The main Lord of the Rings set was released in full a little over two months ago, and it came equipped with a plethora of unique attributes. It was the first draftable Universes Beyond set, bringing a super flavorful mechanic in Tempted by the Ring to the Limited environment. It introduced a handful of multi-format all-stars into the mix, such as Orcish Bowmasters and obviously The One Ring. The set was largely a success overall, becoming one of MTG’s best-selling sets of all time.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Lord of the Rings crossover, though, is that it was planned to be released in multiple stages. While the premier set has been out in full for quite some time, in November, an LOTR Holiday Release awaits us. This release is designed to feature intriguing Scene Boxes, Special Edition Collector Boosters, and a second run of LOTR Jumpstart packs. We’ve known about these upcoming products for a while as well, but there were many questions left unanswered. Are the cards featured in the Scene Boxes new cards? Is there new artwork to look forward to? The answers to these questions would have to wait…
That is, until now. Long before the official release of Scene Boxes, it appears that some of the Scene cards have been leaked, and they are all new. There are four distinct Scene Boxes in total, each with six new cards. Today, we will be focusing on one of these groups of cards that has Commander written all over it.
Notably, these cards were leaked, not officially spoiled. This means that there is a chance these cards could be fake. However, given that the Scene Boxes themselves boast artwork reminiscent of the individual cards, there’s reason to believe these cards are indeed real. Consider this your spoiler warning as we jump right in and look at the new goodies.
Elite Typal Support
To kick things off, we have an excellent typal payoff for a very underutilized Creature type. Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth had players going mad building the Wraith typal deck thanks to the Nazgul. That said, there was not much else in the way of creatures to fill out the deck. Luckily, Witch-King, Sky Scourge is here to change that. For five mana, you get a five-power Flier with Undying, which is already a solid deal. The real power, however, lies with its triggered ability. Any time you attack with any number of Wraiths, exile cards from the top of your deck equal to the total power of those Wraiths, and you can play them that turn.
This triggered ability does count Witch-King itself, and given the card’s Undying ability, chances are you will get to untap with it. While you do only get a one turn window to play the cards exiled this way, Witch-King provides a consistent flow of cards as long as it sticks around. Notably, you can also play Witch-King and immediately attack with some other Wraiths to get the bonus. Right now, there are only 11 Wraiths in all of MTG, though, so playing cards like Maskwood Nexus to make Witch-King more reliable seems like the way to go.
Speaking of reliability, Minas Morgul, Dark Fortress is here to help on this front as well. Minas Morgul enters the battlefield tapped, taps for black mana, and has a neat activated ability that can give Creatures Shadow counters and turn them into Wraiths. Not only can this help turn non-Wraith Creatures into Wraiths to help trigger Witch-King, but it also helps make sure the Creature doesn’t get blocked and die in combat. Given how strong Witch-King is, cards like this go up in value a lot alongside the powerful Commander. Get your Nazgul ready!
A Sacrifice Theme
Beyond just the Wraiths theme, a couple of these cards work best in Commander decks focused on a sacrifice theme. For example, Nazgul Battle-Mace, a five mana Equipment with a three mana Equip cost, gives the Equipped Creature Menace, Deathtouch, Annihilator 1, and a strong triggered ability every time an opponent sacrifices a non-token permanent. The ability lets you gain control of the sacrificed permanent unless its controller pays three life.
Obviously, this works well with the Annihilator 1 ability, but it can also be abused alongside ways to make opponents sacrifice lots of permanents at once. Sure, paying three life in a Commander game once or twice isn’t a big cost, but cards like Death Cloud can put your opponents in a bind and often force them to let you gain control of a bunch of Creatures and Lands.
While Nazgul Battle-Mace is all about forcing your opponents to sacrifice permanents, Fell Beast of Mordor benefits when you can sacrifice a bunch of Creatures yourself. Fell Beast of Mordor has Devour and can drain the opponent for a lot of life depending on how many counters Fell Beast of Mordor has on it. Not only that, but this ability even triggers when Fell Beast attacks. If you have lots of sacrifice fodder, Fell Beast can be a real game-changer. Combine Fell Beast’s Devour ability with Grave Pact and you’ve got a game plan.
Elite Top End
Last but not least, we have two cards that can singlehandedly swing a game in your favor. Call Forth the Tempest is an eight-mana card, and while that is quite expensive, it certainly delivers. First of all, the card has Cascade twice, which can already provide a decent chunk of value. Then, Call Forth the Tempest deals damage equal to the total mana value of each other spell you’ve cast this turn, including those cast via Cascade, to Creatures your opponents control. If you are lucky enough, this card can act very similar to Plague Wind with two instances of Cascade attached to it, which is extremely strong.
Finally, we have Mordor on the March. Mordor on the March lets you exile a Creature from your graveyard for five mana and make a token copy of it with Haste. While the token does go away at end of turn, you do get to attack with it and get any enters-the-battlefield or leaves-the-battlefield triggers, which can be quite powerful.
While getting only one Creature back isn’t exactly worth the mana, this card has one ability that makes it all worth it: Storm. As long as you can cast a few spells before Mordor on the March and fill your graveyard with a handful of haymakers, this card can be very devastating for your opponents.
Each of these leaks seem like great additions to the Commander format, presumably adding plenty of value to the associated Scene Box. The initial Lord of the Rings release was an absolute banger, and it appears the Holiday Release may be too.
Read More: The Best Faeries in MTG for Commander