Sauron is getting cancelled
In other news, several victims have come forward, denouncing Sauron for creating a "toxic environment". A hobbit named Sméagol is suing the dark lord on grounds of harrasment, claming a "profound mental distress" and post-traumatic syndrom, after several decades of exposure to Sauron's influence. Here's Tom with the weather.
This time, we want to prevent relapse. By playing a fellowship that is heavy on scrying, we can remove both copies of stinker from the encounter deck before they get revealed. With his drawback removed, Sméagol is an amazing hero: he has a decent statline and ability for a measly 3 threat. That is great for building a deck that can stay in secrecy for a long time without restraining the other heroes.
Controling the encounter deck
All 4 decks have a lot of cards in common, that are all serving the same purpose. By increasing the number of those cards up to 12, we reach high consistency in finding those cards.
With Rossiel, Woodland Sentry and The Door is Closed!, we benefit a lot from adding things to the victory display. For that purpose, we have 7 copies of both Leave No Trace and None Return, 3 copies of Scout Ahead, and 12 copies of Out of the Wild. With all of those, we can quickly rid the encounter deck of all of the cards we dislike (including stinker), activate Rossiel's abilities, and make our 12 Keen as Lances cost 0.
Finally, with 12 copies of Gildor's Counsel and 6 copies of The Hidden Way, we can reduce drastically the number of cards revealed while we pick the encounter deck apart. Because we are playing 6 Northern Tracker and 3 Rhovanion Outrider, we don't mind accumulating locations in the staging area, and because of our low threat and playing of Haldir of Lórien, many enemies will be harmless to reaveal. We want to use our encounter deck control to reveal mostly harmless locations and harmless enemies.
Rossiel will receive Inner Strength, Cloak of Lórien and Dúnedain Warning, which will make her into a good defender. Light of Valinor will also free up her contract to be used for readying during the combat phase. Arwen Undómiel will give her sentinel so that she can defend for other players as well.
Galadriel with Nenya is a perfect grey wanderer: she can use the contract during planning to use her ability on anyone to absorb their threat and make them draw, and still be ready to use Nenya during questing. Mirror of Galadriel and Silver Harp are perfect for digging for the silver bullets or key pieces we need: Light of Valinor, a copy of Leave No Trace or None Return, A Test of Will, Arwen Undómiel, Northern Tracker, Unexpected Courage or Keen as Lances.
Starting the game with Dagger of Westernesse lets Haldir of Lórien deal with gollum right of the bat. 75% of the time, gollum will engage another player, and haldir will be able to use his ability on him without needing to defend gollum's attack.
Otherwise, Haldir of Lórien is excellent in this fellowship because of how low our threat is, and because of how much we can control what is revealed: many enemies will either have engagment cost high enough not to engage, or HP+armor low enough that haldir one shots them (with the help of Dagger of Westernesse, Bow of the Galadhrim and Legacy Blade). Using Firyal and Scout Ahead to make sure those enemies get revealed often generates high value.
His deck runs few allies to make use of Strider and Master of the Forge to help him find his blades. Since he will be tutoring for attachments, he is also the prime provider for many of the attachments we are looking for.
Sméagol and friends
The only non-grey wanderer deck in this fellowship, this deck still has a minuscule 18 starting threat. Having 3 heroes gives us access to Scroll of Isildur, The Great Hunt and Mithrandir's Advice. Because this deck is mostly events, Expert Treasure-hunter on Mirlonde and Firyal is a great low cost draw engine.
This fellowship is the ultimate turtle strategy: low threat lets us take the time to set up, Haldir of Lórien and Northern Trackers let us deal with the staging area from safety, and we can selectively add about a third of a typical encounter deck to the victory display by the end of the game, while Woodland Sentry, A Test of Will, Halfling Bounder and The Door is Closed! lets us cancel another third. Games get very long but by the end we can truly say the encounter deck has been utterly defeated.