Hello! Welcome to my set review of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Commander!
Given that the set also comes out with a set of preconstructed Commander decks, we get a whole bunch of new cards to talk about. This set is very heavy on the legendary theme and adds 36 new legends eligible to be a commander, so I’ll be tackling those in this article and the non-legendary creature cards in another.
I had a hard time narrowing it down so trust me when I say, the top five is real loose!
Without further ado, here are my favourite legendary creature Commander precon exclusive cards from this set.
If there’s ever been an aggro combat commander in these colours, it’s Aragorn, King of Gondor. What an absolute tank. Vigilance and lifelink on a 4/4 for four is great but factor in it ETBs with the monarch and when he attacks, he stops a blocker. If you’re the monarch, NOBODY CAN BLOCK INSTEAD?! With red to grant haste or even just Lightning Greaves to protect and get him in quick, the clock ticks down so fast with Aragorn in play. You just want to play a ton of anthems, every card that gives you the monarch possible, and make a ton of tokens. Just swing, swing, swing. Game over!
Somebody tell Talrand, Sky Summoner his services are now only required in the 99. Lord of the Nazgul is the perfect commander for a creatureless deck. Play a ton of instants and sorceries and turn your army of 3/3s into 9/9s to take the game. The Lord becomes a 9/9 as well, by the way. Your flying commander becomes a 9/9 when you have enough Wraiths to trigger the instant or sorcery ability on them. This will be one of the most popular commanders and they will frustrate tables far and wide. But I can’t blame them. It must be fun to finally be seen! Enjoy, Dimir spellslingers who’ve always wanted a wincon ready and available.
I love a commander that gives you a little mini game to it. Bilbo wants you to have 111 or more life before he brings all his friends to the party and he helps you get there very, very slowly.
That said, I will want to see this happen at least once. I love the shenanigans this allows for. I have nothing else to say other than it’s a feel good card! I enjoy Bilbo quite a bit.
This card is ridiculous. Upon its entrance to the battlefield and when it attacks, you get to trigger a vote wherein you might get cards or get to put a permanent into play free. That’s great, but you also want to prevent an opponent from putting anything in and because it’s secret, everybody’s trying to guess some votes. The rock-paper-scissors-esque strategy to this is fantastic and I can’t wait to see what happens when I play against this – I can’t build this, I don’t know what to do!
I like both version of Lobelia and this one takes the cake for me. A payoff for all those Food tokens you can make now. A new Gonti-esque ability that can turn a Treasure into the ramp spell or the cheapest bomb spell. Or, if you didn’t get anything good, you can drain two across the board.
- Eowyn, Shieldmaiden – Jeskai Humans have no reason to run any other specifically Human themed decks. Eowyn is an absolute tank and fills your board and your hand. Amazing.
- Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit – I don’t see much of a reason to run Frodo alone, but at the head of the precon sure. Frankly, of the two, Sam is much better.
- Galadriel, Elven-Queen – Simic voting is such a fun idea for deck theme. You just need to play Elves with Galadriel here. If you’re into this, you’ll love the precon. Enjoy!
- Sauron, Lord of the Rings – That cast trigger is solid, and 9/9 trampler with additional potential Ring temptation is amazing. It’s eight mana though and… a cast trigger means Sauron needs to be bounced to your hand or sent back to the command zone if you want to get that ability more than once.
- Gandalf, Westward Voyager – This is so fun and so weird. Play a bunch of five plus mana cards with multiple types and you’ll probably get a free cast from your opponents’ decks.
- Sam, Loyal Attendant – Dropping the cost of activating Food to one is amazing and getting a Food at all of your combats is really good in decks that want tokens, artifacts, and life gain. Pair with Frodo for the colours and just eat them Foods.
- Saruman, the White Hand – Noncreature spells means that there’s more flexibility to this build and your Army can be very big. Grixis enchantments, anyone?
- Beregond of the Guard – This can get out of hand really quickly. Humans are easy to make so you’ll have to keep track of all the different Power/Toughness stats for them.
- The Gaffer – This is just really good and clean design. Each end step? A card? For three life? That’s so easy! Let’s go!
- Gilraen, Dunedain Protector – A blink ability with the option to extend to a flicker, with some added benefits. Two mana isn’t bad at all, but a tap ability makes this a little less attractive.
- Gwaihir, Greatest of the Eagles – Gain life every turn and create a massive crew of little versions of Gwaihir. Simple and straightforward.
- Denethor, Stone Seer – Instant speed monarch ability! Unfortunately, that’s about all I can get behind on this.
- Monstrosity of the Lake – Islandcycling on this makes this pretty solid in reanimator shells. By paying five on ETB, you lock down all your opponents’ creatures. But that’s 10 mana.
- Gollum, Obsessed Stalker – I love that there’s a Stigma Lasher element of tracking who’s been dealt damage by Gollum. It might not hit everybody, but it will definitely give you a delayed Sanguine Bond at least. But there’s a chance it’ll be fore each other opponent, then that’s pretty spicy.
- Shelob, Dread Weaver – I hate facing off against denial of death triggers, but they are extremely powerful. Shelob turns then into card draw or steals your opponents’ creatures from under them for a small fee. All without requiring a tap? Excuse me!
- Gimli of the Glittering Caves – All I really like is that he’s got double strike and can make you two Treasures on combat. Legends matter in red?
- Arwen, Weaver of Hope – Master Biomancer says what?
- Haldir, Lorien Lieutenant – An Elf commander that is going to pump other Elves. This feels straightforward and like it’ll be powerful and it is.
- Legolas Greenleaf – It’s a lot of abilities for a quite underwhelming commander. A saboteur in green that gets bigger and can’t be chumped by smaller creatures? Good but not inspiring to me.
- The Balrog of Moria – This is a bummer to me. Death triggers that require exiling means that you’re cashing it in once or it’s your commander and when it’s in the command zone, you can’t cycle it. Not to mention it’s seven mana without any reduction. It’s a miss for me.
- Boromir, Gondor’s Hope – Entering and attacking find a Human or artifact from the top six is such a great amount of cards too look through for something good. Jeskai Humans is the right spot for this.
- Elrond of the White Council – More often than not, your opponents are going to give your board a pump. You’re going to want abilities that make the most out of +1/+1 counters to give your opponents something to think about.
- Eomer, King of Rohan – This is actually such a tank in Humans decks. If you have five other Humans, Eomer comes in as a 7/7 double striker who can choose a monarch and deal seven damage to any target. Any target! Blink. Flicker. Reanimate. Copy. Eomer is a ticking time bomb.
- Erestor of the Council – I wish – I really really wish – this was in other colours or just blue to put in other decks with voting. Give your opponents more reasons to vote with you. It’s almost like this is a bribery commander like it should have maybe been blue/black instead.
- Faramir, Steward of Gondor – In the 99 of Jeskai Humans or a deck like Jodah, the Unifier – that’s where I think we’ll really see this.
- Farmer Cotton – Very fun! Make a bunch of tokens, double them, have ETB abilities. This is my pick for a mill commander. Don’t ask me to elaborate right now, I’m still trying to figure out how to make it happen.
- Grima, Saruman’s Footman – Dazzling Sphinx in the command zone and it can’t be blocked. I think this rules.
- Pippin, Warden of Isengard and Merry, Warden of Isengard – Merry and Pippin should lead a deck together mostly. Even in the decks I’m thinking of trying them in, they’re both getting tested. Partner with ensures that they work together every time. Pippin is the stronger of the two with his ability, but Merry provides the creatures.
- Radagast, Wizard of Wilds – I don’t know how to say this without being dismissive so I’m just going to lean in. I don’t care about this card at all.
- Treebeard, Gracious Host – Treebeard is amazing in Treefolk decks or as a novel Voltron commander. Solid in the precon for which it was created, probably most at home there.
That does it for the Commander cards that can lead a deck for Lord of the Rings! Stay tuned for the rest of the Commander set!