Gandalf, Bearer of Obligation (13R33)

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Gandalf, Bearer of Obligation (13R33) is a Culture Gandalf.svg Gandalf Companion from the Bloodlines set.

Collection Info
Title Gandalf
Subtitle Bearer of Obligation
Unique Yes
Collectible Yes
Set 13 - Bloodlines
Rarity R - Rare
Card Number 33
Language EN - English
Revision 0
Gameplay Info
Playable Yes
Culture Culture Gandalf.svg Gandalf
Side Free Peoples
Card Type Companion
Race Wizard
Twilight Cost 4
Strength 7
Vitality 4
Resistance 5
Game Text While Gandalf is the Ring-bearer, each time the fellowship moves, add 3 burdens unless you spot 2 other companions and discard 2 Culture Gandalf.svg cards from hand.
Lore “‘But all worthy things that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care.'”
DE - German

Game Text Lege, solange Gandalf der Ringträger ist, jedes Mal, wenn sich die Gemeinschaft bewegt, 3 Lastmarken auf ihn, es sei denn, du entdeckst 2 andere Gefährten und legst 2 Culture Gandalf.svg Karten aus deiner Hand ab.
Lore "Doch alles, was Wert hat in der Welt, so wie die Dinge jetzt liegen, das steht unter meinem Schutz.“
FR - French
IT - Italian

Technical Info
Wiki Base Card ID LOTR-EN13S033.0
GEMP ID 13_33
LOTRO Hex ID 61 D6 65 0C
LOTRO Image ID 13_033


Gandalf has one of the nastier Ring-bearer penalties. 3 burdens is very steep, and Gandalf's low resistance simply exacerbates this issue. Discarding cards is far less damaging, but the fact that they have to be [gandalf] cards restricts the player and lowers the probability that they will have the necessary cards. It also increases the likelihood that you will have to discard something good to evade the burdens. Unlike most other Ring-bearers, Gandalf's penalty cannot be prevented, as it triggers whenever the fellowship moves. However, this is also a major advantage of Gandalf's penalty, as he is one of few Ring-bearers who receives no penalty for skirmishing, and he is the only Ring-bearer with a solid base strength that can do so. Making Gandalf your Ring-Bearer also has numerous advantages, as you essentially get for free an otherwise expensive companion, and it allows you to play many events that need to spot him without fear of him dying or not showing up.

There are two main ways for a deck to cope with Gandalf's ability. The first is to have dedicated burden removal to counteract the many burdens added by Gandalf each turn. The second is to discard cards every time the fellowship moves, in order to prevent the burdens from ever being added. Note that in order to discard the cards, you must have at least 3 companions in your fellowship (Including Gandalf), so be wary of getting companions killed. Because Gandalf's penalty is so potent, it is necessary to build the whole deck around countering it, as he will almost certainly be corrupted otherwise.

By far the best source of burden removal for Gandalf is Shadowfax, GotM. This card can remove any and all burdens on Gandalf, provided you have a decent size fellowship and strong threat removal (Such as Citadel to Gate). Jarnsmid, BE is another good option, although he relies on your opponent playing minions (Which they may not do) and is quite vulnerable. Other Gandalf culture options include Narya, Watch and Wait and Ease the Burden, but there are also many options from other cultures that can help Gandalf remove burdens. [Shire] options include Tom Bombadil or "Bouncing Hobbits" (multiple copies of Home and Hearth, with tricks to keep replaying Hobbits like Pippin WoBas or Merry Swordthain; Knocked On The Head with Merry Impatient Hobbit -which heals a [Gandalf] companion- or Pippin Hastiest of All; and Make Haste with any Hobbit). Multiple copies of the [elven] card Songs of the Blessed Realm, plus many [elven] tales can also be effective, although the issue of using these condition based burden removal strategies is that they leave the Free Peoples player very vulnerable to condition removal (Saruman's Power, Buckland Homestead). Another option is to increase Gandalf's resistance with cards like Radagast's Herb Bag and The Ring of Rings (Or Unequaled Steed if you don't want to use GotM); followers like Radagast ToB and Gwaihir can help his resistance too, and can be quite handy when moving twice or thrice towards site 9.

Discarding cards to negate Gandalf's burdens works best in a large deck with lots of card draw (For the shadow side as well as the Fellowship side) that is primarily composed of [gandalf] cards. The advantage of this is that you can use many situational events such as Have Patience and Fury of the White Rider, and then simply discard them if they're not needed. Good sources of card draw include Elrond, LoR; Ottar, MoL and Questions that need answering. Post-Fellowship phase card draw (Such as Careful Study or Woodhall Elf) is also helpful as it allows you to discard more cards for a double move. Having companions with muster will help you too to get those Gandalf cards just before moving at regroup; the [gandalf] culture has plenty of cards that provide said keyword (Fear and Great Wonder, Gandalf's Staff Ash Staff, Strange Meeting, With Doom We Come or even Theoden, King of the Eorlingas). You can also return [gandalf] cards from the discard pile to hand with cards such as Barliman Butterbur, PPP; Grimbeorn or Dasron for further discarding.

Strengths and Weaknesses[edit]

Strong Versus...[edit]

  • Thanks to relatively unique race and lack of skirmish penalty, Gandalf is strong against assignment skewing minions (Bill Ferny; Ulaire Nertea, Dark Horseman; Shelob, Her Ladyship)
  • Condition dependant shadows
  • Wounding shadows
  • Corruption ([gandalf] decks typically have large amounts of burden removal)

Weak Versus...[edit]

  • Corruption (Due to low resistance)
  • Too Great and Terrible, particularly with less versatile versions of The One Ring

Alternate Personas[edit]

Portrait Name Game Text
Gandalf, Friend of the Shirefolk (1R72) Gandalf is strength +1 for each of these races you can spot in the fellowship: Hobbit, Dwarf, Elf, and Man.
Gandalf, The Grey Wizard (1P364) Fellowship: Exert Gandalf to play a companion who has the Gandalf signet. The twilight cost of that companion is -2.
Gandalf, The Grey Pilgrim (2P122) At the start of each of your turns, you may draw a card.
Gandalf, Greyhame (4R89) Fellowship: If the twilight pool has fewer than 2 twilight tokens, add Twilight 2.svg to play a character from your discard pile.
Gandalf, The White Wizard (4C90) While you can spot 3 twilight tokens, Gandalf is strength +3.
Gandalf, Mithrandir (6R30) Damage +1. Each time the fellowship moves, wound Gandalf.
Gandalf, Defender of the West (7C36) While you cannot spot 3 companions of the same culture, Gandalf is strength –2.
Gandalf, Manager of Wizards (7R37) Skirmish: Place 3 cards from hand on top of your draw deck to make a minion skirmishing an unbound companion strength –3. Any Shadow player may place 3 cards from his or her hand on top of his or her draw deck to prevent this.
Gandalf, Leader of Men (8R15) When Gandalf is in your starting fellowship, his twilight cost is -2.
Gandalf, Leader of the Company (11S33) While Gandalf is in region 1, each other companion is strength +2. While Gandalf is in region 2, each companion is strength +1. While Gandalf is in region 3, he is strength +2.
Gandalf, The White Rider (12R27) Skirmish: If Gandalf is not assigned to a skirmish, exert him and another unbound companion skirmishing a minion to make Gandalf strength +3 and have him replace that companion in that skirmish.
Gandalf, Powerful Guide (15R29) To play, spot 2 Hobbits.

Each time you play a spell, you may add a burden to wound a minion.

At the start of each skirmish involving Gandalf, you may draw a card and then discard a card from your hand.

Gandalf, Returned (17R17) When you play Gandalf (except in your starting fellowship), you may play a Culture Gandalf.svg possession on him from your draw deck or discard pile.

Each time Gandalf wins a skirmish, you may reinforce a Free Peoples token.

Gandalf, Wise Guide (19P8) Fellowship.

Response: If an event is played, exert Gandalf twice to cancel that event.

Gandalf, Stormcrow (0P64)
Gandalf, Stormcrow (0D17) Damage +3. Defender +3. Skirmish: Exert Gandalf to make a companion strength +1.
Gandalf, Stormcrow (0W17)
Gandalf, Returned (0W32) When you play Gandalf (except in your starting fellowship), you may play a Culture Gandalf.svg possession on him from your draw deck or discard pile.

Each time Gandalf wins a skirmish, you may reinforce a Free Peoples token.

Gandalf, Powerful Guide (0W38) To play, spot 2 Hobbits.

Each time you play a spell, you may add a burden to wound a minion.

At the start of each skirmish involving Gandalf, you may draw a card and then discard a card from your hand.

Gandalf, Olorin (V1_14) At the start of your fellowship phase, you may spot 2 Culture Elven.svg allies and exert Gandalf to shuffle a Culture Gandalf.svg or Culture Elven.svg card from your discard pile into your draw deck.

While you can spot 3 Culture Elven.svg allies, Gandalf is strength +2.

While you can spot Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn, Gandalf is strength +2.​

See Also[edit]