Evil-smelling Fens (5U22)
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Evil-smelling Fens is a staple in any deck using Gollum. It's a powerful and versatile tool to replay a minion of your choice from your discard pile. Plus, you don't need to spot Gollum to play it, so you can always get it out of your hand easily and cheaply to prevent it from clogging things up. If you leave it in play, it's an extra minion you can play later that doesn't have to come from your hand. However, if you use it on the turn you play it, there's almost nothing the Free Peoples player can do to stop you from using it.
You can use Evil-smelling Fens to play a single powerful minion repeatedly over the course of the game. Shelob, Her Ladyship (10R23) (forming the core of Ninja Gollum), The Witch-king, Morgul King (7R221) , The Balrog, Demon of Might (19P18) , and Watcher in the Water, Many-tentacled Creature (19P21) are popular targets. But you can also use it to replay a minion that hurts your opponent's gameplan, like Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U231) , Tower Assassin (2R93) , Gríma, Wormtongue (4R154) , Gríma, Chief Counselor (5R51) , Sauron, The Lord of the Rings (9R+48) , Mauhúr, Relentless Hunter (15S164) , or Úlairë Nertëa, Dark Horseman (19P38) . While the minion you want needs to be in the discard pile, self-mill cards like Ever My Heart Rises (4R46) or Realm of Dwarrowdelf (2R12) can dump cards into discard for you to download.
It also makes every site a marsh, so it's a must in any deck using Watcher in the Water, Keeper of Westgate (2R73) and its tentacles. (It's no longer necessary with Watcher in the Water, Many-tentacled Creature (19P21) , but may be useful to replay that minion, or to use Huge Tentacle (2R66) to download Many-Tentacled Creature.) You don't even need to run Gollum in this deck, although many decks do.
The only real limitation on the card, other than deck space, is exerting Gollum. This is a minor cost in Movie Block and King Block: the only cards of note in these formats that exert Gollum for some useful effect are Gollum, Dark as Darkness (9R+28) and Final Strike (10U20) . Later sets have powerful cards that exert Gollum, like Incited (11R44) and Not This Time! (15R47) . However, there's also Sudden Strike (15U51) , which serves a similar role but grabs its target from the deck, allowing you to set up a utility minion for later re-use.
Strengths and Weaknesses
- Any deck that centers around a single powerful minion that it wants to play and replay repeatedly. In Ninja Gollum, this is Shelob, Her Ladyship (10R23) , but there are many other popular choices, like Desert Lord (4R219) , The Witch-king, Morgul King (7R221) , Mûmak Commander, Giant Among the Swertings (15R86) , The Balrog, Demon of Might (19P18) , and Watcher in the Water, Many-tentacled Creature (19P21) .
- Any obnoxious hate minion that your opponent's deck is particularly vulnerable to or unprepared for. Popular choices: Bill Ferny, Swarthy Sneering Fellow (2R75) , Úlairë Enquëa, Lieutenant of Morgul (1U231) , Tower Assassin (2R93) , Gríma, Wormtongue (4R154) , Gríma, Chief Counselor (5R51) , Sauron, The Lord of the Rings (9R+48) , Mauhúr, Relentless Hunter (15S164) , or Úlairë Nertëa, Dark Horseman (19P38)
- Watcher in the Water, Keeper of Westgate (2R73) . It's basically unplayable without this card. (It's also basically unplayable with this card, but less so.)
- Evil-smelling Fens doesn't do anything on its own. It's a combo piece you use to replay a strong minion.
- Shadowplay (10U114) can stop Gollum from being able to use Evil-smelling Fens at all. However, the Free Peoples player will need two copies, and if you play Gollum first and then Evil-smelling Fens second, it'll be too late to exert Gollum.
- The very rarely-played Foot of Mount Doom (18U135) can prevent minions from going into your discard pile.
- Sméagol, Scout and Guide (11R51) is also very rare, but much stronger when Evil-smelling Fens is in play.
- Pokemon Trainer Gollum, by dmaz on the Last Homely House forums. This Movie Block deck uses Gollum with Nazgul and Morgul Squealer (8R77) and a host of splash minions, all recurred with Evil-smelling Fens.
- Ever My Heart Rises/Greyhame, by Enduring on the Last Homely House forums. This Movie Block deck is a Corsair/Nazgul/Gollum Shadow side paired with a Free Peoples side that uses Ever My Heart Rises (4R46) to mill most of the (huge!) deck into the discard pile.
- Ultimate Madril, by sgtdraino on the Last Homely House forums. This Expanded deck works similarly to the decks above, but supplements it with Sudden Strike (15U51) .