Reading the Rings Meta: Journey Up the Anduin

In Cards, Lord of the Rings by PaulLeave a Comment

We introduced this new series in this post, and this time we’re focusing on the first quest in the most recent deluxe box (Wilds of Rhovanion). At some point we might revisit the core and head along the Anduin (or “down” as most people call it). If you’re new to this series then please go and read that introduction article, otherwise a lot of what you’re about to read will make little sense!

Read it? Great, let’s get straight into it.


This quest introduces the concept of an Evil Creatures deck which can enter play in different ways. Setting aside the question of what the nature of encounter card creatures usually is, we’ve treated this deck as follows:

  • Not included in the percentages of cards in the encounter deck as they’re not drawn from there
  • Threat is included in the average and max calculations as they can be triggered into the staging area from a randomised deck
  • Attack, def, hit points, engagement costs are included in the calculations as they can be fought
  • Shadow effects, Surge and Doomed are not included in the calculations as they are not triggered (will never be drawn as a shadow card, and they are “added” to the play area not revealed)

Yo, Hill Troll Bro! It’s been a while… You’ve changed man. You used to be scary with the 6 attack!

In addition the Hills of Wilderlands has a Threat and Quest Points equal to the number of characters the player with the most characters has in play. This is most likely going to be a minimum of three (three heroes) and as such we’ve treated X as being ‘3’ in our calculations.

The Stats

Journey up the Anduin card breakdown

There are 35 cards in the full encounter deck, so use this figure to calculate out the actual percentages.

So what do we learn here?

  • There aren’t many enemies in comparison to the other cards, the balance being made up by the Evil Creatures deck. However, there’s a 1 in 3 chance of getting any type of card, so you’ve got to assume that you could pull anything out. Plan for all eventualities
  • You need 1.5 willpower more than the threat in the staging area to meet the likely cards drawn. Of course if the 4 threat cards are in discard or elsewhere this average will drop. There’s not much surge so you can plan to draw the numbers of cards as players (and Lanwyn’s maybe not great here…)
  • Tactics Beregond with Gondorian Shield can take any non-shadow attack for no damage. The shadow cards can pump up to a +2 though
  • A large number of enemies have zero defence, so Tactics Aragorn may be a bit wasted, and direct damage may not be necessary
  • The biggest enemy takes 13 damage to clear in one turn
  • The average enemey needs 6 damage to clear in one turn… Good attacking heroes have +3 attack as a baseline so you may need two characters to clear an enemy early game and one to clear an enemy later game when they’ve got their attachments
  • Very little Doomed keyword, so threat increases is less random
  • Engagement is likely to occur early in the game as 33 average engagement cost is just above a usual starting threat for many decks
Not the stats

Sauron is teching against a couple of archetypes: swarm (lots of allies) and voltron heroes )stacking attachments on single heroes). A location and Treachery card triggers based upon number of characters the player with most characters has and ramps threat substantially. A treachery card deals direct damage to those allies as well, possibly leading to a board wipe.

There’s also an interesting combo with the Goblins; 50 engagement cost. One can’t be engaged whilst another enemy is in the staging area, the other can’t be optionally engaged (but joins any enemy optionally engaged). Those Goblins are standing at the back, shouting everyone attack, welcome to a Goblin Arrow Blitz!

There is a Treachery condition attachment that goes on the character with the most attachments and slowly eats them away. Keep duplicates in hand or bring condition removal is our advice!


This is a well balanced quest that relies upon balancing threat in the early game vs ability to manage enemies. There aren’t a great deal of enemies in the encounter deck, and threat isn’t a great issue. Watch out for the treachery that works against your strategy and you should be fine (ish)!

If you think that there’s an insight that you have on the quest, so some stats you’d rather see please give us a shout!

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