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 Food and Fellowship preconstructed Commander deck from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set. It’s helmed by two beloved heroes of the series and it’s an Abzan good time. 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 experiment. 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 so I won’t copy it here but I will say here are some dope reprints in this one: Birds of Paradise, Essence Warden, Path to Exile, Toxic Deluge, Farseek, Anguished Unmaking, Chromatic Lantern, Sanguine Bond, Isolated Chapel, Sunpetal Grove, and Woodland Cemetery.
Frodo is a 1/3 Halfling Scout for WB with Vigilance and the following textbox:
“Whenever Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit attacks, if you gained 3 or more life this turn, the Ring tempts you. Then if Frodo is your Ring-bearer and the Ring has tempted you two or more times this game, draw a card.”
Here’s what happens when the Ring tempts you: https://scryfall.com/card/tltr/H13/the-ring-the-ring-tempts-you
Sam, Loyal Attendant is a 2/4 Halfling Peasant for 1GW that says:
“At the beginning of combat on your turn, create a Food token. (It’s an artifact with 2, T, sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.)
Activated abilities of Foods you control cost 1 less to activate.”
So as a combo, with both of the boys in play, you go to combat, Sam makes a Food, you can pay 1 to sacrifice the Food to gain three life. Then when you attack with Frodo, you will have gained three life so you get tempted by the Ring and make Frodo your Ring-bearer. Note that this only triggers when Frodo attacks and the second part only triggers if he’s your Ring-bearer and you’ve been tempted twice.
Sam on the other hand just always makes a Food at combat and reduces abilities by one.
Let’s 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 and then talk about what to add.
I’ve always disliked this one in the Offering cycle. There’s one real payoff card that cares about Treefolk and it’s probably better on its own and Farmer Cotton gives you better more relevant tokens than Elves.
Jump effects are fine in low powered decks but this is five mana and requires you to attack with two creatures per player to get a flying bonus. It’s not great. It’s really not for me.
You’ll be making a ton of Food in this deck and then Butterbur is just a Hill Giant. Next!
You’re in green, you don’t need this. You can ramp better than this.
You’re in black (and honestly, white has come a long way). You’ve got more options available to you.
Let’s be real, any deck that wants to make mass amounts of Treasures, Clues, or Foods will find utility in the rest of the tokens created by Manufactor. Making a Food, a Treasure and a Clue every combat with Sam is reason enough for this. But you have plenty of cards to include in this deck that put one of these tokens into play already. It’s incredible.
For four mana, you have another sacrifice outlet for your Food tokens that will protect your creatures or get blockers out of the way. He also makes Foods for nontoken creatures entering under your control. Killer inclusion.
Jaheira is like a Cryptolith Rite for your tokens. She’s so strong and a highly overlooked creature from the fantastic but maligned Battle for Baldur’s Gate set. She turns all our tokens into Moss Diamonds. Creature tokens and artifact tokens. Your Food tokens can tap to pay to sacrifice another one. Overall, wicked inclusion in the deck.
Yes, six mana is steep cost for a 1/3 creature but this is an all-star in Prosper, Tome-Bound for a reason. ETBs with three +1/+1 counters and nugs an opponent equal to its power every time an artifact you control hits the graveyard. All your Food tokens qualify. Six mana doesn’t seem like a lot for a finisher anymore, does it?
Your commanders and a solid amount of your utility creatures cost three or less mana. If you upgrade your mana base, you can rebuy fetch lands from your graveyard. Commander’s Sphere is also a fantastic card to bring back every turn if you’ve got nothing else in your yard to threaten your opponents with.
Bonus: Krark-Clan Ironworks
Krark-Clan Ironworks is a pricey card, but pop that sucker into your deck as an artifact Ashnod’s Altar. Sacrifice a Food to pay for another Food or a Clue. All of these will make Rapacious Guest huge and threaten to crush an opponent on attack on when a board wipe hits.
Bonus from the Lord of the Rings Set
This set has a lot of great cards that fit Prosper, Tome-Bound into this deck, so if you were hoping to keep the deck on theme?
- Elanor Gardner – Turn any Food sacrifice into an end step Rampant Growth on your turn. It’s a great feeling to just run your game plan and get rewarded for it in another way. Elanor is great passive ramp.
- Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff – Your curve is low and Lotho tells your opponents that if they want to take a greedy turn, they better cut you in. Getting a Treasure every other turn for regular game progression is a very good rate for two mana.
- Meriadoc Brandybuck – You’ve got hella Halflings in the deck and can have another for just two mana. Merry can potentially make you three Food tokens per combat and in a deck where the getting token density high is a priority, I’d definitely include this card in the 99.
- Peregrin Took – Making an extra Food WHENEVER you make a token is crazy! Turning three Food tokens into card draw is incredible. Pair this with Elanor and you can sacrifice three Foods and then ramp at your end step – just for activating to draw a card, an action we all want to do!
- Samwise Gamgee – You’ve got a ton of nontoken creatures entering the battlefield. This is going to make you so much Food. Not to mention, just like Peregrin Took, you can cash in three Foods for a card, but instead of a draw, it’s an artifact, legend, or Saga from your graveyard.
Altogether, this is the precon I’m most excited by.
Let me know what you think @mikecarrozza!