Sam Gamgee

Hero. Threat: 8. 3   1   1   3  


Response: After you engage an enemy with a higher engagement cost than your threat, ready Sam Gamgee. He gets +1 +1 and +1 until the end of the round.

"I'm going with him...and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they'll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with" The Fellowship of the Ring
Alexandre Dainche

The Black Riders #2. Leadership.

Sam Gamgee

One of my favorite cards in the game. Sam Gamgee's Hero Card does a great job of fitting in wonderfully with the Hobbit Archetype while not necessarily binding him with just Hobbit Builds (though it's in these builds he will shine brightly).

At his worst he is a low threat, three Hero in the Leadership Sphere. With a simple attachment such as Celebrían's Stone he becomes a very solid questing character. Even without such boosts his willpower rival's that of some of the more prominent and powerful characters in Middle Earth such as Celeborn and Elrond.

In a Hobbit Build Sam becomes even greater. Your threat will most certainly be lower than the engagement cost of most enemies meaning that Sam can go from being just your quester to a defender as well.

Other antics can be had as well since his response effect isn't limited to a certain phase and can trigger any number of times throughout a round (permitting the pre-req is met). If an enemy is brought down during questing then Sam's willpower is now on par with Gandalf, Éowyn, and Círdan the Shipwright. After that, if an enemy is brought during combat you now have a 3 hitpoint Hero with 3 , making him seem more like Amarthiúl.

Once you add other cards like Hobbit Cloak, Bill the Pony, or Taste it Again! Sam gets even more powerful.

All in all, he is a wonderful Hero that can be used to fit a Deck's particular needs and at the same time has enough tools at his disposal to have a deck be built around himself.

Great Card!

Yep, one of the best heroes of the game. And his stats get boosted even more if he engages more than one enemy. — Lecitadin 193

I suspect I'll be preaching to the choir here explaining why Sam Gamgee is good. He has always been incredibly popular both as a character in the books and as a hero in this game, and for good reason in both cases. But he's on my list of cards to review so I'm going to do it anyway.

Honestly, analysing why Sam is so good is incredibly simple. For starters, he's the joint lowest threat hero in the game alongside Théodred and Denethor. Since the sphere has a lot of powerful cards in it, the ability to include those cards in a deck can be worth a lot in itself, and so getting that access without boosting your threat into the stratosphere is more so. Furthermore, he has 3 , again for that low cost of 8 threat. Éowyn of course gives you a better ratio of to threat, and Glorfindel as usual will wave his massive threat discount in your face, but they're the only two currently released heroes who will give you better value for versus threat cost. There's only one other hero with above 2 and threat cost below 10 right now, that being Arwen Undómiel (Discounting Galadriel since she can't quest). And I should also note that those other high low threat heroes are all in the sphere rather than , so Sam once again can be said to win out by granting you access to cards like Steward of Gondor and Sneak Attack.

All this is quite enough to make him a powerful option, but I haven't even mentioned his ability yet. Since the ability, in standard Hobbit fashion, only triggers on engaging an enemy with engagement cost higher than your threat, it's obviously not going to work in all contexts. Sometimes enemies will have low engagement costs, sometimes you'll have high threat. But often enough you'll get to ready Sam for combat. So let's bring up those comparisons again. Eowyn mostly does nothing but quest; Glorfindel with Light of Valinor will quest for 3 and attack for 3 every round, but that requires the attachment without which he'll raise your threat and stay exhausted. Meanwhile Sam can from the very start of the game quest for 3 and then attack or defend for 2 so long as you're engaging the right enemies. If we allow Glorfindel his Light it's only fair we give Sam his natural attachment in the Hobbit Cloak, at which point he quests for 3, then readies and defends for 4. Who doesn't want to have a little Hobbit Beregond running around? I'll remind you once again that he's only 8 threat cost. He synergises well with other Hobbits of course, particularly Pippin, who raises enemy engagement costs and has the same trigger as Sam. Finally, one of the most ridiculous things about Sam's ability is that it has no limit. So if all enemies are engagement cost above your threat and you play The Hammer-stroke, Sam's stats can go through the roof. Alternatively if you pair him with cards which allow you to engage enemies in other phases like Dúnedain Hunter, Tireless Hunters or Westfold Outrider, you can get similar stat-buffs and potentially more readying. Halbarad gets two optional engagements each round and thus partially bypasses the usual issue that if the enemies' engagement costs are above your threat you can only engage one at a time, but where it gets really bonkers is with Aragorn. Every time Aragorn kills something (possibly with Sam's help), you pull another enemy and ready Sam with more to kill this new enemy. Load up some readying effects like Rohan Warhorse or Merry and you can rapidly reach consistent board-wiping status.

Sam Gamgee provides a tremendous amount of value, potentially able to contribute to all aspects of the game with fairly impressive stats, provides access to a bunch of power cards in his sphere, and because I still feel I haven't emphasised it enough, HE DOES ALL THIS FOR ONLY 8 THREAT COST. All glory to the gardener.

Yep, Sam is one of the best heroes of the game (Frodo spirit hero being the best tank). And he comes with a free pony! — Lecitadin 193
I thought his ability only triggered when his controller engaged an enemy, not if an enemy was "put into play", like the Dunedain Hunter's effect. — The White Wizard 536
An enemy which is put into play engaged with you has engaged you. — Warden of Arnor 5801

What I love about Sam Gamgee is the theme. In the books/movies Sam is super loyal to Mr. Frodo (as Sam would say). And I think this card captures his loyalty very well. Whenever an enemy came around the corner, Sam, no matter how tired he was, would go and defend Frodo. And this card in my opinion is one of my favorites in the game.

Great review. Captures the personality of Sam. — Truck 1416
I LOVE Sam! He's just the best! Period!!! — GreenWizard 310

I’m yet to find Sam useful. The “higher threat” condition of his trigger means that his small +1 modifier is really only useful in the early game or against foes that you rarely wish to engage, and ignoring will power, his combat and defence stats are paltry even with the mod. The opportunity of utilising the will power mod are slim as it is rare that one can engage an enemy prior to or during questing, so for the most part Sam’s power is a non-power. Similarly, the hobbit cloak has the same condition which basically means only a short window before both he and cloak are redundant. Perhaps more useful in a low threat game but his threat level conversely makes Sam more relevant to high threat games. A neutered card for me.

Ryucoo 1
In the usual Hobbit line up (Sam/Pippin/Merry) you have plenty of time before your threat is higher then relevant enemies engagement cost (remember that Pippin raise that last number) and thus Sam is almost always able to ready and participate in combat when needed (and remember that Hobbits have some good threat reduction tools. And with the Hobbit cloak he is indeed a serviceable defender for an Hobbit deck. Also worth of note is that his Response has no limit so if you engage 2 enemies with higher engagement cost he gets +2 to all stats. — Alonewolf87 2237
Before panning one of the most versatile heroes in the game and a favorite of many players, I would suggest reading the above excellent reviews as they provide numerous ideas for how to make Sam work to excellent effect in a wide range of decks. — kjeld 644