This Card-Review article was written by Cynthia Hart and was published first on "Lord of the Rings Online (lotrtcg.decipher.com)".
"These were Men of other race, out of the wide Eastlands...."
Gathering to the Summons is part of a set of Shadow cards that I think of as “Spot to add a burden” cards. Each card is a different culture and each has a different requirement. (Although Must Do Without Hope does not use the ‘spot’ verb in its text, you can successfully argue that you must ‘spot’ the Balrog to exert it.)
These cards are:
- Gathering to the Summons – Raider Event. Skirmish: Spot a Raider man skirmishing a Ring-bound companion to add a burden. Twilight Cost 0 (4C 235).
- Gleaming in the Snow – Sauron Event. Regroup: Exert a Sauron Orc and spot a Gondor companion to add a burden. Twilight Cost 0 (3U 89).
- It Wants to be Found – Ringwraith Event. Maneuver: Spot a twilight Nazgul to add a burden. Twilight Cost 2 (2U 78).
- Must Do Without Hope – Moria Event. Maneuver: Exert The Balrog to add a burden. Twilight Cost 0 (2U 68).
One big advantage Gathering to the Summons has over the other cards is that it is a common card that works with other common cards. This increases it’s “playability” You do not have to have a large group of rare cards to get full use of Gathering. Gleaming in the Snow for example works well in a Sauron Enduring Evil deck – but Desperate Defense of the Ring, Enduring Evil and Thin and Stretched (the cards needed to work the entire deck) are all rare cards. One of the best pairings for Gathering to the Summons is to combine it with Easterling Guard and Easterling Lieutenant – both of which are common cards.
Cost is another factor in Gathering to the Summons advantage. It HAS no cost. No need to save or generate twilight for this card, it doesn’t need any. Gathering also does not hinder a card’s functionality. Since you do not have to exert a Raider to play the card, that Raider’s text can still be used even if it requires an exertion. Archery may strike and exhaust a minion but he can still be used to play Gathering and generate a burden.
If archery is large in your area and becomes a problem, add a few higher vitality minions. Unfortunately the only high vitality Easterling (Easterling Captain) is a rare, but in a burden adding deck he’s a very good card to add. If you don’t have access to Easterling Captain go for the next best thing and throw a few of the 3 vitality Southrons in to soak up archery so that your Easterlings will still be available for assignment. Afterall, Gathering to the Summons can be used on a Southron as well as an Easterling.
The most common use of Gathering to the Summons is that of a ‘back up card’. If you are using Easterling Guard and Easterling Lieutenant to put burdens on Frodo, Gathering is your back up so that if you encounter a Ring-bound Ranger deck you can still add the burdens. But a better use for it is in ADDITION to the Guard and the Lieutenant. If you’re only getting one “Exert to add a burden when assigned to an unbound companion” out at a time and that one is always being assigned to an opponent’s Ring-bound companion, then save Gathering so that you can still add that burden. But why not add Vision from Afar to the pot? Admittedly this card is a rare one – but it's only one card. Use Vision to assign an Easterling to Frodo. Your opponent will either add a burden to prevent it, or allow it to take place – then you can use Gathering to add that burden.This is also a good card to combine into a burden adding deck that uses other cultures such as Ringwraiths or Sauron to add more burdens or take advantage of the ones already added. Used wisely, Gathering to the Summons will have your opponent burdened no matter what Fellowship he or she plays or how much Frodo tries to squirm out of the skirmish.