The Lord of the Rings Commander decks have finally been revealed. We’re still taking our time reviewing how each of the decks look, but a few particular spoilers have been catching people’s eye. One can start casting your opponent’s spells for free for as little as three mana, and another appears to be the combat trick Token players have been waiting for! Let’s take a look at Galadhrim Ambush and some other interesting Commander options!
This card looks absolutely incredible in decks that care about going wide like Jetmir, Nexus of Revels. Similar to Arachnogenesis, which saw an absolutely absurd price increase thanks to spider tribal getting a ton of support, Galadhrim Ambush creates a number of tokens equal to creatures attacking, and prevents all combat damage except for the creature theme of choice. Arachogenesis creates and favors Spiders, this creates and favors Elves.
Galadhrim Ambush does cost one more mana than its predecessor, but the card, in a lot of ways, is way better than Arachnogenesis. The tokens created by Arachnogenesis are much more impressive as standalone tokens, as they all have an addition toughness and Reach over a 1/1 Elf Warrior token. That said, having an army of Elf Warriors is much more synergistic across a variety of decks since there is much more Elf support than there is Spider support.
Another thing that can be missed is that Galadhrim Ambush doesn’t care about creatures attacking you. It just cares about creatures attacking. This means that, regardless of where the creatures are going, you can Galadhrim Ambush and create a massive army of Elf tokens! This includes swinging out with your own army and doubling it! Remember that, should you be using an Elf tribal deck, you damage won’t be prevented, but creatures blocking yours sure will!
All in all, while this is an all-star for an Elf-tribal deck, much like the Elvin Council deck that it is a part of, Galadhrim Ambush looks like an excellent addition to any deck that cares about going wide.
Lobelia, Defender of Bag End
As mentioned in our original highlight of this card, The Food and Fellowship Commander deck is not using Lobelia to its maximum potential. In order for Lobelia to unlock her latent potential, we need to abuse her enter the battlefield ability and speed up the rate of her activated ability.
The goal with Lobelia is to have her exiling your opponent’s cards and casting them for free. For just three mana, Lobelia starts this process by exiling the top card of each opponent’s library face down. Step two, naturally, comes a turn later. You must tap and sacrifice an artifact to cast one of the exiled cards for free.
Obviously, the artifact intended to sacrifice in context of the preconstructed deck this appears in is a Food token. That said, aside from needing an artifact to sacrifice, Lobelia needing to tap to activate her ability does slow things down a bit.
To remedy this, we suggest taking a look at cards like Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler and Thousand-Year Elixer. These will allow Lobelia to tap as though she has Haste, and can offer some other powerful abilities alongside allowing her to activate her ability as soon as she enters play. Tyvar and the Elixer can both offer an opportunity to untap Lobelia and activate her ability again! The Elixer can even offer itself as a sacrifice!
Glamdring offers an incredibly interesting ability for decks who churn through a lot of Instant and Sorcery cards. An obvious contender for this, at first glance, appears to be UR Murktide… until you realize that Glamdring only cares about cards in graveyard. Because Murktide Regent specifically wants to Delve away the very things that Glamdring cares about, there is a severe amount of anti-synergy here. This, combined with its steep equip cost, probably puts this outside of Modern consideration.
In Commander, however, Glamdring threatens a lot of value on top of a very difficult to block creature. Should the creature connect and it has a ton of power, you can easily re-cast a game ending spell that may have been countered or otherwise milled.
Mithril Coat seems absolutely fantastic for any Commander deck, but even more so for ones that have artifact or equipment synergies. The Coat offers your Commander incredible protection in the form of it being Indestructible for just three mana. The card also has Flash, allowing you to give it Indestructible in response to targeted removal.
A different way to use the Coat is as a Combat trick. If you have a Commander that likes to attack, this can be a great to catch an opponent by surprise, especially if the attack is forcing them to exchange precious resources. Should the need arise to use Mithril Coat on another creature arise, it is very doable. Just note that Mithril Coat’s instant speed function only works for Legendary Creatures.
Finally, the Coat itself is Indestructible, making it very difficult to deal with. There’s no end of Swords to Plowshares effects running around Commander decks, so its not too difficult to deal with an equipped creature, but dealing with the Coat itself is very difficult, and is likely to invalidate a variety of removal spells while it does its work.
Stone of Erech
This is a rather bizarre piece of graveyard hate that looks to fit a certain niche in competitive formats. The static ability, for example, stops Modern Scam strategies. These refer to using Evoke costs for Solitude, Grief, Endurance, Fury and Subtlety and using effects like Feign Death to bring it back, recur its ETB effects a second time, and get a body for zero mana. Feign Death’s effectiveness depends on a creature dying, so Stone of Erech will stop the combo. Notably, there is an uptick on nonblack Scam decks trying Ephemerate and other cards like it. If this continues to become popular, Stone of Erech would lose its effectiveness.
Stone of Erech’s effectiveness is going to be case-by-case. If you do not care about your own graveyard, than Relic of Progenitus is a better standalone graveyard hate piece. The ability to exile both player’s graveyards is cheaper.
Alternatively, if you want a card that doesn’t deal with your graveyard and shuts down your opponent’s as quickly as possible, Soul-Guide Lantern and Tormod’s Crypt are better alternatives. Both of these have the same mana value (less in the case of Tormod’s Crypt) as Stone of Erech, and their activated abilites, which deal with one graveyard, are cheaper to activate.
The bonus that Stone of Erech has over those options is the ability to exile a graveyard while drawing a card (only the Relic has that), exclusively exiling your opponent’s graveyard, and potentially having a very relevant static impact on the board. The downside is that this activated ability is more expensive than any of the Stone’s competitors. Therefore, whether you use this piece of graveyard hate or another will heavily depend on your specific situation.