The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game/Tactics/The Shire

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Why Play The Shire[edit]

Pros[edit]

  • Numbers: Hobbit models are some of the cheapest in the game, allowing you to take an unending horde of Hobbits to mob and beat down your enemies with a huge clatter of dice.
  • Range: Every Hobbit can throw stones and an Archer, plus the two models to make that Archer only 1/3rd of your army armed with a bow can cost as little as 13 points, less than some armies pay for just one model. Add in 3+ to hit base, and you can bury the enemy in a vast avalanche of shortbow shots and stones.
  • Hard to see: Small models mean you can hide easily. A single Hobbit can hold an objective and be impossible to shoot off because they can't see it.

Cons[edit]

  • Low Stats: Low move means you can be outmaneuvered. Low fight means you won't win ties. Low strength means you can have trouble confirming kills. Low defense means you'll die fast. You have to play well and use your numbers to make up for your stats.
  • Need lots of heroes: A 12 Hobbit Warband can cost less than 50 points. You'll need lots of heroes to take the numbers you need.
  • Occasionally confusing: So if you take Gandalf, you can take Dunedain but not the Four Heroes, but you can't take Dunedain without Gandalf but then if you take Bandobras you can't take any other Hobbit heroes, but you can still take Gandalf and Dunedain and GAH
    • Expanding on this, if you take Bandobras you HAVE to take Gandalf (and sometimes the Dunedain as well) to have an army bigger than 15 models because you both don't have generic heroes nor do you have the option to have warrior only warbands like other armies.

Army Bonus[edit]

    • Fear! Fire! Foes!: Hobbit models in your army get the Woodland Creature rule. Useful, as it can make up for your low movement by giving you an advantage in trees (against non-Elvish models at least).

Unit Analysis[edit]

Heroes[edit]

Frodo of the Nine Fingers.PNG
  • Frodo of The Nine Fingers: If you don't know who he is, you're not playing this game. This is Frodo on his return, so he works a little differently; he acts as a Banner for all Hobbits within 6", but can never charge and can't strike blows if his side wins, so he's best at holding back and acting as the only banner in your army. This is vital considering how poor your Fight values generally are, so most of your kills in combat will come from your enemy rolling poorly, and any chance you can roll higher should be taken. He's also the most expensive hero in your force (outside of Gandalf) at 60 points, and he only comes with 1 point of Might and 1 point of Fate (even if he has Defense 6 with his Mithril Coat), so make sure to keep him in the backlines, and save that point of Might for Heroic Defence. It also wouldn't be a bad idea to give him an Elven cloak and a pony; the Elven cloak is useful for when his pony dies or Frodo dismounts because it can keep him invisible to distant enemies and hiding like that doesn't turn off his banner buff, while the pony will help him move around the battlefield, spreading his buff to everyone who needs it and staying away from enemies who want to kill him, since otherwise he's stuck at Movement 4".
    • To make a truly effective fighting force, take Holfoot Bracegirdle and a good amount of Hobbit Shirriffs to receive Frodo's buff. Even though they're hobbits they hit surprisingly hard, especially for their points cost and both of these characters let them win Duels while using their two-handed weapons.
    • At Defence 6 and with an Elven cloak Frodo makes an ideal Leader so long as you're not bringing Merry and Pippin. He's far and away the hardest model to hurt or kill, but just be aware it'll become near impossible to win Contest of Champions, where the Victory is determined by how many models your Leader kills.
Samwise the Brave.PNG
  • Samwise The Brave: One of the highest Strength models in your army (at S3, with Sting) and comes with 2 might, 2 will and 3 fate. But without any neat special rules, you're probably better off taking Merry or Pippin first, as they're Heroes of Valor instead of Fortitude, and they actually come with some interesting rules. That being said Sam does still have use in the frontline as he's the only Hobbit that can wound Defence 5 (the majority of models in the game) on anything better than a 6, and Sam also has Courage 6. Combined with a war horn he'll only fail Courage tests on snake-eyes, and Heroic Strike also offers you a chance of having a higher Fight value for once, though don't expect it to be able to let you fight Monsters.
    • If you're bringing Sam, highly consider bringing Rosie Cotton. She increases his Attacks to 2, and while he's within 4" of her, Sam can declare free Heroic Combats. There aren't nearly as many models that can benefit from this as the Fellowship list, but it's still worth it if he's fighting something with Shirrifs, and Rosie is only 15 points anyway.
    • Do remember that Sam can ride a pony, not a horse. This means that he'll need to take a Courage test whenever he wants to charge with it into combat, he does not gain an extra attack from charging, and he does not knock Infantry to the ground. The pony is still a good investment for the Movement buff, the fact he can't get knocked over by Cavalry, as well as the randomisation if he's shot, but keep in mind that it's not as great an upgrade as a horse would be.
Meriadoc Captain of the Shire.PNG
  • Meriadoc, Captain of The Shire: A Hero of Valor with 2 Might, 2 Will and 2 Fate. Aside from 2 Attacks Merry has Hobbit stats, but fortunately he also comes with armour, and a mandatory shield. This makes him Defence 5, and for Hobbits this average Defence (for any other faction) is really quite good; don't forget too that the shield allows you to use Shielding because there's a pretty good chance Merry will be up against models in a Duel that he likely won't be able to win the Duel against, and if he loses they'll hurt him pretty badly. As for his other two upgrades, the pony will vastly increase his mobility and provide randomisation if he's shot, whereas the Elven cloak makes him invisible when his pony dies. Get both of these upgrades, and use Merry up front until he takes a Wound. When that happens, pull him back and hide with him somewhere his Elven cloak makes him invisible; the buff his horn gives is huge and it would be a shame to lose it. Otherwise you should try saving his Might for Heroic March. Hobbits have Movement 4" across the board and it really sucks, so going up to Movement 7" for a time will let you keep up with the other races, or run away from a bad engagement. Note that he can make any number of Hobbit Militia in his warband into Battlin' Brandybucks, giving them Strength 3 for a point, but don't forget they're still going to have a Fight of 1. If they're not all ganging up on the same target they're unlikely to do much harm, so upgrade them (get other Hobbits from other Heroes) and then swarm like you're Goblins.
    • Note that since they're the only Heroes of Valour available to your force, if you take Merry or Pippin they will be your Leader. Both of them are good choices for the role, and which one you go with ultimately depends on what Scenario you play. If you're playing Contest of Champions you'll pretty much have to go with Pippin (in case you have to fight another Hero) and at all other times Merry's the safer choice since he can apply his buff from the back.
    • If you want to be that guy you could argue that the Horn of the Riddermark Merry carries is not a war horn, and therefore can combine with a war horn to give every Hobbit model +2 Courage, but come on, don't be that guy.
    • Do remember that Merry can ride a pony, not a horse. This means that he'll need to take a Courage test whenever he wants to charge with it into combat, he does not gain an extra attack from charging, and he does not knock Infantry to the ground. The pony is still a good investment for the Movement buff, the fact he can't get knocked over by Cavalry, as well as the randomisation if he's shot, but keep in mind that it's not as great an upgrade as a horse would be.
Peregrin Captain of the Shire.PNG
  • Peregrin, Captain of The Shire: A Hero of Valor with 2 Might, 2 Will and 2 Fate. Aside from 2 Attacks Pippin has Hobbit stats, but fortunately he also comes with armour, and a mandatory shield. This makes him Defence 5, and for Hobbits this average Defence (for any other faction) is really quite good; don't forget too that the shield allows you to use Shielding because there's a pretty good chance Pippin will be up against models in a Duel that he likely won't be able to win the Duel against, and if he loses they'll hurt him pretty badly. As for his other two upgrades, the pony will vastly increase his mobility and provide randomisation if he's shot, whereas the Elven cloak makes him invisible when his pony dies. Get both of these upgrades, and use Pippin up front. His Fight of 3 is coveted in the Shire, and using him alongside Merry's Militia is one of the few ways to make your models effective against the worst models from other factions. Try to save his Might for Heroic March if Merry isn't in your list, Hobbits have Movement 4" across the board and it really sucks, so going up to Movement 7" for a time will let you keep up with the other races, or run away from a bad engagement. Also don't expect too much from his buff, it'll occasionally allow him to Wound a supporting Hero (ideally one with Defence 4) but otherwise trying to get him into combat with stronger Heroes will get him killed.
    • A special note for Pippin's buff: bringing your archers up to Fight 3 is going to seem like a bad idea, and in any other army it would be. The Shire however outnumbers the vast majority of armies and as such you'll likely have more archers than the enemy, and they'll need to come in close. When this happens you can usually guarantee they'll be gunning for your Archers, and since most backfield sweepers have Fight 3 this might save a few of them. It's not a useless upgrade, but it's not too useful either, though you should only take it in themed games since generally the points you spend can get you a few more bodies instead.
    • Don't forget that Pippin has Heroic Accuracy; it will help you deal with In the Way rolls and with your low Fight values, it's hard to deal any harm up close. When using Heroic Accuracy, make sure that your Hobbit Archers (and any stone throwers) are targeting supporting elements of models. Spears, banners and the like, they should go first because with them it's a lot harder for your Hobbits to win their Duels.
    • Note that since they're the only Heroes of Valour available to your force, if you take Merry or Pippin they will be your Leader. Both of them are good choices for the role, and which one you go with ultimately depends on what Scenario you play. If you're playing Contest of Champions you'll pretty much have to go with Pippin (in case you have to fight another Hero) and at all other times Merry's the safer choice since he can apply his buff from the back.
    • Do remember that Pippin can ride a pony, not a horse. This means that he'll need to take a Courage test whenever he wants to charge with it into combat, he does not gain an extra attack from charging, and he does not knock Infantry to the ground. The pony is still a good investment for the Movement buff, the fact he can't get knocked over by Cavalry, as well as the randomisation if he's shot, but keep in mind that it's not as great an upgrade as a horse would be.
Paladin Took.PNG
  • Paladin Took: Pippin's dad is a very cheap Hobbit hero who makes a great addition to your force, especially your Hobbit Archers if Pippin is using his Might for Heroic Marches. Paladin won't be winning any Duels anytime soon (without a lot of luck) but he is relatively hard to kill in a Shire list, and his Heroic Accuracy is amazing when used alongside a ton of Hobbit Archers. With the amount of bows you can field, being able to give the finger to In the Way rolls is fantastic; when you do remember to target enemy supporting models first, spears, banners and the like. Anything that makes it easier for your opponent to win Duels has to go, and after he spends his Might Point Paladin can then move up and use his amazing 12" Stand Fast! bubble to keep your army fighting. He's a solid Hero and an easy choice for your force.
    • A special note for Paladin's buff: bringing your archers up to Fight 3 is going to seem like a bad idea, and in any other army it would be. The Shire however outnumbers the vast majority of armies and as such you'll likely have more archers than the enemy, and they'll need to come in close. When this happens you can usually guarantee they'll be gunning for your Archers, and since most backfield sweepers have Fight 3 this might save a few of them. It's not a useless upgrade, but it's not too useful either, though you should only take it in themed games since generally the points you spend can get you a few more bodies instead.
Farmer Maggot.PNG
  • Farmer Maggot: Farmer Maggot's another easy inclusion since he's Strength 3 base, which is incredibly rare for the Shire folk. In addition he comes with Grip, Fang and Wolf, three more Strength 3 models with 8" Movement, making them better than Hobbit Warriors any day of the week. When using them, always make sure you're supporting both Farmer Maggot and his hounds with a ton of Militia and/or Shirriffs, they're the ones who're most likely to do the damage if they win the Duel rolls, and they're also going to be some of the first your opponents target. As such it's highly recommended to keep Farmer Maggot and his dogs behind other models to benefit from In the Way rolls until the fighting starts, and then charge out to meet them. Also don't be afraid to use Piercing Strike on Maggot for Strength 4, it's not like he wasn't getting wounded if he lost the Duel roll anyway.
    • Because of their Movement, Farmer Maggot's dogs are the ideal choice to trap enemy models, especially since you don't lose Stand Fast! bubbles like you would if you lost any character on a pony. If you want to play riskier, or if your opponent has very few ranged tools and/or is playing an elite army, then use the hounds to pin in the enemy models from the back, and pile in with your Shirrifs and Militia. Striking at Trapped models is one of the few ways in which you can cause real damage, so don't waste it.
    • Note that while Farmer Maggot has no special Heroic Actions, he does have the three regular ones. Assuming you don't want to spend his dice on modifying a roll, consider using it for a Heroic Combat. Having Farmer Maggot and his Dogs charge more than once per turn is a way in which you can hurt some Orcs, but if you don't fancy your chances of winning a Duel against the enemy army, then use it on a Heroic Shoot, your Hobbit Archers will appreciate the support.
Lobelia Sackville-Baggins.PNG
  • Lobelia Sackville-Baggins: 15 points to unlock 6 more Warriors, basically, since she can't ever kill anyone if she wins. Otherwise she has 1 Wound and comes with 3 Will Points, though you can't use these effectively since she cancels out all Stand Fast! auras within 6 inches of her, but low Hobbit movement and Courage means it's more likely to screw you than your opponent. Still, if you buy a war horn to assist your Hobbit Warriors in passing their own Courage tests and keep her around Warriors like Orcs you can use her effectively, just make sure you always have a wall (or two) of Hobbit Warriors between her and any threats.
    • Do note that Lobelia is Strength 1, making her the weakest character in the game. This will almost never come up, though if your force is broken and your opponent wants your models to flee faster they can choose to Bash Lobelia repeatedly to keep around in a crucial fight, which in turn prevents you from committing your Warriors to it (or running out of her aura fully since your Movement is only 4").
Fredegar Bolger.PNG
  • Fredegar Bolger: "Fatty" is effectively 10 points to unlock 6 more Warriors. 1 point of Fate, no Might or Will and only Fight 2 with no weapon means that he's near useless in a fight. Keep him back throwing stones if you need him for the 6 Warriors, and that's it. It's not even worth it to risk him in a Duel since being unarmed means he's not likely to help you win it anyway, and if he throws stones there's the very slim chance he might just kill an unlucky orc and make his points back.
    • Do remember that Bolger is still a Hero, with all that entails. This means that when you hit your Break Point he's unlikely to stick around for long, however it also means you should always move him first. If he passes his Courage test (which is much easier if you have a war horn) then that means the Hobbits around him don't have to test, and the fewer Courage tests you take in a Shire army, the better.
Farmer Cotton.PNG
  • Farmer Tolman Cotton: Tolman is an easy auto-include in a Hobbit list. He provides the only spear support you can get, he allows Hobbits within 3" to re-roll 1's in a Duel (which can be used alongside Frodo's banner buff) and he has 2 Might Points, allowing you to modify his rolls since his Heroic Actions are pretty weak. His utility is frankly amazing in a Shire list, and he helps shield you from some of your worst weaknesses (Duels) so get him if you can.
    • If you don't spend Cotton's Might on his dice rolls, do remember you can save it for his Courage test when your force breaks. This might seem like a waste, but it's really going to suck if you roll snake-eyes and have no answer for it since he only has one point of Will.
Rosie Cotton.PNG
  • Rosie Cotton: Rosie's a 15 point Independent Hero with no Might, 1 Will and 2 Fate, and the only real way for her to cause harm is with throwing stones. The main issue is that unlike any other Hero, Rosie Cotton is Fight 1 and combined with the unarmed penalty, she's basically dead if she ever gets into a fight. Fortunately this isn't why you take her, you get her so that Sam gets 2 Attacks (and remember he's Strength 3 thanks to Sting) and while he's within 4" of her he gets to declare an infinite amount of Heroic Combats, so take her with Sam and keep them close together or don't take her at all.
    • Do remember that because Rosie is a Hero, she is not affected by the Stand Fast! of other models, though she can provide it herself. At Courage 3 you'll be glad she has a Will Point, and it's also highly recommended to get a war horn so that she's at least Courage 4.
Will Whitfoot.PNG
  • Will Whitfoot, Mayor of Hobbiton: The Mayor of Hobbiton is another Hero you might want to include, though you should only do so after getting Frodo. The reason why is because the Mayor also functions as a 6" banner, though this is conditional. Each use requires a point of Will, and he only has 3, but considering how much Hobbits need help in Duels you're going to want to get him. Frodo usually can't cover everything and without re-rolls it becomes significantly harder to cause damage or prevent your Hobbits from taking it. Otherwise it's generally recommended to keep Will in the back behind Hobbit Warriors so he gets In the Way rolls, and leave him to toss stones at the enemy.
    • Do remember that despite his stats, Will is still a Hero, with all that entails. This means that when you hit your Break Point he's unlikely to stick around for long, so make absolutely sure you've bought a war horn, and until he spends all of his Will, save his Might point. You never know if you need it to pass his Courage test, and his Will is better used for the banner effect.
Folco Boffin.PNG
  • Folco Boffin: Frodo's friend, Folco is mostly going to be 20 points to unlock 6 more Hobbits. He has basically no combat ability (unarmed, no Might, 1 Attack), the only reason to take him is as an upgrade to Frodo, allowing Frodo to use his Will to declare Heroic Moves. This can keep Frodo useful for a while longer and it can allow you to make plays to keep your Hobbits out of range of the enemy for a turn, or it can allow you to dictate which models fight who, but decide carefully if you could use those 20 points better.
    • An interesting utility arises if you take Frodo alongside Farmer Maggot's hounds. Warriors must always end in close proximity to the Hero they follow in the Heroic Move, but since Frodo can be on a pony, he can ensure that the dogs make the most of their movement by running around with him, which could potentially make it easier to trap enemy models with them against your horde of Hobbits, even if Frodo can't charge himself. This is a risky move however as Frodo will be exposed, but if you've taken care of the enemy bows (or there were next to none to begin with) then go ahead and give it a try.
    • If for whatever reason you brought Folco and don't intend for him to help Frodo, then you could use him as an anchor since 3 Will Points should allow him and anyone in his Stand Fast! aura to stick around. Just make sure to hide him behind Hobbit Warriors so that he benefits from In the Way rolls, as one Fate Point and Defence 3 won't prevent him from taking a Wound and dying. This sort of thing should also be considered only after you've bought other characters like the four travellers (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) as well as Paladin, so in other words you must be playing a truly massive force to justify it.
Holfoot Bracegirdle.PNG
  • Holfoot Bracegirdle, Shirriff Leader: The "competitive" Hobbit option for your list; Holfoot gives you 12 more Heroes, and you can make these all Shirriffs because his gimmick (aside from being Fight/Strength 3) is to remove the Duel penalty on the hand-and-a-half clubs for himself, Robin Smallburrow, and every other Shirriff within 3". This means he's effectively another banner-style character, and when he's nearby Frodo and Tolman Cotton his Shirrifs can pump out a surprising amount of damage, especially for Hobbits. This is vital for confirming kills, so he should be one of your first ports of call for Heroes.
    • It should be remembered that Holfoot has Heroic March, though you should use Merry and/or Pippin if you want to march Holfoot anywhere. Save his own Heroic March for emergencies, it will allow you to pull out of a bad engagement if you really have to.
Robin Smallburrow.PNG
  • Robin Smallburrow, Hobbit Shirriff: At 20 points, Robin Smallburrow is a Hobbit Shirriff with 1 Might, 1 Will and 1 Fate. Fortunately he does have a very useful gimmick; in Scenarios where you roll for additional forces to arrive (such as those that use Reinforcements) you can modify the dice roll for Robin's warband, and in Scenarios where you roll to see which part of the board his warband deploys in, you can modify that too. This means that Robin is useful for specific scenarios, but in all others there's always a better Hero to go with.
    • It should be remembered that Robin has Heroic March, though you should use Merry and/or Pippin if you want to march Holfoot anywhere. Save his own Heroic March for emergencies, it will allow you to pull out of a bad engagement if you really have to.
Gaffer Gamgee.PNG
  • Hamfast "Gaffer" Gamgee: Sam's dad is a generic Hobbit Hero who uses a Staff (actually a Spade, so beat down those Orcs with farming equipment) who comes with an amusing rule where he sets up a handful of flower beds around the board. He, and Hobbits within 3 inches of him, can re-roll 1's To Wound when throwing stones or making strikes at enemies near the Flower markers and if an enemy gets rid of them, he can re-roll all rolls To Wound against them. He's not THAT expensive all told (30 points) so he's a good way to unlock 12 more troops and get some amusing mileage out of them. Try to combine his Flower markers with Baldo's traps.
    • Because models cannot finish their Movement on top of a Flower marker, you can risk being called That Guy and set them up in the middle of paths, doorways and the like. If they're in any kind of choke point, then you can station a Hobbit behind them, which will prevent any enemy models from running past, or even into your character since they can't be in base contact, and since the flower pots count as open guard they can't even charge it like they would an obstacle. Your Control Zone also prevents those models from being in base contact with a flower pot, so they're unable to remove it while your Hobbits get to throw better stones at them. This is an incredibly frustrating tactic to play against since it even stops the Balrog and Sauron, who are so impressed by the Flowers they refuse to step on them, and if you don't want to be that guy you can still use these flower pots placed close together in an open field to make it easier to dictate engagements.
Baldo Tulpenny.PNG
  • Baldo Tulpenny: One of the most genuinely fun Heroes in your army, Baldo Tulpenny is one of those Hobbits who's 'okay' in close combat thanks to Fight 3 and two Wounds, but that's not the ideal use for him. Baldo has two special rules, the first is allowing him to re-roll failed To Hit rolls when throwing stones, and if he ever rolls a natural 6, he automatically passes his In the Way test and automatically wounds. Because of this it's best to get him anchored as soon as possible, and remember he can't throw stones if he moves. This is a real shame because there's not many other opportunities to fish for 6's by deliberately worsening your To Hit roll, but if an opportunity comes, especially if there's a model who can only be hit on 6's, you should absolutely take it. His second rule is why you're taking him most of the time though: Master of Traps. Baldo can place 8 Traps on the board, and they deserve to be gone over in greater detail.
    • To go into Baldo's Traps, there are a few things to remember. All Traps are activated when an enemy model moves within 1" of it, and enemy models halt their movement to see what the effects of the Trap are, and no they can't keep moving afterwards unless they're a Monster/War Beast. You can't deploy them in your deployment zone, you can't place them within 3" of another Trap, you cannot deploy them within an enemy's control zone, and you can't place them within 2" of an Objective marker. Now that in mind, your opponent does not know which traps are which, and so we'll go over them now. Tripwire Traps knock enemy models prone on a 2+, though this goes to 4+ if the enemy is a Cavalry model, and they inflict a Strength 2 hit. Considering how knocking models prone is one of the best ways to take them out with your Hobbits, consider placing this near your Shirriffs. Snare Traps have a similar effect to a Tripwire Traps, except they're Strength 1 instead of 2, and they can keep models prone, even if they win a fight. To get free from them, models have to roll equal to or under their Strength in the End phase of each turn, so if you're lucky you can keep certain models prone for a turn or two. Pitfall Traps are arguably your best Traps, since they cause Infantry to fall in on a 2+ and Cavalry to fall in on a 4+. While this doesn't count the models as being prone, any model inside is always Trapped. Furthermore even after models climb out the Traps stay, models crossing them must pass a Jump test, and if they're forced into the Trap (such as being forced backwards) they always fall into them. This means you can place them in front of your Hobbits to force them into the holes, and if one of your Heroes uses a Heroic Combat, they can finish their fight and then charge in against the Trapped model. You can also place Hobbits just in front of them if they're in a choke point to force enemy models to jump into the Trap itself just to fight you. Your final Traps are Dummy Traps. These do nothing except freeze the model coming by, which can be useful if your opponent was gambling on a monster still being able to move through. All in all Baldo is fantastic for lower points games, and even in larger games you'll find some use for the Traps.
    • Don't forget that Baldo has Heroic Accuracy; it will help you deal with In the Way rolls and with your low Fight values, it's hard to deal any harm up close. When using Heroic Accuracy, make sure that your Hobbit Archers (and any stone throwers) are targeting supporting elements of models. Spears, banners and the like, they should go first because with them it's a lot harder for your Hobbits to win their Duels.
Lotho Sackville-Baggins.PNG
  • Lotho Sackville-Baggins: Short, corrupt, and apparently delicious (judging by what Worm apparently did to him), Lotho is another fun model to use, but is also one that has some real utility. For 30 points you get a model that is near vital in competitive lists, as Lotho can spend a Will Point to bribe every hobbit around him to fight better, which in effect means he makes your Hobbit Shirrif's Fight 4. Finally your Hobbits are actually good enough to beat other models in a Duel! If Holfoot Bracegirdle is around they might even be able to cause some real damage too, it's best to combine Lotho with your other characters (such as Frodo and Tolman Cotton) to win important fights.
    • While this goes for most of the Hobbit Heroes, it's especially important to keep Lotho out of harm's way. In every event you should have him cowering behind one or two lines of Hobbits, and keep him out of Line of Sight of bows just in case they pass their In the Way rolls. That sole Fate Point won't keep him around for long if he's being targeted. His ability to stop models from charging him also shouldn't be relied upon; it's far less efficient than buffing your Fight value unless you're using him to stop something like a troll.
      • Do be aware that Lotho cannot stop models that do not declare charges, a Chariot or Mûmakil for example does not care about how much money he offers them not to crush him.
Bilbo Baggins.PNG
  • Bilbo Baggins: Bilbo's awfully expensive for what he brings, you have cheaper options in your list to get 12 Warriors, and taking him prevents you from getting the four travelers (Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin) which means you lose out on Heroic Marches, you lose out on a banner effect, you lose infinite Heroic Combats, you miss out on Strength 3 Hobbit Militia, and you miss Heroes that have a decent Defence stat. This is a major nerf to your force and Bilbo does not do nearly enough to make up for it; with Sting and the Mithril Coat he has decent enough stats but he also costs 60 points and one Attack, which means you've effectively payed 60 points for an Orc Warrior with 4" Movement. On top of this you'll be far worse off and so taking Bilbo is not worth it in the slightest, give him a hard pass for any type of serious list.
    • If you still intend to use Bilbo, don't give him the coat or the upgrades, instead you should make him your Leader, give him the One Ring, and have him wear it the whole game. This combined with the amount of Hobbits you field will likely mean you deny your opponent any Victory Points from wounding or killing Bilbo, and that at least will be something useful.
Bandobras Took.PNG
  • Bandobras Took: The Hobbit who stopped an invasion of the Shire by inventing the game of Golf. Bandobras Took is the most combat-oriented Hero in the entire army, but this comes at the cost of not allowing you to take any other named Hobbit Heroes in your army. If you take him you're going to have to rely on him, which ends up being quite easy since he's big enough to ride an actual horse. This means he not only gets to knock Infantry down, but he doubles his attacks when he fights against them (since they're prone) and it becomes easier for your Hobbits to get the kills they need. Having 2 Might also allows him to use Heroic Strike and/or Heroic Strength to deal with tougher opponents than Hobbits might normally be able to deal with. Don't get too comfortable with sending him on his own though, Bandobras might be a strong Hobbit, but at the end of the day the strongest Hobbit Hero is only on par with the weakest Orc Hero, so make sure he's surrounded and supported at all times. Because of this it's generally recommended that you run Bandobras in smaller point games rather than large ones, where the abilities of your other characters are a lot more important.
    • Always support Bandobras Took with a solid core of Hobbit Archers. The reason why is because they can be relied upon to shoot out mounts, and then Bandobras Took can be used to run in whoever was riding them. This is one of the few ways the Shire has to reliably deal with even the weakest enemy Heroes (without relying on them having bad Duel rolls anyway) so take advantage of it.
    • Do remember that while Bandobras Took prevents you from taking named Hobbit Heroes, he does not prevent you from taking Gandalf the Grey or Dúnedain. Gandalf is absolutely a force multiplier and well worth taking alongside Bandobras, while the Dúnedain are good fighters and boost your archers, allowing you to get more utility out of them.
Gandalf the Grey.PNG
  • Gandalf the Grey: A Hero of Valour, and considering the Heroes he locks, Gandalf is almost guaranteed to be your Leader unless you take Bandobras Took (since Gandalf isn't a Hobbit Hero you can have both in the same force). That being said Gandalf really does make for a good leader; he is a decent combatant fielding a Strength 5 Attack at Fight 5, and you can field him on his Cart which is a slightly slower, super-armoured horse. So long as he's mounted he'll get to make four Strikes at any Infantry he charges, and even if he's wounded, Gandalf has 3 Fate Points that he can re-roll thanks to his Elven Ring of Power. The cart itself deals Strength 2 hits on a 4+ to enemies within 6" (it's basically a bow that can always be shot), but this shouldn't be waved away, not only does taking it give Gandalf's mount an extra two wounds (ensuring he benefits from it against missiles for longer) but you can also use it to take out enemy banners and spears since it is unaffected by In the Way rolls. All in all, if you can afford to take him, you absolutely should and this will be further elaborated in the following points.
    • To go over his Magical Powers, Blinding Light prevents your Hobbits from getting sniped, and this is vital if you're up against a bow-heavy force, or want your Hobbit Archers to continuously shoot without being shot in return. It also provides good cover for the Dúnedain Gandalf unlocks, and so long as you cluster your models together at the start, you can save them from bows while returning a hail of relatively accurate fire (thanks to the Dúnedain's Heroic Accuracy, allowing your Hobbit Archers to deal with In the Way rolls). To that end you should always channel it, if you don't you'll find you'll just roll poorly one turn or there'll be another turn in which you'll want a different spell, and you'll have to decide between the two. Terrifying Aura is a spell you cast if you already have a Channeled Blinding Light on and you don't need to use anything else at the moment, and it's another one you should always channel. Courage is not something Evil models are known for and forcing them to take the test on 3D6, discarding the highest will cause the vast majority of Evil models to fail to charge Gandalf, allowing him to pick and choose his engagements. Immobilise is the spell you want if an enemy Monster is coming near, not only does it prevent them from getting the charge (invaluable against models with the Monstrous Charge rule) but it also prevents it from returning Strikes should you lose the Duel. Command on the other hand is ideal for pulling enemy models out of formation, and exposing the supporting elements in the enemy force such as banners and spears, as well as Heroes hiding behind other models. The sooner you deal with those the better the position you will be in. Protection of the Valar is not really important in this list, unless you want to use it on Gandalf. Against certain lists you'll find your models getting shut down with powers like Transfix or Paralyse, and if that's the case you should make sure to cast this spell on him before they charge in to keep Gandalf safe. Strengthen Will also helps in this aspect, but it's generally better to go with Protection of the Valar unless you really need to fill up the Will on somebody that Ringwraiths are targeting, or you've already past your Break Point and need it to keep Heroes on the field. Collapse Rocks is the first truly offensive spell in Gandalf's arsenal, and it's ideal for finishing off a supporting Defence 5 model such as a Shaman, just be aware that its high casting value means you'll struggle to get it off, and it's really not worth it against anyone tougher than Defence 5. It also pales in comparison to Sorcerous Blast which is much more useful. Not only can this spell help shut down Cavalry since it knocks models prone, but since prone models count as being Trapped, Gandalf can use it on a Monster you're about to dogpile, which gives your Hobbits the best possible chance of dealing with Monsters.
    • Be careful with Sap Will from the Ringwraiths and it is best to avoid combat if possible unless you're charging Infantry on a mount. He can hold his own, but it’s not where he should be. Also make doubly sure to watch out for the Witch-king, since he can cast Your Staff is Broken which will cripple Gandalf's spellcasting for the rest of the game.
Dunedain.PNG
  • Dúnedain: These guys are your support Heroes, for when you want a model that has a spear and a Fight value higher than 1 so your Militia don't lose in combat to everybody. That being said, they hardly count as Heroes; they have only one Attack, one Wound and one point of Might/Will/Fate. Fortunately they're dirt cheap as far as Heroes go, they only cost 26 points with the spear and you'll get a lot of use from their increased Fight, as well as whatever Heroic Actions they choose. It's unfortunate that they're gated off by Gandalf, but if you're taking the Wizard then you should absolutely get these guys to go with him. Just remember that they are very vulnerable to bows, just like the rest of your Hobbits, so make sure Gandalf's supporting them with Blinding Light.
    • Do remember that Dúnedain have Heroic Accuracy, so one or two of them back with your Hobbit Archers make them significantly more effective at shooting out spears, banners and the like. This is incredibly helpful since Hobbits need every advantage they can possibly get, so if you're getting Gandalf, a number of these guys are auto-includes just for this purpose.
    • In the middle of your Dúnedain, always have a model that saves its point of Might for a Heroic Move. If you lose Priority you will get charged, and Heroic Move can help you remain clear of the really bad engagements. With how many Heroes you're fielding you frankly have no excuse if you run out of Might.

Warriors[edit]

Hobbit Militia.PNG
  • Hobbit Militia: These guys are easily the cheapest Warriors in the game, and their stats reflect it. At Fight 1 they won't be winning any ties, however this does also mean you can manage to field a ton of them. If you can't rely on them to win ties you should be able to get at least two Attacks in each duel, and in the meantime you can continuously pelt the enemy with stones. Even though they're only strength 1, literally everyone in your army has access to them and if you're rolling a bucket of dice, some of those are going to come up as 6's (which is what you'll need to wound most models). As far as other points go though, you should never field militia on their own; Frodo will give them a banner effect, Tolman Cotton allows them re-roll 1's, Gaffer can allow them to re-roll in specific circumstances, Merry can upgrade them to Strength 3, and so on. Always use them alongside your Heroes, and spread out the Militia in your warbands with Shirriffs; the Fight 3 they offer will go a long way to helping you tie against even the weakest of enemies, and don't be afraid to use Piercing Strike on their axes. A Hobbit taking strikes in close combat is usually a dead Hobbit, so make up for it with enough bodies to stave off your Break Point for a good long while.
    • For the Militia that Merry upgrades, try to always give them either axes or hammers. Hammers at Strength 3 have even odds on using Bash to knock enemy models prone to make them easier for your Shirriffs to finish off. Generally giving them axes isn't worth it since even with Piercing Strike you'll still be wounding on 5+ against most Warriors who are Defence 5 at minimum.
    • It was said earlier, but it should be said again: never forget to throw stones. Militia are not meant to be charging into enemy lines, and enemy infantry can't charge you without you taking a bunch of stones first. Always take advantage of this, after all, any models you take out with rocks are models you won't have supporting your enemies in a Duel. Don't forget to aim at more important elements too like banners and the like, even if they're getting In the Way rolls since you'll still hit something in the end.
Hobbit Archer.PNG
  • Hobbit Archer: These guys are among the cheapest archers in the game, and they should always be used to fill 100% of your Bow Limit. With your Fight values and Strength it's a lot easier to cause damage by throwing rocks and shooting with your bows than it is to meet the enemy in melee, and Hobbit Archers are also your only answer to Cavalry, which will normally run right over you.
    • Note that you can upgrade Hobbit Archers to have Fight 3, although you generally won't. The reason why you might do this is because most Cavalry and sweeper units have Fight 3, so it allows you to get ties with them and possibly survive, but upgrading 5 Hobbit Archers is just as expensive as buying 6 Hobbit Archers, and it's generally better to get more bodies than it is to try and save your little folk.
    • Always buy a war horn, even if you only hide it in the back. Your Hobbits have serious issues with Courage and your characters are easy to kill, so getting a war horn will greatly help in ensuring you stay on the board when your force breaks.
Hobbit Shirrif.PNG
  • Hobbit Shirriff: The other unit that makes up your front lines, Shirrifs have the fight value they need to tie fights with weaker opponents, while axe-wielding Militia provide you with the Strength and attacks. The mix of weapons is generally why you use them instead of getting Shirriffs for every warband, as it's much easier to win if you're backed up with a Militia member using Piercing Strike than chancing a Hobbit Shirriff(s) using his club two-handed alone (and against Strength 5 you'll be rolling on the same To Wound roll). Shirrifs and Militia have natural synergy because of this, and it's generally recommended to split them equally among your warbands.
    • To get further use out of the two, you can upgrade some of the Militia with Merry's buff, making them Strength 3, and then they have even odds on bashing their opponents to the ground which lets the Shirriffs in the same combat double their attacks. Even if you choose not to Bash however, the Fight 3 from the Shirriffs will help the Militia cause some good damage, and the dice without the -1 penalty in the Duel is something the Shirriffs will enjoy.
    • Hobbit Shirriffs really shine when fielded with Holfoot Bracegirdle; so long as they're within 3" of him, they take no penalty in the Duel for using their clubs two-handed, and this is one of the few times where you can make a warband entirely of Shirriffs without issue. For everyone else, stick to the mix of axe-Militia and Shirrifs.
    • Never forget to throw stones. Shirriffs are not meant to be charging into enemy lines, and enemy infantry can't charge you without you taking a bunch of stones first. Always take advantage of this, after all, any models you take out with rocks are models you won't have supporting your enemies in a Duel. Don't forget to aim at more important elements too like banners and the like, even if they're getting In the Way rolls since you'll still hit something in the end.

Allies[edit]

Historical Allies[edit]

The Rangers

Building your Army[edit]

Tactics[edit]