Considering how many great Dwarf allies there are, this one (and from one of the early cycles) is surprisingly balanced. 2 for 1 , 0 , 1 , and 2 is exactly what we expect for an ally at that price. The 1 is nice and the and allow the Ered Nimrais Prospector to take a small hit in a pinch (and soak up one archery damage). In any normal deck, this card is incredibly unremarkable.

But of course, this card is meant to be used in Dwarf mining decks (where the Dwarf trait impoves this ally's stat line anyways with Dáin Ironfoot or Hardy Leadership). The mining ability is great in Dwarf mining decks because those decks want to discard the top cards of the deck anyways, perhaps even finding a Hidden Cache or a Ered Luin Miner down in the mine. But the second part of the ability is where this card truly shines. "Then, choose and shuffle 1 card from your discard pile back into your deck". This card fixes the biggest problem with discarding cards from the top of your deck: discarding an essential card such as Will of the West. The beauty of this card is you can wait until the essential card is discarded because you can shuffle ANY card from your discard pile back into your deck, not just the top card like Galadhrim Weaver. This gives you much more comfort in recklessly mining for all the gems in the world.

Of course, this card isn't perfect. You could just as easily have all your copies of Ered Nimrais Prospector discarded into the discard pile, but this card still improves the consistency of mining in the long-run. One nice side benefit of the card is it allows you to shuffle Hidden Cache back into your deck to keep mining for resources.

I recommend you give the prospector a try if you overlooked them (and not just because Dwarves are short), as they might surprise you with their useful stat line and interesting ability.

This is far and away my favourite contract in the game, and I would go so far as to say that it is also one of the most creatively stimulating cards in the game. Here's why.

What this card basically does is expands your choices for heroes by as many non-neutral unique allies you own. The possibilities are endless! Do you need another hobbit hero for your hobbit deck, but you don't have any hobbit heroes available? Ally Sam Gamgee can fill that slot. Are you making a deck reliant on getting a specific pipe? Ally Bilbo Baggins can make you start the game with a pipe. Do you want to make a Gandalfless-Vilya deck without totally relying on Imladris Stargazer? Choose ally Gildor Inglorion as your hero!

This card opens so many options! You can even use it on allies like Ioreth or Galion to have a hero worth 1 threat! This card opens up secrecy options, theming options, or combo options (like Gamling in Rohan decks).

Some of the best choices include: Birna, Legolas, Pippin, Arwen Undómiel, Súlien, Éothain, Forlong, Gimli, Halfast Gamgee, Rosie Cotton, Bob, Firyal, and Galdor of the Havens and the cards already specified above.

What if you already have a deck with the contract in it but you want to make a different deck usign a Messenger of the King hero? Who cares! Just pretend you have another copy of the card. Realistically, all the contract does is open hero choices. That's why it is so great. Any card that paves the way for creativity is something I give my full support to. Give it a try if you haven't already. Don't own the card? Pretend you do! It won't make a difference.

Angbor the Fearless is one of my favorite targets. He guarantees that your threat will be low enough to use Pillars of the Kings and then he contributes 5 points of stats. —

I don't think this is a card people use very often in their hobbit decks.

Personally, I always try to include it in my hobbit decks because the theme is just so good. It perfectly embodies the support Sam gives to Frodo in their journey across Middle-Earth.

But, how good is the card? +1 in each stat on a hero is always amazing, but it comes with a heavy reastriction. 2 copies of the card need to be in play for the ability to come into effect. This makes it akward as only three copies can be included in a deck. This means we need to get 2/3 cards into play to get any value out of it.

Of course, this is assuming the card exists in a vacuum. These days, there are many ways to help ensure we get both copies in play. Gather Information, Drinking Song, Master of the Forge, Galadriel, Imladris Stargazer, Mirror of Galadriel, and Word of Command are just a few.

Sam Gamgee and Tom Cotton make great use out of this card especially with Fast Hitch or Unexpected Courage.

Of course, does this card do anything that Rosie Cotton doesn't do better? Rosie is significantly more consistant to set up and has comparable benefits. So, not really.

TLDR: This isn't an amazing card, nor is it an outright terrible card. It's an okay card, but most importantly it is a fun card. That last point is the takeaway. We play and love this game because it is enjoyable. Anythong that increases that enjoyment gets a pass in my book. Hence, why I love this card so much. Hopefully I convinced someone to give this card a second look.

Personally I always add it in my Bond of Friendship Hobbit decks, since it's a cheap neutral card and with Gather Information and the heavy card draw of those decks I can usually find both copies before the game's end. It was quite crucial in my Saga attempts, making Fatty and Sam a duo to be reckoned with. —
Its especially good with Fast Hitch or At the End of All Things hobbit decks. I made one that used it heavily: —

I've found this version of Faramir a good companion for Guarded (Enemy) attachments. It is not the best card to deal with them, I agree, but I believe his ability is worth enough to give it a shot.

Once you play the attachment and the guardian is revealed, you can play Faramir to immediately engage the enemy, dealing it a direct 4 damage. If you are able to prepare the encounter deck for this, you will be able to claim the attachment at the same moment you've played it.

It is a bit tricky to make it work, since you will need to have the ability to play both Faramir and the attachment within the same planning phase. On top of that, having a scrying tool, to be sure that Faramir will be able to insta-kill the upcoming guardian, is also a must.

Fortunately, Faramir belongs to the sphere with the most powerful scrying cards (Denethor, Henamarth, Risk Some Light, Rumour from the Earth, etc.). Besides, the lore sphere also has Glamdring as guarded enemy attachment, and there are also available several neutral ones (Necklace of Girion, Ring of Thrór, The Arkenstone).

So, if you are playing with a mono-lore deck, to be prepared to apply this combo shouldn't be as hard as it looks.

This card works perfectly with Lothíriel for instant willpower and damage due to the Gondor trait. —

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 Dúnedain 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! —