30, May, 23

MTG LOTR Spoiler Kickoff Unveils Multiple Incredible EDH Additions!

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At long last, MTG’s Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth spoiler season is finally here! What we’ve seen so far thanks to the First Look, MTG Con Minneapolis, and a few offhanded leaks, have been incredibly promising, but the main show is finally kicking off! Hell, we even already know that this set features one of the rarest cards MTG has ever seen.

Previous to this reveal, many of Lord of the Rings’ iconic characters have not yet been revealed. We’ve seen Frodo, Samwise, Gandalf, and more, but Gimli, Legolas, (confirmed to appear) and many others have yet to have their MTG interpretations unveiled.

As a straight-to-Modern set, there is massive potential for some of these cards to be seriously powerful. Just look at Delighted Halfling, that was spoiled during MTG Minneapolis. This may very well be the most powerful mana dork that Commander has ever seen!

Even though you may have seen your favorite LOTR character already, there’s no need to be disappointed if the card did not impress. Much like Urza and Mishra from The Brothers’ War, many LOTR characters will appear on multiple cards in the Tales of Middle-earth set!

Without further ado, here are some of the spoilers revealed during kickoff of MTG’s LOTR spoiler season!

Samwise Gamgee

First previewed is the Rare iteration of Samwise Gamgee. This looks like quite a powerful card that can fit into a wide array of Commander decks. Any deck with many creatures entering the battlefield will be able to create a massive amount of Food tokens, thanks to Samwise’s triggered ability.

Of course, this card will excel in decks that have underlying Historic or Food themes, but it really is powerful in any creature-based deck at all – as long as there are some other synergies that can either take advantage of Samwise’s second ability – or just having a bunch of Food Tokens lying around.

Fangorn, Tree Shepherd

Fanghorn, Tree Shepherd is a brilliant combination of Fangorn’s prevalence in LOTR combined with details of Treefolk core to Magic itself. Treefolk in Magic tend to care more about their Toughness than their power – that’s their unique trait. Fangorn also serves this niche as well.

Any big green Commander deck will want an effect like Fangorn. The ability to start floating a ton of mana and keep it through turns helps to build up to a final Finale of Devastation that can shut your opponents down.

Saruman of Many Colors

Esper seems to perfectly encapsulate Saruman’s character throughout the Lord of the Rings franchise. This card seems like one targeted to those who want to try him in Commander. Six mana is too high for competitive formats, but this card has a crazy lineup of unique abilities that allows for players to traverse something new.

Firstly, the Ward on this card, in Commander terms, is absolutely incredible. This can make Saruman very difficult to remove since his Ward requires an opponent to discard specific card types. All of these card types, in the context of Commander, are serious resources as well. This can make opponents think twice before removing your engine.

Otherwise, Saruman threatens to create an insane amount of value as long as you can cast two spells each turn. This doesn’t just include your turns, but your opponent’s as well. This lends the deck to having a potential Instant-based theme with cheap cantrips like Consider.

Merry offers a Legendary creature that, well, cares about other Legendary creatures. It also has an equip payoff in the colors that really care about equipment. The ability to draw a card on attack makes this card a serious consideration for aggressive decks since, if not removed immediately, will quickly replace itself, and threaten to draw even more cards. This seems excellent.

Pippin, on the other hand, appears to be yet a new type of Mother of Runes effect that offers a new type of Protection while having some of his own. Two mana makes this card a worse option to the namesake card itself, Giver of Runes or Skrelv which, unfortunately, may make the card unplayable in Modern.

Last March of the Ents

What on earth is this Commander monstrosity!? Last March of the Ents, providing you have something with a lot of toughness on board, will end the game whenever it’s cast. You can’t counter the spell either, meaning that, should the Ents decide to march, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Even if there are no high-toughness creatures in play, you can still cheat all the creatures in your hand onto the battlefield.

Aaragorn, the Unifier

Aragorn, the Unifier looks like a utility Commander similar to the style of Kenrith, the Returned King. There are a lot of different ways to take Aaragorn since it’s capable of doing a bunch of different things. Generally, the most interesting path is to cast multicolored spells to get multiple payoffs.

Gimli, Mournful Avenger

Gimli, Mournful Avenger has a unique subset of abilities that synergize best with creatures. Honestly, the card seems rather underwhelming, considering that it cares about creatures dying in Gruul colors. Either way, it’s a new direction for players to experiment with.

Witch-king of Angmar

The Witch-king of Angmar seems like a fine card in terms of playability. It’s difficult to remove and can deter your opponents from attacking you, which is fairly powerful in multiplayer formats. This also rings true for 1V1 Magic, but the power level of Witch-king of Augmir just isn’t there for Modern. There’s no immediate benefit to the card’s presence, and, while the card can discard cards in your hand to become Indestructible, the presence of Lightning Bolt makes it so this card is going to require a lot of discarded cards to keep around. That said, you are trading resources with your opponent.

Boromir, Warden of the Tower

Boromir, Watcher of the Tower probably has the best Modern potential of the cards revealed today. The Modern format is absolutely dominated by powerful payoffs that do not cost any mana to cast. From Evoked Elementals to Cascaded Living Ends and Crashing Footfalls, there are a lot of popular cards that Boromir stops in their tracks. As a result, Boromir, Warden of the Tower looks like a fantastic new tool for Humans and Mono White decks to consider. Maybe this will see play in Mono White Hammer?

Legolas, Master Archer

Legolas offers a unique payoff aimed at decks that may want to buff the Elf himself. This seems apt to a Bogles style of deck as a result, but Legolas can also start dealing damage to your opponent’s creatures whenever your target creatures you don’t control with a spell. This offers the potential for Legolas to be a build-around, but he can easily play a support role as well.

Gandalf the White

Gandalf is going to be an expensive Magic card. We’ve already seen from cards like Yarok, Panharmonicon, and Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines that any card that doubles up on Enter the Battlefield triggers will find a wide array of homes in Commander. Gandalf’s other abilities, however, push him over the top.

Giving himself and other Legendary spells and artifacts Flash, Gandalf the White enables your ETB payoffs to get value in response to opponent’s removal spells. Flash also gives this card a little competitive potential since the high mana value has less bearing on tapping out, but this is probably just a Commander card – albeit a very good one.

Sauron, the Dark Lord

Sauron has yet another insane Ward ability that makes dealing with him quite difficult. If you thought discrding cards was bad enough, Sauron requires the sacrifice of a Legendary artifact or creature to fell. Everyone will have one of these in a game of Commander, but its a high price to pay.

Otherwise, Sauron does it all. He creates an Army, provides card advantage, and flavorfully capitalizes on the Ring Tempts You mechanic. Once again, Sauron seems to heavy of a mana investment for competitive formats, but it looks like an absolute slam dunk as a potential Commander, or even a refill option in other Grixis decks.

A Competitive Newcomer?

Hew the Entwood may have the most competitive potential of the cards revealed today. Hew the Entwood has some absolutely fantastic flavor, turning your lands and artifacts into cards revealed from the top of your library. There are no limits to the mana value of cards revealed that can be cheated into play. Hew the Entwood is capable of turning a Forest into a Portal to Phyrexia for just five mana! There is definitely build-around potential for this card.

A Hilarious Reference

This is a rather funny reference to the Lord of the Rings books that actually seems like a decent card in Limited. This could also see play in +1/+1 themed Commander decks. I do not think the card is good enough for Hardened Scales decks in Modern, but there is potential.

Treefolk Themes

With the introduction of this Treefolk is the reveal that there is a limited theme for this creature type. Apparently, it’s a bit tough to draft a mono-Treefolk deck since they’re all on the top-end, but it’s easy to have these as a pseudo-theme.

Commander Staple?

Storm of Saruman is a trademark Commander-style payoff that is rather popular in the current format. An interesting area where Storm of Saruman may be interesting versus other copy options is that the card can copy any second spell you cast. It also applies each turn, and the copy will not be legendary. Generally, this means you can obtain a second copy of your Commander that won’t die to the Legend Rule.

Partner Returns!

Partner is one of the most powerful mechanics that Commander has ever seen. The new combination of Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit and Sam, Loyal Attendant definitely leans towards a Food theme, but Frodo seems the more powerful of the two characters here. You need a Food to trigger Frodo’s Temptation ability, but a massive amount of card advantage can be found here.

Other Cards to See

We don’t have time to comment on everything, so here are a few more cards revealed in today’s tidings! Orcish Bowmasters, in particular, looks incredibly powerful. Expect more on that later.

This is Just the Beginning

Now that the LOTR spoiler season has begun, this is far from everything that we’re going to see coming out of the new set. Cards will be revealed left and right in the coming days, and, while we’ve previewed early reveals in a quick manner here, expect some more detailed analysis on what these cards could mean for your Commander or constructed decks! Prerelease for MTG’s most extensive set ever now just seems around the corner. It will be interesting to see how this impacts the game as a whole!

Read More: New MTG LOTR Leaks Reveal Potential Gandalf Commander!

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