The Dead Won't Stay Down
Three New Nightmare Decks Are Now Available for The Lord of the Rings
"These blades were forged many long years ago by the Men of Westernesse: they were foes of the Dark Lord, but they were overcome by the evil king of Carn Dûm in the Land of Angmar."
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Just as the daggers of Westernesse may return to action—reappearing after many long years to once again cut against the Dark Lord's forces—so may the evils of Carn Dûm resurface to threaten all who live in the North…
It is no longer safe to travel the Bree-lands. Three new Nightmare Decks are now available for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, all ready to darken your table with the Orcs, Undead, and Sorcery massing in Carn Dûm!
- The Treachery of Rhudaur Nightmare Deck
- The Battle of Carn Dûm Nightmare Deck
- The Dread Realm Nightmare Deck
Originally part of the Angmar Awakened cycle, the scenarios that these Nightmare Decks modify were already brimming with foul necromancy and the stench of the undead. So what can you expect when you revisit their challenges in Nightmare Mode? For an answer to that question, we turn to developer Matthew Newman.
The Treachery of Rhudaur
The Treachery of Rhudaur is one of my favorite scenarios from the Angmar Awakened cycle, and the Nightmare Deck for this scenario was a blast to develop.
One of the goals with this scenario was to explore some of the novel things we could do with side quests. In the original scenario, you put three side quests into play during setup, and your goal was to complete as many as you could before advancing to Stage 2 . Instead of focusing on the side quests by adding new ones, we decided to focus more heavily on the three that already existed, making each of them more important and vital to complete.
In the original scenario, it wasn’t too difficult to ignore these side quests. A number of players simply focused on building up strength for Stage 2. But this option is punished in the Nightmare version, which features three separate mini-encounter sets for each of these side quests. These are set aside at the beginning of the game. Then, for each side quest you cannot defeat by the time you advance to Stage 2, you shuffle its matching mini-encounter set into the encounter deck.
The cards in these encounter sets are quite powerful, and quickly warp the difficulty of the scenario in different ways. Fail to Quiet the Spirits (The Treachery of Rhudaur, 109), for example, and you will have to face the terrifying Apostates of Angmar (The Treachery of Rhudaur Nightmare Deck, 7). Another side quest leads to my personal favorite card in the deck, Life Drain (The Treachery of Rhudaur Nightmare Deck, 9), which allows Thaurdir (The Treachery of Rhudaur, 98) to perform a terrifying new kind of attack.
In the end, all of these new cards are designed to make Stage 2 a grueling life-or-death escape from the haunted manor.
The Battle of Carn Dûm
When you’re assaulting the bastion of Angmar, things don’t usually go so well. The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game players learned this the hard way when the original The Battle of Carn Dûm scenario hit shelves. The scenario hits players fast with a ton of enemies, threat, and a double-sided Wraith who doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit. For the Nightmare version of this scenario, we didn’t need to pump the difficulty up too much—the scenario was already pretty brutal!
Instead, we focused on creating some cards that we thought fans would find interesting, cool, and unique.
Shadow cards and shadow effects are a major part of this scenario, so many of the new cards in this Nightmare Deck deal with shadow cards—either dealing them out, or defending them against the tricks players keep up their sleeves.
Additionally, since the story of this scenario involves all of Daechanar’s forces uniting and surrounding the players, we added some new cards that represented all of the facets of Angmar’s army, such as Howling of Wargs (The Battle of Carn Dûm Nightmare Deck, 7). There’s even an Orc Wight (The Battle of Carn Dûm Nightmare Deck, 2). But the real stars of the show are the THREE new side quests, which all interact with the quest in surprising new ways, including bringing back two fan-favorite keywords: Battle and Siege!
The Dread Realm
The epic conclusion to the Angmar Awakened cycle, The Dread Realm focused around the concept of “Reanimating” cards as “Reanimated Dead” enemies. This allows for a steady stream of numerous weaker enemies, that can potentially overpower the heroes. And I love that this quest really hits you with Daechanar’s sorcery in a way that makes you feel the same way the heroes do—outnumbered and desperate.
Since Nightmare Decks allow us to really double down on a theme, I decided to “go ham” on the theme of reanimating the dead. Almost every new card in this Nightmare Deck deals with this unique mechanic in some way. As a result, there are many new ways for cards to become reanimated, sometimes in ways you would not expect.
Our second goal with this scenario was to make the final confrontation with Daechanar even more climactic. He is the "boss" of the entire cycle, and we really wanted the heroes' confrontation with him to feel like a “final boss” fight.
To that end, there are many new treachery cards with the Sorcery trait that attach to various things, including Power Beyond Death (The Dread Realm Nightmare Deck, 6), which simply makes Daechanar harder to kill. Cursed Halls (The Dread Realm Nightmare Deck, 5) also makes Sorcery attachments immune to player card effects and gives the encounter deck a counter to the attachment-removal effects that might neuter Daechanar. Finally, I am also a big fan of The Witch-King’s Gift (The Dread Realm Nightmare Deck, 9), a side quest with a Time effect that is brutal to the point of almost being ludicrous…
Stem the Tide of Evil
Three new Nightmare Decks have cast a shadow across the northern reaches of Middle-earth. The forces of evil mass once more in Carn Dûm. Can you find summon forth the courage to fight them now that they've been forged within the crueler and darker tones of Nightmare Mode? Can you stem the tide of evil?
The Rangers of the North are stretched far too thin. The Elves of Rivendell need your aid. In this time of darkness, Middle-earth needs your heroics. Order your copies of these new Nightmare Decks today, and ride against the enemy!