Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth Commander Precon Highlights

The Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth Commander Precon Highlights

Kristen GregoryCommander

Tales of Middle-earth is an expansive set, but there’s also a set of four Commander Precons. Across those decks are a bunch of brand new Commander legal cards, so today we’re going to look at the cream of Farmer Maggot’s crop. What are the highlights from each Tales of Middle-earth Commander Precon?


OK, so before we get going, I do want to take a quick detour. Our Tales of Middle-earth Commander Set Review was so expansive we just couldn’t find room to talk about the ancillary cards found in the Jumpstart or Starter Deck products. Given we’re reviewing from a Commander lens, it doesn’t matter too much that they’re here instead.

Elvish Mariner is a very solid three-drop, and one that ends up in quite a few decks — not least Elrond Master of Healing builds. There’s a lot of scry-space in Simic, and whether you prefer Eligeth or Kenessos, it’s a strong new toy.

I’m not sure there’s a food deck that doesn’t want Elanor Gardner. Rampant Growth on your end step just for cracking a food is the kind of passive value that takes over a game.


Who knew Frodo was best buds with Stoneforge Mystic? Not I, but he has good taste in friends. 

Free equips are the bread and butter of equipment decks, and a 2/2 for two that sweeps up one of the myriad two or three mana value swords and can attack for free is definitely worth a look. 

Sadly, people love to rain on the Voltron deck’s parade. Fires of Mount Doom strips your suited-up killing machine bare and shocks it for good measure. Who knows, maybe that’ll be enough to dispatch it? 

While that’s pretty OK, it’s the second part that has people talking. Provided you can generate a bunch of mana (or infinite mana), you can exile your library. It’s another outlet to combo wins. 

Actually, it’s making me want to rebuild Neheb, the Eternal

Last up before we get to the Commander Precon cards is Bilbo’s Ring. Ignoring the hexproof rider, this is basically a Trailblazer’s Boots that draws you a card on attack in the right deck. That’s worth the price of admission.

Return of the King

Monarch is back in the Riders of Rohan deck, and the alternate Commander, Aragorn, King of Gondor, is quite a house. He’s beefy and aggressive for four mana, and giving your team unblockable if you’re the monarch when he attacks feels at once very Jeskai but also powerful

Giving him haste or playing other Monarch-granting cards is how you break this, and if you build it right, you essentially get to attack with impunity. 

Fealty to the Realm is cool. Basically, it turns whatever creature you want into a vassal to the crown, with the rider that they can’t attack you (the controller of the Aura). It’s a really fun design, and perfect for more relaxed multiplayer tables. 

It’s also a big tool in a Monarch deck’s toolbox to redirect lethal damage. 

The Monarch, now with 100% extra free!

Archivist of Gondor gets the game moving and really wants you to retain the crown. It’s a high risk, high reward kind of card, which again is very fun in multiplayer. I’d expect to see a lot more Solitary Confinement with this about, though!

Champions of Minas Tirith say, “what if we didn’t have extra combat steps?”

Because, aside from giving you the Monarch and a Sphere of Safety effect based on the opponent’s card quantity, it very keenly shuts down extra combats. Unless someone generates mana attacking, they’re rarely going to be able to pay twice. 

One other thing of note is you’ll know if a player is going to attack you or not before they do: they must pay at the beginning of combat, which gives you a chance to use removal before they get an attack trigger. 

There aren’t many cards in the set I’m desperate to put into my Neyali tokens deck, but Forth Eorlingas! is one, and it’s one hell of a beating. 

Eiganjo Uprising is good, but this great. I can see many applications for this card, and all of them are devastating. Oh, and it also gives you the Monarch back on damage, just in case an army of hasty trampling Knights wasn’t enough. 

Oath of Eorl is another solid roleplayer in token, go-wide or Human decks. Things escalate before you get to retrieve the crown and enjoy an indestructible counter. I know exactly where this one’s going: my Ferrous Rockiric brew. 

There are many Kings of Men in Lord of the Rings, and though we do not see it in the movies, Éomer inherits the crown of Rohan after Théoden’s passing at the Battle of the Pelennor. 

Éomer is quite the beating, and comes in prepared to dole out damage — not just through burn, but also as a Double Striker with a bunch of counters. 

One of the most memorable scenes in Return of the King is when Éowyn and Merry defeat the Witch-King of Angmar. Eowyn is represented here on a card that, if I’m honest, doesn’t feel very Eowyn. 

That said, it’s a powerhouse of a Commander, and very easy to get online. I think she’ll see a lot of play and will really enjoy extra combat effects. 


The Food and Fellowship precon is bound to be one of the more popular precons, given Food tokens are a popular strategy and this precon offers a bunch of new cards and Abzan partner Commanders to lead it. That said, neither Frodo or Sam scream out “bomb card,” so unless you’re into the idea of an Abzan food build, you’re probably indifferent. 

One Hobbit that will still grace your wants list, though, is The Gaffer. Plenty of white decks love to gain life as part of their strategy, and slotting some card draw in for just hitting 3 life is a reasonable hoop to jump through. 

Putting Affinity on an X spell is always a good time… for someone, at least. Putting trample and resilience on it? Quite the beating. Banquet Guests and Farmer Cotton can both succeed even outside of Food strategies, and Farmer Cotton just frankly seems absurd to me. 

If you’ve had enough of these stupid, fat hobbits, you can instead make like Saruman and try to Subjugate the Hobbits. It might seem steep, but seven mana in the age of UG ramp and treasure isn’t that hard to achieve. It’s a way to not lose to token armies in blue, and not only not lose, but hopefully win. 

I was high on the other Lobelia, and I’m a more rational Hobbit-height high on her this iteration. She’s pretty decent considering she can cast stuff for free, and without opponents necessarily knowing what’s coming… but she doesn’t do it the turn she comes in, and she’s fragile. 

A decent amount of the time you’re going to get nothing but lands and spells that are poor outside of synergy. 

Departing from the Shire, we also depart from what it means to be a Hobbit. Gollum, Obsessed Stalker is annoyingly hard to keep track of (fittingly), which begs the question: why are so many Arena-exclusive Alchemy cards not printed in paper?

As for the card itself; yeah, it’s pretty great. It makes Gary and other drain effects that much more lethal.


Legolas Greenleaf is not just of the “Woodland Realm.” He’s the son of Thranduil! And quite the princely card for three mana, too. 

He draws cards for connecting, he can do so without being chump blocked, he can block like a… champ and he’ll get bigger as the game goes on. I’m happy with that.

Aragorn looks badass on Taunt from the Rampart, and you’re gonna feel badass casting it. It’s also going to feel like the Battle of the Hornburg after, though. 

Once the chaos resolves, you’re going to be against the odds as the full might of Saruman and Sauron comes down on you. It’s never felt better to be a Boros nut. 

Gimli is a Dwarf, yes, but he is also a Warrior, meaning he goes in Rakdos party — a deck that likes to make Treasure. 

You see where I’m going with this? Whew. Straightforward card, straightforward beating. 

Back to Elves, and the Elven Council precon has two spells that every Lathril, Blade of Elves player is going to want for their deck. Elf-nogensis somehow makes Arachnogenesis more playable, while Windswift Slice lets you punch something with trample and…elflink. 

Over to the race of Men again, and Lossarnach Captain provides a solid boost to Human or Soldier typal decks. She also buffs mono-white token builds that already run Court Street Denizen, who was already cosplaying a warrior of Minas Tirth anyways. The circle is complete!

This circle isn’t, though. The Dwarves delved too greedily and too deep. 

Chandra’s Ignition

Hot and Fresh Out the Kitchen

But it Brings Back a Body

To Deal the Damage to Creatures

…and so did I. 


Shelob has a phenomenal main set card, but her Commander variant is also pretty gnarly. It’s got a nice static exile clause, but after that, you’ve got choices. 

Do you want to “process” the meal? Put it in the yard and enjoy some counters and a card. Otherwise, you can pump and dump a creature into play. 

While most Magic players will say “we have Dockside at home,” I’m not going to stoop quite that low. This is just Young Copper Dragon

Jokes aside, I think this dragon is really strong. Even if you’re just flampling over for six and making three or four treasures, you’ll take it. I’m smitten with the idea of running this in Sylvia and Khorvath or the new Sarkhan, Soul Aflame

You’re going to have a time keeping your forked tongue between your teeth when Grima puts a smile on your Dimir lips. An unblockable creature that basically activates Chaos Wand when it hits a player? I’m into that. So is Lazav


Hithlain Rope is the kind of card I love to see for Commander. It’s delightfully multiplayer-oriented and just ensures everyone is having a good time.

It’s not innately broken or unfair. It’s just good clean fun. It’s Fellowship. 

It’s funny, but swords in Middle-earth seem to lack crossguards entirely. And what’s more, they all follow the same design. Ancient Glamdring looks the same as a Lothlorien Blade, which looks the same as the dwarven forged (but Elven reforged) Anduril. 

I’m picking holes because it just doesn’t do it for me, but also because they have literal holes that a polearm could leverage to disarm you. 

…Anyway. I like this for equipment decks. It removes blockers. Voltron decks will lap this up too. 

Grixis decks struggle with mana unless they’re deep in treasure — and even then, many Grixis decks are mana intensive while wanting to hold up interaction. As such, it’s nice to see a new Grixis rock that can be cashed in later on. It’s good fixing, this is. 

The Black Gate is one of the most expensive cards in the Precons, because it is a Gate and fits in Maze’s End decks. It’s also really strong at punishing the player turtling in the corner. 


Gilraen is Aragorn’s mother. Now that you know, the card’s cute, right? It’s also decently strong, too. Gilraen puts Eldrazi Displacer mostly out of business. 

She lets you flicker now, or if you’re patient, you can have a treat at the end step. Highly playable blink enabler. 

Lord of the Nazgul is the Witch-King of Angmar leading the Ringwraiths and all manner of ghouls in the conquest of the Pelennor, which I just realized has Minas Tirith in the art. I was going to go into him being a fearsome foe in historic wars in Eriador, but I guess we’re not doing that now. 

I really like this card, for what it’s worth. It’s strong, it’s a shell for the nine, and it gives you a strong combat win condition in Dimir, which it has been crying out for. 

Boromir, setting out on the quest to Rivendell, for the Fellowship. He’s searching for allies, and for the ring. Form meets function in a satisfying way. Also pretty good in Azorious blink. 

Erestor gets a card when Elladan and Elrohir did not. They’ll never hear the end of it. From me. I’m salty. 

That said, Erestor is actually… a really cool effect. Voting decks needed a card like this. Bribing friends has never been more fun. 

The Song of Earendil is the longest poem in Lord of the Rings. It’s ironically one of the easiest to parse sagas, and a card I have little to say about other than that it’s pretty deece. 



All journeys come to an end, and regretfully we must Sail into the West. This is a potent card, honestly. You cast it on the End Step before you untap and get to ensure you either refill your hand with seven fresh cards or take the two best cards out of your yard for another go. 

I can’t find anything to dislike about this card. You can even be cute and discard something horrible to force a wheel.

Hopefully you have a better idea of what’s in the precons now. Suffice to say, they’re stacked with good cards, and also reprints with new LotR themed art of classic cards from Living Death to Toxic Deluge. Let me know what butters your Lembas on Twitter.