There are a LOT of legendary creatures in Tales of Middle-earth. Every time you think you’ve seen them all, a new creature is popping out of Mordor or Rohan or even the Shire, those sneaky little Hobbits. Even with all these legends running around, there are a few which have risen to the top. These seem to be the best of the best when it comes to commanders from Tales of Middle-earth, and can be a great starting point if you’re having trouble landing on just one creature to build a deck around. 

Tom Bombadil

There’s only one way to build Tommy B. and that’s with all the Sagas you can manage to jam your deck. While other Saga-themed decks have popped up in Commander before, Tom Bombadil is the first to be truly dedicated to the card type. 

So many Sagas become much better when they automatically replace themselves, particularly those with higher chapter counts and those that turn into creatures when they’re done. If you want to get really spicy with your deck, consider putting in the Praetors from March of the Machine. They flip into Sagas on their backside, and will still trigger Bombadil’s ability when they resolve their last chapter. 

Saruman of Many Colors

It might take a minute for what Saruman does to fully sink in, but the power packed into this mighty Istari makes him a formidable commander. First up, he is incredibly hard to remove, with a ward cost requiring your opponent to discard an enchantment, instant, or sorcery card if they want to target it with any sort of removal. 

The way Saruman works is when you cast your second spell each turn, your opponents mill two cards. Then, you pick a card from any opponent’s graveyard with mana value less than that of the spell you cast and exile it. You can then cast that spell for free. You’ll want lots of mana open to cast all these spells, as well as plenty of cheap cards that cantrip so you’ll always have a full hand and a way to get more Saruman activations. Don’t forget that this works on each turn, so if you’re going to counter an opponent’s commander, make sure to throw out an Opt in front of it to get that free spell.

Galadriel of Lothlórien

Once the engine starts going, Galadriel of Lothlorien is a hard commander to stop. Coming down early at just three mana, she lets you reveal the top card of your library when to scry. If it’s a land, you put it into play tapped. 

There is of course a pretty easy combo to pull all the basic lands from your deck, by using Scouting Trek to put them all on top, and then hitting any scry trigger, such as from Retreat to Coralhelm’s landfall ability to scry 1. Keep revealing them to your opponents and you’ll have yourself a dozen or two landfall triggers, hopefully with a Scute Swarm in play. 

Frodo, Sauron’s Bane

A sneak little Hobbit, this version of Frodo levels up the more mana you put into it. Once you’ve put an extra five mana into it, Frodo becomes a 2/3 with lifelink. If it deals combat to a player, if you’ve been tempted by the ring four or more times, they lose the game. If you haven’t reached that point, you are tempted by the ring.

The main focus of the deck is to max out your temptations as quickly as possible. Drop Frodo with some protection and enough mana to level him up all the way, and start dropping your opponents in Mt. Doom. There are plenty of ways to make sure Frodo connects. Trailblazer Boots give him all but guaranteed landwalk, as long as you don’t mind the flavor fail of a hobbit wearing shoes. Vexilus Praetor gives your commander protection from everything, giving you the freedom to attack whoever you please. 

Sauron, The Dark Lord

Easily the strongest ward effect Magic has ever seen exists within the power of Sauron, The Dark Lord. It requires your opponents to sacrifice a legendary artifact or legendary creature, making it a staggeringly high cost just to remove a creature from the board. 

As one of the most punishing commanders in the game, Sauron amasses Orcs 1 for any spell your opponents cast, as well as being tempted by the Ring whenever any Army creature you control deals combat damage to a player. As an extra reward, you get a mini-wheel out of being tempted by the Ring, discarding your hand and drawing four more. You’re almost always guaranteed to have cards in hand with Sauron out, and a full graveyard to manipulate while you’re at it.

Aragorn, King of Gondor

The first real Monarch commander after Marchaesa, Aragorn, King of Gondor is the powerful alternates commander from the Riders of Rohan preconstructed deck, which also has all sorts of monarch synergies. Making Aragorn your commander give you access to the monarch status right there in the command zone, since he gives it to you when he comes into play.

So long as you can keep it, Aragorn turns the battlefield into your plaything, preventing all creatures from being able to block during whenever Aragorn attacks. Once you’ve gathered up your forces and have enough to go in for the win, there will be little your opponents can do to stop you.

Sméagol, Helpful Guide

A rather unique landfall commander, Smeagol, Helpful Guide works by stealing your opponent’s lands and adding them to your side of the battlefield. Every time you are tempted by the Ring, you mill an opponent until they hit a land, stealing it for yourself. 

Since Smeagol tempts you when a creature you control dies, you’ll also want some sort of sacrifice engine going on to keep the temptation up, stealing more and more lands from your opponents on your turns. 

Aragorn, The Uniter

An immensely powerful commander, Aragorn, the Uniter is a rare four-color creature, and grants bonuses when you cast spells that match his colors. One of the great things about this Aragorn is that there are so many different ways to build him. If you want to bring some power to the game you can use Squee, the Immortal and Food Chain with Aragorn in play to burn out the table.

If you want a more casual deck, a multicolor-only deck could have tons of potential. Even if you want to theme it all around the Fellowship of the Ring, including creatures and spells only from the Tales of Middle-earth set you absolutely can, turning your deck into an adventure of your own making.

Shelob, Child Of Ungoliant

The sheer amount of power behind Shelob, Child of Ungoliant is absolutely wild to behold. Not only is it a six-mana 8/8, which on its own is an obscene amount of power, but it also has ward two, making it difficult to remove. Not only that, but it gives all your Spiders deathtouch and ward two, for good measure.

Even blocking Shelob feels bad for your opponents, since when a creature dealt damage by a Spider dies, you get to make a Food token copy of it, which keeps all its abilities but loses other card types. So if your opponent blocks with a card like Deathrite Shaman, you’ll have your own copy of it, except it’s an artifact, and can still activate all its abilities. 

Lord of the Nazgul

The surprise hit from the set is the Lord of the Nazgul, a commander capable of generating tons of Wraith tokens that can power each other up once you have enough out. Every time you cast an instant or sorcery, you make a 3/3 Wraith token with menace. Once you hit nine or more Wraiths, not even of that specific token, but Wraith creatures, your Wraiths become 9/9s until the end of the turn.

In a U/B spellslinger deck, with plenty of removal, cheap draw, and bounce spells, you’ll have an army of Wraiths at your command in no time. There are only 11 cards with the Wraith creature type, though you do get to use nine of the Nazgul card which is a nice bonus. You can always supplement your creatures with Changelings and Black Market Connections, which makes a Changeling token at the cost of three life every turn.

Ryan Hay (he/him) has been writing about Magic: The Gathering and video games for years, and loves absolutely terrible games. Send him your bad game takes over on Twitter where he won’t stop talking about Lord of the Rings.

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