Dark Lands Made Darker
The Land of Shadow Nightmare Decks Are Now Available for The Lord of the Rings
"He saw suddenly, issuing from a black hole of shadow under the cliff, the most loathly shape that he had ever beheld, horrible beyond the horror of an evil dream. Most like a spider she was, but huger than the great hunting beasts, and more terrible than they because of the evil purpose in her remorseless eyes."
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Like other Nightmare Decks for The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, the three different Nightmare Decks consolidated in this expansion allow you to revisit some of your favorite scenarios as they are given new life in the shadows of the game's challenging Nightmare Mode. With deadlier enemies, darker locations, and more terrifying surprises, each of these Nightmare Decks introduces new, alternate encounter cards and instructions for using them to reshape the encounter deck from one of the scenarios from The Land of Shadow.
The result? A nightmarish journey through The Land of Shadow that should haunt you with its evils, no matter whether you play its scenarios as standalone adventures or brave the journey to Mount Doom as part of an entire Saga campaign played in Nightmare Mode.
You may have already grappled with Gollum, taming the twisted creature in order to bring out its Sméagol side. You may have already traversed the Dead Marshes, wary of the bog that shifted beneath your feet and the dead faces watching you from beneath the brackish water. You may have taken part in an ambush of the Haradrim. And you may have already found your way through the network of tunnels ruled by Shelob, one of the oldest and most terrifying evils of Middle-earth…
But you haven't yet done these things in Nightmare Mode. You haven't yet seen all the evils that Sauron holds at his disposal.
The Passage of the Marshes
Throughout The Passage of the Marshes, the first scenario from The Land of Shadow, Frodo and the heroes accompanying him are pulled in two different directions by the challenges they face.
On the one hand, they need to find their way through the Dead Marshes, and this is not an easy task. The passages are treacherous, and what may look, at first, to be a safe path may turn out, instead, to lead into an unpassable mire. Or it may lead to a pool of Undead like the Rotting Thing (The Passage of the Marshes Nightmare Deck, 6), which wait tirelessly for living bodies to join them in their eternal anguish.
On the other hand, the heroes need to subdue the treacherous Gollum (The Land of Shadow, 75) and win the trust of its alternate personality, Sméagol (The Land of Shadow, 76). This can be a tricky matter because Gollum can be a clever combatant, and even his Sméagol side is prone toward treachery—ever lustful of the Ring and resentful of the Ring-bearer's companions.
Accordingly, The Passage of the Marshes Nightmare Deck highlights these twinned challenges by reinforcing the scenario's unique "Mire" mechanics with punishing new locations like the Festering Mire (The Passage of the Marshes Nightmare Deck, 2) and forcing you to keep an eye turned perpetually toward Sméagol, lest the strange and misshapen creature should suddenly shift personalities and give into Gollum's Rage (The Passage of the Marshes Nightmare Deck, 8).
In the end, The Passage of the Marshes Nightmare Deck hews very closely to the shape of the original scenario, but in a way that makes you feel you've taken another step or two toward the greater evils of Mordor.
Journey to the Cross-roads
Journey to the Cross-roads is the second scenario from The Land of Shadow, and it offers the heroes a chance to join Faramir and the Rangers of Ithilien for an ambush against the ranks of Haradrim marching north to join the armies of Mordor.
More than this, Journey to the Cross-roads marks a significant turning point in your Saga campaign. While the Saga expansions have always given weight to the choices you make in your adventures with their boons and burdens, this scenario has an effect that's a bit more direct and dramatic. The success or failure of your ambush plays directly into the difficulty of your later adventures, and all the enemies that manage to find their way to The Black Gate (The Land of Shadow, 27) will later join the forces arrayed against you in The Battle of the Pelennor Fields scenario from The Flame of the West.
As a result, you want to cut down each and every single Haradrim enemy as you come upon them, but you'll find that the Journey to the Cross-roads Nightmare Deck has given them new strength to complete their march. They're better organized. Their Southron Rearguard (Journey to the Cross-roads Nightmare Deck, 3) can easily keep a group of heroes occupied, making it difficult for you to engage the other Haradrim and disrupt their march to The Black Gate.
You'll find the Haradrim better able to respond to the ambush. Enemies like the Southron Warrior (Journey to the Cross-roads Nightmare Deck, 2) may not ambush you, but they'll make you suffer all the same whenever you find yourself engaged with them.
And, finally, you'll find that these Haradrim are more inclined to make strategic use of their environment, rushing into the Dense Fern-brake (Journey to the Cross-roads Nightmare Deck, 5) in order to elude the numerous player card effects that might trap or otherwise delay them. You won't be able to Feint (Core Set, 34) the Haradrim in a Dense Fern-brake, nor will you be able to rely upon Gandalf (Core Set, 73) to intervene and destroy them. You'll simply have to fight them the old-fashioned way.
In the end, it's that fact—and the fact that it means you'll have to devise new tactics in the heat of battle—that are the most nightmarish parts of this Journey to the Cross-roads Nightmare Deck.
At the end of The Land of Shadow, Shelob's Lair features one of the greatest and deadliest boss fights in all of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game.
Betrayed by Gollum, the heroes find themselves trapped in a network of cavernous tunnels, hunted by the ancient and Indestructible Spider known as Shelob (The Land of Shadow, 40). Immune to any attachments and traps with which the players might use to delay her, Shelob begins the scenario out of play. There, she waits for Gollum to bring the heroes to her, and when he does—at Stage 2 —she drops into the staging area and begins her hunt.
At first, this is just an attack here and there… Probing attacks made from the darkness, once per round against the first player… And if you're not prepared to face the spider's attack each round, you can simply cancel it by placing a resource on her. After all, her engagement cost is fifty, meaning you ought to be able to control when you want to quest and when you want to stand and fight.
However, each resource you place on Shelob can be spent, later, to cancel all the damage you would deal from one of your attacks. This is the cost of your early evasion; you must somehow survive the scenario through multiple rounds, questing and managing your threat, while you fend off Shelob's attacks and slowly cut through all the resources you placed upon her before you can finally pierce her armored hide.
Naturally, the new encounter cards from the Shelob's Lair Nightmare Deck play into this central interchange. You'll find more effects, like that from Growing Stench (Shelob's Lair Nightmare Deck, 8), that place resources on Shelob, and should you choose to fend off her attacks, rather than place resources upon her, you'll find those attacks made deadlier by cards like Torech Ungol (Shelob's Lair Nightmare Deck, 3) and Impenetrable Dark (Shelob's Lair Nightmare Deck, 7).
And even the darkness and shadows through which you travel are given new and deadlier form. As with Impenetrable Dark, many of the Nightmare Deck's new cards feature brutal shadow effects that exhaust your characters, possibly leaving you without defenders to shield your heroes from Shelob's attacks!
Frodo Needs You
The Mountains of Ash rise before you. On the other side lies Mordor—and the fires of Mount Doom. The comforts of the Shire may seem a distant memory, but if you've taken Frodo this far along his journey, there's no turning back. The fate of all Middle-earth hinges upon the success of his mission.
Can you help Frodo survive his journeys even as the evils of Mordor rise more strongly against you? Will you play through your The Lord of the Rings Saga campaign in the deadly dark of Nightmare Mode? The Mountain of Fire has recently been announced, and the end of your journey is nearly within sight. But the road to get there is long and hard, and the shadows only continue to lengthen...
The Land of Shadow Nightmare Decks (uMEN 43) are now available. Order yours today!
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