Hello! Welcome to my set review of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth, where I will pick five cards of each colour and discuss my favourite cards from them.

Given that the set also comes out with a set of preconstructed Commander decks, I’ll also be covering my favourite new cards from there in another article.

Without further ado, here are my favourite Artifact/Land cards!

  1. Palantir of Orthanc

I really love cards that add mini-games to games of Commander.

Being able to scry two and set up the top of your deck before turning to an opponent and offering them a choice puts you in a little more control than you think.

Over the course of the game, you get to know your opponent. Who is going to risk the mill life loss equal to total mana value? You’ll either be paying three to draw a card every end step with a little selection or you’ll be cracking at an opponent. Either way, it’s progress!

I live for this in a self-mill strategy. Either you’re drawing a card or you’re playing into your strategy while probably crushing an opponent’s life total. Excellent card. So strange. So fun. Powerful, but entertaining.

  1. Horn of the Mark

I’ll keep this one short and sweet:

Run this in a token deck. Send two creatures to each opponent and for each of them, you look at five cards and keep a creature card. That’s right. You get to dig 15 cards deep and keep three creatures. That’s SO MUCH for two mana. Even if this were just to trigger once instead of per opponent you’re attacking, it’s a solid amount of value for a two mana artifact.

  1. Sting, the Glinting Dagger

Untapping every single combat means that the equipped creature gets pseudo-vigilance, but it also means if you’ve got extra combat steps going on, you can keep a creature with an activated tap ability behind to generate value.

Krenko, Mob Boss is the first one to come to mind. But Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker with a Combat Celebrant is almost assuredly game over time. Equip this to Arcanis the Omnipotent and you’ll be up 12 cards a turn cycle! Giver of Runes and Mother of Runes deserve to keep caring for their fellow creatures! Get Goblin Welder to dance artifacts in and out of the graveyard. There’s a lot to be done with untapping a creature. Yes, a lot of it is mana production, but there are lots of things to be done with mana at instant speed!

  1. Minas Tirith

I love cards that feel like they’re free inclusions in your deck. In most white decks, you’ll be doing some amount of attacking with two or more creatures. Being able to repeatedly draw a card for essentially three mana with the condition of doing something you’re probably already doing is something white gets to do now. Requiring this means that you cannot hold up your mana and draw on your opponents’ turns but this makes sure you’re ready to commit.

  1. The One Ring

Tapping and untapping The One Ring means you’re probably going to get into a big chunk of your deck. Getting protection from everything for a whole turn cycle is great on cast, but the big ability is drawing your cards and having to pay the price. Luckily, The One Ring only takes your lift away at your upkeep. Clock of Omens and Unwinding Clock will get you tons of cards, but make sure to pad your life total. We’re no strangers to trading life for resources with Sylvan Library and Black Market Connections. This is going to require some building around.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Anduril, Flame of the West – Sometimes I think this being equipped to a nonlegendary creature might be better to keep some blockers up, but otherwise, this is such solid value through and through.
  • Barad-dur – Basically, this second ability is Morbid and costs you so much for Amass Orcs X. I don’t see this being a hit. Disappointing!
  • Barrow-Blade – I kind of like this with a Lure effect. Very interesting card and the implications make me excited.
  • Bilbo’s Ring – Unblockable and hexproof on your turn is Whispersilk Cloak. Tack on a card draw when you attack alone and it’s just fine. But that four mana equip cost is ridiculous.
  • Glamdring – A buffed up Runechanter’s Pike that lets you cast an instant or sorcery for free on combat damage to a player. Great card, but narrow. Spellslinger but also aggro?
  • Great Hall of the Citadel – This is excellent fixing in your Partner decks, in your two to five colour decks that want to play their commanders. Bonus if you’ve got legendary spells, fix those easy.
  • Horn of Gondor – Human creature themed decks get an incredible piece to slot into the 99.
  • Lembas – This is a great little artifact. Scry 1 and draw in any colour that goes back into your deck? Sign me up.
  • Mines of Moria – I cheated and named this one in the best Red cards in the set and that’s saying something. It is not amazing. It’s fine but unfortunately it’s just alright.
  • Mithril CoatDarksteel Plate gets a big upgrade. Flash and instant equip? Holy hell, sign me up!
  • Mount Doom – The threat of activating the Mount Doom board wipe is something your opponents will keep an eye on. If your commander is an artifact creature, you’ll have no problem threatening this wipe.
  • Phial of Galadriel – People have been talking about this online like it’s going to give you double cards when you play a wheel effect, but that’s not how it works. You’ll only draw a single extra card. It’s still a mana rock. If you’ve got a deck that hellbends you often like an Anje Falkenrath, maybe it’s worth it. Blood Scrivener on a rock. That life gain part is rarely going to matter because if you’re at five life, you’re probably dying.
  • Rivendell – This is cheaper than Castle Vantress which I guess is something it has going for it!
  • Stone of Erech – Don’t deny me my death triggers, please! This is solid hate tech against your pod’s sacrifice deck.
  • The Grey Havens – ETB scry 1 is the cherry on top of a land that will fix your colours for any deck running enough legends that hit the yard.
  • The Shire – This is an easy way to create Food tokens and there are more and more decks that are themed around them so this is going to find its way into those decks.
  • Wizard’s Rockets – One time fixing that draws you a card when you cash it in. For one mana! That’s not the worst!

That’s it for Artifacts/Lands. Gold cards are next! Then I’ve got the whole Commander set to talk about.

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