Merry, Friend to Sam (1R302)
|Master Proudfoot, Distant Relative of Bilbo (1U301)||
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|Merry, From O'er the Brandywine (1C303)|
Merry, Friend to Sam (1R302) is a Shire Companion from the Fellowship of the Ring set.
!Merry, Friend to Sam is a popular and potent card, and can often be found in any format where he is legal. As a support companion who can add three strength to anyone else he is already quite versatile. But with various ways of increasing his strength, and the plethora of healing available to [Shire] characters, he can become a very powerful asset to the Free Peoples player.
In Fellowship Block, the only permanent that increases Merry's strength is Hobbit Sword, bringing his boost up to plus five strength. However, there are also a number of temporary buffs that can be given to Merry before he adds his strength: There and Back Again; Boromir, Son of Denethor; Depart Silently or any Hobbit pump. These are even more effective if Merry adds his strength multiple times, which can be achieved via Strength of Spirit or Stout and Sturdy.
The Return of the King provides Merry's Armor, which increases his strength at the cost of his vitality. In contrast, Reflections introduces Everyone Knows, which boosts Merry's strength based on his vitality. However, this is a double-edged sword in Friend to Sam's case, as exerting him twice will lower his strength before it is added to another companion. This can be mitigated by having at least six vitality, or by using Strength of Spirit.
Later sets include further ways to increase Merry's strength: Leader of the Company, G for Grand and various followers.
As new sets are added to the game, there are an increasing number of ways to increase Merry's vitality: Escape, Ent Draught, Frodo Gamgee and Little Golden Flower. This makes it easier to use his ability multiple times, and synergises with Everyone Knows.
There is an abundance of methods to heal Merry. The early sets include Farmer Maggot, Chaser of Rascals who can provide consistent healing with Old Bilbo's Heir or Hobbit Party Guest; Hobbit Appetite, which can be a one-shot full heal; Herald to Gil-Galad, who can heal him once per turn and Stout and Sturdy, which can be used during a skirmish. With the introduction of The Two Towers, a host of other options also open up for Merry. He can be discarded by Warmed up a Bit (or the later Diversion) and then replayed by Knocked on the Head, Greyhame or Earthborn, effectively healing him. He can also be healed by Have Patience, Store-Room or the later Peace of Mind.
With Bloodlines, Hobbits can heal each other with Fates Entwined, which is extremely potent when combined with Friend to Sam, as he can add his strength to another Hobbit, allowing them to win, so that they can then heal him. This also works with Isildur, Sword-Bearer.
Since Friend to Sam very rarely wants to fight, it is important for the Free Peoples player to try and protect him as much as possible, as he cannot use his ability when he is assigned to a skirmish. This makes him vulnerable to swarms and assignment abilities, such as those of Orc Assassin or Servant of the Eye. This issue is exacerbated in Siege of Gondor, which contains direct assignment actions that cannot be prevented (Gorgoroth Assassin, Between Nazgul and Prey). Free Peoples assignment actions (Always Helps) can sometimes help protect Friend to Sam against these effects.
Cards that can support Friend to Sam include Boromir, Son of Denethor; Bounder; There and Back Again and Bow of the Galadhrim. He also benefits from various skirmish cancelling effects (Hobbit Stealth, Escape, Severed His Bonds, No Visitors, Halfling Leaf) and replacement effects (Brave Decoy, Sword of Boromir, The White Rider).
Strengths and Weaknesses
- High strength minions (Can prevent overwhelm when supporting another companion)
- Minions with victory triggers (Dunlending Pillager, Hillman Tribe)
- Shadow strength boosts
- Assignment actions
- If Merry exerts twice to add his strength while Everyone Knows is out, his strength will reduce before he adds it to another companion
|Merry, From O'er the Brandywine (1C303)||While Merry bears a weapon, he is strength +2.|
|Merry, Horticulturalist (2C104)||Fellowship: Exert Merry to play Farmer Maggot from your draw deck.|
|Merry, Learned Guide (4C310)||Skirmish: Exert the Ring-bearer to discard Merry. Any Shadow player may remove to prevent this.|
|Merry, Unquenchable Hobbit (4R311)||Skirmish: If Merry is not assigned to a skirmish, discard him to remove a Orc from a skirmish involving an unbound companion.|
|Merry, Impatient Hobbit (6R113)||Regroup: Discard Merry to heal a companion.|
|Merry, Rohirrim Squire (7C320)||Skirmish: If you cannot spot 3 threats, add a threat to make Merry strength +2.|
|Merry, Swordthain (7R321)||Skirmish: If Merry is not assigned to a skirmish, return him to your hand to play up to 2 possessions from your discard pile.|
|Merry, Noble Warrior (8P121)||To play, spot a companion.
Skirmish: Discard 4 cards from hand to make Merry strength +2 for each companion you spot.
|Merry, Loyal Companion (11C168)||For each other unbound companion assigned to a skirmish, Merry is strength +2.|
|Merry, The Tall One (15C149)||While Merry bears a follower, he is strength +2.
Skirmish:If Merry is skirmishing a hunter minion, add a threat to make Merry strength +2.
|Merry, In the Bloom of Health (17U107)||Add 1 to the number of Ents you can spot.
Regroup:</br> Exert Merry to place a pipeweed from your discard pile beneath your draw deck.
|Merry, Resolute Friend (19P29)||Fellowship.
Skirmish: If Merry is not assigned to a skirmish, take 2 cards from your discard pile and remove them from the game to make a companion strength +2.
|Merry, Of Buckland (V1_52)||Assignment: Exert Merry 3 times to prevent a minion from being assigned to a skirmish until the regroup phase. The Shadow player may exhaust that minion to prevent this.|
- Fellowship Block: Anti-Nazgul/Moria - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,9736.0.html
- Fellowship Block: The Smoky Tales of Hobbits and Men in Moria - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,9433.0.html
- Fellowship Block: Boromoria - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,9096.0.html
- Towers Standard: Hobbit Choke / Moria Archery - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,8464.0.html
- King Standard: Mordorcs/Wizards Pupil - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,9980.0.html
- Movie Block: Dauntless Sam/Roaming Orcs - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,9110.0.html
- Expanded: Shards of Narsil initiative / Treacherous Little Toad - http://lotrtcgwiki.com/forums/index.php/topic,10142.0.html