Bilbo Baggins (Lore Hero)

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They done the first version of Bilbo dirty.

Background

Bilbo once a respectable Hobbit from a respectable family that didn’t go off having adventures, went on an adventure to burgle treasure from a dragon. Along the way, he won or found a magic ring (depending on the telling) that would change the course of Middle-Earth. That however is another story. Bilbo aided by the magic ring, verbally sparred with a dragon in trying to burgle some treasures. In so doing provoked the dragon to attack a nearby town leading to its demise and liberation of a Dwarven ancestral home and its treasures. Elves, Men, and Dwarves afterwards nearly came to war over the liberated treasures until the host of goblins, orcs, and wargs arrived. Bilbo was soon knocked out in the fighting but survived to take a nice stash of treasure home to retire on.

Card Theme

The game is set in the 17 years after Bilbo’s party and presumably living in Rivendell while finishing his book. It follows then that as he is compiling and recording the lore of his adventures that he can give additional knowledge to the heroes he is with. Knowledge often is represented by the cards in this game. The Lore sphere is full of examples cards representing Middle-Earth’s knowledge, stories, and songs with Gleowine, Daeron’s Runes, Deep Knowledge, Erestor, Drinking Song, and Mithrandir’s Advice representing the knowledge, stories, and songs present in Middle Earth.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Discard from Hand

Bilbo’s passive ability has an additional use besides just playing the cards and that is to discard them for other effects. The core set gave players a couple ways to discard cards for bonuses. Protector of Lorien is in sphere with Bilbo. Most importantly, it can help with Bilbo’s low stats. Especially defense which is his best stat at 2. Additionally there was Eowyn’s willpower boost which having the option to increase willpower by 1 can be handy to avoid failing questing or ensure to clear an active location.

Angmar Awakened and Dream-Chaser built up the Noldor archetype that centered around this mechanic. This allowed players to discard cards for resources, cost reduction, action advantage, healing, and other effects. Noldor decks typically don’t need Bilbo considering Elven-light, Cirdan, and Erestor hero offer lots of card draw.

Sting and Other Stat Boosts

Sting, Bilbo’s sword provides the 3 stats to equal his threat cost. The resulting 2/2/3 stat line also starts to make Bilbo a reasonable target for action advantage like the Hobbit specific and in sphere Fast Hitch attachment. Rosie Cotton offers the most versatile way to boost Bilbo’s stats. It can even become much stronger if Rosie becomes a hero via Messenger of the King or Sword-thain. There are of course many other stat boosters than can improve Bilbo and really the cheap readying from Fast Hitch.

Thorongil

The Tactics version of Bilbo did much to try and make up that his printed stats don’t equal his threat cost like most other heroes. Thorongil offered the means to bring in the bonus willpower effect and keep drawing extra cards. Not to mention a little direct damage and access to Tactics sphere for playing Sting.

Quest Specific

The Ringmaker cycle is full of card draw hate. Enemies will make extra attacks or other effects when a player draws a card. Some effects will penalize the player for having cards in hand.

Deadman’s Dike and Under the Ash Mountains both have players lose the game when they run out of cards in their deck. Drawing additional cards only accelerates the end of the game in those scenarios.

Ring Rating

Card Talk uses the highly scientific yet arbitrary scale of 1 ring for the card to rule them all to 10 to be cast back into the fiery chasm from whence it came.

I hate to give this low a rating to one of my favorite characters, but this version deserves it. The big drawback is that he has little stats for his threat cost. He was the first hero released after the core set, and it shows. The passive card draw is good, and I’m sure people appreciate that it goes around the table in multiplayer. The additional 3 threat over his 6 stats was too much. It isn’t even just that he is 3 more threat, but his stats are incredibly inefficient. His best stat is defense at 2. In the early days of the game, 2 defense might mean a hero could defend and not take damage. The problem lies that he also only has 2 hit points. One bad shadow and Bilbo can’t defend anymore or is dead. It would be a long time before decent cheap hit point boosts would be available besides Citadel Plate. Pretty much It was up to Protector of Lorien with either Burning Brand or Dark Knowledge to make him into a reasonable defender. The alternative was for 1 more threat play Beravor that had also a card draw ability and enough hit points to defend well enough to survive long enough where healing could help.

Later on, the game provided the update of Lore Bilbo with Lore Pippin hero.

Lore Pippin had the same breakdown of stats, but arranged in a better configuration. Questing typically won’t cause a low hit point hero to die (except for the first cycle that liked to target questing or exhausted heroes with direct damage.) He also doesn’t need to exhaust to draw cards, has lower threat, and has another passive to help keep Hobbits from engaging enemies. Bilbo in comparison is very inefficient, costly, and doesn’t work well with the Hobbit archetype that eventually developed. Lore Bilbo then usually sits in odd place it the card pool. Usually on a direct comparison basis, there are better heroes to play if additional card draw is needed. Lore Bilbo, however, does end up still seeing play because card draw is just that useful. He’ll be doubled up with other heroes with card draw ability to draw a massive amount of cards quickly and get some crazy combo going.

It was also mentioned briefly that the card draw always going to the first player is very nice in multiplayer. Lore with encounter scrying, encounter control, and victory display effects can make for a great support deck. If the other players have questing and combat covered, providing some all around utility is always appreciated. Lore Bilbo will still get played, but the situations where he works well are few making him a niche hero.

  • Dave – 9
  • Grant – 8
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 7
  • Average – 8

External Links

Sample Decks

YOU get a card! And YOU get a card! And YOU get a card! by stone_of_eric

Fun, mono Lore, multiplayer support deck. Designed for 3-4 players where other players are handling the questing and combat, and you get to give everyone across the table lots of card draw, healing, play traps, get side quests out, etc. This deck has very low starting threat of 22 but will need to be protected by other players’ Ranged/Sentinel characters.

I’ll emphasize here…DO NOT PLAY THIS DECK SOLO!

Have fun, the other players will love you!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
(MotK) Gléowine (Messenger of the King Allies)
Beravor (Core Set)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)

Ally (18)
3x Daughter of the Nimrodel (Core Set)
3x Elrond (The Road Darkens)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Gildor Inglorion (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
2x Haldir of Lórien (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Henamarth Riversong (Core Set)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (22)
3x Elf-stone (The Black Riders)
2x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x Legacy Blade (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)
3x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
3x Ranger Spikes (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Scroll of Isildur (The Morgul Vale)
2x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
2x The Long Defeat (The Battle of Carn Dûm)

Event (7)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Waters of Nimrodel (The Antlered Crown)

Player Side Quest (3)
2x Explore Secret Ways (Race Across Harad)
1x Scout Ahead (The Wastes of Eriador)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Messenger of the King Allies

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Bilbo Remembers Being a Burglar by kattattack22

Fun, mono Lore, multiplayer support deck. Designed for 3-4 players where other players are handling the questing and combat, and you get to give everyone across the table lots of card draw, healing, play traps, get side quests out, etc. This deck has very low starting threat of 22 but will need to be protected by other players’ Ranged/Sentinel characters.

I’ll emphasize here…DO NOT PLAY THIS DECK SOLO!

Have fun, the other players will love you!

Bilbo Remembers Being a Burglar

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)

Contract (0)
1x The Grey Wanderer (Challenge of the Wainriders)

Ally (8)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Master of the Forge (Shadow and Flame)
3x Rivendell Minstrel (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (32)
1x A Burning Brand (Conflict at the Carrock)
1x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Expert Treasure-hunter (On the Doorstep)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
1x Fireside Song (Beneath the Sands)
1x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Love of Tales (The Long Dark)
2x Mariner’s Compass (The Grey Havens)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Orcrist (Fire in the Night)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
1x Song of Eärendil (Road to Rivendell)
1x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
1x Song of Kings (The Hunt for Gollum)
1x Song of Mocking (The Dead Marshes)
1x Song of Travel (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
1x Song of Wisdom (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)

Event (10)
3x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
1x Helm of Secrecy (Under the Ash Mountains)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

1 Hero, 50 Cards
Cards up to Under the Ash Mountains

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)

Attachment (3)
3x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)

Event (9)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Durin’s Song (Khazad-dûm)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

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