The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth brought us several new commanders in precon Commander decks, including several heroes. It also brought us this franchise's iconic villains: Sauron and Saruman.
In today's article, we bring you a guide on how to upgrade The Hosts of Mordor deck, with Saruman, the White Hand as the commander!
Getting to Know the Deck
The Hosts of Mordor Decklist
The Hosts of Mordor brings the Grixis colors, , a color combination quite known in Magic for featuring villains. We can use both Sauron, Lord of the Rings and Saruman, The White Hand as our commander because this deck is consistent enough and brings a good variety of spells and creatures that can be Reanimated.
We chose to use Saruman as our commander because we can play him faster, and also fill this deck even more with non-creature spells and like so build a huge army of Orcs.
At the end of this article, we'll also show you a list with Sauron, for those of you who like this character and want to see the true Lord of the Rings in action.
Upgrade and its Reasons
Cards We Removed
As we're using Saruman as our commander, we removed most creatures that were included in the original list as Reanimate targets, and we added non-creature cards that will help us, be it by speeding up our game plan or by being useful in some other way. The original list had 38 lands; we dropped this number to 35 and added some mana rocks to speed up our game plan and keep up with our opponents.
We brought several expensive spells, considering our commander's ability. They are also going to be useful to our game plan in some ways, considering our Orc army is just one creature, and we only have this creature to deal damage to our opponents, be it through combat or in some other time.
Accelerators and Helpers
To help our Orc army, we brought some cards like Warg Rider. Like so, we'll have evasion with Menace, and we'll also buff creatures even more at every combat phase because we'll guarantee them 2 +1/+1 counters. We couldn't forget Dreadhorde Invasion, considering it will grow our army every turn and transform it into a Zombie army. The Orc army will become an Orc Zombie army with this card, and give it counters. You'll also access Lifelink through this card.
Like so, we can structure our game better with this life gain, considering that, as mentioned before, we only work with one creature, which makes decisions about when to attack and when to take an attack even more crucial. Additionally, the big spells we'll show you will give us plenty of life points so we can continue playing the game for longer.
Harmonic Prodigy triggers Saruman an extra time, and doubles its counters for each spell cast. In case the spell in question costs 8 mana, you'll place 16 +1/+1 counters. To take advantage of these counters, it would be weird to not add All Will Be One. With this card, we also deal with enemy threats, and the damage this card deals can be directed to them directly to finish the game.
It is important to bring this enchantment as an alternative win condition that doesn't depend on your combat potential. Like so, we won't be completely predictable and only attack whoever is most convenient during the match.
Finally, we have a simple Goblin Electromancer to discount our spells and like so play other actions in the same turn if this Goblin ends up making this possible. It might not seem like much, but playing three spells instead of only two in this game strategy can be crucial to create advantage during a decisive match.
We brought various new spells to grow our Orc army, be it because the card already does this naturally or because it is a bit expensive. We'll start with the Delve cards, which are this deck's best friend: these are cards played for little mana, but their high costs are still considered on the stack, which will grow our army considerably all at once.
The examples we have are Dig Through Time, Treasure Cruise and Sorcerous Squall. I'll highlight this last card, considering it also allows us to cast an instant or a sorcery, and consequently triggers Saruman another time.
We also have cards that will Amass naturally, such as Widespread Brutality, to remove all blockers from our way and also transform our army into a Zombie army. We also have Commence the Endgame to draw cards and Amass 6 plus the number of cards in our hand if our commander is on the board.
We have Saruman's Trickery to counter spells and Amass 4 total, and Foray of Orcs, which in this same logic will Amass 6 and remove a problematic creature from your opponent's board. Bringing these cards that already Amass naturally is great for what this deck wants, and also puts more pressure on your opponents.
Finally, to bring more utility, we have Rakdos Charm, which performs well in several situations: to stop an infinite creature combo by dealing damage to each creature, remove some artifact that is causing us a lot of issues or even avoid Reanimate strategies by exiling graveyards.
Having several answers like this guarantees us some safety against an opponent that can simply end the game out of nowhere.
The Hosts of Mordor Decklist with Upgrades
This is our final upgraded list! This deck's original list already has cards that are good enough for us to use Saruman as the commander, help us Amass Orcs, and create a big token for our opponents to deal with. We changed just a few cards, but it was enough to give this deck some gas, and make it more consistent with this commander.
Alternative List with Sauron, Lord of the Rings
This is an alternative list with Sauron, Lord of the Rings and several loot cards to draw cards and discard them next. Like so, we'll feed the graveyard with big creatures to Reanimate them later.
This list was created from scratch and not from the precon; that's why it has different cards compared to the other list.
Grixis is one of my favorite color combinations, so researching this deck was quite interesting. All the multiverse villains are coming to Magic through Universes Beyond precisely in this color combination, and I particularly couldn't be happier to see these characters in Grixis, considering they fit this evil and cruel combination so well.
Did you like this list? Do you prefer Sauron as the commander? Or Saruman? Would you add anything else?
Share your thoughts!
See you next time!