This Card-Review article was written by Cynthia Hart and was published first on "Lord of the Rings Online (lotrtcg.decipher.com)".
Poleaxes wielded by tall Easterling warriors cut through armor and bone.
Easterling Axeman is one of those cards that seems simple enough to understand and play at first glance but is actually worth a second and closer look. As a cost 2, strength 6 minion the Axeman is nothing special. But once two burdens are on the Ring Bearer he becomes a strength 9, Fierce fighter - one of the most efficient minions in the game.
Nice - but how does that make him special? Well, first of all - there are currently 8 minions that have strength or fierceness boosters that key off of burdens. Of all of these, (Easterling Axeman, Easterling Infantry, Easterling Trooper, Easterling Captain, Desert Legion, Gollum Stinker, Orthanc Berserker and Ulaire Nelya, Ringwraith in Twilight) only Easterling Axeman and Easterling Infantry are commons; making them easy to get and easy to play. Easterling Trooper is uncommon but the other 5 cards are all rare. Easterling Axeman is also the cheapest of any but Gollum - and it takes 4 burdens for Gollum to be as strong as the Easterling Axeman is with 2; and even then he is not fierce.
Now that we've looked at the Easterling Axeman's benefits (cheap, common, and easy to pump) what are some good ways to use him? First of all, you need a burden adding deck to start with. Otherwise you have no guarantee that you'll be able to use him to his best ability. But then what? Combine the Easterling Axeman with the other Raider minions that are dependant on burdens - Easterling Trooper and Easterling Infantry. Save them up while playing cards that add burdens and then throw them all down at once. With their cheap cost you can hit your opponent with a fierce Raider swarm.
Easterling Axeman also works well against Ring Bound rangers. Add a few Gathering to the Summons and let your opponent confidently toss the Easterling Axeman on a low strength companion because Frodo only has one burden. Then play Gathering to the Summons (Spot a Ring-Bound companion skirmishing a Raider minion to add a burden) to pump his strength up by 3 and make him fierce just as the skirmish begins.
Easterling Axeman is also a good minion to combine into a Ringwraith burden deck. He takes advantage of the burdens but doesn't use much twilight. There are usually a couple of twilight left over after playing your Nazgul and you can toss the Axeman in to add to the pressure. Maybe your opponent will be so focused on the Nazgul that the Axeman can sneak up and, well, "axe" him.
The Axeman is also a good card for the Desperate Defense of the Ring/Enduring Evil Sauron deck. One of the problems with the Sauron minions is that they are not fierce. Desperate Defense of the Ring is a great card but it could be even better in conjunction with a few fierce minions. Easterling Axeman won't take much twilight away from the Sauron minion and can (under the right circumstances) activiate Desperate Defense of the Ring's text twice in one turn.All of these are great reasons for including the Easterling Axeman in any burden deck you make for that extra cheap cost punch that can really shock your opponent.