A Hobbit's Tale

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Aurion 185

Contrary to many players' belief that Pippin is the worst hero in the game, I've come to enjoy great success with this deck.

I created it out of curiosity more than anything as I had not really used Merry or Pippin in their spirit incarnations and I was pleasantly surprised. I originally had Fatty Bolger lined up as the third hero but decided that I wanted access to Fast Hitch to ready Merry for his ability, instead of Unexpected Courage so that I could save my extra resource for threat reduction. There is so much of it in this deck that I typically end up with <10 threat by the end of the game. I therefore needed a hero and so the only hobbit available to me (to be able to activate Pippin's ability) was Bilbo Baggins. This worked out well as with his extra he can help out in a pinch against those enemies with low engagement costs if I choose not to exercise Pippin's ability. With Arwen Undómiel pumping his and a Burning Brand in hand, he can generally survive against a multitude of foes in the early game, whilst Pippin can push back anything that is too hot for him to handle long enough to potentially reduce our threat below the enemy's engagement threshold. With only 2 each, it is often better to pay the threat increase than face an enemy until some of the more powerful allies enter play. Gildor Inglorion becomes the main defender after a while and can be brought into play using Elf-stone as there is plenty of to power through questing and there is a brand for him too.

As in so many solo decks with access to , Henamarth Riversong is an absolute must. Not only does he help with setting the pace at which you quest, he takes away that uncertainty of whether to spend that last resource or save it for A Test of Will. I will often mulligan for everyone's favourite minstrel (move over Gléowine), especially if I know pacing is going to be an issue or that there is some potentially game ending treacheries in a particular scenario. Otherwise, I'm generally looking for Arwen in my opening hand for her 2 , the boost for Bilbo and the ability to play Elrond's Counsel.

The other allies have generally been chosen for their decent to cost ratio or for a specific function but this post is already getting too long so you can work it out for yourselves.

The last thing I will say though is the thing that surprised me the most about using this deck was how powerful Hobbit Pipes are. I've definitely missed out here. Free, repeatable card draw? Yes, please! I've even started to use a mulligan for these.

11 comments

Aug 02, 2018 angryMob 1

ähemm . for me there are no cards to see.

Aug 02, 2018 angryMob 1

sorry. was bugged now it work

Aug 02, 2018 tickler 54

Actually, I don't understand why Pippin is important for the deck? Can you explain what makes him valuable in this deck?

When you use his ability you have to increase the threat by 3 every round to keep that enemy away and you have to take the additional in the next round. And since you have not included any cards allowing to do things against enemies in the staging are, I don't see a reason for choosing him over for instance Frodo Baggins. For me it seems more like a deck, that is strong enough even Pippin is included.

(I'd say Pippin would be great if you could combine him with Pippin.)

Aug 02, 2018 Aurion 185

You won't be using his ability every turn that is for sure but he can really help in a pinch. No doubt Frodo is the better hero, but he's not also available to you. Also, Frodo's ability can only trigger once per round so you can end up in trouble if enemies keep engaging you and you haven't had enough time to set up your attackers, whereas Pippin gives you the ability to evade multiple attackers each round and potentially give you enough time to get your threat down.

Aug 02, 2018 Aurion 185

You won't be using his ability every turn that is for sure but he can really help in a pinch. No doubt Frodo is the better hero, but he's not always available to you. Also, Frodo's ability can only trigger once per round so you can end up in trouble if enemies keep engaging you and you haven't had enough time to set up your attackers, whereas Pippin gives you the ability to evade multiple attackers each round and potentially give you enough time to get your threat down.

Aug 02, 2018 Some Sort 1487

@tickler In my experience with Spirit Pippin, (and I agree he's not the worst hero in the card pool), his advantage is threefold.

  1. Pacing. A lot of difficult quests are difficult because they're forcing you to do things before you're ready. You can say "all Pippin does is buy you an extra round", but... buying you an extra round is a very, very powerful effect! You could say that all the second action on Doom Hangs Still does is buy you an extra round, too, and to play that you need to be in valour, spend four leadership resources, and raise everyone's threat by two.
  2. Distribution. Pippin is one of the strongest cards for controlling which enemy gets engaged with which player in multiplayer.
  3. Planning. Bringing Spirit Pippin gives you the knowledge "if I can keep my threat under control, I will never have to engage with a single enemy who I don't want to engage with". This knowledge frees up a lot of space in your deck for you to do other stuff, (though of course it necessitates more deck space devoted to threat reduction, so it's a tradeoff.)

He's not necessarily the best hero in the card pool, either, but his ability is really, really, really powerful. It's just that the price is really, really, really high to match. But if you just look at the effect itself and ignore the cost, I think a strong argument could be made that no hero in the game has such a powerful effect. I mean, Spirit Pippin basically says "enemies can't engage you unless you want them to".

The biggest frustration with Spirit Pippin is just that there are a lot of heroes that could potentially synergize with his effect, but for one reason or another you're locked out of using them. Pippin + Spirit Beregond or Fastred would allow you to let one enemy in as a source of repeatable threat reduction while keeping the others at bay. Spirit Pippin + Lore Pippin would give you a bit of breathing room on your engagement costs while also giving you a card draw engine while you were keeping enemies away, (in fact: Deep Knowledge is a very powerful card that gives you +1 net card for +2 net threat. Pairing the Pippins would give you an on-demand choice to optionally engage an enemy and immediately push him away to get +1 net card for +3 net threat, almost a repeatable single-player Deep Knowledge.)

Obviously Dúnhere or any of the other staging area attack heroes would also pair well with Pippin, as would Galadriel (she provides threat reduction, Pippin covers for her lack of combat abilities). Loreagorn would be great, Damrod would be great, (bouncing an enemy with Spirit Pippin is a strong way to control who gets stuck on which trap), and so on.

There are so many heroes who would be great with Pippin who you can't use with Pippin that sometimes it's easy to conclude that Pippin can't do anything. But again, he has a very powerful effect, we're just unfortunately unable to synergize it to make it more powerful still. (Except with Samwise, who pairs beautifully-- you can optionally engage a high-engagement enemy and immediately push him back to give Samwise the ready and the boost, which he uses to take out a low-engagement enemy.)

Aug 02, 2018 Some Sort 1487

It's nice to see more and more players coming around to the power of the Hobbit Pipe. It's a bit slow, but it's a zero-cost attachment that can easily net you 2 or 3 extra cards over the course of the game, (and as your draw really starts going, it's not uncommon to get 4, 5, 6, or more extra cards per pipe).

As an aside, Love of Tales is a similar (and similarly underrated) card that's great for the same reasons, (0 resources to play but can easily net you 4 extra resources over the life of a quest-- especially because even non-song decks played across the table will frequently have a couple songs somewhere in the deck list).

Aug 02, 2018 tickler 54

@Aurion + Some Sort Thanks for your answers!

Aug 03, 2018 kjeld 2

There's no reason you couldn't make excellent use of Pippin to support Dunhere, Faramir, or Damrod in a partner deck. The Pippin deck could optionally engage an enemy that the other deck wants to stay in staging, and then bounce it back for a staging area attack or trap effect. Have you thought of possible partner decks to pair with this?

Aug 04, 2018 Aurion 185

I have thought about it but the partner deck would also have to have plenty of threat reduction as Pippin's ability only prevents an enemy from re-engaging you. They still go on to engage other players if their engagement cost is met. Also, Henamarth Riversong becomes much less useful in multiplayer and he is integral in this deck to determine when to commit the hobbits to the quest or to hold back resources for a Test of Will.

Aug 04, 2018 Aurion 185

@kjeld I have created this Ranger/Trap deck to compliment it: ringsdb.com Not sure it is 'Fellowship' material but they seem to work fairly well together.