This LOTR Set’s Power Level Might Be Too Strong
And here we are, back again. Almost through the list, and in this part, things get even more powerful. In the time it’s taken to write/edit this article, one card on this list has been such a source of contention it might be banned in Commander by the time you read this.
But that’s not the only card I’m excited about. There’s stuff on this list screaming for some very competitive Dimir builds, and I’ve already seen an awesome Grixis deck on Arena. LOTR is just such an excellent set. I was hesitant when I heard they were doing a crossover with another property, but this gives me hope for the upcoming Doctor Who Commander precons.
But let’s pay attention to the set already out, shall we?
This is such a good card for two-mana (so good it might be banned). It’s no Narset, Parter of Veils, but it’s still a brutal way to slow down an opponent’s plans. Even being a two-mana flash creature has some utility. It’s hard to argue against this card’s inclusion in any black Historic Brawl deck.
It’s a mana rock early game and a constantly useful tool if a game goes long. If you end up in top-deck mode because of a board wipe, it can help you recover faster. And if you’re a lifegain deck that got smacked down, it can easily claw you back out of the hole every turn.
I don’t see Pippin being a Commander in any decks, but he’s great in the ninety-nine. He can attack and use his ability in the same turn, is hard to kill early on, and can be used defensively or offensively, depending on what you need.
So much tempo in one LOTR card. Bounce one thing and play another removal spell simultaneously. The decks that like this card are often rather annoying, but that doesn’t mean they’re not powerful—and this is an easy include for them.
It’s a Shock but with a Ring trigger. Go back and reread the first of these LOTR articles where I talked about Birthday Escape. A one-mana way to get a Ring trigger is potent, and this one can also kill an early creature simultaneously.
I would’ve put this card on the list even if it didn’t give you a Ring trigger. Use it to steal some creature with a cool ability for your benefit or to mess with your opponent’s plans. And, depending on the board scenario, this card’s not an awful choice for a Ring-bearer.
Two things about this card. First, it’s basically a counterspell in white. You already have to watch out for Mana Tithe, and now this thing can throw off a player’s plans. It also draws a card for some reason. Second, how have they never used this name for a Magic card before? This seems like it should’ve been in one of the first sets. Maybe a lifegain card or a blue counterspell?
An Eternal Witness-style ability that makes food for some quick lifegain (or other food-based strategies) is supremely useful in Historic Brawl. I wish it was an instant, but that would probably be too strong.
In Historic Brawl games (or any Commander-like variant), this is basically a Demonic Tutor—and you get a Ring trigger. Should I say more?
You can use this as a slightly over-costed removal card in a pinch, but the full upside is that you can get a death trigger and revive something useful. It also doesn’t specify creatures for the revival, so you can return a useful equipment or enchantment or even things like Planeswalkers.
Of the new land cycle, this is the best one. You’ll usually have a legendary creature in Historic Brawl, even if it’s not your Commander, and scrying for two every single turn is strong. If you’re running the new Elf cards that get abilities for every scry, this is easily a value engine.
Many decks want to make tokens for other reasons, and getting to spread out +1/+1 counters simultaneously can easily win games. You can also do infinite combos and regular value engine tricks with this card.
You have to do some serious build-around things to make this card hum, but it’s still a lot of useful abilities when paired with ETB abilities or attack-trigger creatures. Also, the tokens are Wraiths, so Nazgûl’s can make them bigger.
I almost didn’t put this card on the list. It seemed a little too clunky, a little too mana hungry. And then I played against a deck on Arena. This card is so freaking powerful I’m almost worried about it taking over. If you don’t kill Sauron right away, and the deck your facing is willing to take advantage of all his abilities, it’s just over. By the time he comes down, there’s usually enough mana available for the opponent to empty their hand and refill it with that final ability—and there’s very few ways to avoid them making massive Orc Armies to do just that. Don’t be like me. Don’t write off this card. It’s the meanest Commander in the LOTR set.
Hey, would you look at that: They put the Atris ability on an instant and added a Ring trigger. If you’re playing some version of Dimir, I don’t know why you wouldn’t run this card in a Brawl deck.
And that’s our penultimate list. We’ve got a few more cards I’m excited to discuss. It’s been a blast setting all this up for you. I hope you’ve had as much fun as me.
See you on Wednesday!
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