It’s no secret that Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth was an extremely successful MTG set. After all, the cards themselves were jam-packed with flavorful references to the LOTR franchise. Beyond simply being flavorful, however, many of them were also extremely powerful. Anyone who has played Modern, Legacy, or even Pauper has likely gotten the sense that the addition of the LOTR card pool to these formats has had a drastic impact. From the dominance of The One Ring to the flexibility of various Landcyclers, the set is chock-full of complete game changers.
While the main LOTR set has indeed been around for multiple months at this point, there are still more LOTR cards that haven’t been released yet! LOTR was designed to be released in multiple segments, with a November “Holiday Release” being teased earlier this year. Well, just recently, a handful of cards from the upcoming Scene Box products were leaked, and they are all completely new. It is worth noting that these cards were not officially spoiled, meaning there is technically a small chance they are fakes, but given that the art on the boxes closely resembles the art on the cards themselves, chances are these cards are the real deal.
Each of these cards features the Lord of the Rings Commander expansion symbol, meaning they should be legal in Eternal formats, but not Modern like the main set. With that in mind, it’s clear that lots of the leaked cards are cool and powerful additions to Commander. However, one card in particular shines above the rest as a potential tool in Legacy. This card is none other than Legolas’s Quick Reflexes. Legolas’s Quick Reflexes is insanely strong and happens to slot quite nicely into an underrated archetype in Legacy.
Elite Protection Spell
As a Protection spell, Legolas’s Quick Reflexes is absolutely outrageous. For only one green mana, you get to give one of your Creatures Hexproof and Reach and even untap it to potentially ambush a Creature in combat. If that weren’t enough, your Creature even gets to deal damage equal to its power to another Creature when it becomes tapped. This means you can either ambush another Creature in combat as a surprise, or you can simply use this proactively to kill an opposing Creature when yours attacks.
While these abilities combined certainly make the card strong, what really sets it apart is that this card has Split Second. This means that your opponents can’t cast spells or activate abilities in response to you casting this spell. Counterspells and removal are off the table, and since this card grants Hexproof, it acts as an absurdly reliable Protection spell at minimum. Compare this to a card like Snakeskin Veil, which is another solid Protection spell. While Snakeskin Veil can be cast in response to a removal spell from the opponent all the same, the opponent can simply respond with Force of Will or a second removal spell in Legacy to either successfully remove your Creature or force you to expend a bunch more resources to save it.
Legolas’s Quick Reflexes, on the other hand, can be cast in response to a removal spell, giving your Creature Hexproof without the ability for your opponent to respond, thanks to Split Second. Now, extra removal spells from your opponent are rendered moot until the turn ends. For a deck like Legacy Infect that can cast a flurry of pump spells and kill the opponent in one swing, this is absolutely devastating, and that’s not all the card has going for it in this archetype.
Proactive Uses in Legacy Infect
Obviously, this card is great at negating opposing removal spells. However, as mentioned, this card can be used proactively too. If you get to untap with Glistener Elf or Blighted Agent, you can simply cast Legolas’s Quick Reflexes during your first main phase, guaranteeing that your Creature will have Hexproof before your opponent can respond. From there, you can cast enough copies of Embiggen or Invigorate to create a lethal threat. Now when you attack, you get to deal a ton of damage to an opposing blocker thanks to your pump spells and cross the finish line all at once. This makes Glistener Elf a more reliable threat even when you don’t draw Berserk to give Trample and get through blockers.
This works especially well with Inkmoth Nexus in the mix, since the opponent doesn’t have a chance to cast typical removal spells on their turn. Instead, you can wait to activate the powerful Creature Land until you have a copy of Legolas’s Quick Reflexes and enough resources to win in one turn. Of course, you still have to be weary of Wasteland for Inkmoth Nexus, as well as potential Counterspells that can be cast in response to your pump spells to prevent you from presenting lethal damage. Still, being able to grant Hexproof and not worry about removal for a whole turn makes your gameplan so much more reliable. It’s clear that Infect is the big winner here, but there are other uses for the powerful Instant too.
Knight of the Reliquary Shenanigans
Another place where Legolas’s Quick Reflexes likely shines is alongside Knight of the Reliquary. Knight is an extremely powerful card in decks like Selesnya Dark Depths combo but requires you to untap with it to use it. Obviously, Legolas’s Quick Reflexes helps in this department, but that’s not all it can do. When you do untap with Knight of the Reliquary, you can sacrifice a Land to tutor for either Dark Depths or Thespians’s Stage, use the Instant to untap Knight of the Reliquary, tutor for whichever piece you didn’t grab the first time, and have the ability to make a 20-power Indestructible Flier having started the turn with neither combo piece.
For a deck that also runs a playset of Elvish Reclaimer, this is a great option to have. Of course, you can even use Legolas’s Quick Reflexes to protect your Marit Lage token from opposing copies of Swords to Plowshares. Split Second is just so unbelievably strong when combined with a cheap Protection spell, making it quite difficult for the opponent to play around. With decks like Infect potentially picking up steam, are there any good ways to fight against Split Second?
Getting Around Split Second
While Split Second can be a pain, there are a couple ways to get around it. Likely the easiest way to punish Infect decks that won’t get blown out by Legolas’s Quick Reflexes is by playing Chalice of the Void. Split Second notably prevents your opponent from casting spells or activating abilities with Legolas’s Quick Reflexes on the stack, but it doesn’t stop triggered abilities. Therefore, if your opponent can resolve Chalice of the Void with X equal to one, the powerful Instant becomes relatively useless until Chalice is removed. Given that Infect plays a handful of one-mana pump spells and cantrips like Brainstorm, this can be a decent strategy.
Beyond that, while traditional removal spells may not do the trick, if you can hold the Infect player to only one Creature on board, a card like Sudden Edict can be an absolute blowout. With Split Second of its own, simply let the Infect player cast a bunch of pump spells thinking they are in the clear, then make them sacrifice their only threat, regardless of whether it has Hexproof or not. In this sense, while Legolas’s Quick Reflexes is an elite option for Infect players and has potential elsewhere too, it is not unbeatable. Still, if you intend to play Legacy in the future, it’s a good idea to have this card on your radar.