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Subject: Mother of Nightmares (4 hero solo) rss

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Jan Probst
Germany
Kiel
Schleswig Holstein
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Welcome to another session report and/or practical guide to cheese and trickery, this time versus HoM's Mother of Nightmares quest.
With Heart of the Mists upon us, it's time to try out new quests and new heroes and new stuff; everything else (locations, encounters, enemies) has been mashed together with base Mistfall components though - I strictly treat this as an expansion to Mistfall and am not going to standalone it whatsoever.
(I give it 1-3 reports until I've had enough of new-only Heroes and mix that up. The new quests are outstandlingly good though, will probably rarely go back.)

Usualish format notes:
- No narration, if you don't like dry technical detail, read something else.
- I'm sort of without established format again, there's a lot of dense information in a new time system playthrough. So excuse some explorativeness regarding what info is needed and presentable.
- In fact, I'll probably go way over the top in annotating Focus, Icons, Time OTs and Resolve this time while working out formats. Let me know which info is useful and which is clutter.
- I normally don't list detailed trackkeeping of specific cards drawn, but I'll try at least listing hand at start of turn. Let me know if this is useful.

Variants used:
- Combined turns
- Tuned Reward Deck. Well, MF and HoM are thrown together, and as recommended a few unusable/undesired cards haphazardly thrown out. This could be done better once analyzed.
- Time-Cards-As-Events not used, the quest has events.

Here is my table setup. Getting tight putting allies next to charters, may need to put them above with the enemies.


Here is our Team:
Aseke, with Segrys and Arivel allies (both do really well with Aseke's flipback power)
Sigraed, no ally (would roast them)
Durgen, no ally (don't think he'll need one)
Valkea, Tarah the Knight (to efficiently help Valk's lack of multiattack)

With some altered allies, it's the same team I used on my first test against Eredai (no report for that). This is mostly due to laziness, the team is not that great versus Mother of Nightmares (Sigraed doesn't handle its rest pace or end fight well) or in general (you really don't want to pair Sigraed with 2 other 4 base focus heroes, limits her ability to hog enemies to burn. She also wants someone who can tank at range because unlike Arani, holy hell can't she handle the heat she draws). Basically, it's Sigraed's fault.

Three allies will start us at +3 Time, just over the 2 event, so that's one early bullet dodged.

Quest notes: Impaired resting unless we discard cards to unlock location rest bonus, occasional discards, and yet we need to rush through this quickly to have enough time for the boss fight - that'll give us time penalties even if we do it "properly" by killing the boss before touching the yard trash (because she is Tormented herself, so she gives +time for hitting her too). Sounds fun, let's go.

Starting Reward offer: Firesting, Reinforced Staff, Wand of Confusion, Great Shield, Spyglass, Endurance potion
Spyglass available is excellent, we'll want that because Kesrah starts at the front of the line and we'll want her on Valkea, not Sigraed (who has an unusual 5 base Focus).


ROUND 1

Hands
A 2x Song of Hope, 3x Wisdom and Finesse
S Immolation, 2x Flame Shield, Cauterize, Wisdom
D WAtk, 2x Tremor, Control, Mace
V Discipline, Shortsword, Pummel, Talon Block, Momentum

The map is a donut, so we randomly pick one of the two routes.
Travel west to Desecrated Shrine (Deadlands, everyone gets +2 Focus)
aaaand because base 5+2=7 here's our first Reinforcement before we even really started. Nice going Sigraed. R2 TB3
(Format note: R denotes new box on Reinforcement track (counting starting box as 1), TBx notes new number of OTs in the Time Box)
Encounter Resolve of the Dead (2h blue any)
Last enemy gets 2 extra resolve, we can trade earned resolve for progress.
.. yeah right. They can take our precious resolve from our flame-wreathed living hands, so everything must die.
This is a lot of enemies btw, so it's gonna be a lot of precious resolve too. Always nice for a first encounter.

Pursuit
Vampire dog S 7>3
Skel Mage D 6>3
Skel Archer V 6>3
Floating Skull A 5>2 (places 1 burn on every hero)
Vampire S 3>1
Skel Warrior D 3>1
Skel Warrior V 3>1
Headless Hulk A 2>1 (extra 2 resolve loot)

Ase Skull, Hulk
Sig Vampire dog, Vampire
Dur Skel Mage, Skel Warrior
Val Skel Archer, Skel Warrior

Hero

Aseke
Arivel ally action: choose keyword, all Undead get -2 Defense and Resistance until end of phase r0
(Ok we're done here. Wait, we still have to go through the motions of killing them?)
(Totes worth the resolve cost. At least if you don't have to pay 2 more to flipback her to use it again, thanks to Aseke)

Durgen
strong War Sword hit on Mage (dead) F3 r2
(Format note: Fx notes new Enemy Focus, rx notes new Resolve total)
Tremor on Warrior (dead) F5 r3
Tremor (recur) on Warrior @Valkea (dead) F8 R3 TB2 r4

Valkea
Tarah ally attack on Archer (dead) F2 r5

Sigraed
Holy Immolation on Vampire (dead), burn token on Dog (1/3 from vuln) F4 r7

Aseke
Segrys ally attack on Skull (dead) and Hulk (3/5) F5 r9

Valkea
deploy Shortsword 3F
strong Shortsword hit on Hulk @Aseke (dead) F5 r13

Durgen
weak Shortsword hit on dog @Sigraed (2/3) F9
Forgehammer 2 OT on Shortsword F10

Aseke
Wisdom draw 2 cards F6
Song of Hope OT in TB3
discard to flip back Arivel

Sigraed
buy+deploy Inner Fire F5 r10
buy Breath of Fire r8

Valkea
buy+deploy Weapon focus F6 r6
(mostly to use leftover Focus and because we have a lot of spare resolve)

Defense
Sig H: Dog 2 damage blocked by Symbol and Flame Shield F6
Dog dies in a fire r7
party burns a bit

Encounter done all enemies dead
not removing quest token
Powerstone, trash Great Shield, Sigraed buys Ring of Dawnfire r5
Healing Pot, trash Endu Pot, Aseke buys Spellsong Lute r3
Rest impaired due to quest token

Time +1, no events

Comments
Excellent opening, lots of resolve for 1 time. Even if you're not bringing Aseke for free flipbacks and never intend to pay the 2 resolve to untap regularly, Arivel is quite worth it to help you smash a vulnerable encounter while you're still building up.


ROUND 2

Hands
A Hope, Wisdom, Inspire, Evade, Spell Lute
S Shield, Wisdom, Breath, Burst, Ring
D Attack x2, Mace, Hammer, Tremor
V Shortsword, Discipline, Pummel, Momentum

Travel to Empty Inn (Borderlands, no effect)
nice 3 rest bonus here, probably worth discarding to get rid of the quest token
Encounter Ritual of the Wilds (2h+1 green Beastmen)
Ah, Beastmen, bori... oh hey, it's Heart of the Mists, Beastmen actually have large variety now. Cool.
Can discard cards for progress (bonus if arcane). Need at least 1 progress or eat some penalty.
We're killing everything anyway because that's how we roll but can farm some Time Box tokens here.

Pursuit
GWarrior S 5>2 (2 burn)
GWarrior D 4>2
RArcher V 4>2
RStalker A 3>1
GWarrior D 2>1
Swooper S 2>1 (2 burn)
RStalker V 2>1
GRagecaller A 1>0
Swooper S 1>0 (2 burn)
Reflex Sig: Breath of Fire, 2 burn on everything in H F4
(Could've done this on the Ragecaller and then take the Swooper to halve focus, but wanted the burns on the harder enemy)

Ase Stalker, Ragecaller
Sig Warrior, Swooper, Swooper
Dur Warrior, Warrior
Val Archer, Stalker

(In retrospect, concentrating both Swoopers on Sigraed was a bad idea. Burning them was nice and all, but I had a hell of a time getting the last damages on them)

Hero

Durgen
deploy Mace, hammer F3
buy+use Craft Draw, draw 3 F4
Tremor (recur) on Stalker @Valkea (dead) F7 R2 TB2 r4
Forge Hammer 2 OT on Valkea Shortsword (after her deploy) F8

Valkea
deploy Shortsword, Myrmidon Discipline F4
Tarah ally attack on Archer (dead) F5 r5
(nice to see physical damage type vulnerabilities other than Blunt finally see some play)
strong Weapon Focused Spear hit on Warrior @Durgen (dead) F10 R3 TB1 r6
discard card for OT to encounter (to avoid penalty later, any further encounter OTs will go to TB)

Durgen
discard arcane card TB3
Weapon Attack strong Mace hit on Warrior F13>6 fE TB2 r7
(Format Note: E notes Enrage, f notes the enrage fizzled due to no enemies. Enrage details in separate line if any)
discard to put Spear back on Valkea deck

(So far so good. Still procrastinating dealing with Sigraed's burning pile of feathers there. >_< )

Aseke
buy+deploy Perseverance of the Bard F1 r5
Wisdom draw 2 F2
buy+play Song of Invocation to move Ragecaller to Sig H (Sig F4>2), discard to Sigraed draw 1
(this is for Focus reduction and card draw, the relocation doesn't really matter)
Perseverance to put a Song from discard under deck F3
(Rules Note: discard to fuel and discard on action conclusion are very different timing points, but since both come from the same action, I conservatively assumed I cannot use Perseverance Reflex to respond to both)
respond Lute to Sig draw 1 F4
deploy Spellsong Lute
Song of Hope OT to TB3
(no spare Focus for Perseverance response)
respond Spellsong to Sig draw 2 F6

Sigraed
deploy Holy Symbol
buy Fiery Gaze, 2x Fires of Dawn r0

Aseke
discard to flip back Segrys
Segrys ally attack on Stalker (dead), Ragecaller @Sig (dead) F10 R4 Time+1 TB2 r1
Mass Enrage from Time Track
Swooper @Sig 3 damage 1 blocked by Symbol, 2 taken
(GODDAMN SWOOPER IS ON THE GROUND NOW, GEEZ)
(no enemies in other Hs)
Arivel ally attack on other (flying) Swooper (1/3 vuln ping only, will die) F11 fE TB1
weak Shortsword hit on (grounded) Swooper @Sig (no damage) F12
Reflex Sigraed: Fires of Dawn to place Burn token on Swooper (will die) F3
weak Shortsword hit on Warrior @Sig (no damage) F13>6
Reflex Sigraed: Fires of Dawn to place Burn token on Warrior (will die) F4
discard arcane card TB3

Sigraed
Fiery Gaze to return 2 Swooper and Warrior to Q F7 R5 TB2
(Regular action, unlike most "cleric turn" type effects)
deploy Ring of Dawnfire F8
use scroll to put 3 cards under deck
discard arcane card TB4

Defense
non-zero OT on encounter, so no penalty
enemies in Q don't attack
Warrior and 2 Swoopers die in a fire r4
Sigraed ignores burn due to ring, down to 1 token

Encounter done all enemies dead
discard 9 as a group to remove quest token
(Durgen eats a full hand discard to fizzle the upcoming event on him since he has no ally to protect)
Endurance pot, trash, Valkea buys Spear of Dawn r2
Arcane Cuirass, Spyglass to Aseke
Rest for 3+bonus, nice. Valkea leaves Spear in discard for Durgen to recur later

Time +1 event 3
everyone discards 2 cards (or an ally, but no) (except Durgen since he has neither)

Comments
Holy crap, this round. Those damn birds are way more annoying than expected. Ridiculous mass discard at the end didn't help either.
Look at these hands at the start of a new turn:


ROUND 3
We are shot to hell and on a good rest location, so Dr. Nep prescribes a rest turn.

(Unfortunately this'll make Sig's fire engine burn out. I'm not having a grip on this Inner Fire thing.)

Hero

Aseke
deploy Spyglass
buy Be Ready, discard it to flip back Segrys 1r
(It'll be rested under deck and redrawn anyway, Aseke's deck is way thin right now)

Sigraed
use Inner Fire to topdeck+draw Breath
Wisdom redraw Inner Fire
deploy Inner Fire 7F R2 TB3

Valkea
deploy Spear of Dawn F5

everyone rests

Defense
Sig ignores burn due to Ring, no tokens

Time +1, no event
(started on second Time row now)

Comments
Rest turns are really nice under new time system if you keep the Darkness low, yo. Even moreso without the aftermath draw-up.


ROUND 4

Hands (We have hands again, yay!)
A Hope, Ready, Invocation, 2x Reprieve
S Control, Breath, Gaze, FoD, Wisdom
D Block, Tremor, Control, Hammer, Imbue
V Thrust, Rush, 2x Talon, Momentum

Travel to Dead Marshes (Deadlands, no effect)
Has 0 rest value printed, so no point in even removing the quest token here
Encounter Vampiric Forces (h+2 blue mindless, setup an extra vampire)
Some discard effect while vampire is in play, Encounter ends with progress or killing the vampire, killing enemies adds progress.
We'll kill the vampire (and everything else), so this will be comically many easy Time Box OTs

To maintain the spirit of the encounter (use timing to counter the vampire's discard ability) even under combined turns, we'll "formally" start each hero turn on someone's first non-reflexive action, not all at once.

Pursuit
Cursed Wanderer S 7>3 (1/3 2 burn, will die)
Tormented Skel V 5>2
Skel Archer D 4>2
Bone Wraith S 3>1>4 (1/3 2 burn, will die)
Reflex Sigraed Breath of Fire 2 burn on Wander, Wraith, self
Bone Serpent S 4>2
Skel Warrior A 3>1
Vampire D 2>1 (at least we draw a proper vampire for this clown show, not a silly dog or bat)

Ase Warrior
Sig Wanderer, Wraith, Bone Serp
Dur Archer, Vampire
Val Tormented

Hero

Durgen
formally starts hero turn, discards card to vampire
Reflex Aseke: Invocation move Tormented from Val to Dur H (Dur F1>0), discard to Dur draw 1 (Mace), Perseverance F2
(Could have done this later to reduce 2 more Focus but wanted the Mace)
deploy Hammer, Mace F2
Tremor (recur) on Archer (dead) F5 r2 TB4
(Won't specifically mention each time that kills create OTs on encounter that are put on TB instead)
discard to put Valkea Spear on deck
(Was under the erroneous assumption that Myrmidon push calls for Spear and not just Weapon and thus needing 2 for my boss plans, but had to get rid of the card anyway to avoid discard later)
strong Mace hit on Tormented (dead) F7 R2 TB3 r3 TB4
(no card to discard to Tormented effect)
buy+deploy Find Weakness F8 r0
FW to give Shortsword Flame, Divine keywords until end of phase F9
2x weak Shortsword hit on Vampire (dead from vuln pings) F11 fE TB3 r2 TB4
Hammer 2 OT to Aseke Shortsword F12
FW to give Valkea Shortsword Blunt, Flame F13>6 (it had a stray OT on it from earlier)

(everyone else can formally begin their hero turns now since the Vampire effect doesn't mess with that anymore)

Valkea
strong Weapon Focused Shortsword hit on Serpent @Sig (dead) F5 r3 TB5
buy+deploy Perseverance F6 r1
Momentum to draw Shortsword, deploy F7 R3 TB4
Tarah ally attack Warrior @Aseke (2/4) F8

Aseke
Segrys ally attack on Warrior (dead) F4 r2 TB5 (not doing the second attack)
Song of Reprieve on Self, Perseverance F6

Sigraed
Wisdom to draw Scroll, deploy, use

Defense
Sig H: Wanderer slow, Wraith 2 dmg
Wanderer and Wraith die in a fire r4 TB7
Sig ignores burn, down to 1 token

Encounter done Vampire dead TB8 (from a token automatically placed before the finish check)
Heal Pot, Firesting to Durgen
Light Bow, Reinforced Staff to Sig
Rest impaired due to quest token (location is 0 value anyway)

Time +1 Mass Enrage (nothing to Enrage)

Comments
Yeah, that's a thing that happened. Pretty sure I even said that exactly this (this = huge bounty or lack thereof of no-effort Time Box OTs purely on the luck of encounter draw) would happen when the "encounter progress can be added to time box instead" rule was discussed as a potential addition during the (much harsher) Time System PnP. I definitely thought it, can't find relevant posts now.
I'm undecided whether I'll lobby hard to get this nerfed or just go back to Nightmare mode charter sides. Under the PnP time system, using those seemed laughable, but with the full system it seems pretty doable. (Might be so much physical token juggling to render it plain unfun though)


ROUND 5

Hands (includes the draw from entering the location)
A Reprieve, Inspiration x2, Invocation, Ready, Wisdom
S Control, Gaze, Reinf Staff, FoD x2, Immolation, Holy Symbol
D Hammer, Firesting, Attack x2, Draw, Tremor, Imbue
V Thrust, Spear, Rush x2, Talon x2

Travel to Sealed Watchtower (Borderlands, everyone lose a condition and may draw 1)
&%$§ Sigraed's burns are all off. Again. lol
Special Encounter Mother of Nightmares (0 red any)
No regular enemies placed right now (the red any entry is still relevant for reinforcements though)
Instead Kesrah (13 HP) at the start of the line, followed by h+2 red Tormented via setup
Need to get rid of Kesrah in as few hits as possible (each is +1 Time) while not touching her goons (touching those is also +1 Time), then mop up the goons once Kesrah's +Time effect is gone.

Pursuit
Original draw order is whatever, we're using the Spyglass to rearrange it as we see fit so we have this pull order:
RS Mist S 5>2
Kesrah V 4>2
Homunculus D 4>2
RS Thrall A 3>1
RS Thrall S 2>1
RS Mist S 2>1
Homunculus D 2>1
RS Thrall V 2>1

(It's not even all that bad that Sigraed's fire went out and she thus can't recur her Breath now, because Divine vulnerability pinging all those fools would have been a +1 Time penalty each)

Ase Thrall
Sig Mist, Thrall, Mist
Dur Homunculus, Homunculus
Val Kesrah, Thrall

Hero

Valkea
Focused Thrust lowers Kesrah's Defense by 2 (3 due to Perseverance) until end of phase F3
Embedded strong Weapon Focused Spear of Dawn hit on Kesrah (5/13) F6
(Discard Myrmidon Discipline for being empty, I don't think the OT for damage placement goes on in time to keep it)
Kesrah response Time +1 for damaging a Tormented Enemy, Event 4 everyone discards 2
buy Myrmidon Push r0
Myrmidon Push +3 discards on Kesrah (dead) F12 R2 iE TB6
(Format note: unlike fizzled fE for no monsters in H, irrelvant Enrages iE actually happen, but don't do anything (eg here: undamaged Thrall can't heal))
Kesrah response Time +1 for damaging a Tormented Enemy, R3 from Time track
(She by definition takes the damage before being eliminated, so her ability text is still there to kick in here, right?)
Terhu ally joins Durgen

Aseke
Segrys ally attack on Thrall (dead), Thrall @Valkea (dead) F5
(Don't care about multikill resolve loss at this point. Or tracking Resolve gains.)

Valkea
Tarah ally attack on Homunculus @Durgen (2/3) F13>6

Durgen
Terhu ally attack on damaged Homunculus (dead) F3
FW to give Divine, Lightning to Shortsword F4
weak Shortsword attack on Homunculus (2/3 vuln pings) F5
Reflex Sigraed: Fires of Dawn burn on Homunculus (will die) F2

Sigraed
Fiery Gaze on Mist, goto Q (1/3 vuln) F3

Aseke
Arivel ally attack on Mist @Q (no damage) F6
Reflex Sigraed: Fires of Dawn burn on Mist (2/3 vuln, will die) F4

Durgen
FW to add Frost, Divine to Aseke Shortsword F6

Aseke
Invocation move Mist to Aseke H F5>2
(just for the Focus, could have reached him anyway)
2x weak Shortsword hit on Mist (dead from vuln pings) F4

Defense
Enemies need to be assigned to ally blockers at start of Defense Phase, so Terhu can't block for Durgen.
Edit correction: She spawned during the hero phase, so yeah she could have blocked. Was thinking assign at start of hero phase or something silly when I did that.
Durgen H: Homunculus 1 dmg
Mist and Homunculus die in a fire

Encounter done all enemies dead
Quest done

Comments
Yey, gooo Valkea. She really has problems during the quest itself (Durgen helps) but man does she smack bosses up. The League of Legends kiddies call this concept a "carry", right?
Charter status at end:

Having the Darkness track never move might be my new mini-game.
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J C
Australia
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Thanks for a very enjoyable report. Following along as best I can without the game (yet), focus and enraged tracking were helpful; resolve doesn't seem as urgent to track unless something tricksy is going on. Things flow well enough.

I'm intrigued by your passing comment about the new quests being outstandingly good, so much so you might not go back to the old ones. Just out of interest, how would you rank the quests you've played (Mistfall, HotM, and for the hell of it, deadmarlowe's)?
 
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Jan Probst
Germany
Kiel
Schleswig Holstein
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Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, Resolve tracking probably only interesting in rounds 1-2 because that's when crucial setup expenses happen, should be able to skip it afterwards and run on the assumption that whatever is desired can be bought.

Thing I find most enjoyable about the new quests is that the boss mechanics sort of feel like WoW raid bosses. Like, that dragon and Sentinel? Awesome. That's how bosses should feel.
Edit addendum: This is nonwithstanding the fact that you can just about completely shut down the dragon by digging up his heart/phylactery/thingy quest token. This is fine because that's how liches (draco- or otherwise) should work. It's not just thematically cool but also mechanically interesting though - pacifying an overrun location is no picnic, so having the option to move the hard part from the boss fight to the middle is an interesting decision.

That said, this sort of includes you wiping out if you even get to see the boss mechanics in actual play though (ie you "do the boss wrong" or otherwise stand in the fire), so it borders a bit on what we can call "mechanical flavor text". I like that the bosses *would* work x way if I were to let them, but hell if I will.

Incorporating events for the numbered time spaces in the quest description instead of being generic is also a great addition. Some interesting and creative new uses of quest tokens too.

I'd still rate the Rahlfors quest from base Mistfall highly because the changing map is a very fun mechanic and he's a pretty neat fight with his flight, but would probably rate most other HoM quests over the classic ones. Except maybe Hunter, he's a cool threatening boss, but quests that only use one terrain type are annoying.
 
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J C
Australia
Tasmania
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Rahlfors' is a very replayable quest. I also enjoy the treasure hunt aspect (collect one of each location type), especially when it runs long and the shifting tiles complicate decisionmaking.

I think I know the vibe you're describing - I get it from Sentinels of the Multiverse with some of the bosses that are thematically well captured by avoidable or exploitable mechanics.

 
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