Bilbo Baggins (Tactics)

  • Cycle
    • Ered Mithren 
  • Set
  • Player Card Categories
    • Direct Damage
    • Staging Area Control

But one day Bilbo was asked to go
On a big adventure to the caves below
To help some dwarves get back their gold
That was stolen by a dragon in the days of old

The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins by Leonard Nimoy

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 willpower boost Bilbo gains from an enemy in the staging area is very thematic to Bilbo in The Hobbit. While he is initially resistant to the adventure, he always rises to the occasion when confronted with adversaries.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Guarded X Cards

This version of Bilbo is basically designed for these cards considering he does 2 damage to an enemy guarding a card. The guarded card Bilbo most wants besides for thematic reasons, Sting, is Guarded (enemy). This is great as it gives Bilbo a potential target and once free of encounters +1 willpower, attack, and defense. It also builds on his ability to directly damage enemies dealing 1 damage each time Bilbo attacks. This set ups Bilbo damaging an enemy in the staging area and dealing the final point of damage just by blocking. Durin’s Axe is similar as the only other Guarded (enemy) card and also with a direct damage effect.

Most of the others are Guarded (enemy or location), and there’s at least a chance they will add an enemy for his ability. Of course, there is always A Shadow of the Past to help set up an enemy preferably with lower hit points for one of these wonderful attachments. Necklace of Girion or The Arkenstone both can help make Bilbo a better quester. Of course these can always be given to other heroes as well even those under the control of other players. In multiplayer, there will likely always be a target for Bilbo’s ability and more willpower available to handle an additional encounter card.

Commit a Hero or Character to the Quest

Both Hobbit Pony and Late Adventurer let a player commit him in the action window after staging but before quest resolution. This opens up any enemy revealed during staging as a target for his ability and maximize Bilbo’s willpower bonus. You can chose to Hobbit Pony is better considering it is an attachment and can be used every round once it is in play.

A fun combo is use one or both of these with Elevenses. Commit Bilbo during the regular commit characters to the quest step. After staging, remove him from the quest with Elvenses and reduce your threat by 1 (assuming you only remove Bilbo). Then recommit him with these two to trigger his willpower boost a second time. This works because his response lasts until the end of the phase. Per FAQ 1.55, lasting effects from player cards are not recalculated even if the game state changes. In this case, Biblo’s questing status. Additionally, his response does not have a stated limit. It can be triggered again if he is recommitted to the quest creating a new trigger and another lasting effect boosting his willpower twice. Windfola can also potentially commit Bilbo to the quest twice, but it requires a Song of Travel and a quest that can removes characters from the quest.

Direct Damage

Bilbo’s ability alone typically won’t destroy an enemy in a single round. Some quests early in the game’s life had a many 1 or 2 hit point enemies like The Seventh Level or Over the Misty Mountains Grim. Later scenarios, the norm was enemies with 3 or more hit points. In those, more is needed if a player wants to destroy an enemy with direct damage.

Tactics is full of direct damage options including Bilbo’s signature weapon, Sting. Sting deals a damage whether attacking or defending. This works quite well considering Hobbits have additional readying via Fast Hitch. Spear of the Citadel can also go directly on Bilbo to deal damage when defending or on Gondorian Spearman. The spearman then can deal 2 damage when defending. Thalin can also soften up any enemies revealed during a turn when he quests. Galadhon Archer, Descendent of Throndor, and Rumil have direct damage effects are like Gandalf ally from the Core Set dealing direct damage when they enter play.

Lore is the other main sphere with direct damage effects. Argalad can team up with Bilbo to deal 1 damage to an enemy in the staging area provided he has enough attack power to reduce their threat to 0. Poisoned Stakes trap can also deal 2 damage at the end of each round. This works well when building around keeping an enemy in staging for Bilbo to target over multiple rounds.

These that I’ve listed is not an exhaustive list. These are most of the recurring ones or could be recurred fairly easily. There are many event based ones like Swift Strike, Hail of Stones, Goblin-Cleaver, or Expecting Mischief.

Staging Area Attack

Similar to Bilbo’s ability, staging area attack lets a player damage an enemy before engaging it. Dunhere introduced the ability in the Core Set. Haldir hero and Leadership Eomer have staging area attack built in as well. Heroes with ranged can also gain it via Great Yew Bow and Hands Upon the Bow. Bilbo’s old acquaintance, Bard the Bowman using the Great Yew Bow can even give the enemy -2 defense.

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

There are 2 kinds of effects that allow a player wants to keep an enemy in the staging area. Engagement control that either skips the encounter phase or increase the enemies’ engagement cost, or Threat Reduction to reduce a player’s threat. There are only a couple cards that can increase an enemy’s engagement cost, Take No Notice and Mablung ally. Both only do so by 5 and for a single phase. This limits their usefulness significantly because 5 will not push the enemies with very low engagement of 10 – 20 above the threat of most decks. This cross-section of enemies are the ones this effect would be the most useful against and needed, but they don’t increase it enough. The only repeatable engagement cost increase is from Lore Pippin‘s ability which Biblo helps to boost. Unfortunately there are only 2 cards that prevent engagement checks. Ranger Spikes is a bit of a nonbo since it lowers the enemy’s threat. Advance Warning isn’t available because all the heroes require a printed Lore resource to play it.

Threat reduction is better considering there are several more cards for it. Unfortunately, in sphere there is only Secret Vigil that at best will reduce a players threat by 4. Fortunately, hobbit focused decks have The Shirefolk that can reduce threat by 4 for free and it is neutral. Elevenses is another option with some other combo potential mentioned earlier. Then there always the threat reduction staples of Galadhrim’s Greeting, Elrond’s Counsel, and Woodmen’s Clearing. Galadriel, Fastred, and Spirit Beregond all provide repeatable threat reduction. Galadriel and Beregond won’t help lower threat below more enemies’ engagement costs, but they’ll maintain threat turn after turn. If the Bilbo player is already low enough, they’ll keep the enemies up in staging Fastred can help get threat lower and put the enemy back into staging for Bilbo to target.

Grey Wanderer

Grey Wanderer has many advantages for Bilbo. One, the player’s threat starts very low avoiding most if not all enemy engagements allowing him to use his ability easily. Two, the free 1 cost attachment can get Strider allowing him to quest every round without exhausting and boost his willpower to quest even without an enemy. Third, it has a built in readying to maximize direct damage when Bilbo uses Sting.

Quest Specific

Escape from Dol Guldur, The Hunt for Gollum, A Journey to Rhosgobel, Across the Ettinmoors, A Storm on Cobas Haven all feature the Guarded keyword. While it is not guaranteed an enemy will be the encounter card guarding each objective, they still present more opportunities for Bilbo to deal 2 damage. Shadows of Mirkwood and Darrowdelf have a couple great targets for Bilbo, Goblin Sniper and Khazad-Dum’s Orc Drummer. High engagement cost, low hit points, and an incredibly annoying ability while they’re in the staging area. Little surging enemies in later cycles similar to Ered Mithren’s Stray Goblin are also good targets. It creates action advantage by not having to defend them and gets a little threat out of the staging area. Ered Mithren also has some enemies like Mirkwood Patrol and Hobgoblin that end up guarding cards on their own that Bilbo can counter.

Intruders in Chetwood, Dungeson of Cirith Gurat, and Helm’s Deep are all ones to avoid using Bilbo in. Intruders in Chetwood enemies can’t be damaged while Orc War Party is in play. The quest starts with one in play and there are 2 others in the encounter deck. More often than not, enemies won’t be able to take damage. Dungeons of Cirith Gurat is a real heartbreaker for Biblo. Enemies guarding objectives are immune to player card effects during stage 1 otherwise they would take 2 damage from him! They’re even often guarding something because they will capture allies as objectives. The second stage when the players have to avoid engaging enemies for 2 turns where it would be another great time for him, except they’re all immune to damage. Helm’s Deep many of the enemies have the toughness X keyword that cancels the first X damage any time damage is dealt to them. Bilbo’s damage then will just get canceled every time it is used against them.

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’m going to preface this rating with Tactics Bilbo is one of my top heroes I like to play. If I rated on how much I like the card, the rating would be at least a 2. Still based on his general usefulness, power level, and how many deck types he would fit into he’s a 5. He can work fine in many decks because he can basically offset an enemy’s threat and possibly soften up an enemy before it is engaged. This only gets more powerful when combined with player guarded attachments or more effects that can damage enemies in the staging area. Bonus willpower in the willpower poor Tactics sphere is a huge boon to monosphere Tactics.

One problem is his stats are all low. Still his base willpower isn’t enough for him to be the main questing hero without several willpower boosting attachments or Forth the Three Hunters side B active. His best stat is defense but at 2 and 2 hit points, he can’t defend well without a couple defense boosts. Sting can help since it boosts all his stats and gives him direct damage for defending. Plus 1 to all stats though makes him more like the Dunedain heroes that are jack of all trades. Hobbit heroes fortunately has additional readying with Fast Hitch and additional stat boosting from Rosie Cotton. It is a lot of setup to put him on par with many other heroes.

The other problem that is carried over from his earlier Lore version is the 9 threat cost. It is the highest of the Hobbits and a bit counter to his ability. His ability requires the player to avoid engagement at least once to trigger unless using Hobbit Pony or lots of engagement control and threat reduction.

This is all to say that without much support, Tactics Bilbo is often outclassed by others in the same sphere and threat cost like Core Set Legolas. When built around, Bilbo can be powerful and fun to play. Contracts in particular make it easier to get him built up quickly.

  • Dave – 3
  • Grant – 3
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – 5
  • Average 3.66

External Links

Sample Decks

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor by kattattack22

Basic idea is to leverage Bilbo’s ability combined with direct damage from Gandalf and Descendent of Thorondor to clear enemies guarding Sting or Necklace of Girion. Also the Eagles of the North might discard a non-unqiue enemy guarding a card. Azain’s direct damage ability is another possibility since can engage an enemy not guarding a card that shares a trait and have ability deal more damage to enemy in the staging area.

Wandering Burgler Discovers Fate of Numenor

Main Deck

Hero (1)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)

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

Ally (22)
3x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
3x Descendant of Thorondor (The Hills of Emyn Muil)
3x Eagles of the Misty Mountains (Return to Mirkwood)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Gwaihir (Trouble in Tharbad)
3x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Northern Tracker (Core Set)

Attachment (16)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Resourceful (The Watcher in the Water)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Strider (The Drowned Ruins)
3x Support of the Eagles (Return to Mirkwood)

Event (12)
3x Flight of the Eagles (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
3x Timely Aid (The Redhorn Gate)

Player Side Quest (1)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)

1 Hero, 51 Cards
Cards up to Challenge of the Wainriders

Sideboard

Ally (9)
3x Eagle of the North (Roam Across Rhovanion)
3x Vassal of the Windlord (The Dead Marshes)
3x Winged Guardian (The Hunt for Gollum)

Attachment (6)
3x Born Aloft (Conflict at the Carrock)
3x Poisoned Stakes (The Blood of Gondor)

Event (6)
3x The Eagles Are Coming! (The Hunt for Gollum)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Guarded-o-rama by Card Talk Dave

This deck was created because of an episode of Card Talk where Grant and Dave discuss ways to get Guarded Cards, namely Durin’s Axe into play. To see that episode, click on over to it HERE. The idea is that Éomer can attack into the staging area and, coupled with Firefoot, excess damage can be assigned to enemies engaged with you. While this isn’t even remotely the “new hotness,” coupled with Bilbo Baggins is a great twist.

Guarded-o-rama

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Éomer (The Mountain of Fire)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)

Contract (0)
1x Forth, The Three Hunters! (The City of Ulfast)

Attachment (39)
3x Cram (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
1x Durin’s Axe (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Firefoot (The Dunland Trap)
3x Golden Belt (Challenge of the Wainriders)
2x Golden Shield (The Flame of the West)
2x Gúthwinë (The Mountain of Fire)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Mariner’s Compass (The Grey Havens)
1x Mithril Shirt (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Rohan Warhorse (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Númenor)
3x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x Stone of Elostirion (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)
3x War Axe (The City of Ulfast)
3x Warrior Sword (The Ghost of Framsburg)

Event (12)
3x Bilbo’s Plan (The Land of Sorrow)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Open the Armory (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
3x The King’s Return (The Fate of Wilderland)

3 Heroes, 51 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Burglar and the Bowman by Hollowbandit

A Bard and Bilbo buddy deck with Fastred defending them and reducing threat.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bard the Bowman (On the Doorstep)
Bilbo Baggins (Mount Gundabad)
Fastred (The Black Serpent)

Ally (12)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Azain Silverbeard (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Bofur (The Redhorn Gate)
2x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
3x Galadhon Archer (The Nîn-in-Eilph)
1x Gandalf (Core Set)
3x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)

Attachment (23)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
1x Black Arrow (On the Doorstep)
2x Book of Eldacar (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
3x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Great Yew Bow (On the Doorstep)
1x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
1x Necklace of Girion (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x Round Shield (Mount Gundabad)
1x Song of Battle (The Dead Marshes)
3x Sting (Mount Gundabad)
1x The Arkenstone (The Withered Heath)
1x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (15)
3x A Test of Will (Core Set)
3x Feint (Core Set)
3x Foe-hammer (Over Hill and Under Hill)
3x Hands Upon the Bow (Shadow and Flame)
3x Straight Shot (On the Doorstep)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Mount Gundabad

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Pippin (Ally)

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Attack Bonus
    • Surprise
    • Messenger of the King

The best willpower ally in Tactics.

Background

Peregrine “Pippin” Took most people know as the hobbit that sang a sad song while Denethor made a disgusting mess of a tomato. He also is Merry’s cousin, a relative of Bilbo and Frodo, and good friend of Frodo and Merry. So much so that he aided in Frodo’s plan to cover his leaving the Shire. He helped Frodo pack for his apparent move from Hobbiton to Buckland. Then accompanying Frodo on his journey to Rivendell.

At Rivendell he would join the Fellowship of the Ring. Notably he caused the commotion that lead to the Fellowship being attacked by Orcs and a Troll. This ultimately led to Gandalf’s demise by Durin’s Bane. He would also inadvertently lead to Boromir’s end. This time due to being ambushed by Orcs as Boromir attempted to defend him and Merry.

It is after being captured by the Uruk-hai that he shows his quality. He keeps his wits to leave a clue for the Three Hunters and engineer his escape with Merry. Then he and Merry manage to get the Ents to attack Isengard and stop Saruman.Pippin’s curiosity about the Palantir diverts Sauron’s attention to Gondor and Rohan as Sauron thinks Pippin has the Ring at Isengard. He rides with Gandalf to Gondor and upon arrival enters Denethor’s service in honor of Boromir’s sacrifice. This position allows him to know of Denethor’s plan to burn Faramir and himself to death and get help to rescue Faramir from the funeral pyre. Pippin also participates in the final battle at the Black Gate killing a troll that subsequently falls on him and removes him from the battle. After returning home to the Shire, Pippin would help oust Sharkey/Saruman by raising the Shire against Sharkey and his men.

Card Theme

Pippin having 2 willpower is reasonable considering he volunteered to help Frodo leave the Shire. Then despite the dangers they encountered there, again volunteered for the dangerous mission to Mordor to destroy the Ring. While he wasn’t a fighter early in the story, Pippin learned how to fight as demonstrated by his taking down a Troll at the Battle of Morannon. That his attack is predicated on attacking an enemy with higher threat is aligned with other hobbit cards to represent their sneakiness and affinity for stealth or being underestimated.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Hobbit Tribal

There are 3 in sphere cards that can work very well with ally Pippin.

Many hobbit decks tend to be tri-sphere as they have several good cards across all 4 spheres. Tom Cotton‘s resource smoothing ability makes it easier to play Pippin and gives him 2 attack the turn he enters play. The second ability synergizes very well with Raise the Shire. Raise the Shire is great to help find Pippin. In the best case scenario, the players engages a higher engagement cost enemy, finds Pippin to put him into play, attacks for 4, and then returns him to hand to play Pippin again to quest for 2 and attack again for 4. Halfling Determination can make Pippin have top tier hero level willpower or attack for a phase.

Odo Proudfoot is also useful to help find Pippin. Fast Hitch, however, is a bit of a nonbo. Pippin already readies himself when engaging an enemy with higher threat cost. Secondly, his attack is conditional and may not always have attack to make good use of the ready. Lastly, if playing a Hobbit focused deck, a player likely has a better target for this that I’ll discuss in the Messenger of the King and Sword-thain section.

Engagement Control and Threat Reduction

The game has 2 ways to help ensure Pippin’s abilities can trigger, increase the enemies’ engagement cost and reduce a player’s threat. There are only a couple cards that can increase an enemy’s engagement cost, Take No Notice and Mablung ally. Both only do so by 5 and for a single phase. This limits their usefulness significantly because 5 will not push the enemies with very low engagement of 10 – 20 above the threat of most decks. This cross-section of enemies are the ones this effect would be the most useful against and needed, but they don’t increase it enough. The only repeatable engagement cost increase is from Lore Pippin‘s ability and can’t be used with his ally version.

Threat reduction is better considering there are several more cards for it. Unfortunately, in sphere there is only Secret Vigil that at best will reduce each players threat by 4. Fortunately, hobbit focused decks have The Shirefolk that can reduce threat by 4 for free and it is neutral. Elevenses is another hobbit specific option can significantly reduce threat mid to late game when lots of hobbit allies are out. Galadriel, Fastred, and Spirit Beregond all provide repeatable threat reduction. Galadriel and Beregond won’t help lower threat below more enemies’ engagement costs, but they’ll maintain threat turn after turn that a lower threat deck can still ambush the same enemies from beginning to the end of the game.

Fellowship Contract

Pippin is a thematic fit with this card. He like any other unique character gains great state buffs. This means once flipped Pippin could quest for 3 and attack for 3 when engaging an enemy with higher engagement cost than the player’s threat. On top of that, many unique allies are on the more expensive side. Pippin at only 2 Tactics resources can get into play quick and help flip the contract.

Messenger of the King and Sword-thain

As a Messengar of the King Hero, Pippin is pure value. He becomes a 4 threat hero that often times will have 6 threat of states. Especially as he will help keep the total low. It also opens up giving him state boosting attachments like Celebrian’s Stone or Dagger of Westernesse to make him more effective either questing or attacking. Thorongil is also a great option to add his Lore version to him. Then engagement costs are always at least 1 higher for better chance of triggering his abilities and possibly drawing a card as well. On top of this, Rosie can help boost his stats further even in both phases when a Fast Hitch is attached to her. Sword-thain also opens this possibilities, but it comes with the downside that Ted always points out in the podcast. That is the player has to draw it first. Still, it is great that the card referring to Pippin swearing his service to Denethor can be used on him and is useful.

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’m very close to 1 on ally Pippin because I know how hard it is to get willpower in Tactics. I’m rating him at 2 rings. Any Tactics ally with 2 willpower is almost an auto-include in mono-Tactics. That he is 2 cost for 2 willpower putting it on par with the best questing allies usually concentrated in Spirit is fantastic. On top of that he has great abilities with the conditional readying and attack that fits right in with other hobbit cards. He is great for almost any deck running Tactics or hobbits.

I didn’t rate him a 1 ring because outside hobbits or other low threat decks he is often just a 2 cost quester. Two cost questing allies are solid cards, but they’re not a card like A Test of Will that will save the players from certain defeat, or Core Set Gandalf that are so powerful that they can turn the tide of the entire game. I also think that Forth, the Three Hunters lowered the value of willpower allies in Tactics. Tactics has more restricted attachments than the other spheres making it easy to flip the contract and get the willpower boost. Three Hunters decks can quest really well when combined with some other willpower boosting attachments and the combat power of the restricted attachments to destroy enemies reliably.

Pippin ally is still an incredibly strong fair costed card with great abilities. He’s a pretty good target for Messenger of the King and works well with the Fellowship contract. He can synergize well with other hobbit cards as both his abilities that want to engage and attack enemies with higher engagement cost. He helps Tactics with one of their major deficiencies since the Core Set. There is a lot to like about this card and has become a staple of my decks with Tactics that aren’t using Forth, the Three Hunters.

  • Dave – 5
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 4
  • Matt – 2
  • Average – 3.67

External Links

Sample Decks

The Doom of Men by Dave Walsh

This is Dave’s version of a “true hobbit deck.” One where most of the allies are hobbits.

Tom Cotton for the Win!

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Bilbo Baggins (The Hunt for Gollum)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
Tom Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Ally (23)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
3x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
3x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
3x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
3x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Pippin (A Shadow in the East)
3x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
3x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (18)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
3x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
3x Forest Snare (Core Set)
3x Friend of Friends (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Protector of Lórien (Core Set)
1x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
1x Song of Hope (The Black Serpent)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)

Event (12)
3x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
3x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
3x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
3x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

3 Heroes, 53 Cards
Cards up to Wrath and Ruin

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Doom of Men by Matt Kell aka kattattack22

A Bond of Friendship “good stuff” deck for a couple of the Vengeance of Mordor quests.

The Doom of Men

Main Deck

Hero (4)
Aragorn (The Watcher in the Water)
Beregond (The Flame of the West)
Éowyn (The Flame of the West)
Ingold (ALeP – Children of Eorl)

Contract (0)
1x Bond of Friendship (The Fortress of Nurn)

Ally (25)
1x Angbor the Fearless (The City of Ulfast)
1x Arwen Undómiel (The Watcher in the Water)
1x Beorn (Core Set)
2x Envoy of Pelargir (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Firyal (The Mûmakil)
2x Galadriel’s Handmaiden (Celebrimbor’s Secret)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Glorfindel (Flight of the Stormcaller)
1x Grimbold (The Flame of the West)
2x Honour Guard (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
1x Legolas (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Meneldor (Roam Across Rhovanion)
1x Pippin (A Shadow in the East)
1x Quickbeam (The Treason of Saruman)
1x Rhovanion Outrider (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Treebeard (The Antlered Crown)
1x Veteran of Osgiliath (Escape from Mount Gram)
2x Warden of Healing (The Long Dark)

Attachment (11)
2x Armored Destrier (Temple of the Deceived)
1x Blood of Númenor (Heirs of Númenor)
1x Favor of the Valar (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Steward of Gondor (Core Set)
1x The Red Arrow (Beneath the Sands)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (14)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Daeron’s Runes (Foundations of Stone)
2x Deep Knowledge (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x The Seeing-stone (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

4 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to ALeP – Children of Eorl

Sideboard

Hero (4)
Aragorn (Core Set)
Aragorn (The Lost Realm)
Aragorn (The Fortress of Nurn)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)

Ally (5)
1x Errand-rider (Heirs of Númenor)
2x Mirkwood Explorer (The Thing in the Depths)
2x Ranger of Cardolan (The Wastes of Eriador)

Attachment (13)
1x Gondorian Fire (Assault on Osgiliath)
2x Hauberk of Mail (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
1x Inner Strength (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Raven-winged Helm (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Roheryn (The Flame of the West)
2x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)
2x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)

Event (11)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Horns! Horns! Horns! (Challenge of the Wainriders)
1x Legacy of Númenor (The Voice of Isengard)
2x Need Drives Them (The City of Ulfast)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)

Deck built on RingsDB.

Curious Brandybuck

  • Cycle  
    • Angmar Awakened
  • Set
    • Wastes of Eriador

Efficient quester for a limited time.

Background

The Brandybucks are descendents of the first Thains of The Shire. Originally called the Oldbucks, they ruled The Shire until the twelveth Thain, Gordenhad Oldbuck, moved to Buckland. He began to turn it into a settlement and renamed himself Brandybuck. The only member of the Brandybuck family from the main story is Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck.

Card Theme

This card appears to be modeled after Gordenhad as the exmplar of the Brandybuck family. The ally comes into play for traveling to a new location. Then once that location is known, the ally goes away much like how Gordenhad left his nominal leadership position to establish a new Hobbit settlement.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Hobbit Character Boosts

Curious Brandybuck particularly benefits from any Hobbit character boost that doesn’t require an attachment to be placed on it. Fortunately Hobbits have a few options here. Tom Cotton boosts its attack to 2 for the round. This could be triggered multiple times in a game if the Brandybuck is put back on the bottom and later drawn again. Redbook of Westmarch will boost its willpower by 1 each time it can quest. Lastly, Bill the Pony provides an extra hit point that can help soak some damage, especially archery. This is a good play since any damage put on it will disappear when it is placed on the bottom of the deck.

Merry + Horn of the Mark

Hobbits don’t have many ways to bounce in and out of play like Rohan. Curious Brandybuck, however, provides one of the more reliable triggers for Horn of the Mark. The card draw from it helps offset the loss of the card when Brandybuck leaves play.

Westroad Traveler

West Road Traveler provides a way to avoid the Forced effect to put the Curious Brandybuck on the bottom of the deck. It still can only be temporary since there is an active location providing a buffer to the main quest. Still if a player wants to keep the Curious Brandybuck around for another round to chump block then West Road Traveller

Erestor

Curious Brandybuck gives an Erestor deck a free ally it can play. This is important when Erestor decks have a 10 card starting hand but only 3 resources to play them. Mid to late game, the card being put back on the bottom is not an issue as a player can expect to draw it eventually with 4 cards being drawn a turn.

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 rate Curious Brandybuck at 7 rings. This is recognizing that getting a free ally even temporarily is a good deal. Tom Cotton can give it low but helpful attack when it comes into play. It also can be used to get a free chump block in an emergency. Using its cost reduction ability, however, results in it having to leave play eventually. Horn of the Mark, Valiant Sacrifice, or other card draw can offset the loss of the card. Still there are other 2 cost 2 willpower Spirit allies that won’t have to leave play if the active location is explored. The availability of these solid alternatives make this more of a niche card.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 5
  • Matt – 7
  • Average 5.33

External Links

Sample Decks

Hobbit swarm by Fleone

A Bond of Friendship deck that aims to swarm the board with Hobbits.

Main Deck

Hero (4)
Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
Tom Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Contract (0)
1x Bond of Friendship (The Fortress of Nurn)

Ally (27)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
2x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Halfling Bounder (The Sands of Harad)
2x Hobbit Archer (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
2x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Wandering Took (Core Set)

Attachment (11)
2x Horn of Gondor (Core Set)
2x Horn of the Mark (The City of Ulfast)
1x Inner Strength (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Magic Ring (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Red Book of Westmarch (The Land of Sorrow)
1x Sword-thain (The Dread Realm)
1x The One Ring (A Shadow in the East)
1x Thorongil (The Fortress of Nurn)

Event (12)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Knife-work (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

4 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Sideboard

Hero (1)
Frodo Baggins (A Shadow in the East)

Ally (4)
2x Halfast Gamgee (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Keen-eyed Took (The Hills of Emyn Muil)

Attachment (6)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)

Event (8)
2x A Very Good Tale (Over Hill and Under Hill)
2x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit-sense (Encounter at Amon Dîn)
2x Keen as Lances (Escape from Mount Gram)

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Beregond’s amazing discount sale! by Steinwell

A multiplayer gift deck that uses Beregond’s armor and weapon discount combined with Battering or Long Lake Trader to pass out attachments to other players.

Main Deck

Hero (3)
Beregond (Heirs of Númenor)
Erestor (The Treachery of Rhudaur)
Thurindir (Race Across Harad)

Ally (13)
3x Curious Brandybuck (The Wastes of Eriador)
2x Elven Jeweler (Escape from Mount Gram)
3x Guardian of Rivendell (Flight of the Stormcaller)
2x Ioreth (A Storm on Cobas Haven)
3x Long Lake Trader (The Wilds of Rhovanion)

Attachment (29)
1x Black Arrow (On the Doorstep)
3x Citadel Plate (Core Set)
3x Explorer’s Almanac (The Grey Havens)
2x Gondorian Shield (The Steward’s Fear)
3x Keeping Count (The Redhorn Gate)
3x Legacy Blade (The Dungeons of Cirith Gurat)
2x Mighty Warrior (Race Across Harad)
3x Raiment of War (The Thing in the Depths)
3x Raven-winged Helm (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Spear of the Citadel (Heirs of Númenor)
3x The Long Defeat (The Battle of Carn Dûm)
1x Weather-stained Cloak (The Dread Realm)
1x Wingfoot (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Event (6)
3x Bartering (The Wilds of Rhovanion)
3x The Evening Star (The Grey Havens)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x The Storm Comes (The Sands of Harad)

3 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Wilds of Rhovanion

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Fellowship Frodo Baggins (TBR) – Community Review

by Owen Watson

  • Player Card Categories 
    • Encounter Control

Background

Black Rider’s Frodo is really thematic in my eyes. Exhausting the One Ring symbolizes putting it on and vanishing from usually an enemy and then running away and finding himself someplace different, like a location.

Card Theme

Throughout the books and movies Frodo (against Gandalf’s strict warnings) has used the ring to escape deadly situations and flee the servants of Mordor. For me, this card represents his heroic escapes and him fleeing from one situation and falling into another.

Card Synergies and Interactions

This card combo’s really well with other Hobbit heroes for a few reasons. Reason number one is that Frodo has 0 threat, meaning with a few Hobbits (who, besides a few exceptions, are the lowest threat heroes in the game) you can have easy access to Resourceful (which can be brought in for cheap due to the Secrecy Keyword and help provide Frodo with resources for him to use for his ability, as well as to pay for Neutral and Fellowship sphere cards. Another reason for Hobbits is that Frodo’s Intuition is in-sphere for Frodo. For a cheap total of 2 resources, you can give each hero +1 Willpower AND draw 1 card for each hobbit hero you control, thus drawing you as much cards as you have Hobbit heroes. Throughout the whole Saga campaign, the only quests that seem to not work so great with Frodo are the ones that have cards in them that have negative effects if the One Ring is exhausted (ex. Morgul Wraith). For the most part, considering Frodo can only be used in LotR Saga quests, his ability is great and has little to no negative effects.

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 strongly believe that this deserves a 3 rating and is the best Fellowship/Saga hero in the game. Let me explain why it is (Black Riders) Frodo Baggins.

First, stats: 2 willpower is pretty good for a Hobbit hero, so no complaints there. This version of Frodo will be questing almost every time so his 1 attack and 2 defense don’t really matter unless he has some way of readying. 2 HP is a bit on the lower side, so it’s usually a good idea to have strategies in place to cancel direct damage effects or simply by giving him attachments that boost his HP.
Lets talk about his sphere. He is one of the 7 (8 counting ALeP Scouring of the Shire) Fellowhsip sphere heroes. Unfortunately, belonging to that sphere means he can’t be used outside of LotR Saga quests, but on the plus side you get access to all of the Fellowship cards which for the most part are really helpful with willpower.

Now let’s talk about what makes him so great. His ability. By spending one resource and exhausting the One Ring, you can choose and CANCEL the effects of a card revealed from the encounter deck. You heard that right. CANCEL! If you reveal a tough enemy you can’t deal with until your deck is set up, no problem, simply trigger his response and shuffle the card away. One too many locations? Nasty treachery and no Test of Will? He can solve them all. There is a couple of downsides to his ability however. The first and most obvious one is that you have to shuffle the card back into the Encounter deck and reveal another card. Imagine if the encounter deck is almost empty, the odds of drawing the same card again would be pretty good. Another thing to point out is that you could draw a worse card then the one you just canceled which could screw you over. And finally, throughout the Saga quests there are cards that have effects which are very nasty if the one ring is exhausted, and because you need to exhaust the One Ring to use Frodo’s ability, you are running the risk of having something nasty trigger. This is why, in my opinion, Frodo is one of the best cards in the game.

  • Owen – 3
  • Dave – TBR
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – TBR
  • Matt – TBR

Sample Decks

Three is Company

Main Deck

Hero (5)
Fatty Bolger (The Black Riders)
Frodo Baggins (The Black Riders)
Merry (The Black Riders)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)

Contract (0)
1x Bond of Friendship (The Fortress of Nurn)

Ally (16)
1x Barliman Butterbur (The Black Riders)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
2x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
1x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
2x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
2x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (13)
2x Ancient Mathom (A Journey to Rhosgobel)
2x Dagger of Westernesse (The Black Riders)
2x Fast Hitch (The Dead Marshes)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
2x Red Book of Westmarch (The Land of Sorrow)
1x Spare Pipe (The Land of Sorrow)
2x Unexpected Courage (Core Set)

Event (19)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
1x Feint (Core Set)
2x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
2x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
2x In the Shadows (The Land of Shadow)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)

Player Side Quest (2)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x The Storm Comes (The Sands of Harad)

5 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to The Fortress of Nurn

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

The Hobbit Bond of Friendship For July Solo League

Main Deck

Hero (5)
Frodo Baggins (The Black Riders)
Merry (The Wastes of Eriador)
Pippin (The Black Riders)
Sam Gamgee (The Black Riders)
Tom Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Ally (18)
1x Barliman Butterbur (The Black Riders)
1x Bilbo Baggins (The Road Darkens)
1x Bill the Pony (The Black Riders)
2x Bywater Shirriff (The Fate of Wilderland)
2x Cautious Halfling (Wrath and Ruin)
1x Farmer Maggot (The Black Riders)
2x Gaffer Gamgee (Mount Gundabad)
2x Gandalf (Core Set)
1x Halfast Gamgee (The Crossings of Poros)
2x Halfling Bounder (The Sands of Harad)
1x Odo Proudfoot (Under the Ash Mountains)
1x Robin Smallburrow (The Drowned Ruins)
1x Rosie Cotton (The Mountain of Fire)

Attachment (7)
2x Hobbit Cloak (The Black Riders)
1x Hobbit Pipe (The Black Riders)
2x Hobbit Pony (The Wastes of Eriador)
1x Ring Mail (The Long Dark)
1x Sword that was Broken (The Watcher in the Water)

Event (22)
2x A Good Harvest (The Steward’s Fear)
2x A Test of Will (Core Set)
2x Drinking Song (Mount Gundabad)
2x Feint (Core Set)
2x Frodo’s Intuition (The Black Riders)
2x Halfling Determination (The Black Riders)
2x Raise the Shire (The Mountain of Fire)
2x Sneak Attack (Core Set)
2x The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set)
2x The Shirefolk (Mount Gundabad)
2x Tighten Our Belts (The Nîn-in-Eilph)

Player Side Quest (3)
1x Gather Information (The Lost Realm)
1x Rally the West (The Black Serpent)
1x The Storm Comes (The Sands of Harad)

5 Heroes, 50 Cards
Cards up to Under the Ash Mountains

Decklist built and published on RingsDB.

Folco Boffin

Mirlonde for Hobbits not that they needed one.

Background

Folco Boffin is a friend to Frodo. He that helps Frodo load up his belongings in a cart for the move from Bag End to Crikhollow. After they finished and had lunch, Folco returned home.

Card Theme

What little screen time Folco has in the books fits pretty well his abilities. Frodo’s move is cover for him to head East and travel to Rivendell. Folco, unwittingly, assists in that deception as seemingly just another Hobbit helping his friend move. Nothing out of the ordinary at all. He even returns home after helping and having lunch with his friends. Nothing there to draw the attention of Sauron. This is consistent with the idea of threat being the awareness of Sauron and his minions to the activities of our heroes. The more heroic and active in opposing to this plans, the more threatening they are to Sauron.

Card Synergies and Interactions

Secrecy

Folco’s low base starting threat makes it fairly easy to put him in a 3 hero line up to start with 20 or less threat. Just looking at heroes with effective starting threat cost of 7 or less there are 10 unique possibilities. 13 options including other sphere versions of the same character. This isn’t counting the low threat options available thanks to Messenger of the King contract.

  • Bifur
  • Eleanor
  • Tactics Eowyn
  • Fatty Bolger
  • Leadership Frodo Baggins
  • Spirit Frodo Baggins
  • Spirit Glorfindel
  • Spirit Merry
  • Tactics Merry
  • Mirlonde
  • Spirit Pippin
  • Lore Pippin
  • Smeagol

Roughly half of these listed above are Hobbits that makes Folco even cheaper. This extends the time you have in Secrecy or more flexibility to include a higher threat cost hero.

You can then utilize 2 great resource acceleration cards Resourceful and Timely Aid. Although you will need Leadership for Timely Aid it can very much worth it wirh expensive but powerful allies like Treebeard and Beorn. Both who are great ally defenders for the generally low defense and low hit point Hobbits.

Even if you are sticking to mono-Lore Secrecy is on a few great Lore cards providing even more resource acceleration from the discounted cost. Ithilien Lookout is a very solid combat ally with its 2 attack and tremendous value at 1 cost. The ability to discard an enemy from the encounter deck is very helpful for the squishy low hit point Hobbit heroes. Then there are 2 of the best encounter control cards, Out of the Wild and Risk Some Light. Needful to Know is another Secrecy Lore card, but even free the chances of reducing your threat after raising it one are not great. Woodmen’s Clearing is a much better option that always costs 0.

Hobbit Engage an Enemy with higher Engagement Cost than your Threat Bonus

Folco’s low starting threat, particularly with other Hobbit heroes, facilitates the Hobbit abilities centered on engaging enemies with higher engagement cost than your threat. Most important among these and in sphere for Folco, Gaffer Gamgee. Attack cancelation is huge for the generally low defense and low hit point Hobbits. The only other in sphere effect is Lore Pippins card draw which drawing more cards is almost always good.

Out of sphere, many of these abilities are simple stat boosts like that of Leadership Sam, Tactics Pippin, Hobbit Cloak, Dagger of Westernesse, Taste it Again!, Hobbit Archer, and Bywater Shirrif. You also get readying effects from Sam, Pippin, and Taste it Again! There’s a little ally mustering from Odo Proudfoot and Raise the Shire. After that it’s a few miscellaneous effects like Farmer Maggot’s direct damage, Tom Cotton’s resource smoothing, and shadow cancelation from Staff of Lebethron.

Houses of Healing

If you want to take advantage of Folco’s sacrifice ability, Houses of Healing is a good in sphere option to bring him back immediately after. The 5 cost is high but easily reduced with the number of Healer characters available in Lore. Elrond, Ioreth, Warden of Healing

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 rate Folco at 4 rings. He’s a solid hero for enabling Secrecy or the Hobbit engagement mechanism. It’s not difficult to get his threat cost down to 4 or 5. Not quite the stats for cost value of Spirit Glorfindl but still a free stat or 2. His stats are very efficient as well with 2 willpower, 2 attack and 2 hit points. Equally good at questing or attacking. A decent target for Fast Hitch to leverage both of those stats. He also offers some emergency threat reduction by sacrifing him. Easy to bring him back with Houses of Healing in the same sphere.

His low threat cost consistently makes him a third hero choice when building Secrecy Hobbits. It’s also for that reason he’s rather limited to those type of decks. Alone he is just a Lore Hobbit hero at 6 cost putting him in direct competition with Lore Pippin. Lore Pippin in most cases is going to be better for the card draw. There are some 2 hero decks that run him for the single Lore resource then sacrifice him first turn, but they’re fairly niche.

I also find his efficiency rather boring. After setup, he’s just going to help with questing or attacking. He doesn’t have an interesting ability that you can trigger throughout the game or build around like many of the other Hobbit heroes. He just serves a particular role in deck building and does it well.

  • Dave – 4
  • Grant – TBR
  • Ted – 6
  • Matt – 4

Sample Decks

Deck name and creator

short deck description