Clever Hobbits (7U54)
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|Days Growing Dark (7U55)|
Clever Hobbits (7U54) is a Gollum Event from the Return of the King set.
Clever Hobbits has two separate uses, as a powerful but expensive pump event for Smeagol-focused decks like Solo Smeagol, and as a powerful hate card against Ninja Gollum. It can even do both effects at the same time, because they are the same effect.
The most obvious use of Clever Hobbits is consuming your own Gollum Free Peoples conditions to help Sméagol survive a single difficult skirmish. Generally you'd only bother with this in Solo Smeagol, but it might apply to any rogue deck that relies on keeping Sméagol alive and winning skirmishes with him. Most versions of Solo Sméagol even run multiple copies of largely disposable conditions, like Poor Wretch (5C27) , There’s Another Way (12C40) , and sometimes even Never (7C65) . All of those can be tossed with Clever Hobbits to pump up Sméagol to keep him alive. However, not only do you lose the (small) benefit of those conditions, but these decks also run Nasty (7U64) . As a result, Clever Hobbits is mainly used as a trump card in Solo Sméagol, to get through particularly tough turns.
Unless you're playing against a Gollum Shadow deck. Clever Hobbits can also discard your opponent's Gollum Shadow cards. Gollum-based Shadow decks, particularly Ninja Gollum, often rely on key conditions like They Stole It (6R46) , Promise Keeping (8R24) , Hidden Even From Her (8C22) , Incited (11R44) , Not This Time! (15R47) , Not Easily Avoided (18R32) , and more. Ninja Gollum will often build up a huge support area full of important cards, and you can wipe out all of them at once with Clever Hobbits. The only defense against this is two copies of Deceit (18R29) : the second one protects the first one, the first one protects the second one, then they protect all of the other Gollum conditions in turn. But even then, you're likely to lose some conditions if there isn't a fair amount of twilight already in the pool. (A single copy of Deceit simply gets discarded first with no helpful effect.)
You can even play Clever Hobbits as anti-Ninja Gollum hate in a deck that isn't running Sméagol at all. You don't need to play it during Sméagol's skirmish, so you can wipe out your opponent's Gollum conditions at will, or cycle it out of your hand anytime for a negligible cost. If you're really worried about your Ninja Gollum matchup (and you can't run some more-useful card like Gimli's Helm (1R15) , From the Armory (4U47) , Deep in Thought (3C30) , or Galadriel, Lady Redeemed (10R11) ), then Clever Hobbits is an option to wipe out their built-up support area at least once.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Sméagol, Bearer of Great Secrets (9R+30) often uses this to survive hard turns in Solo Smeagol, at the cost of weakening Nasty (7U64)
- There are lots of cheap chaff Gollum Free Peoples conditions, like Poor Wretch (5C27) , There’s Another Way (12C40) , and Never (7C65) . You can also use it to throw away excess copies of Don’t Look at Them (6R39) and Follow Sméagol (5U23) .
- Gollum Shadow conditions. Ninja Gollum generally plays many conditions and few minions, so it suffers badly when they're discarded.
- Two copies of Deceit (18R29) , although this is somewhat debatable depending on how you interpret the card's wording. (See below.)
Decipher never officially ruled whether "any number" can be a number higher than the number of Gollum conditions you can actually spot, to overcome two copies of Deceit (18R29) in play. Player discussions have been contentious and didn't result in any consensus.
Currently on GEMP, you cannot pick more conditions than there are in play, so two copies of Deceit are useful as long as you can afford the twilight cost to protect your other conditions. The PC Errata version of Deceit (18R29) makes it unique, mooting this argument.