Budget Commander Bargains from Tales of Middle-earth

Budget Commander Bargains from Tales of Middle-earth

Kristen GregoryCommander

Tales of Middle-earth has proven to be a popular set — but could anyone have predicted that so many amazing cards would be so available at such a reasonable budget already? Kristen has some budget tips.

Let me break down why you should pick up some of these fantastic budget cards from Tales of Middle-earth. They might not set you back much, but they’re sure to overperform in a game of Commander. You don’t always have to run the most expensive cards, and with the power of commons and uncommons rising, there are plenty of great consistency cards to try out.

It doesn’t take a high budget to make a deck great, either. Many of the strongest builds I’ve played against have been at a $50 budget, or a precon with minimal upgrades. So the following cards are ones I’ve selected because they have universal appeal in your collection, or they offer an effect you definitely want at a low buy-in. 

Tales of Middle-earth: Less than $1

The following cards can be had for less than $1, with foils being pretty cheap, too. 

Barrow-Blade uses minimal mana while helping your creature get through when an opponent has deathtouch, indestructible or first strike. It removes other abilities, too, but that is the most common use case.

Graveyard hate is a key part of Commander. And at one mana, Stone of Erech might be the cheapest static of its kind. Legendary-matters decks obviously want it, but I’d consider it if you’re playing Living Death, too. 

Commander is all about explosive turns, and you need mana for those. Rituals help you get there, and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins gives mono-black and Orzhov decks some bursty mana.

Smeagol, Helpful Guide is a great budget Commander option. Stack your deck with effects that can reanimate opposing creatures and allow Smeagol to fill opponents’ graveyards while also ramping you. 

The Balrog, Durin’s Bane fits in a bunch of Rakdos decks and is really easy to enable, cost reduction wise, due to treasure’s prevalence in the format. 

I really like Champions of Minas Tirith, especially for the price it’s at. It gives something new to white’s toolbox, which is taxing attacking when you’re the Monarch. It’s easy to have four cards in hand, and when you reach six or seven, it’s basically a way to turn off attacks. 

Generally speaking, outside of Solitude, the good EtB removal in RW is mostly non-creature based. Eowyn, Fearless Knight gives a new tool to Boros and it’s one to Ephemerate

Legendary-matters is in a bunch of color combinations now, and The Grey Havens slots into basically every one of them. It’s a cheap upgrade that will pay dividends. 

A strictly better Fervor? Rising of the Day has performed great so far for me. 

Sail into the West is an instant-speed wheel some of the time, and that isn’t an effect we usually see. The rest of the time, it’s still pretty decent. Couple it with graveyard hate and you can nearly always wheel. 

Windswift Slice is the card in this section most likely to rise, I think. People are sleeping on it being an effect you already want (a punch spell) that leaves behind one or more creature tokens which you can do what you like with, including chump block. 


If you wanna spend a couple bucks on some sweet upgrades, there are more bargains to be had. 

Elvish Mariner is just over a dollar, and goes in any deck that likes to Scry a lot, whether that’s the new LTR Commanders like Galadriel — or others, like Kenessos. It opens up attacks and can tap down attackers with the right instant. 

Horn of the Mark is a heck of a lot of card advantage for the price. As an artifact, it slots into basically any deck. It’s ostensibly a “white” card, though, and there are plenty of decks that’ll love to play it. 

If you still don’t have this year’s hot ramp spell, then it might be time to grab some copies of Entish Restoration for around a dollar each. Dropping in three lands can work wonders in some landfall decks. 

Sting, the Glinting Dagger is bound to rise given the sheer number of creatures with tap abilities in the game. At its current price, it’s a steal, and I think it’s massively undervalued. The Orc/Goblin stuff is just trinket text. It’s well worth the mana for the other effects. 

Modal spells are always good, and the condition Flame of Anor asks to choose two modes is that you have a Wizard in play. Flexible Removal + Divination for three mana at instant speed? What’s not to love?

Certain categories of card tend to hold value. White card advantage and equipment synergies are two such categories. Forge Anew has never been lower, and it’s a lot of effects for three mana. I’m about to pick up my copies, I think. 

Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff is seeing plenty of play in both Commander and cEDH. It’s easy to see why — he’s a two mana creature that’s a Monologue Tax which also triggers when you cast your second spell. He’s not the cheapest card in the set, but currently? Well, he’s pretty low given his timeless potential. 

Speaking of “timeless potential”: Boromir, Warden of the Tree is under five bucks. He stops all sorts of shenanigans we see all of the time in Commander, such as Cascade (featured on the new Eldrazi Commander from Commander Masters). And all while he can take one for your team to keep them alive. Stellar card.


There are bargains to be had outside the main set, too. Though we already covered a few in the below $1 section, there are others to recommend in that sweet spot of $1-3. 

Shared Animosity is a long way from its previous price of over $10. It goes in any red deck with a creature theme, and also changeling decks. It’s a win condition in Kykar, for instance. I really love the new art too. Forth Eorlingas!

Path to Exile is absolutely a card that needs to be reprinted regularly. Thankfully, it is, and the new art with Grima Wormtongue leaving Edoras is inspired. This is in my top Path arts now, to be honest. 

Chances are you might already have a GW deck that makes tokens, or even one that makes artifact tokens. If that’s the case, then grabbing Farmer Cotton from the Food and Fellowship precon is a great idea. An X spell that makes this many tokens is kinda pushed, and it’ll fit like a glove in the likes of Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second. It’s double dipping. 

Weathered Wayfarer has never been cheaper. I remember picking this card up for like ten or even fifteen dollars back when I built white decks about five years ago. It’s now dirt cheap, and finds you dirt cheaply. Get Cabal Coffers, get Urborg, get Nykthos. You deserve it. Hell, you can buy some fancy lands with the savings from picking this thing up. 

Taunt from the Rampart is a steal at $1.79. If you want a solid win condition in your RW based aggro deck, then this is for you. At minimum it gives your creatures unblockable (save for whatever they flash in after). For five mana, this can let you get through. Combine it with doublestrike to end games quickly. And while we’re at it, here’s my opponents when they see me cast Taunt from the Ramparts:


Though Bilbo’s Mithril Shirt is indeed worth more than that of the Shire, not all cards from the premier Lord of the Rings Universe Beyond set are super pricey. While the Nazgul remain sought after, and your best bet to get a copy of The One Ring is still to buy a Bundle, there are plenty of hits to add to your decks that cost less than a pint of the Prancing Pony’s finest. 

For more budget tips, check out our precon upgrades. Or, to figure out what cards to pick up from the set, check out our set reviews: