Card search effects live and die on three factors - how easy it is to play, how likely it is to find a card it's searching for, and how effective the card we find is going to be. So let's have a look at why Raise the Shire is so good for the Hobbit archetype.

Costing only a single resource, and requiring you to engage an enemy makes it very easy to play. Engaging enemies, especially enemies with higher engagement cost than your threat, is what the Hobbit archetype is all about. And while there are only two Tactics Hobbit heroes (Merry and Tom), they both fill unique spots in the archetype that make them quite popular in both the classic Black Riders lineup (Sam, Merry, Pippin) and the usual Bond lineup (Sam, SpMerry, Pippin, Tom).

How likely it is to find an eligible Hobbit ally within the first 5 cards really depends on the build. But the kicker, where if the enemy engaged is above your threat, is the real power of this card. Being able to search your whole deck for the right Hobbit ally for the situation is incredibly powerful, makes it incredibly difficult to fail to find an ally to play with it unless somehow you've already drawn all of your allies before drawing into this card. And engaging enemies with a higher engagement cost that your threat is what the Hobbit archetype is all about, so it's playing into what you should already be trying to do anyway.

And how good are the allies you can get with this card? Well, as much as Hobbits have generally good allies anyway, I've found there are really only two that I look for consistently with Raise the Shire - Rosie and Gaffer Gamgee. Rosie provides such versatility to the Hobbit archetype that having in play will shore up any weakness you have to the current quest and allow you to build a proper board state. Gaffer is Feint on a stick, and while you may not need or be able to afford him every turn, being able to dodge the boss enemy attack for a turn can be enough to ensure you can kill it quicker as well.

The ally comes back into your hand at the end of the round; you only get it for one round without having to pay for it normally. But it means the turn it gets used you can use Gaffer's effect with impunity because you were going to have to pay for him anyway. The other thing this enables is picking an ally with an enters play effect - eg Bilbo or Odo Proudfoot - let's you double down on it, and potentially get two pipes or events for your trouble. If you already have the ally you want for your strategy, grabbing a generally useful ally such as Bywater Shirriff or Hobbit Archer never feels wasteful.

So for a single resource, it can be a Feint, or grab an extra blocker if you need it, or make sure that you get that key combo piece you need sooner rather than later. The versatility of the Hobbit allies means Raise the Shire is never going to be a dead card in your hand, and can also serve as extra copies of key allies to help thin your deck and then be used for different allies later on.

The one thing to watch out for with this card is the ally you put into play cannot come from your hand, so if you've already drawn the single copy of whichever ally you want they can't be put into play by this effect. So when engaging an enemy, play Raise the Shire before triggering Pippin's response to ensure you don't accidentally draw the card you want to put into play.

Some other notable interactions - the response is not restricted to the encounter phase, so it can be triggered by a DĂșnedain Hunter or Wait no Longer and the ally brought in can be used for questing. Halbarad's effect kicks in the moment they are engaged, so you would get the benefit of the extra engagement cost while playing Raise the Shire. It's also worth pointing out you don't need a Hobbit hero to play it, so you could take in a different archetype as well - say a Gandalf deck trying to get value from Bilbo.

Farmer Maggot is also an interesting target. With Tom Cotton, that's 2 damage and 4 attack, enough to ensure a kill on the majority on ennemies. You can even replay him next planning phase for 2 more damage if needed. —
That's true, I missed him! —

This is probably one of the strongest cards in the Hobbit archetype. In the long game it essentially gives you a recurring version of Feint, but a slightly higher cost. You can absorb a major enemy into your engagement area and keep it in a permanent stasis where it cannot attack. Recommended for inclusion in Hobbit decks with a lore contingent (ideally at least two heroes with lore sphere) and it may even be worth running multiples to get him earlier.

Red book of westmarch is his best friend - play it on a lore hero, there's your two resources every round. Plus he becomes a 2 willpower questor that then stops an attack —

A nice card in combination with Sam Gamgee, particularly if he is wearing a Hobbit Cloak to survive an attack. In a standard Hobbit deck with low threat, Sam typically readies himself when you engage an enemy and he will now have Attack 2 before any modifier from attachments. If he can survive in defence then this card will ready him again and he will now have Attack 4 for his counter-attack. Thus, typically this card will cost you one resource for at least 4 Attack against an engaged enemy (possibly more if Sam has other Attack bonuses). That compares favourable with many direct damage cards in Tactics (e.g., Swift Strike, Skyward Volley, Goblin-cleaver, Fierce Defense) but it requires surviving Defence first. Since Hobbit decks have limited attack power, this is a useful card that can help you deal with difficult enemies engaged with you. It is generally strong in a Hobbit deck using Sam Gamgee and I would recommend inclusion in most decks of this kind.

Also one of the best lines from the books. Action hero Samwise. —

Review Summary: An absolute powerhouse in hobbit decks using ring-sphere Frodo

This is an extremely powerful card in hobbit decks that use one of the variations of the ring-sphere Frodo (e.g., Frodo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Frodo Baggins). For a hobbit deck of this kind that is oriented to questing you will usually have four questing hobbit-heroes, which means that you will gain four willpower and (net) three cards for only two ring-resources. This card can single-handedly refill your hand when you are running low on cards and it gives a substantial bump to the willpower contribution to the quest. This is one of the most cost-effective draw-engines in the game --- it is roughly comparable to Mithrandir's Advice in mono-spirit, or Campfire Tales in a large multiplayer game, even before factoring in the willpower gain.

For hobbit decks using ring-sphere Frodo, I highly recommend running three copies of this card. In my own play with this type of deck this card (see decklist here) is the most powerful card in the deck and is definitely the one I most like to have in my hand. Its ability to give you a strong questing turn and also draw into new cards is extremely useful. It allows you to take charge of the questing in a large fellowship and also ensures that you do not run out of cards in the long-game. The card is excellent in combination with three copies of Drinking Song, since the latter allows you to search for it early in the game and get a roll-on with card draw.

Review Summary: A flexible threat-reduction card adding utility for hobbit decks that use spirit

This is a strong threat-reduction card for hobbit decks, allowing them some flexibility in questing with bonus threat-reduction. The card operates best in hobbit decks where all the characters will be committed to the quest, which tends to occur in spirit-based variants. (Note that the card operates on characters, not just heroes; consequently, your hobbit allies can also be removed from questing to reduce your threat.) The ability to ready characters and remove them from the quest can be a useful reaction in situations where the cards from the encounter deck cause problems. Alternatively, it can be used for straight threat-reduction by committing all your hobbits to the quest and then removing them all (not recommended unless another player can contribute the necessary willpower to succeed at the quest).

In a standard hobbit deck using three heroes and a smattering of hobbit allies, this card can allow you to ready enough characters to remove three to five threat. In hobbit decks that use an additional campaign hero (e.g., Frodo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins) it can remove an additional threat. The resource cost is low relative to the amount of threat reduction so it is cost-effective (but less so than The Shirefolk, which is the main powerhouse threat-reduction in a hobbit deck). In order to get maximum value from the card, you need to be able to use your hobbit characters effectively for an alternative purpose after you ready them and remove them from the quest. This can be a challenge in hobbit decks but it may be feasible if you can augment your heroes with some good attachments. Overall, this is a reasonable hobbit card, giving solid threat-reduction and some reactive flexibility in cases where the encounter deck throws up nasty surprises.

Hot tip: Commit all your hobbit characters to the quest. After revealing encounter card(s), you can play Elevenses before calculating progress. This allows you to manipulate your board to suit your situation in the moment when you have more information. The best part is you can even commit Hobbit characters with 0 willpower because removing them reduces your threat!That's the real power of this card in my humble opinion. —