I finally had a chance to sit down tonight and play the second AP in the Haradrim cycle, Race Across Harad. After multiple failed attempts with lesser decks, I had to bring out the power deck with the latest version of my Aggro Caldara design. This was my first chance to play with the deck using the alternate art cards from Printer Studio. As convenient as OCTGN is for testing, having beautiful art to look at only enhances the experience of playing with physical cards.
As the name implies, Race Across Harad requires a deck that can come out of gate at full speed. With two quest decks, one for the Orcs and one for the players, if the enemies ever pass your quest stage with theirs you immediately lose the game. There are, of course, plenty of tricks in the encounter deck to keep the Orcs’ pace from ever being predictable and many of my earlier games ended quickly in defeat. Fortunately, I was able to get Sword-thain on Emery on the opening turn, along with a Prince Imrahil and Pelargir Shipwright into play with the first (of many) sacrifices of Caldara.
By the end of the game I had all three copies of the Shipwright in play. Amassing 12 willpower with only three characters was essential action advantage for this quest as the Orc enemies are no slouches and I needed other allies to help with combat. Narya and Light of Valinor on Círdan allowed powerful unique allies like Glorfindel and Jubayr to pull double duty. As powerful as this deck is, the quest was still tense right up to the end. The round that I won I had maybe one more turn before the Orcs would catch me.