News for August 2014
Nightmares in the Dwarrowdelf
Nightmare Decks Are Now Available for the First Three Dwarrowdelf Scenarios
The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game | Published 27 August 2014

“It may have been only a trick of the wind in the cracks and gullies of the rocky wall, but the sounds were those of shrill cries, and wild howls of laughter. Stones began to fall from the mountain-side, whistling over their heads […]”
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Deep in the Misty Mountains, the Orcs are massing once more. But why are they massing? And who has called them? These are questions that need answering, but the answers lie deep within the heart of the Dwarrowdelf, an underground realm hidden behind treacherous mountain passes and magical doors. As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, will you join those heroes bound to explore the Dwarrowdelf and uncover its secrets?

Three new Nightmare Decks are now available for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game!

Nightmare Decks for The Redhorn Gate, Road to Rivendell, and The Watcher in the Water allow you to revisit the first three scenarios from the Dwarrowdelf cycle, but recast this time amid the deadly enemies, locations, and treacheries of the game’s Nightmare Mode.

As with all Nightmare Decks, these expansions each introduce nineteen alternate encounter cards and setup instructions that amplify the trials, tension, and atmosphere of the scenarios they modify.

For more specific details, we turn to developer Matt Newman.

The Redhorn Gate

The encounter cards of The Redhorn Gate Nightmare Deck are focused on increasing the scenario’s atmosphere and theme, while simultaneously providing a new layer of difficulty that should challenge many decks in new ways. Of the nineteen new encounter cards, ten of them have the Snow trait, further enhancing the scenario’s focus on the freezing cold that makes the heroes’ mountain pass a truly perilous journey. These Snow cards are then highlighted by the selection of cards that are removed from the encounter deck during setup, as well as the deadly synergies that are created when you encounter new cards like Caradhras the Cruel (The Redhorn Gate Nightmare Deck, 8) or Icy Cavern (The Redhorn Gate Nightmare Deck, 5).

As a reminder, The Redhorn Gate forces your heroes to navigate a terrible pass through the Misty Mountains, riddled with effects that decrease their Willpower and that punish them for daring to cross its snowy peaks. At its worst, the scenario destroys any character whose Willpower reaches zero. Accordingly, the new encounter cards in this Nightmare Deck push this theme even further, not just reducing your characters’ Willpower, but also making it harder for you to boost their Willpower. Worse yet, the Orcs of the Misty Mountain are more menacing than ever before, and they come prepared to outflank some of the game’s most popular defenders.

Road to Rivendell

If you manage to survive your journey through The Redhorn Gate and its many perils, you’ll face an entirely new set of challenges along the Orc-infested paths to Rivendell. In the Road to Rivendell Nightmare Deck, the Ambush keyword receives several upgrades, the first of which is an effect that ensures that enemies that ambush the players during still contribute their threat to the staging area until the end of the Quest phase. This mechanic is included on the Road to Rivendell Nightmare Mode setup card (Road to Rivendell Nightmare Deck, 1):

Forced: When an enemy with the ambush keyword engages a player during the quest phase, it contributes its threat to the total threat in the staging area until the end of the phase.”

This effect, combined with those of the new locations in this Nightmare Deck, like Treacherous Bluffs (Road to Rivendell Nightmare Deck, 7), make being ambushed far more deadly than ever before. What’s worse, the ambushing enemies have received a substantial upgrade, as well, and almost every new enemy triggers a potentially lethal ability when it engages a player.

Of course, Road to Rivendell is all about safely escorting Arwen Undómiel to Rivendell, so this Nightmare Deck also introduces cards that target her directly, including a new stage two quest card, Ambush in the Night (Road to Rivendell Nightmare Deck, 2), that will force players to come to the Elf’s rescue!

The Watcher in the Water

When it came time to develop the Nightmare Deck for the much beloved scenario, The Watcher in the Water, one crucial idea drove all my design: it’s all about The Watcher (The Watcher in the Water Nightmare Deck, 2). In Nightmare Mode, The Watcher in the Water encounter deck is extremely tight, consistent, and atmospheric, containing only Tentacle enemies and highly thematic locations and treacheries, like Banks of Sirannon (The Watcher in the Water Nightmare Deck, 5) and Pulled Under (The Watcher in the Water Nightmare Deck, 7).

Additionally, the Nightmare version of this scenario no longer gives players the choice of whether to fight The Watcher or solve the riddle of the Doors of Durin; in this version, you must do both to win.

Of course, The Watcher has, itself, changed substantially, with a hefty twenty-one hit points and a thematic effect driven by the setup card:

Forced: When a Tentacle enemy is destroyed, deal 1 damage to The Watcher if it is in play.”

This represents the twenty-one tentacles that the Fellowship saw shooting out of the water to grab Frodo and his companions during their journey into Moria. With each Tentacle the players defeat, The Watcher grows weaker, but it has its own ways of regenerating health and protecting its legion of arms from damage.

One of the most popular strategies that players traditionally employed to defeat this scenario was to include many “scrying” abilities – abilities that allow the players to look at the top card of the encounter deck, such as Henamarth Riversong (Core Set, 60) or Rumour from the Earth (Return to Mirkwood, 124). Such a tactic allows players to easily solve the Doors of Durin’s riddle, or predict many of the abilities that The Watcher’s Tentacle enemies will trigger. However, in Nightmare Mode, players will find this popular strategy hindered by the Hideous Depths (The Watcher in the Water Nightmare Deck, 6) in which The Watcher resides.

Each of these Nightmare Decks offers horrifying new twists on the scenarios they revisit, and I hope you have fun adapting your strategies to face them. With some courage, clever thinking, and perhaps a bit of luck, perhaps you may find the means to prevail over crushing odds and make your way into Moria…


Stand Against the Shadow

In the East, the Shadow of Mordor grows ever stronger and darker. The Dark Lord’s armies swell, and his influence can be felt throughout all of Middle-earth. As his power grows, so do the challenges of those scenarios recast in the shadows of Nightmare Mode. This makes the need to undertake these quests and stand against the Shadow all the more urgent… even as the quests themselves become ever deadlier.

Will you be the one to rise to the challenge? Will you stand against the evils of Mordor? Will you join the heroes gathered to explore the Dwarrowdelf and its secrets?

Head to your local retailer today to pick up your copies of The Redhorn Gate Nightmare Deck, Road to Rivendell Nightmare Deck, and The Watcher in the Water Nightmare Deck. Or order your copies online through our webstore.

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.

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