The Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth Modern Highlights

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Modern Highlights

Mason ClarkModern

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is our first Universes Beyond set that goes straight to Modern. Since it’s unprecedented, players have wondered since its original announcement how it would pan out in the format. Well, today we’re taking a look at three cards that could change up the format and open new styles of decks.

Stern Scolding

Stern Scolding is going to make waves in Modern. Just look at this quick list of cards it counters that are widely played in the format: 

You probably get the idea, and that’s just a few of the choice targets. 

While I wouldn’t expect this card to fully take the place of cards like Counterspell, I do think it’s competing with the Spell Snare slot. Decks like Murktide are always interested in cheap, efficient answers. Stern Scolding is meta-contextual, but we could see this as a one or two of in those decks and be highly impactful.

Another, potentially great spot for this card are decks splashing blue. We’ve seen decks go to cards like Spell Pierce in the past. Off a light blue splash, I could see this card playing a similar role.

That said, Stern Scolding does have issues against two of the most popular decks right now (Rhinos and Creativity), but that won’t always be the case. So, this is a card you have to keep in mind when building decks for the rest of time.

Flowering of the White Tree

Flowering of the White Tree is really interesting. It’s a two mana anthem — something we don’t see too much of on non-creatures. That, in and of itself, would warrant a passing glance, but would probably not be enough to see play.

This card, however, has some bonus text. Namely, legendary creatures get +2/+1 and ward 1 instead of just a regular +1/+1 that non-legends get. Those stats are enough to get me thinking about how we can maximize this card. After all, that is a huge state boost for very little mana. This card means we can easily have a one drop into double one drop turn with a turn three white tree, giving us six extra power. That’s enough to push through any early blockers and make opponents dead. 

Ward 1 is also a great way to protect these early creatures we are all in on. Ward will trigger each time something is targeted by Solitude and Fury, and making those cards cast some amount of mana greatly lowers their impact. 

While ward 1 might seem too small to affect cards like lightning bolt and unholy heat, it’s important to remember a lot of their strength is tied to how they weave seamlessly into the rest of a player’s turn. As a result, double-spelling in the mid game will be much less effective for the opponent.

Elven chorus 

Elven Chorus
Elven Chorus

The last card we’re talking about today looks like it’s locked into just one deck, but looks can be deceiving. I believe this card could open the door to whole new styles of decks. 

It’s obvious why Chorus should be good in Elves, as your creatures are already small, go wide and gain other benefits from having a lot on board. However, there are plenty of other types of decks that could be built to benefit from this sort of endgame. 

It’s also important to remember that this card turns all your creatures into Birds of Paradise, anyway, so cards like Llanowar Elves don’t aren’t as necessary, anyway. Any creature deck that goes wide would probably like this, and your deck can be built in so many unique ways. 

Starting off with green/black gets you Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler. Tyvar will allow all the creatures you play to immediately produce mana the turn you play them and continue chaining into more creatures. Tyvar also helps clear the top of the deck with his minus two ability. 

With this set up, you could try to build a turbo version of the deck with cards like ornithopter and memnite and really go up a lot of mana. To what end is still in question, but there are a lot of different win cons in Modern. 

Green/white is another color combo that jumps out, as these decks are often filled with tons of utility creatures that can be great hits off the Chorus. We have seen collected company decks in this vein succeed in the past, and it’s possible a resurgence is in the making thanks to this new tech.

It’s also important to consider that, with Modern mana bases, it’s incredibly easy to splash green and build a deck in some other color pairing. That means we have really only scratched the surface of what Elven Chorus can do by focusing solely on green. There is still a lot of room for creativity.

End Step

Those cards are just a small taste of what’s possible with Tales of Middle-earth. After all, we’re not quite done with previews at the time of writing, and there are so many cards we could be talking about. The Lord of the Rings is full of fun and exciting additions to the Modern format without feeling overbearing, and we’ll be back soon to keep exploring this set’s possibilities.