A Simple Trick to Fix Pippen the Devs Don't Want You to Know

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Inspiration for
Sneaky little hobbitses. Wicked, tricksy, false! 2 0 2 1.0
Stupid, Fat Hobbit 5 2 0 1.0

Some Sort 1116

PLEASE NOTE: Fatty Bolger is a proxy for Spirit Pippin because RingsDB won't let me publish a deck with two heroes that share a name. Even RingsDB hates Spirit Pippin!

One Simple Trick to Fix Spirit Pippin the Devs Don't Want You to Know About:

  • Take a sharpie.
  • Cross out "Pippin"
  • Write "Rosie"

Boom, the worst hero in the entire card pool (courtesy of Warden of Arnor) instantly becomes a playable and even-- dare I say it?-- decent, without any change to his printed text box.

Really, the problem with Spirit Pippin is the card he'd work best with is Lore Pippin. He goes okay with Spirit Merry and Hero Sam Gamgee, (and if I had to build a non-cheating lineup with him I would indeed go with Merry and Sam), but Spirit Pippen and Lore Pippin go together like peas and carrots.

Consider: Deep Knowledge is an amazing card. In essence, it allows you to raise your threat by two to net one extra card. (The first card drawn only replaces Deep Knowledge itself.) That's fantastically powerful! But the Pippin/Pippen pairing essentially gives you a repeatable Deep Knowledge; optionally engage an enemy with an engagement cost higher than your threat, raise your threat by three to push him back into staging, and draw a card.

With your basic Lore Pippin / Spirit Pippin pairing in place, (or, if you followed my advice, your Lore Pippin / "Spirit Rosie" pairing), you can fill out your lineup with either Spirit Merry, (to keep your threat low enough to repeat your engagement shenanigans and make the ultimate turtle deck), or Sam, (to make more of an Aggro-Hobbit deck). Sam is an amazing hero, but he struggles with low-engagement enemies. With the Pippins behind him, when you're forced to engage a low-engagement enemy, you can optionally engage a high-engagement enemy first, ready Sam and give him his stat boost, then push the high-engagement enemy away to let Sam focus on the low-engagement one.

If you'll allow me to make a thematic argument for "Spirit Rosie", consider: during what percentage of the books did Pippin appear in an all-hobbit lineup? Not much, for sure. Once he left the Shire he was travelling with Aragorn. Then he was part of the fellowship. Then he was hanging with the Ents, and he spent much of the final book with no Hobbits anywhere to be seen. So why does he have an ability that doesn't exist unless he's entirely surrounded by Hobbits?

By contrast, we never see Rosie except around Hobbits. And thematically, avoiding engagement until the very end is sort of the hallmark of the Shire. Plus, the idea that she works so naturally to "inspire" Samwise-- giving him the ready and the stat boost without exposing him to too much danger-- just feels very satisfying.


So okay, maybe you're not quite ready to take a sharpie to one of your heroes-- even your absolute worst hero-- but hopefully you're at least willing to indulge a quick round of "let's pretend". This deck is a pretty basic Merry/Pippin/"Rosie" Hobbit Turtle deck, designed to stay in secrecy, quest fast, draw heavy, and avoid combat.

The first Fast Hitch should go on Merry to enable him to quest every round and still use his ability. Once one is on him, it allows some real jank-- you can quest with Merry, ready him, then use his ability and Don't Be Hasty! on the first enemy revealed, leaving him ready and able to use his ability a second time that round, too. This is good, because the Rosie/Pippin engine thrives on as much threat reduction as you can feed it.

In terms of draw, in addition to your "Rosie"/Pippin engine, you've got your usual Daeron's Runes and Peace, and Thought, (which is especially potent with the cheap Hitches in the deck), but you also have a trio of Hobbit Pipes that are capable of doing real work; they can be triggered by Free to Choose, Needful to Know, Smoke Rings, or The Galadhrim's Greeting. An opening-hand pipe can net you a half-dozen cards over the course of the game.

If you want to be generous, put the pipes on the Wandering Tooks, instead. Then send them across the table and play a Greeting. You get five threat reduction, your partner gains one threat but gets an ally and a card in the bargain. Since you're rarely engaging anything for long, the Tooks can probably do more good across the table, anyway.

Celduin Traveler and Ithilien Lookout are two of the best allies in the entire game when you're in secrecy, and both do amazing things with Spirit Merry's ability. Ethir Swordsman is a generic willpower bomb. Bilbo Baggins is your personal pipe bitch, and Arwen Undómiel not only gives you two willpower for two resources, she also sends a defense across the table to any partner deck griping about you sticking them with all the enemies. (If you're very persuasive, maybe you can even convince them to use the Sentinel to bail you out if you wind up stuck engaged with someone, too.) Gandalf is Gandalf. With the gobs of card draw you have, he's mostly for more threat reduction. He also serves as a great outlet for your Lore resources, which have a habit of really piling up. (If you are successful at staying in secrecy, about half of your Lore cards cost one resource and the other half are free.)

Noiseless Movement can help keep your partners from getting swamped by the enemies you're pushing back into staging, (and can be a repeatable outlet for your Lore resources, which have a habit of piling up). Take No Notice likewise gives your partners some breathing room and also increases the number of viable targets for your Pippin/"Rosie" combo; combined with Lore Pippin, enemies see their engagement cost boosted by a very healthy 8 points.

In quests with nasty treacheries that punish questing characters, or quests where you have to carefully control your committed willpower to avoid overquesting, the Hobbit Ponies in the sideboard are amazingly powerful tools. You can keep all three heroes in reserve and avoid commiting them until after staging, then send the exact amount of willpower you need. Courage Awakened also provides a lot of help in this regard, and can serve as a generic willpower boost when you find yourself with a surplus of Spirit resources.

The rest of the sideboard is mostly a suite of cards to help you out in quests where avoiding engagement entirely is impossible. Small Target plus Silver Lamp is hilarious, and Hobbit-sense, In the Shadows, and Out of Sight are great boons to a reluctant engager. There's also a bit more threat reduction and three copies of Resourceful. Honestly, the deck plays so incredibly cheaply that you probably don't need it, but it's so incredible that it seems crazy to make a deck that lives in Secrecy and doesn't include it anywhere.

If you really, really love yourself some jank, you can attach two Fast Hitches and a Hobbit Pony to Merry. Declare him as a quester, then ready him with a Fast Hitch. When an enemy is revealed, trigger his ability and then use Don't Be Hasty to ready him and remove him from the quest. When the next enemy is revealed, trigger his ability again. After staging, use your second Fast Hitch to ready him, then use the Hobbit Pony to recommit him to the quest. It's an awful lot of setup just to add an extra two points of willpower to the quest, but on the other hand, can you really put a price on comedy?

(No. No you cannot.)

4 comments

May 13, 2016 DnT 80

Well done. Another excellent deck.

May 14, 2016 TipsyGamer 1

Looks like fun, I'd like to try this alongside a Dunedain deck; that way you're doing your partner a 'favour' by making sure that they get all the enemies :)

May 14, 2016 TipsyGamer 1

Another thing that could be fun with your Pipe/Wandering Took combo and all your threat reduction would be adding a couple of Song of Earendils so that you can share some of the love with your partners.

May 15, 2016 Some Sort 1116

If you're willing to ease up on the card draw, song of earendil would be great. If you're abusing the Pippins a lot, though, that's four threat a round; it doesn't leave much room for eating someone else's threat, too, especially if you're trying to keep your secrecy discount and keep cycling Courage Awakened. It'd be a good swap against quests where threat management is a huge priority, though.