Conditions Allow - Frodo, Sauron's Bane EDH

Ben Doolittle • April 10, 2024

(Frodo, Sauron's Bane | Art by Andreas Rocha)

The Precipice Of Doom

Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, where I take a legendary creature with a drawback and turn it into a strength. This week I'm returning, once again, to Middle-earth and building Frodo, Sauron's Bane. Frodo may have been tough enough to carry the Ring to Mount Doom, but how will he fair in a game of Commander? 

Frodo, Sauron's Bane starts off as a one-mana 1/1, but he has the ability to evolve as the games goes on. First, you can pay two mana to transform him into a 2/3 Halfling Scout with lifelink. Once Frodo's a Scout, you can pay three black mana to transform him into a Rogue that makes any player he hits lose the game if the Ring has fully tempted you. If it hasn't, the Ring tempts you instead, so not only does Frodo, Sauron's Bane require five additional mana to do anything, you'll need the Ring to tempt you at least four times before your commander becomes a threat. That'll give your opponents plenty of time to find an answer for Frodo, Sauron's Bane. In addition to needing to be tempted by the Ring as fast as possible, you'll need to keep Frodo alive, then ensure he can actually hit your opponents.

Ceaseless Temptations

Unfortunately for us, there aren't many good cards that make the Ring tempt you. Call of the Ring is a great card to get out early, since it tempts you every upkeep. It can also draw you a lot of cards, which helps to find all nine copies of Nazgûl that I'm including in the deck. These are perhaps the best tempt cards for this deck. Deathtouch makes them formidable blockers, and they quickly scale up into legitimate threats. If you have three Nazgûl in play, they'll each get three +1/+1 counters. You could include Blade of Selves to really make the Nazgûl a legitimate win condition, but I want to keep the focus on Frodo, Sauron's Bane as much as possible. 

To that end, I'm including as many sources of double strike as possible. Once Frodo, Sauron's Bane is fully leveled up, the Ring tempts you whenever he deals combat damage. True Conviction turns that into two tempts a turn, and can even jump you from the third tempt to taking a player out of the game in a single turn. Additionally, these cards are more synergistic with your ultimate gameplan of having Frodo attack. I briefly considered adding additional tempt cards and even a small blink package to re-trigger Nazgûl, but they simply split the focus of the deck between being tempted and ensuring Frodo could attack safely. By relying on Frodo, Sauron's Bane to tempt himself, you can include more ways to keep him safe.

Safe, But not Secret

From the moment you reveal Frodo, Sauron's Bane as your commander, your opponents are going to be wary of him. Luckily, there're plenty of tools to keep him safe. Mother of Runes and Giver of Runes are classics and are joined by the more recent Skrelv, Defector Mite, which are also useful offensively. Even though Frodo, Sauron's Bane will have skulk as your Ringbearer, he becomes a 2/3 as part of his first ability. Significantly more creatures can block a 2/3 with skulk, but even a one-power creature can struggle in the face of token decks. Brave the Elements is another flexible tool to protect Frodo from targeted removal and damage that can also allow him to slip past blockers unobstructed.

Of course, none of those cards protect against Damnation. To that end I'm including a few cards to give your creatures indestructible, as well as Abiding Grace to bring back valuable one-drops. That includes Frodo, Sauron's Bane, in which case you will need to re-level him up to full power. Even with Abiding Grace to dodge commander tax, you'll still need to invest five mana into Frodo every time he dies. That actually isn't too bad when you consider it's five mana to rebuild a lethal board state, but maybe we can still cut that cost a little bit.

Frodo's an Orc!

Just like every other Figure of Destiny, Frodo, Sauron's Bane gains new abilities based on his creature type. You can activate his second ability whenever you want, but if he's not a Rogue it won't do anything. Normally, this means you need to activate his first ability first, but we can shortcut that by changing his type with Conspiracy or Maskwood Nexus. Maskwood Nexus has the added benefit of also making your creatures into Wraiths so they all get buffed by your Nazgûl. This could be troublesome if you're relying on skulk for Frodo, Sauron's Bane to get through, but there are ways around that.

In addition to Mother of Runes, I'm including Cliffhaven Kitesail to make Frodo, Sauron's Bane harder to block. To make him entirely unblockable, I'm adding Trailblazer's Boots and Rogue's Passage (and Access Tunnel). Besides wanting as much redundancy as possible, Rogue's Passage is here for those rare times Frodo, Sauron's Bane does creep above three power.

Round things out with your standard interactive spells and as many dual lands as possible, and here's the deck.

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Frodo, Sauron's Bane seems very awkward at first glance, but he plays smoother than you might expect. Depending on your hand, you can rush to level him all the way up, or you can spend a little time playing Nazgûl and Mother of Runes before deploying your commander. The real key is ensuring you can keep Frodo, Sauron's Bane alive once you do cast him. He has a dangerous ability, and your opponents won't want to let him stick around. 

If one Frodo deck wasn't enough for you, check out my other Frodo deck!

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.