Magic Con Minneapolis has just passed, and a lot of new information has hit the MTG community. Among one of the more anticipated things that players have been made aware of are some new Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth spoiler cards. It’s been noted already that many of the main characters in the LOTR IP, like Gandalf, Frodo, and Sauron, are going to have multiple copies of their character in this set, much like Urza and Mishra did in The Brothers’ War that released at the end of last year. Despite that, all of the iterations of these characters that we’ve seen so far have been bested by some random Hobbit. At this point, the best card in the entire set may be some Delighted Halfling.
Delighted Halfling is a one-mana green Halfling Citizen that looks like an auto-add for any Commander deck that can play green. The card is pretty straightforward, offering two abilities. The first establishes the creature as an underwhelming mana dork, offering one generic mana. If this is the only ability you want to be using, there may be better options for your Commander deck in the form of cards like Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, or the Noble/Ignoble Hierarchs. That said, Delighted Halfling’s second ability makes it a lot better in many situations than the other options.
The Halfling can also add a mana of any color to your mana pool. The catch is that this can only be spent on Legendary spells – like your Commander. Most important is the fact that whatever you spend this mana on cannot be countered. This allows you to ramp out your Commander a turn early and prevents it from getting countered by Commander staples such as Mana Drain and Force of Will.
The Legendary restriction is not a big deal in Commander, and makes this card an auto-include in decks that focus on the Legendary type, but, honestly, Delighted Halfling is a strong inclusion in almost any EDH deck solely because it makes your Commander uncounterable. The card also has a decent generic ramp option, making it valuable in any situation.
An Unfun Duo
While Delighted Halfling will surely be a new Commander icon, this card will likely see some Modern experimentation. Many players quickly identified this card as a powerful one-two punch when played alongside Teferi, Time Raveler. Renowned for being a sort of ‘fun police’ card, Teferi, Time Raveler is an absolute nightmare for control decks. For just three mana, your opponent is forced to play at sorcery speed, meaning that they cannot use any instant effects like counterspells.
Since Teferi shuts down countermagic, it’s quite common for this card to be on the receiving end of countermagic itself. This inherent flaw is fixed by Delighted Halfling. Not only does this allow Teferi to come down on turn two, but it makes the card incredibly difficult to deal with.
Delighted Halfling in Modern
Of course, this is hardly the only place that Delighted Halfling can impact Modern. This can also potentially be a strong pick for Yawgmoth decks since you can now cast both Grist and Yawgmoth through countermagic.
Notably, players are pretty split on whether Delighted Halfling will be a reasonable inclusion for this archetype or not. This is due to the massive feast or famine nature of the card within the deck. While making your Grist and Yawgmoths uncounterable is indeed a big deal, the deck is also very color-intensive, making a mana dork that makes generic mana a rather difficult sell:
“pretty sure Yawgmoth likes this a ton” – jwags1892
“Not a chance yawg can afford a colorless dork imo. There’s lots of color intensive stuff that isn’t yawg or grist” – cliffhavenkitesail
“tentatively disagree here – the only time the restriction is likely to matter is if you want to play Strangleroot + another G card on T2 – most other situations you can get away with the colourless, especially with lists cutting Messenger.” – AbsoluteIridium
Notably, as has been mentioned multiple times in our articles, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer has had a massive impact on the Modern format, demanding players to run numerous cheap pieces of removal. If Ragavan connects several times in the early game, it’s generally lights out for the opponent. As a result, there are a lot of cards running around to stop the mischievous monkey.
Many of these cards, like Lightning Bolt, Unholy Heat, and Prismatic Ending, will also destroy turn-one Delighted Halflings. Therefore, while the card’s ceiling is relatively high in the Modern format, many cards are running around right now that can easily stop it.
A small aside, Delighted Halfling is also capable of casting uncounterable Ragavans. This won’t be relevant often, but it can allow the Monkey to start Dashing in during the late-game without having to worry about countermagic.
Outside of Modern
Applications don’t stop here, however. The card could also see some Legacy play thanks to its uncounterable text. Force of Will is all over the place in that format, and forcing an opponent to use two cards to counter a mana dork can be a fantastic trade. Should they allow the Halfling to resolve, you can start casting some incredible haymakers like Teferi, Time Raveler & Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes. Notably, that card is also quite a capable Commander.
Taking to Reddit, player opinion matches the title for this article – everyone thinks that Delighted Halfling is likely one of- if not the, best mana dork the game has ever seen. The opinion that this is the best Commander mana dork ever is a tough one to refute:
“I didn’t have a 1 drop Mana dork with 2 toughness on my bingo card, but I’ll take it” – superawesomedman
“this card is f*cked up” – StructureMage
“Apparently WotC got sick of making busted high CMC cards so they decided it’s time to make the 1 costs busted” – Firefistace46
The message is clear: everyone and their dog anticipate Delighted Halfling as an insane card in Commander. The card is so powerful that it’s likely to see experimentation in Legacy and Modern, but it’s tough to figure out if the card will be a permanent resident in either format. Should this card release in Alchemy, it’s likely to be all over the place there too. Picking up some copies of Delighted Halfling should be on every Commander player’s to-do list once Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth hits shelves.