Hero. Threat: 3. 2   2   2   3  


Side A

Cannot have attachments. Setup: Shuffle 2 copies of Stinker into the encounter deck. Response: After you travel to a location, raise your threat by 1 to draw 1 card.

Side B

Immune to non-Gollum card effects. Gollum engages the first player. Forced: When Gollum is defeated, flip him to Sméagol and return him to his owner's control, exhausted.

Martin de Diego Sádaba

A Shadow in the East #72. Lore.


Joining the list of controversial heroes next to Grima (and making room for Saruman) is the important character of Smeagol. I think thematically they hit it out of the park with this hero design. The fact that he can turn on you is a theme from the book as well as the already established saga campaign objective ally and it works well. Him not being able to take attachments makes sense except I really think he should really have been able to have The One Ring since he guarded it for so long. He also helps you find some coneys (a card) each time you travel to a new location. But does so at the risk of drawing unwanted attention.

So theme is pretty bang on and the art is excellent, creepy but helpful in the moments before he was captured by Faramir's men it seems. How does he stack up gameplay-wise? Firstly with his negative he really feels like more of a solo hero as in multiplayer going through the encounter deck will quite often happen multiple times which means the likelihood that he'll turn into an enemy is high. But in solo you may only run into Stinker once or not at all. Still you do have to have a plan for it. Losing a hero and any resources it may have been saving up can hurt.

The biggest option to pair him with is Eleanor who is already life-saving to begin with and can now give you an almost guaranteed immunity to this cards negative (unless you are really really unlucky at shuffling). The other option Is Beorn or Grimbeorn who can defend against the Attack with minimal damage and then smack the Gollum out of him. A test of will works too but it relies on you drawing one and having it before you encounter stinker, and also then you don't have A Test of Will for potentially worse cards.

Now the positives, where Grima our other quasi-villain essentially trades threat for resources, and Saruman tempts you to trade Threat for all sorts of power, Smeagol is offering you Threat for card draw. There is no limit per round so there could be some trickery with him and the Burgler Contract if you are going to be travelling multiple times a round already anyways, though bear in mind that Smeagol cannot take any of those attachments you loot. Travelling is quite common and this ability, in opposition to his negative, would seem to be better in a multiplayer setting where you can pretty much guarantee drawing and hopefully travelling to a location each round.

But the real bonus from Smeagol comes from his extremely low threat cost. Move aside Glorfindel (or move next to him for some secrecy madness) as coming in at 3 cost he is the new cheapest hero in the game. Not to mention he has the stat line of a balanced hero that would normally cost 9, and can be a helpful quester, extra attacker or emergency defender for some lower attacking enemies. Him combined with lower cost heroes can enable a lot more secrecy deck options. And not to mention his cost is even further reduced with Mirlonde bringing their combined cost to 10, which allows you to bring a lot of different heroes into that starting secrecy range. Or combine him with Glorfindel and you can have anyone except for the few strongest legends in the game starting in secrecy.

So that about sums up the hero. If you prefer to fight your way into Mordor, bring Gandalf, Treebeard and Elrond and go knocking on the front gates. But if you want to sneak in... Smeagol knows another way...

Can also use The Master Ring to have a guaranteed way of dealing with Stinker starting turn 1 — TheGameLocker 367
Great point! And sometimes in solo that will be enough. It's also worth noting the shadow effect on Stinker is brutal with the extra threat raising — Christian_Medic 875
What happens when Golum got killed and Stinker is revealed while Gollum is in the discard pile? — tickler 234
surge ;) nothing else i think — doomguard 1571
Mirlonde benefits from her own ability, so actually she and Gollum would have a starting threat of 9, even better! — ThimYorke 34
Firyal is also great for avoiding Stinkers (best solo) — Quetzal513 78
Can you use him in Core quests? You cannot in the Mirkwood cycle, but does the core set count as the Mirkwood cycle? — Truck 1273
But whsen i turn smeagol in gollum can i heal his damage? — serpico 220
How does this card interact with Spirit Pippin? Will Gollum engage the Pippin player immediately or at the end of the turn? — NERD 645
immune to nongollum cardeffects, so, no pippin. — doomguard 1571

Sméagol is, in my opinion, a great hero. Any secrecy lover should not overlook THREE threat cost. The card draw is much appreciated, but you will have to find some threat reduction if you want to use out regularly. Well balanced stats at 2/2/2/3 means Sméagol can quest or attack well (probably not defend though) Now, since he cannot have attachments, it will be harder to ready him, meaning that he will not end up using all his stats. That said, there are a lot of heroes out there with the same problem.

Now of course, there is the obvious problem of Smeagol turning into an enemy and fighting you. The designers made sure that you cannot get lucky and discard the Stinker card as a shadow, because it gets shuffled back into the encounter deck. And with it being a surge, there is really no benefits in this card at all. That said, Smeagol as a 2/2/2/3 enemy is not that difficult to deal with, and can be defeated pretty easily. the hardest part is definitely losing all your resources.

I think the best way to play hero Sméagol is find those Stinker treacheries and put them in the victory display before you draw them. Since Sméagol has such a low threat cost, Out of the Wild is a great way to do this. Scout Ahead works very well too. If you can remove even one, you greatly reduce the chances you will flip Smeagol to his enemy side, especially in solo.

The previous review says everything better than I could, I just wanted to point out a probably funny combination with Helm of Secrecy. Since every hero has a higher threat than Sméagol, he could be swapped in for every other hero. And since you are out of setup then, there is no Stinker that you have to shuffle into the encounter deck! Although it kind of negates the upside of Sméagol‘s low threat, there are options that are similarly low in this matter, but with worse stats.

Taudir 304
Could be niche in a scenario when one of your heroes get a nasty treachery Condition. Putting Smeagol into play would remove it because he can't have attachments. — Emmental 366