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|A Simple Trick to Fix Pippen the Devs Don't Want You to Know||8||1||4||1.0|
Some Sort 1188
PLEASE NOTE: The Lore Pippin in the sideboard should actually be in the starting lineup, but RingsDB won't let me publish a deck with two heroes that share a name. So in case you're wondering how I pay for my Lore cards... that'd be it.
This is my second attempt to fix Spirit Pippin by renaming him to "Rosie", instead. The first deck is here, along with an explanation for why I think this "fixes" Spirit Pippin, and why I think it's thematically justifiable.
In case my original deck wasn't Turtle-tastic enough for you, this deck takes it to a new extreme. The Pippin/Pippin pairing is amazing since it ensures you will literally never have to engage a normal enemy, provided you have enough threat to spare. Further, Lore Pippin ensures that triggering your Spirit Pippin engine nets you cards, which will help you draw into your threat reduction, which will let you keep fueling Spirit Pippin. Merry tags along to crank the threat reduction to 11.
Because you never have to worry about combat if you don't want to, it frees the deck to do crazy things. The first deck decided to use this freedom to powerquest like a boss. This deck eschews allies almost altogether, (grabbing only an insanely good secrecy ally and a pair of Henamarths to set up Merry.)
Instead, it's devoted to completely neutering the encounter deck. Out of the Wild, None Return, and Leave No Trace will fill the victory display, setting up some boss The Door is Closed! action. A Test of Will gives you cancellation while you're still populating the victory display, and Keen as Lances gets you either more Lore resources or more threat reduction.
Setting up your shenanigans is easy; the Celduin Traveler lets you peek at the top card, as does Risk Some Light, which helps you make informed decisions with Merry and Needful to Know. (Needful to Know also helps set up Merry.)
The biggest, most important part of this deck is staying in Secrecy. Many secrecy decks are designed to get a fast start before eventually leaving. In this one, if you don't stay in secrecy the entire game, you're going to find your Lore resources in incredibly short supply.
If you do stay in secrecy, affording stuff isn't usually too much of a problem, despite the heavy skew towards Lore player cards and the two Spirit heroes. You'll have 19 Lore cards that cost one resource each and 10 more that are free; with a Resourceful or two, Lore Pippin can keep up with that even with the extra card draw.
Your Spirit heroes are mostly using their resources on The Galadhrim's Greetings and recurring Courage Awakened. They also pay for the neutrals; if their resources pile up, don't think twice about playing a full-cost Keen as Lances early.
Also note: this deck is not designed for solo play. You can avoid combat, but it doesn't have enough willpower to quest over top of a full staging area. (It should easily be questing for 10+ a round, though, so it'll more than pull its weight in a full game as long as you have another deck thinning out the enemies a bit.)
For best results, pair with a Rossiel deck across the table and she will love you forever and ever and ever and ever.
In scenarios with a lot of really low-engagement enemies, using Spirit "Rosie" will just create too much of a threat burden. There are tons of solutions for this problem; O Elbereth! Gilthonial! blows low-engagement enemies away for free, Take No Notice turns them into high-engagement enemies (also for free), Noiseless Movement can take one out of action completely (though it's a bit of a drain on your Lore resources, so maybe add a couple Leaf Brooches, too), or Out of Sight and Hobbit-sense make staying engaged a little bit less fraught.
(The last two are less preferable, since you can't use "Rosie" to push away enemies once they're already engaged; you better have a way to kill them eventually once you let them through the door. Perhaps by adding in some of those Ithilien Lookouts, too.)
Alternately, you can shelve Spirit "Rosie" for Galadriel (who will help with draw and extra threat reduction, though you'll probably find the threat reduction is suddenly overkill), or for Rossiel herself. You lose the ability to disengage at will, though, so you'll need to be prepared to deal with a little bit more combat.