The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set brings Tolkien’s characters to Magic: The Gathering, which will include four ready-made Commander Decks fronted by an iconic hero or villain. Gamepur recently previewed the new Commanders as part of a press event for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set, gaining a glimpse at their power and potential.
In Magic: The Gathering’s Commander format, the deck is fronted by a Commander, who always exists on the field but can only be summoned if their mana cost is paid. Any Planeswalker or Legendary Creature can be a Commander, allowing for all kinds of strategies, as a cheap Commander can be rushed out early to gain a quick advantage. At the same time, an expensive Commander is a guaranteed late-game threat. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Commanders fall into multiple categories, depending on your playstyle.
Eowyn, Shieldmaiden – Riders Of Rohan Commander Deck
Eowyn Shieldmaiden is a 5/4 Legendary Creature – Human, which costs five mana to play, three of which must consist of a red, a white, and a blue mana. Along with the First Strike keyword, Eowyn has an ability that kicks in at the start of combat. Eowyn can create two 2/2 Human Knight tokens with haste and trample for each Human unit summoned that turn. If you control six or more humans, Eowyn’s controller draws a card.
The Riders of Rohan deck combines the cavalry of Rohan with the infantry of Gondor, with the intention of overwhelming the enemy with sheer numbers. If you can get Eowyn on the field and summon many cheap Human creatures, your side of the field will soon be swamped with allies as her power summons more and more riders to the field. It won’t be long before you can recreate the iconic Riders of Rohan scene from the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.
Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit & Sam, Loyal Attendant – Food And Fellowship
Frodo and Sam use the Partner mechanic, allowing their deck to have two Commanders. Frodo, the Adventurous Hobbit, is a 1/3 Legendary Creature – Halfling Scout, who costs one white and one black mana to summon. When on the field, Frodo has Vigilicance, and if you gained three or more life that turn, then The Ring Tempts You effect happens. If The Ring Tempts You has happened at least twice, draw a card.
Sam, Loyal Attendant, is a 2/4 Legendary Creature – Halfling Peasant, who costs three mana, one of which must be green and one must be white. At the start of combat, Sam generates a Food Token, which can be tapped for two mana and sacrificed in exchange for three life. However, when Sam is on the field, the cost of using Food Tokens is reduced by one.
The idea behind this combo is that you get both of them on the field; Sam generates Food Tokens, giving the life that will activate Frodo’s ability and strengthen the One Ring. This means that Sam nourishes Frodo with what are presumably delicious taters to keep him fighting.
Galadriel, Elven-Queen – Elven Council
Galadriel, Elven-Queen is a 4/5 Legendary Creature – Elf Noble who costs four mana to play, one of which must be green and one must be blue. She has the Will of the Council ability, based on the Commander format’s multiplayer team aspect. If another Elf enters the battlefield after Galadriel, when combat begins, a vote is called among all players, who must choose between Domination or Guidance. If Domination wins the vote, the Ring-Bearer gets a +1/+1 token, and The Ring Tempts You. If Guidance wins or the vote is tied, you draw a card.
This is an interesting mechanic; it gives other players a say in what buff you receive. Domination or Guidance will be better in different circumstances, and the fact that they’re both good means that the opponent could be screwing themselves over, regardless of how the vote goes.
Sauron, Lord Of The Rings – The Hosts Of Mordor
Sauron, Lord of the Rings, is a 9/9 Legendary Creature – Avatar Horror, who costs eight mana to summon, one of which must be black, one red, and one blue. When Sauron is cast, you create a 5/5 Orc Army Token, mill five cards, then return a creature from the graveyard to the battlefield. Sauron has Trample, and The Ring Tempts You effect kicks in when an enemy Commander dies.
In a fitting move for the being who once took on the name of The Necromancer, Sauron is all about bringing his forces back from the grave. Sauron can also summon armies of orcs, where there were none before. He’s the most expensive Commander to summon of the four Middle-earth decks, but he’s easily the strongest once he gets going.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set has a wide variety of Commander Decks, each displaying the different strengths of the heroes and villains of the setting. We’ll know exactly what these Commander Decks can do in the future when The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set launches on June 23.