9, Jun, 23

MTG Food and Fellowship Commanders May be a Trap!

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Article at a Glance

Finally, the long wait is over, and we get to check out the fully revealed Lord of the Rings Commander decks. Let’s take a look at the white, black and green shard for Food and Fellowship, featuring Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit and Sam, Loyal Attendant as the default partner commanders. Let’s start out with where this deck took a wrong turn in Mordor.

Default Partners are a Trap

What is Food and Fellowship‘s plan? Cards like [tooltip]Bilbo, Birthday Celebrant[/tooltips], Treebeard, Gracious Host, Field-Tested Frying Pan and of course Sanguine Bond really want you to gain life. Additionally, there are many other cards that do synergistic things with Food. With that in mind, Sam, Loyal Attendant sure looks like the card is perfect for the deck, and, it is! But now, let’s look at Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit.

Well, if you gained three or more life you get tempted by the ring, and if it’s the second time or more you’ve been tempted you can draw a card. Or, wait, that’s not quite right. It’s buried in an attack trigger clause. For all the hoops you jump through, you get one card and you must attack to do so. Sure, you cannot be blocked by anything with power greater than one if you make Frodo the ringbearer but you’re not Unblockable. This is not very much value. But what about the other commander pairing?

Enter the true heroes of the story, Pippin, Warden of Isengard, and Merry, Warden of Isengard. If you can turn one a mana producer, turn two Pippin, and turn three Merry, you have successfully achieved huge value. From now on, anytime you play virtually anything, you get an additional 1/1 with Lifelink, thanks to Merry. As long as you have just one more mana, you can generate a Food during an opponent’s turn and get another 1/1 with Lifelink. Effectively it’s the choice between generating two Creatures and two Food per round versus one Food and one additional card drawn per round.

The thing is, the two Creatures you are generating have Lifelink. That’s ultra-relevant considering the large number of cards in the deck that care about life gain. Furthermore, after just a couple of turns, Pippin’s alternate activated ability comes online. Giving all your Creatures +3/+3 and until end of turn is good but you will now have multiple 4/4 Lifelink Soldiers that are ready to gain you even more life. Plus there are other cards in the deck like Motivated Pony that obviously want wider boards full of tokens. Finally, if you do happen to activate Bilbo and get all your Creatures into play, the Haste from Pippin is a game ender.

The deck scales exponentially with these two at the helm and has a way bigger payoff. They seem like a much better choice over getting a few extra cards. Furthermore, the deck has card draw from Mentor of the Meek which works incredibly well with Merry and Pippin, or simply Well of Lost Dreams.

Strongest Card by a Mile

Do you enjoy playing Arvinox, the Mind Flail, or Xanathar, Guild Kingpin? What if they cost three mana? I’m not sure why [tooltip]Lobelia, Defender of Bag End[/tooltips], is in this deck, but I’m glad it is! This card in a different deck with flicker or reanimation effects would be extremely powerful. Interacting with not one but up to three other decks is massive value because you are taking cards away from your opponents while also choosing the absolute best from them to play for yourself. The fact that you get to play the card for free is wild, and you cannot blank as you can play Lands too. Sure, you need to tap Lobelia and sacrifice an Artifact for that payment, but it’s now easier than ever to make free Artifacts. Three relatively free cards is great value.

In this deck, Lobelia has a secondary mode where she drains the table. It might be relevant especially if you need a life gain trigger but her first ability is way, way better, and it’s much more likely to have a massively larger impact than the life drain mode.

Read More: Jeskai Lord of the Rings Commander Deck Threatens Multiple Combat Steps!

Other Notable Cards

I have a feeling that The Gaffer will turn out to be a lot less powerful when I play it than when other people do. Alongside Gwaihir, Greatest of the Eagles that three life per turn threshold is incredibly important to meet to gain advantage. While Food and Fellowship suggests the best way to do that is through generating Food and paying mana, there are a variety of cards throughout Magic’s history that can give you that extra bit of life gain on every turn like Sun Droplet or Zuran Orb in a pinch.

Read More: MTG’s Rarest Card Is Now Worth One Million Dollars!

Rating Food and Fellowship

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is a very strong deck all told. There are several cards that are redundant but not powerful, at all. For example, look at Butterbur, Bree Innkeeper. This guy is effectively a hard to cast Hill Giant if you have even one Food in play and this deck certainly will. If that card was at the end of each turn, fine, that’s an alright card. But here it’s just extremely low value, particularly if you do choose to use Frodo and Sam.

Toxic Deluge is a very strong card in Commander, certainly better than Fumigate. But it has anti-synergy with the life gain theme of the deck and is a weird include from a thematic perspective alongside Fumigate which works with the deck.

It’s also a little disappointing that Samwise Gamgee is not in this deck as it has incredibly high synergy and is, frankly, the better Sam. However, at least you can quite easily add him to the deck and he would allow you to get back your Lobelia over and over again to generate massive card advantage. The deck plays a Pristine Talisman but should also have an Altar of the Pantheon.

There are a lot of little things that would have simply made more sense, had more synergy and even fit the theme of the deck better, but they are lacking or fragmented. That being said, it will be an awesome victory anytime you can celebrate Bilbo’s 111th birthday by winning the game.

What I see, more than anything, is a deck that has an interesting enough skeleton that is not quite fleshed out right. However, there are plenty of cards that are incredibly thematic and also synergistic to mod out the deck. With a pinch of this and a dash of that every player will prepare Food and Fellowship just the way they like it.

Read More: Surprise MTG Leak Reveals Awesome LotR Commander Cards

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