MTG: 10 Best Cards For Commander From Lord Of The Rings: Tales Of Middle-earth

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When it comes to big, impactful moments, it’s hard to find a story as full of them as The Lord of the Rings. From epic battles to tender scenes of friendship, the rich tapestry of human experience is on full display in its many sparkling pages. So it’s a credit to the creators of Magic: The Gathering that they managed to capture so much of that greatness in the long-awaited Tales of Middle-earth expansion.


RELATED: MTG – The Best Commanders from Lord of the Rings: The Tales of Middle-earth

Regardless, these big, impactful moments aren’t all treated to big, impactful cards, as most of the set is surprisingly modest for a straight-to-modern product. A lot, but certainly not all. Some of the new cards introduced are incredibly powerful, especially in Magic’s arguably most popular format: Commander.

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10 Evil banditry

MTG: Spiteful Banditry card

Those who were around to see the reign of terror The Meathook Massacre brought to Standard will no doubt be relieved that Spiteful Banditry won’t be taking its place in the format, but that relief doesn’t extend to Commander players. Because Banditry is essentially a color-shifted version of the same effect, albeit with a different, potentially much more dangerous advantage.

As an X-scaling board wipe, Spiteful Banditry maintains relevance at all points in the game, but its passive ability really pushes it over the top. An effect that generates about four treasures per turn cycle can easily elevate you into terrifying multicolor threats, to the point where simply playing cards for two mana and ignoring the board wipe aspect is likely to be a viable line for many decks.

9 Call Of The Ring

MTG: Call of the Ring card

While self-contained deck-specific mechanics tend not to work well in the long run, Ring of Temptation looks to buck that trend by collecting universally useful passive abilities and granting them to any of your creatures. Call of the Ring is the most reliable source of temptation in the deck, giving you a guaranteed trigger at every turn of your upkeep.

Every time you choose a ring bearer, which you can do almost every turn, Call of the Ring lets you draw a card in exchange for two life, acting like a cheaper but more contingent Phyrexian Arena. Even if that angle doesn’t work out, simply leveling up a level four temptation early in the game is powerful enough, allowing you to turn any creature into a evasive mass-burning marauding monster with pseudo-deathtouch.

8 Elven Chorus

MTG: Elven Chorus card

There is no shortage of Future Sight effects available to Commander players, with green in particular having a good set of options, but Elven Chorus really takes the concept to the next level. Not only does it allow you to see what cards are coming next and play those cards if they’re creatures, but it also offers a way to pay for them by turning every creature you control into a mana dork.

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As the name suggests, this card fits perfectly into any Elves deck, but is also generically useful in any creature-based deck. The simple color requirements and the fact that it can produce any color itself once things get going make it ideal especially for greedy four- or five-color builds.

7 The One Ring

MTG: One Ring card

It’s probably debatable whether or not The One Ring is the most iconic artifact in all of fiction, but what isn’t debatable is how powerful its magical incarnation in Commander is. As one of only three cards to give you protection from everything, it joins an exclusive club alongside Stasis Coffin and Teferi’s Protection. Unlike these smaller cards, however, The One Ring does not disappear when used.

This means that in the right build you can play and then bounce The One Ring every turn and bide your time until you get a combo win. Another option is to play the card ‘fairly’ and use it as a powerful draw mechanism with very little downside, especially if you can end the game before the next upkeep.

6 Ringsight

MTG: Ringsight card

For singleton formats like Commander, it’s always worth carefully considering new Tutor options, and Ringsight is no exception. For three mana, you get one “ring tempts you” trigger, and then you can search for a card that’s the same color as any legendary creature you control.

The order of effects here is crucial, as the very first tier of Ring temptation buffs will make one of your creatures legendary and turn what looks like a niche effect into one that can be used effectively by almost any deck. And while it’s ineffective as a teacher compared to some tried-and-tested options, the added value provided by the “ring tempts you” trigger gives it a unique angle that none of these options can boast.

5 Blossoming white tree

MTG: Blossoming White Tree card

Legendary as a supertype has received a steady stream of support cards in recent years, and Flowering of the White Tree is one of the best we’ve seen. For just two mana, it grants all of your legendary creatures a significant +2/+1 boost on top of the first ward. This makes it much harder for your opponents to remove your custom friends with targeted removal.

It’s attractive as a defense here, but you can instead rely on Bloom as a full-on aggression tool if you want. The +2/+1 is a big boost, and non-legendary creatures aren’t completely left out either, as they still get +1/+1 themselves.

4 Isildur’s fatal blow

MTG: Isildur's Fateful Strike card

With cards like Mind Vessel and Reliquary Tower serving as consistent staples in the format, maximum hand size is more of a guideline than a rule in Commander. For this reason, Isildur’s Fatal Strike is incredibly well positioned in the format, being able to create winning value swings on its own for just four mana.

RELATED: MTG – The Best Black Cards in Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

By banishing every card at least four from the opponent’s hand, Strike can severely punish the greedy Control player and perhaps even completely destroy their plans. Even outside of that ideal scenario, the card is still a solid one-for-one removal spell, with any banished cards you get on top only being welcome.

3 Mount Doom

MTG: Mount Doom card

If any fictional location is worthy of being featured in a legendary land, it’s Mount Doom. An ever-evolving target of the Fellowship’s quest, both a beacon of hope and a terrifying threat, the mountain is woven into the popular consciousness like little else in fantasy. Fortunately, his incarnation of Magic lives up to that important legacy.

In addition to being a basic black/red land of pain, Mount Doom also allows you to flood the table with Volcanic Sparks for every damage: useful in player damage dependent decks like Rakdos, Lord of Riots. Finally, it can also double as an incredibly specific (and incredibly tasty) board wipe, keeping your two favorite creatures alive so you can watch the rest of the table burn.

2 There and back

MTG: A card there and back again

Like Tolkien’s works, There and Back Again is a saga that takes a while to really get going. But when it does, it can take you to places you didn’t expect. The first two chapters here are passable in constructed formats, regardless of the Commander – but the grand finale, in which Smaug the Dragon appears, is a different story altogether.

As a 6/6 flier with haste, Smaug rates fairly well for the five mana investment that Saga requires. But his ability is the real reward. Upon death, Smaug awards you a staggering 14 Treasure Tokens: a small fortune that you can invest in any number of winning games.

1 Saruman’s Storm

MTG: Storm of Saruman card

Like the wizard of the same name, Saruman’s storm is extremely powerful and incredibly difficult to stop once it starts. By doubling your second spell cast every turn, whether it’s a sorcery, creature, or planeswalker, Storm allows you to break one of Commander’s cardinal rules every single turn as it rampages across the battlefield.

The best value here lies in duplicating permanent spells, especially since the effect bypasses the legend rule that allows for multiple copies of legendary creatures and planeswalkers at once. It’s worth noting that it also works on other players’ moves, but if you want to rely more heavily on a proper evil control strategy.

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