The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Review, Part 2 of 4: The Multicolor Cards

For the first time since the announcement of Universes Beyond, we have a fully draftable, Modern legal set on our hands. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth explores and re-imagines the book version of Tolkien’s fantasy epic. A new set means new cards, and we’re kicking off our review with the multicolor cards that serve as signposts to let you know what direction each color pair is trying to build in. 

Last time we covered the mechanics, and this time as usual we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this primarily but not exclusively with an eye for Commander play.


Multicolor Cards



Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Faramir, Prince of Ithilien

FromTheShire: Not a bad card in the right deck, Faramir provides either an extra card per turn or some useful tokens. I have a hard time picturing him as your Commander but in a Human or Soldier deck certainly.

Loxi: Whew, lotta cards so I’ll try and keep this concise. I want to mention up front that I think this set favors flavor over raw power for the majority of cards, so when eyeing them up you have to keep that in mind a bit.

Faramir is really cool as a generic politics/pillowfort deck, but I don’t know if the payoff is strong enough to compete with other commanders in the archetype, like Oloro. I almost wish he was pricier but worked on every opponent’s turn, and maybe made less dudes.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Gwaihir the Windlord

FromTheShire: Awwwww yeah. Repeat readers know how much I love me some Birbs, and this is an excellent piece for two or more color decks. Vigilance is fantastic in Commander where it allows you to attack and still ward off attacks from 3 other players, and it’s even better on flyers like Birds.

Loxi: I’m not sure if I’d run it at the helm for Fightin’ Borbs, but it’s a slam dunk in the 99 for most bird decks.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Pippin, Guard of the Citadel

FromTheShire: A cool twist on the typical ‘protection from a color’ effects, I like the extra utility it gives you.

Loxi: Mother of Runes type effects tend to be very good, and I don’t think this is an exception. Protection from a whole card type can be super versatile, and his body isn’t half bad either for a two drop. I love this card, I don’t think it’s groundbreaking but its solid all around.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Prince Imrahil the Fair

FromTheShire: In something like an Ephara, God of the Polis list or whatever deck Faramir is in this can provide steady token generation, you’d have to be taking advantage of them in some way to be worth it though.

Loxi: If you’re playing a cantrip deck, it’s probably fine. I wouldn’t build around it, and I don’t know if I would run enough incremental draw in Humans to warrant this.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast


FromTheShire: This is a perfectly solid tutor, with upside in a Ring deck. I like it. 

Loxi: Alright, the Ring. The tempting Ring effect is…wacky. I think it’s fine, but building around it might not have enough of a payoff to be worth it besides some extra value. That aside, a 3 mana conditional tutor with a bit of an upside is actually pretty solid. I think a lot of decks that like Diabolic Tutor probably would run this.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sauron’s Ransom

FromTheShire: Hell yes. There are few cards I have cast more than Fact or Fiction, and I always love getting a new variant. Notably like the original this doesn’t require piles of a certain size from your opponent so there is political upside if you’re both behind and digging for a board wipe or similar. You’re also in Dimir so more often than not this is still actually a draw 4 because you want cards in your yard anyway.

Loxi: Ah, Fact or Frodo. This card is sweet, and I love the blind-grab cards like this just for the fun factor. Instant speed is nice as well.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sharkey, Tyrant of the Shire

FromTheShire: This may not seem like it does a ton, but if you start paying attention in your games you’ll find a surprising number of utility lands in your meta that this both stops and lets you steal. Not massively powerful but I really like it.

Loxi: Has land power-creep been driving you nuts? Shaft everyone running those crazy Kamigawa lands with Shady Sharky from the Shire! Turn those pesky lands into profit!

In all seriousness this slaps and I love it when it works, super niche but super strong tech.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

The Mouth of Sauron

FromTheShire: Mostly this is going to go in a Sauron amass deck because it’s on theme. It doesn’t do enough for a dedicated mill deck, and in Commander you need to be a dedicated deck if you plan on doing meaningful milling. In the amass deck it’s not bad for targeting the person who ramped a couple of times and maybe hitting an extra counter off of the mill.

Loxi: I don’t think this card is good enough to work in constructed. You need blink and mill, and if you have enough of a setup to get value off this there are much better things you can do than big Orc.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Mauhúr, Uruk-hai Captain

FromTheShire: Cheap evasive little threat that doubles up your counters, pretty solid. I wish there were more Orcs and Goblins that benefited from this currently, but that’s the nice thing about cards like this, they serve as a foundation for the future.

Loxi: Aside from the obvious synergy with armies, this card slaps in any deck that puts counters on Goblins as well. Slam dunk in Grenzo, Dungeon Warden and enjoy profits!


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sauron, the Lidless Eye

FromTheShire: Even in other formats this seems unlikely to see much play, it’s just too expensive for too little effect. Threaten effect decks exist but they’re generally not great. At the very least make sure you have a sacrifice effect so you don’t give them the creature back. I kind of like the activated ability but it’s mana intensive. A shame, because it’s a mythic Sauron card with no real home. 

Loxi: I think this card is overpriced, straight up. That’s it, it’s too much mana for a one-turn snag and a pump effect. The art whips though.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shagrat, Loot Bearer

FromTheShire: I can’t recall ever seeing a Rakdos Equipment deck, so getting something to effectively support a new archetype is really cool. This also has the neat ability to steal other people’s equipment, get the effect, and then make them pay to re-equip it back to their creature which is great. Bonus points if you have a Krark-Clan Ironworks so they don’t get it back.

Loxi: Rakdos equipment, sweet! I love the flavor of getting a second scary body the more you buff up one, which can get very out of hand quickly. It also synergizes well with any sacrifice oriented equipment, which can get pretty spicy.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

The Balrog, Durin’s Bane

FromTheShire: God damn that art is rad. This is perfect for a Grave Pact board control style self sacrifice deck, which is right up Rakdos’s alley and a blast to play if you like your friends to be sad, which I do. Perfect for doing Commander damage, and you even get to blow up any pesky problems if the actually kill it.

Loxi: Holy flavor win. I think this is a fun almost reverse Rakdos, Lord of Riots, where you want to force people to sacrifice things to chuck him on the board for cheap and beat face as a win condition. Might not be powerful but seems fun.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

The Balrog, Flame of Udun

FromTheShire: This….is less good. I assume it’s here to be a huge threat in Limited because you’re sure not playing it in Commander. It’s flavorful at least.

Loxi: Eh, look up one.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ugluk of the White Hand

FromTheShire: Classic creature that gets big and then gets chump blocked because it has no evasion, this is here as a signpost card to tell you that Rakdos cares about Orcs and Goblins in draft and then as begrudging playable in your Orc deck because there aren’t enough good Orcs yet.

Loxi: Good in Orcs, decent in Gobbos, and not bad in regular sacrifice decks. I wouldn’t run it as the Commander, but is an alright payoff. Lack of keywords and being pretty slow hurts it in the long run.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Doors of Durin

FromTheShire: Scry 2 and then get a free tapped and attacking creature is excellent, and then if you have an Elf or Dwarf you get a solid bonus. Honestly this is playable in a general Gruul deck without a single Dwarf or Elf in sight, HOWEVER this brings us to the biggest misstep of this entire set….. how in the FUCK do you print Gimli, Counter of Kills and Legolas, Counter of Kills without Partner? Absolutely inexcusable. This card is even tailor made for that deck and they blew it.

Loxi: This card is absolutely gas if you’re in one of the relevant tribes. I don’t think you even need both to get the full value, getting free scrying, creatures in play, and an extra keyword is sweet.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Friendly Rivalry

FromTheShire: Again, what deck is this perfect for?? Infuriating. Really solid removal though.

Loxi: I want to mention how cheap this card is for instant speed removal in its colors. It’s no powerhouse, but in some decks I think it could work pretty well. If you’re in a fight deck, you’ll usually have some good targets. Neyith of the Dire Hunt would like this quite a bit, I’m sure.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Gimli, Mournful Avenger

FromTheShire: Could be a solid fight Commander, though I’m not sure how long you can keep up losing three creatures per turn.

Loxi: Gimli “Too Angry to Die” Son of Gloin, king of Gruul sacrifice. I dig it, I think it’s a really fun idea for an archetype and he definitely seems strong enough to push it. It’s pretty Voltron focused since you don’t have black payoffs, but it’s rad as hell to mash face with him once he get’s rolling.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Strider, Ranger of the North

FromTheShire: Landfall decks can be very good, I think this effect is too weak to make the cut however.

Loxi: I don’t know if I like this enough. First strike and counters isn’t bad by any means, but landfall is a pretty competitive archetype.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Aragorn and Arwen, Wed

FromTheShire: Really great in the classic green white go wide decks, buffing the team and giving you some incidental life gain.

Loxi: Mom and Dad, ready for action. This is classic Selesnya good stuff; you know it, you love it. Go wide, get healthy, and get your dice ready.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Aragorn, Company Leader

FromTheShire: Slinging the counters around isn’t bad, it’s slow though and I don’t think there’s enough density of Ring cards in these colors to make it worth this being your Commander. Probably a role player in the Frodo Baggins deck.

Loxi: I don’t really like this as a payoff for the building around the Ring tempting you just because you hit a wall pretty early. Yes, you can keep putting deathtouch counters on him to spread them around the board, but I don’t know if that’s worth using Ring cards.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Arwen, Mortal Queen

FromTheShire: Interesting effect not meant for Commander. Theoretically you could be proliferating the counters so Arwen actually sticks around and is reusable, but it’s so much worth for so little payoff.

Loxi: Neat, but seems a little slow/telegraphed. Flavor wise and art wise this is a 10/10 though, and if you have a way to put more indestructible counters on her before she loses it you can do some silly stuff.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Butterbur, Bree Innkeeper

FromTheShire: I’m actually no sure if this even makes the cut in Hobbit/Food decks since it only triggers if you don’t control a Food, and I suspect more often than not you are going to have them laying around at the end of turn, either because you made a ton or just don’t have the mana to crack the one you have.

Loxi: Nah, that’s too high of a cost for this.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Frodo Baggins

FromTheShire: This may actually get into playable territory since it triggers off of legendary creatures rather than requiring individual cards to tempt you. Plus the flavor is off the charts.

Loxi: I think this is entirely a flavorful card, and while it doesn’t pull it’s weight unless you go all in on Rings it’s a cool card.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Samwise Gamgee

FromTheShire: Great Food engine and payoff all in one.

Loxi: Here is a more interesting Food payoff. You need some other Food synergy to make this work well, but that’s a quick way to make a whole feast.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

King of the Oathbreakers

FromTheShire: Really love the flavor here, and phasing is great to get more of. That being said, I’m not sure if it’s worth fizzling all of your own spells to make mass tokens, I’m sure it’s fun to try though.

Loxi: This is objectively my favorite Spirit Commander that’s been shown and I plan to build this Commander. 100% a favorite of mine in this set.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff

FromTheShire: Solid little ramp piece.

Loxi: Sweet, a hatebear! I’m sure it’ll find a slot in most decks in that vein.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Bilbo, Retired Burglar

FromTheShire: Not a ton of other cards to tempt you but you’re in blue and only 2 flicker spells away from maxing out your Ring emblem, and he makes a solid Ring-bearer. Not super powerful but neat.

Loxi: Neat synergy with the Ring effects, making himself a great carrier if you want to go Ring-heavy. Neat, but a bit one-track minded for a few Treasures.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flame of Anor

FromTheShire: Modal spells are great, and getting 2 of these if you control a Wizard, which you will if you’re running this, is even better.

Loxi: I think this card is super solid in Wizard decks actually. You’ll probably use this for cards a lot, but you’d be hard pressed to not get extra value off this on most boards even as a draw spell.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Gandalf the Grey

FromTheShire: Hope a lot of those instant and sorceries are flicker spells because you really don’t want to have to recast this constantly.

Loxi: Flavorful, but a little expensive to have to recast a lot.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Old Man Willow

FromTheShire: This is a nice big body in Treefolk decks but you really want some evasion in the deck to take advantage of it. If you also have a source of token creation you might be able to ping off a bunch of utility creatures but much like the trees themselves, it’s slow.

Loxi: I want to like this one a lot, but I’m not sure if big-land guy that wants to sacrifice tokens has a good archetype. Maybe in something like Izoni, Thousand-Eyed it could do some work.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shelob, Child of Ungoliant

FromTheShire: Now we’re talking, this is an excellent Spider. Good rate, 8/8 is perfect, it protects itself and the rest of the team, mass deathtouch is thematic and incredibly useful, as is turning your victims into Food tokens. 8/8 no notes, can’t wait to build it.

Loxi: This is entirely what Spiders needed to have a unique flavor and neat payoff. Expensive, but totally worth it, and I think will dethrone Ishkanah, Grafwidow as the big bug in town.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Smeagol, Helpful Guide

FromTheShire: His built in tempt is nice but slow, however if you can pack a bunch of effects to do so more rapidly this can provide some really powerful ramp.

Loxi: If you know someone running a Charbelcher deck for some reason, go ruin their day with this and twiddle your villain moustache.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Eowyn, Fearless Knight

FromTheShire: Nice piece of removal for tribal decks, even more so if you can recycle it.

Loxi: A bit pricy for a conditional removal spell, but I’d wager she’s just solid enough to make the cut in Humans or Knights, especially if you can blink or reanimate her.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Merry, Esquire of Rohan

FromTheShire: Cheap, hasty, encourages Equipment and combat, that’s a Boros card alright. Not breaking any new ground here but you’re happy to have the card draw.

Loxi: Not as a Commander, but as a supporting piece to run as a way to get some extra card draw? I dig it.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shadowfax, Lord of Horses

FromTheShire: Do you really want to play Horse tribal despite there being like 2 playable Horses? Great news! Putting stuff in attacking is generally good though. Another card that is useful now but lays a foundation for a currently nonexistent tribe.

Loxi: Pony party pony party pony party.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Theoden, King of Rohan

FromTheShire: If you can pump out a bunch of tokens to give the whole team double strike this is very powerful but this reads more as one of the 99 to me.

Loxi: I know there’s always banter about Boros Commanders just throwing double strike and combat keywords at you, but this might really be strong enough to cut it. With a haste enabler this can make you go from an empty board to lethal in seconds.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Arwen Undomiel

FromTheShire: If you’re building the new blue green Elf scry archetype, you’re probably including this because it’s not bad and both abilities play in to your game plan, but it’s not exactly great either.

Loxi:  I’d pass on this unless you really want scry Elf synergy.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Elrond, Master of Healing

FromTheShire: In said scry deck, this does a pretty decent job of slinging counters around and pumping up the team, and then if things are hit with spot removal they at least replace themselves which is useful for creature heavy decks.

Loxi: I really want to like this card, but I just think it falls short over other counter decks that don’t have to jump through as many hoops. It’s not bad by any means, but I don’t know if I’d pick it over other options.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Galadriel of Lothlorien

FromTheShire: Solid, getting a bunch of ramp off of your scrying is super useful. You can probably make the deck work just fine with only that ability but if you can also set yourself up to be tempted, things really amp up.

Loxi: I think this might be the best of the scry cards since it seems so easy to abuse. That land-off-the-top ability you can do as many times as you scry, so if you can put a ton of lands on the top of your deck and scry a ton you can stack landfall triggers and ramp like mad. I also think the synergy with Ring cards might be good enough I’d go out of my way to include them.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Legolas, Counter of Kills

FromTheShire: Sure, fits in the blue green cares about scrying Elves decks. Doesn’t partner with Gimli though. Trash.

Loxi: I don’t personally like this card that much, it feels a little understatted for what it does.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Saruman of Many Colors

FromTheShire: Now this is a really painful ward effect for your opponents, and free stuff from their decks is always a blast. Time to load up on instants and go to town on as many people’s turns as possible.

Loxi: Mana-less ward effects are scary, and even scarier when tied to a creature than can just chuck spells at people. This one will be a fan favorite for sure, and seems genuinely pretty fun. Might be cool to run some “look at the top of you deck” shenanigans to check out when you can best steal a powerful spell.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sauron, the Dark Lord

FromTheShire: Speaking of painful ward effects, whooo boy. It’s Commander so there are definitely legendary creatures around if they really want to kill this, but they’re not going to be happy to pay it. Next we have basically a Taurean Mauler, which although it doesn’t have evasion can still get terrifyingly large quickly. Then when it deals damage you get to tick up your Ring emblem and THEN discard your hopefully empty hand and draw 4 which is just incredibly powerful. Hopefully you drew more tempt cards because you’re in great colors for it.

Loxi: This card has so much synergy with itself it’s scary. I’m not sure what the best way to build it is, but you can seriously cycle through your deck fast with this one.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Aragorn, the Uniter

FromTheShire: This Aragorn is neat, rewarding you for playing gold spells with a variety of effects. It gives you a lot of flexibility in your deck building since it cares very little about what the spells actually are, just that they are multicolor. I’m actually curious if this can sneak its way into something like the Omnath deck in Modern since you’re already set up for the cost and colors, and this offers to snowball massively unless dealt with quickly.

Loxi: Multicolor madness! Sadly this probably will end up being go-wide goodstuff, but at least we have more 4 color Commanders now to chose from.


Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Tom Bombadil

FromTheShire: Sagas always seem to suffer from not quite doing enough, but this at least has a chance to get you somewhere by chaining them together. Even if the deck as a whole is not quite there yet it’s always good to get a solid Commander for the concept at least so people have the option to try it because it’s cool. As time goes on the power of this card will only grow as well, it’s very common for something like this to be printed and languish for a little while until something else releases that turbocharges it and then suddenly it’s really good.

Loxi: 5C Sagas benefits the most just from having access to all Sagas. There are enough solid ones you can really chain together some great value even if you don’t have a ton of synergy, so I think this might come together quite well.



Next Time: Monocolored

That wraps up our look at the set’s multicolored cards. Join us next time as we review the sets colored cards, picking out our favorites, and talking about the future build-arounds. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at