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Card Talk 1092
Inspired by the 2019 Card Talk Christmas episode https://youtu.be/D7dBd3ZIJEY
If you are stuck in a rut in how to use Treebeard in a deck that is not expressly ent themed, this may be your choice. It was a debate on the show if there is enough Ent traited cards to make sure that Entmoot would hit. My solution is to not use any ent cards, save for Treebeard and Ent Draught and what I got is a pretty fun deck to play and is decently thematic in that it's not so hasty.
Right of the bat, I can say that a weakness of the deck is archery heavy quests like Escape From Umbar.
But, barring any craziness, here's the way this deck should play out.
I hate to say it, but the sooner you can get Steward of Gondor in play, the better. If you draw or mulligan it in your opening hand, you skip Frodo Baggins' response the first round to get the second resource on him for round two so that you can play it. It's interesting because I think the best place to put it is Treebeard, but the first round or two you can probably put it on Frodo Baggins, too. This helps with triggering his response while still being able to play Rosie Cotton or having resources to play a sneaky Gandalf or even Taste it Again!.
The other resource generator, Necklace of Girion is best suited for Frodo Baggins, but if it goes on Treebeard, it's not the end of the world. It's nice because after the first few rounds you will be consistently questing with both Frodo Baggins and Treebeard. In the end, you just want Steward and Necklace on two separate heros and NOT on Bilbo Baggins.
Let's talk about Bilbo Baggins. His resources are used for Halfling Determination (or if you prefer, sideboard in Feint) and Spear of the Citadel. Along with Ent Draught and Sting, he becomes a formidable defender, with 3 and does 2 direct damage once declared as a defender. I also prefer that at least 2, if not all, of the Fast Hitch's go on him as well so that he can quest, and take a defense or two.
In conjunction with getting resource acceleration on Treebeard, it's important to get Ioreth out also. Her healing is vital for the health of Treebeard to keep him going.
A few obvious things to note is that all the Self Preservations should go on Treebeard along with all the Crams as they come out. Also, there is no reason to hold off on using Cram if you need a ready. I have found that the earlier in the game you get them, the better for Treebeard.
Gildor Inglorion and Elrond are late additions because you need somewhere to use the lore resources that are being generated. Also, there are times that you just need an ally to do something and these folks can really help with that.
The surprise, at least for me, was the card Taste it Again!. This card, for 1 resource, allows Treebeard to ready and then get +2 . With Frodo Baggins in the game, your threat stays low and can likely trigger. Also, you don't need to use that ready to attack back. If you are desperate, you can use that ready for a second defense if Bilbo Baggins isn't powered up. It was a diamond in the rough.
A few future changes that might be reasonable:
Adjust the deck to include Warden of Healing.
Take out The Arkenstone and the side quest.
Add a few ents, like Beechbone or Derndingle Warrior to use some of those tactics resources. Also, the Wellinghall Preserver may be a good add to heal up Treebeard.
I think it's also possible, with small adjustments, to make this a Fellowship deck. But there is a balance to adjust if doing this.
It's been a fun deck to test and to play.
All Bilbo Baggins hero versions start at 9 threat... For me, it should be 6, and that'Ms how I play him. I guess the devs did not want to have different versions of a hero with different threat levels.
And I tell you, Lore Bilbo at 6 threats with his extra card draw, is awesome!