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|None. Self-made deck here.|
|Longbottom Leaf (Pipe-weed v2)||1||0||1||1.0|
This is actually a deck that started out as a pure hobbit build that I used to play with ally Gandalf. When Gandalf came out as his very own hero card, I can remember loving the concept and the card art, but never knowing quite exactly what to do with him. His obscene starting and group of support cards that are a sub-theme unto themselves make him quite difficult to splash into other archetypes. All of a sudden one day it hit me...why not re-imagine my pipeweed deck such that instead of maintaining low threat and until mid-game and then dropping ally Gandalf, why not swap out the ally and try it with the hero from the get go? It turns out that it works great, and is very satisfying thematically. I can't help but think that the professor himself would approve of a deck centered around Gandalf, his beloved Hobbits, and their mutual love of pipeweed. As it turns out, it works great mechanically as well.
The primary thrust of this deck is to get everyone outfitted with a pipe to get the threat reduction/willpower boost/card draw combos hitting at the right time, while relying on Gandalf and his assortment of tools to handle combat. The two sub-themes work great together because not only does Gandalf come with his own Wizard Pipe that is necessary to maximize his own mechanic AND work with Smoke Rings, but it can even be fetched with Bilbo Baggins ensuring that you see it early. Also, the almost broken combination of Gandalf and Expert Treasure-hunter gives you all the card draw you could ever want and practically guarantees that you will get all your combo pieces in play readily. This makes it that much easier to have a Hobbit Pipe on every Hobbit (including Bilbo Baggins, as Hobbit Pipes are not restricted to heros!) and a Wizard Pipe on Gandalf.
On the combat side of things, Gandalf does most of the heavy lifting once you get Shadowfax and Gandalf's Staff equipt. For the early game where you might not see Shadowfax initially or have the resources to play it, Miruvor works great to get some early action advantage on Gandalf as well as boost resource acceleration. Of course Flame of Anor is included to ensure that Gandalf can hit hard when he needs to, and Glorfindel as well as Out of Sight are included largely to combo with Flame of Anor...although I have on numerous occasions gotten this deck down to secrecy threat level and made use of Out of Sight. I also included Saruman for clutch moments where I absolutely need to clear an active location or need assistance with a tough enemy. Saruman actually fits perfectly in this deck, because it's threat control ensures that his "doomed 3" doesn't hurt that bad. Also, if you use Flame of Anor on Saruman and use Wizard Pipe to put Glorfindel on top of the draw deck to discard, you drop Saruman (of course blocking out the most annoying card in staging), ready him with Flame of Anor, and attack to swing for 10!!! As with the rest of the deck, it's all about the timing, which is what makes this deck so much fun to play.
Two game concepts that every deck must address to be powerful enough to go up against modern scenarios is card draw and resource acceleration, since this basically equivocates to your power curve. Between Gandalf's natural ability that functions "like" an extra card in the hand, the very powerful Expert Treasure-hunter combo, and Bilbo Baggins's pipe fetching, this deck tends to have more card draw than you need, and the excess card draw from Hobbit Pipe use becomes almost overkill. If I'm not seeing enough pipes quick enough, I will actually use Bilbo Baggins to "suicide chump" just so I can play him from my hand again and utilize his fetch. Because of the high card draw and high number of unique cards in this deck, I have included my new favorite healer, Imladris Caregiver, to pitch excess uniques to in order to keep Gandalf and company more than healed up. As far as resource acceleration, Good Meal is ESSENTIAL to power those spirit events that fuel the pipe mechanic. I also use Gandalf's Staff and Miruvor in a pinch as well.
This deck plays great in both solo and co-op. For co-op play, it functions best as a primary quester, threat reducer, and secondary combat deck. You will notice that I included Song of Eärendil in the sideboard. This is because in co-op or multiplay, you can really get a lot of mileage out of Merry's threat reduction ability, and this deck can function to help keep threat off of other decks. The deck is highly dynamic with many of the combos using clutch timing for best results, powerful enough to handle most scenarios, and best of all is a thematic home run.