Used to revisit The Old Forest.
My initial idea here was to use Spirit Pippin, Tactics Merry, and Frodo. Sam was going to be relegated to his ally form. This would allow me to get the martial benefits of tactics combined with secrecy benefits (and continue trying to make Spirit Pippin work). I was able to get to stage 3 and damage Old Man Willow enough, but the staging area soon got the best of me and it was a downhill battle from there. I played around with improving on this initial idea and ended up deciding to work on modifying Drop It Like It's Hobbit, the deck I used to first tackle The Old Forest. Spirit Merry was switched with his Tactics variant and Lore Pippin was swapped with Spirit. Lore cards were removed and a splash of Tactics cards were put in their place. This was just an initial draft, to be tested once and then refined, but it ended up making short work of The Old Forest.
The decks performance this first time around could be due to its actual strength or just due to the luck of the draw. Here is how the planning stage of round 1 went: Played A Good Harvest, picking Spirit. Played Kili from my hand, fetching Fili and putting him into play. Shuffled. Played Timely Aid and put Treebeard into play (exhausted). Shuffled. Played A Very Good Tale, exhausting Fili and Kili. Discarded Ered Luin Miner (putting him into play), Imladris Stargazer, and Derndingle Warrior (put both of them into play, with the warrior exhausted).The next two subsequent rounds saw Beorn and Gandalf joining the team.
Strength aside, there is obvious room for improvement. At least one more Wizard Pipe and/or the return of Gildor Inglorion is required to help with moving needed cards from my hand to the top of the deck. An Elven Jeweler or Steed of Imladris would help make use of any dead cards in my hand (which I had plenty of by the end of the game). But I am a "win more" type of player (thus Land of Shadow Frodo is my ringbearer of choice) and this playthrough scratched that itch.