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 Red cards! I’m going to be very honest and say that Red this time around is extremely disappointing. There are so many restrictions and limits on cards that would otherwise be fun and cool. Let’s start.

  1. Mines of Moria

That’s right, I had to pick the legendary land in this colour for top card here. That’s how frustrated I am with this set’s Red selection.

That’s not to say that Mines of Moria is weak, it’s just a little boring. It comes in untapped if you’ve got a legendary creature but it only taps for red. Sure it triggers your Field of the Dead but you can’t fetch it out.

What you can do is hold up mana in a reactive deck like an Izzet counter spell deck and exile three cards from your yard, pay four, and tap Mines for two treasures.

The three cards is steeper than I want it to be considering. It’s already essentially five mana, but to be able to stockpile that kind of value is solid and definitely worth considering in your Tormod, the Desecrator and red partner decks.

  1. There and Back Again

This is not a good Saga besides its last chapter, but that chapter is so funny I need to hope that I’ll get to it. There’s so much proliferate out there that I have faith you’ll get there before your opponents remove it.

Chapter One – Target creature can’t block and you get tempted by the Ring. Whatever.

Chapter Two – Fetch a Mountain to play. This can be a Triome!

Chapter Three – Make the funniest creature in the set.

With the Smaug token, you’re going to want to clone and populate it. Jaxis, the Troublemaker decks are about to go off if they can protect their Saga. To get 14 Treasures off the death of a single creature? Divine!

  1. Spiteful Banditry

Anybody you hear comparing this to The Meathook Massacre needs to be smacked across the face to wake them up because they’re dreaming.

Meatball Massacre is a drain and gain effect that happens every time a creature of yours or your opponents dies, that happens to have a board wipe stapled to it, thus making it extremely powerful.

Spiteful Banditry costs 15 mana to do what Blasphemous Act can do and then it gives you a measly Treasure. Then it gives you a Treasure when an opponent’s creature dies… but only once per turn. Not once per turn per player, but just once per turn. Meaning that you can get, yes, four Treasures a turn cycle, but you have to have enough to make it happen.

That said, it makes my list because creatures die all the time in commander. Playing this for two mana or three mana can still be a pretty decent deal that pays for itself over time. It’s once I’m hoping to try out in my Sevinne, the Chronoclasm Brash Taunters list.

  1. Erkenbrand, Lord of Westfold

If you have a Humans deck with red in it (Jirina Kudro) I highly recommend finding a slot for Erkenbrand. There are so many ways to make a ton of Human tokens and each one of those becomes a power anthem for the turn. There are ways to make Humans at instant speed, there are ways to copy Humans, Humans that enter with other Humans – Humans are probably the  deepest creature type in Magic. If you’ve got a deck for them, you’ve got to make room for the Lord of Westfold.

  1. Cast into the Fire

This made my top five because it’s a two mana model spell at instant speed that can exile a powerful and oft protected permanent type or ping two creatures. Put this in your Enrage themed Dinosaur decks or in your deck with Liquimetal Torque and get rid of those pesky “artifacts”. Isochron Scepter this with the Torque and start going for lands… one… by… one.

I think it’s cool and it’s always nice to see a common that you can consider for Commander.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Display of Power – This could have been in my top 5 but it’s just so generically powerful. You can use it to counter a Counterspell and double your own spell, you can use it to copy the stack of copies you’ve made. It’s a Storm doubler that can’t be copied. It’s really good!
  • Eomer, Marshal of Rohan – It hurts that this triggers only once because how often are you going to have enough legendary creatures to sacrifice for infinite combat?
  • Erebor Flamesmith – A Guttersnipe variant.
  • Fall of Cair Andros – This is hilarious with Blasphemous Act. Make sure you don’t Greater Good that Army though.
  • Fear, Fire, Foes! – At one mana, you can target a 1/1 Soldier token and spare its life while absolutely annihilating the rest of the Soldiers in the same brigade.
  • Fiery InscriptionGuttersnipe on an enchantment that tempts.
  • Fires of Mount Doom – It’s an iconic part of the story but it’s just so lacklustre. You can’t cast cards exiled with it until NEXT turn, it’s only this turn thus taxing the card by three. Plus then you only get to ping if you cast it and you hit yourself when you do. It’s so frustratingly bad. I hate it and I’m sad it’s so bad.
  • Gimli, Counter of Kills – If you play this against me, I am targeting you with everything. I kid, but this would wreck me entirely. It also is for opponents, so I might be trying this in a couple of decks myself!
  • Gloin, Dwarf Emissary – DID THIS REALLY HAVE TO BE CAPPED AT ONCE A TURN??? It says goad on it so we know it’s for Commander, so why do we need to have it capped at once a turn when artifacts, legends, and Sagas aren’t necessarily regularly cast during opponents’ turns?
  • Hew the Entwood – If you wanna Gamble this hard, might I recommend a Barren Glory deck.
  • Improvised Club – Hilarious name, great flavour.
  • Moria Marauder – Fantastic Goblin card but can absolutely screw you over if you’re not careful. I prefer Grenzo, Havoc Raiser so you get rid of your opponents’ cards.
  • Rally at the Hornburg – Great way to make Human tokens and surprise! It’s Haste time!
  • Ranger’s Firebrand – Sorcery speed Shock with a Ring temptation.
  • Rising of the DayFervor has been outclassed by an uncommon!
  • Rohirrim Lancer – I like seeing death triggers because it makes blocking creatures interesting. And sacrificing them too.
  • Smite the Deathless – Amazing removal if you’ve got an indestructible menace in your playgroup.
  • Swarming of Moria – I like that this can be copied and if you’ve got some sort of spell doubler, this could be amazing. You get a bigger and bigger creature that you can just Fling, plus you make your money mana back.
  • Warbeast of Gorgoroth – This goes infinite if you have a way to raise base power to two. If the amassed Army is a base 2/0 then it’ll be a 4/2. Sacrifice for infinite. Interesting idea!

That does it for Red (good riddance, unfortunately) and we’re on to Green!

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