Hello and welcome to A Seat at the Table, the column where I pick a commander and talk about what I’d include in the 99. This week, I’m taking a look at the Elven Council preconstructed Commander deck from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set. It’s chock full of characters you know and love.
Let’s take a look at five cards to put in and five cards to take out in this new A Seat at the Table sub-series. If you like this, please let me know and I’ll do the other precons too!
Let’s begin with the decklists. All the precons can be found here: https://magic.wizards.com/en/news/announcements/the-lord-of-the-rings-tales-of-middle-earth-commander-decklists
I don’t want to bloat the article too much, but here are some dope reprints in this one: Elvish Piper, Swan Song, Heroic Intervention, Beast Within, Overwhelming Stampede, Lightning Greaves, Whispersilk Cloak, Asceticism, Flooded Grove, Hinterland Harbor, and Rejuvenating Springs! Springs is huge because it’s the Battlebond lands in a precon!
For this precon, there are six eligible commanders for this deck! That’s nuts! Which one will we build around? Radagast, Wizard of Wilds and Gandalf, Westward Voyager both want five or more mana value spells. Cordon the Shipwright is the wildest of the bunch and Elrond of the White Council is right behind it. That said, Galadriel, Elven-Queen is the more Elf focused of the bunch and this precon has a ton of Elves. This deck oddly also has a lot of noncreature spells. It’s such a strange precon! That said, there are multiple instances of voting and that makes Erestor of the Council very enticing.
I think for the sake of five cards in and five out, Galadriel, Elven-Queen is my choice to lead the deck. Let’s see what she can do. For 2GU, Galadriel is a 4/5 Legendary Elf Noble which is a great start. Let’s see that textbox!
“Will of the council – At the beginning of combat on your turn, if another Elf entered the battlefield under your control this turn, starting with you, each player votes for dominion or guidance. If dominion gets more votes, the Ring tempts you, then you put a +1/+1 counter on your Ring-bearer. If guidance gets more votes or the vote is tied, draw a card.”
Let’s face it, you’ll probably be drawing cards more often than not. I doubt your opponents will want you to climb that Ring temptation list.
(Here’s what happens when the Ring tempts you: https://scryfall.com/card/tltr/H13/the-ring-the-ring-tempts-you)
This deck is going to be a Simic Elf typal deck with a voting subtheme. Let’s make some cuts.
Time to pick five cards to put in and five to remove. When it comes to precon deck upgrades, there are quite a few cards you can remove without worrying. I’ll cut five and give brief reasons, then talk about what to add.
- Mirror of Galadriel
Honestly, 5 and tap to activate is brutal. It gets reduced for each legendary creature you control, but chances are you’ll have two at a time and then it’s three mana for a scry and draw. It’s not the worst but it’s not great. It’s on theme, but eh.
- Elven Farsight
There are better options and it’s not a good enough draw spell. It can full on whiff. It’s one mana, sure, that’s fine, but it’s not a creature in a deck that wants creatures. Bye!
- Inscription of Abundance
The only mode on this that feels like it’d be relevant in this deck is the fight mode and there are better options out there. There are even Rabid Bite cards that deal damage rather than forcing a fight. It’s not even a creature. Cut!
- Wose Pathfinder
Not an Elf. I guess the pump effect is nice but if you want that Ezuri, Renegade Leader is the one you want.
- Colossal Whale
Expensive. No Haste. Not an Elf. Not impactful when it comes into play. F.
- Beast Whisperer
Any deck that wants to cast creatures and especially Elves needs a Beast Whisperer. Turn all your creatures into a pseudo-Elvish Visionary. You can do this with Kindred Discovery too and it’ll trigger off of tokens as well as attacks, but that can get dangerous as the game goes on and your board widens. Don’t forget that Beast Whisperer is an Elf that triggers your commander too!
- Priest of Titania
Elves on the battlefield means your Elves and your opponents’ Elves. Of course, if you’re the one with an Elf tribal deck, you’re the one contributing to your mana pool’s bounty most. Priest of Titania is one of those cards that feels insane in hindsight. How did a card like this get made!It’s so much mana in the right deck. Equip the Lightning Greaves on this one! If you don’t have one handy, I’d recommend a Circle of Dreams Druid aka Gaea’s Cradle on legs or Marwyn, the Nurturer, our new age Elfball commander.
- Leaf-Crowned Visionary
Leaf-Crowned Visionary is an Elf anthem and doubles as a Lifecrafter’s Bestiary for the creature type. It’s just really solid on rate and counts toward all the Elf synergies. Not much else to say but hell yeah buddy.
- Imperious Perfect / Wolverine Riders
My inclusion of either of these is just to get an Elf into play every turn with minimal effort to trigger Galadriel for a Ring temptation or card draw. Wolverine Riders’ added utility of life gain and being a bigger body is pretty great and I probably favour it, but Imperious Perfect is an anthem that spreads the love. Take your pick and enjoy!
- Selvala’s Stampede
I wanted to include at least one voting card and Expropriate gets people hated off of tables like crazy. With all your card draw, there’s a good chance that your opponents will vote for wild hoping that you’ve got the good stuff in hand. But check this out, no matter what, it’s win-win for you, surely. I would recommend cutting nonpermanent spells from the deck some more, but this is five in and five out so that’s where I’ll leave this! (But I would add Illusion of Choice… just saying!)
Bonus: Lord of the Rings cards to include!
I won’t get into them individually, but these are some solid inclusions from the deck that are in the LOTR main set to check out.
- Elven Chorus
- Elvish Mariner
- Elrond, Lord of Rivendell
- Elrond, Master of Healing
- Galadriel, Gift-Giver
- Galadriel of Lothlorien
- Horn of the Mark
- Lothlorien Lookout
- The Ring Goes South
That does it for this edition of A Seat at the Table. Let me know what you think @mikecarrozza!