Shelob's Lair progression
The main idea of this fellowship is having Denethor defend Shelob whenever possible, equipped with a Gondorian Shield, A Burning Brand and preferably several Unexpected Courages, ideally also boosted by Arwen. For cases where Arwen's sentinel doesn't help, Sam is the defender for the other deck with his hobbit cloak and possibly the Staff of Lebethron, that is basically another Burning Brand. If Sam becomes Steward of Gondor, he can also get the other copy of Gondorian Shield and still be a good defender should your threat get too high.
Several other tricks for the quest itself:
- you can't place progress on Underground locations on stage 1, however you can still stall a little if threat in the staging area doesn't get too high, which helps you establish the board for later stages
- if you can afford it, don't sacrifice the Gondorian Spearmen and rather save them for Shelob on the 3rd stage - they will help you to get rid of her resources a lot faster
- Steward can help Sam to become a better defender with the Gondorian Shield, but if you have your hand full of Tactics cards, don't be afraid to put Steward on Merry, you can always redistribute your resources afterwards with an Errand-Rider
- as always, use the West-Road Traveller to avoid some of the nasty travel effects