/Elrond

The mono tactics deck had Thicket of Spears, Feint, Hands Upon Bow, Vassal of Windlord, Winged Guardian, Defender of Rammas, Blades of Gondolin, Rivendell Blade, Gondorian Shield... and other cheap allies or useful events.

Spirit/Lore deck had Zigil Miner, Stargazer, Will of West, 4~6 cost allies from different spheres, Vilya, Warden of Healing, Threat Reducers, and other cards that you would find useful.

Focus all draw power on Tactics deck until Thicket of Spears and Feint is drawn. Use Feint instead of Thicket of Spears depending on number of enemies so Tactics deck can play 2 cost 4 defence allies to prep for Siege quest.

Spirit/Lore deck mulligans for Stargazer.
Idea is to use Stargazer and Zigil Miner to make 1~2 resources per Zigil Miner than recycle discard pile using Will of West.
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We also got hammered the first couple of times we played this scenario when our strategy was to try to save as many of the locations as possible. It sounds like you are doing the same. Our success (and enjoyment!) improved substantially once we started using the locations as a buffer for powering up. Your primary early objective is to kill the enemies. You can take selected undefended attacks and take the damage on the locations. The Banks is usually good for taking one attack, the other two you can often get a couple on before they are lost. Being able to take 3-5 undefended attacks and not worry too much about the when revealed effects that add damage means you have a lot of freedom to build up your strength for the following quest cards and stay on top of the enemies. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about shadow effects as much during this portion of the game. You’ll also find questing easier if you are travelling to the Citadel or the worst threat location rather than the Banks which does little to help getting the questing math to work out. Plus, a overrun/destroyed location is one less in the staging area.

And yes, I view a test of will as highly valuable on this quest since Orc Assault and Southron Support are devastating. I prefer both decks to be loaded up with them.

This is one of my favorite quests for the very reason that it gives the players a chance to establish a foothold while still having some brutally difficult cards . . . Unless of course you get The Power of Morder first turn. In which case, tip your hat and re-deal. It is almost up there with Sleeping Sentry as a first turn auto lose.

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Emile de Maat
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Thanks for your suggestions! Today, we finally managed to defeat this quest.

Now, we are happy to leave The Siege of Cair Andros behind us - it has not been the most fun experience that The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game has given us. It still took us ten attempts to defeat this quest with our new decks.

As suggested by ellareth, we played with a Tactics deck based on Háma and Thicket of Spears which would prevent our enemies from attacking, thus avoiding their huge attack and Shadow Card combos. It was supported by a deck based on Imlardis Stargazer, Zigil Miner, Elrond and Vilya, which would quickly call up allies to help questing.

It did seem that we were still very dependent on luck of the draw.
- The Tactics deck needed to get its hand on Thicket of Spears. Despite the help of Beravor, this sometimes took a long time. Sometimes, we did manage to hold out despite lacking Thicket of Spears, but this did delay our questing too much, as we needed to hold back and sacrifice allies to do so.
- The Lore/Spirit deck needed to get the combination Imlardis Stargazer and Vilya or Zigil Miner going, which obviously didn't happen every time.
- Finally, we still needed the Encounter deck to cooperate a bit. Various cards could still ruin the day at different moments in the game. Several times, we had a deadly card come by, countered it with Eleanor, only to see it replaced by a just as deadly card.

We did learn a bit while playing too - most importantly, the Tactics deck needed to build up a bit before going into turtle mode with Thicket of Spears. If we started using Thicket of Spears to early, we would lack questing power and killing power. So, during the first turns, as compton9890 mentioned, it was better to let some attacks go undefended than to use Thicket of Spears. (Still, in our winning game, we managed to save both The Banks and The Citadel.)

As mentioned, we needed ten attempts to win. Clearly, we have not yet found the perfect decks to deal with this quest. We are unlikely to try this quest again soon, but I would still like to hear suggestions on how we could improve our decks and be less dependant on luck.

I think my friend's Tactics deck is solid enough:

Beregond
Legolas
Háma


Allies (16):
3 Defender of Rammas
1 Gondorian Spearman
3 Vassal of the Windlord
3 Veteran Axehand
3 Watcher of the Bruinen
3 Winged Guardian


Attachments (14):
2 Horn of Gonder
3 Keeping Count
3 Rivendell Blade
3 Rivendell Bow
3 Spear of the Citadel


Events (20):
3 Behind Strong walls
3 Feint
3 Hands Upon the Bow
3 Khazâd! Khazâd!
3 Quick Strike
2 Stand Together
3 Thicket of Spears


My own Lore/Spirit deck can probably use some work. I've little experience with the Elrond and Vilya. Though I've not experienced major deficiencies during the game, I suspect it could be made a bit more efficient. In retrospect, I should have included some more threat reducers. We have lost three games because of a player reaching 50 threat. I included two Songs in the deck as insurance against The Master's Malice, but those were never used, and should probably go.

Beravor
Eleanor
Elrond

Allies (27):
1 Beorn
1 Brok Ironfist
2 Damrod
2 Dúnedain Wanderer
2 Elfhelm
2 Faramir
2 Gildor Inglorion
2 Haldir of Lórien
3 Imladris Stargazer
1 Landroval
3 Northern Tracker
3 Warden of Healing
3 Zigil Miner

Attachments (10):
3 Vilya
3 Ranger Spikes
2 Unexpected Courage
1 Song of Travel
1 Song of Wisdom

Events (13):
3 A Test of Will
3 Daeron's Runes
2 Elrond's Council
2 The Galadhrim's Greetings
3 Will of the West
 
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