Shower Thoughts: Ten Budget Commanders That Pack a Punch - LOTR Multicolored

Benjamin Levin • June 29, 2023

Tom Bombadil | Illustrated by Dmitry Burmak
Tom Bombadil | Illustrated by Marko Manev

Welcome to another installment of Shower Thoughts, the budget Commander series that proves that Magic isn't pay-to-win. In this week's article, I'm going to talk about ten multicolored commanders from Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth that are powerful and budget-friendly. They aren't listed in any particular order, and if you'd like to see completed decks for any of the commanders mentioned, let me know in the comments below. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Tom Bombadil

We finally have the defacto five-color Saga commander, and it's actually good! Having access to all of the colors increases our Saga count from 76, if we were to play Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, to a total of 103. You'll want to include ways to move lore counters around and enchantment payoffs to take the most advantage of Tom. While not budget, The Ozolith and Resourceful Defense are some of the best cards you could add to this deck if you have them. I would include cards like Brainstorm to help guarantee that you get a powerful Saga right into play. And one quick rule note: as long as the final chapter's ability is on the stack, you can respond to that trigger before you sacrifice the Saga by flickering it. For more detail, check out rule 714.4 on Sagas.

Key cards to include: Goldberry, River-Daughter,Sythis, Harvest's Hand, Jukai Naturalist, Scholar of New Horizons, Historian's Boon

Sauron, the Dark Lord

If you're looking for a stompy deck that isn't mono-green, Gruul, or Naya, try Sauron! Grixis decks aren't known for their ability to smash face with creatures, generally, but not only is he a powerful commander, he has one of the, if not the best, ward costs in recent memory, and his abilities are strong, but don't seem to be oppressive since he doesn't provide the token with any form of protection. You'll want to include amass cards from War of the Spark to make the Orc army token into a Zombie Orc army, which lets you benefit from Zombie typal payoffs, and winning with the deck is pretty straightforward: either attack with the massive token or fling it at someone. If you have a slightly higher budget, try out Chandra's Ignition and Tainted Strike.

Key cards to include: Taurean Mauler, Dreadhorde Invasion, Mauhúr, Uruk-hai Captain, Gleaming Overseer, Eternal Skylord

Prince Imrahil the Fair

I've often found that the uncommon legends of sets tend to be overlooked for the splashier rares and mythics. Imrahil is going to be one of those overlooked commanders. While his ability isn't as flashy as Tom Bombadil, it is a great ability on a budget. Azorius has never had issues with drawing multiple cards each turn, and with recent sets, we got a plethora of Soldier typal and Convoke support to combine with the benefits of having countermagic in blue and great board protection in white. The other route you could go is Human typal since Imrahil and the tokens he generates are Humans. I would probably do a Human Soldier typal deck since some of the best Human typal cards are also Soldiers.

Key cards to include: Champion of the Parish, Mass Appeal, Horn of Gondor, Secret Rendezvous, Howling Mine

Shagrat, Loot Bearer

Equipment is often a strategy that Boros or Mardu focus on, but in this case, we get an interesting Rakdos Equipment commander. What I like about Shagrat is that it doesn't care about its power or dealing combat damage and provides you with another body, which can get large quickly, to hold Equipment if Shagrat gets removed. The tricky part of deckbuilding is the free equip ability. On one hand, you want Equipment with high equip costs so you get the most value out of the free equips, but on the other hand, you want to suit Shagrat up as much as possible to make the biggest army. I love including cards such as Maze of Ith or Darkness with commanders that attack to prevent them from dying if you don't have any good attacks.

Key cards to include: Barrow-Blade, Swiftfoot Boots, Akki Battle Squad, Thaumatic Compass, Dowsing Dagger

Gimli, Mournful Avenger

Gimli feels like a nerfed Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, and I mean that in a good way. Korvold is notoriously powerful, needs to be removed right away, and is busted most of the time. Instead of drawing cards, Gimli will remove a problematic creature on board, which is a different form of card advantage. Gimli reminds me of Thromok the Insatiable, but instead of being a big beat stick, he can impact the board or just crack in with indestructible. You will want to include ways to give him trample, lifelink, or unblockable to finish players off with commander damage. If your budget allows Chandra's Ignition, it's an auto-include in the deck, and since he is a Dwarf, you could try to build Gruul Dwarfs or a hidden Magda deck thanks to green's abundance of creature tutors.

Key cards to include: Goblin Bombardment, Kami of Whispered Hopes, Arasta of the Endless Web, Blasphemous Act, Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff

Lotho is the type of commander that seems innocuous until he has been on board for several turns and you have piles of Treasures. Unlike Liesa, Shroud of Dusk or Kambal, Consul of Allocation, his ability isn't the win condition of the deck since you lose the life to make the Treasures. This means players might not want to remove your commander on sight and instead let you take some damage over the course of the game, and his low mana value means he should be ramping you by turn two in every game. While you could build any theme you'd like with Lotho, I am leaning toward Orzhov artifacts. Oh, and you could companion Lurrus of the Dream-Den with Lotho to help cast two spells each turn.

Key cards to include: Mirkwood Bats, Disciple of the Vault, Marionette Master, Nadier's Nightblade, Shimmer Myr

Sméagol, Helpful Guide

If you've followed my content for any amount of time, you know I am a devoted graveyard player. Smeagol recently became my third Golgari deck, and I will not apologize for this. Smeagol, in my opinion, is one of the best Ring tempts you payoffs in Commander. His ability to steal lands isn't limited to once per turn, and you will always get a land. The first line of text on this card is fine, and you'll want to include sacrifice effects, but I think you're better off playing every Ring tempts you card in the set that you can in the deck. At the time of writing, Nazgûls are too expensive for this deck in paper but would be the best creatures in the deck. Hopefully as time goes on, the price will drop.

Key cards to include: Gollum, Patient Plotter, Call of the Ring, Bombadil's Song, One Ring to Rule Them All, Tireless Provisioner

Shadowfax, Lord of Horses

Look at this Horse, this Horse is amazing, and I'll stop there. Shadowfax is the Horse typal lord we've wanted but don't deserve. Sadly, there are only 17 other Horses in Boros colors, so that deck probably doesn't work like we'd want to, although Crested Sunmare is an auto-include in this deck if you can fit it within your budget. If you have a higher budget, an extra combat deck is one of the best strategies for this commander, but if you're on a tighter budget, just cheating big creatures into play will do work. You will need to increase its power in order to cheat bigger things into play, which is an easy task for Boros. Even if you give it just one additional power, you can cheat powerhouses like Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite into play as early as turn five.

Key cards to include: Keleth, Sunmane Familiar, Éowyn, Fearless Knight, Bastion Protector, Workhorse, Mirror Entity

Galadriel of Lothlórien

Landfall is one of my favorite strategies in Commander, but my biggest complaint is how often I have to shuffle a 100-card deck. From Rampant Growth to fetch lands in conjunction with Tatyova, Benthic Druid make turns take longer than they need to, so I had the idea to create a shuffle-less Landfall deck where you can only play lands from the top of your library, graveyard, or hand. The only time I wanted to shuffle my deck was at the start of the game, so I'm saying goodbye, Slogurk, the Overslime, and hello, Galadriel in that deck. What's great is you don't need ways for the Ring to tempt you, either, just load up on scrying effects and you'll be good to go. She's a great Landfall commander that you can build in a way to cut down on shuffling time.

Key cards to include: Retreat to Coralhelm, Netherese Puzzle-Ward, Nissa, Steward of Elements, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, Eyes Everywhere

Samwise Gamgee

When Lonis, Cryptozoologist was first spoiled, I wanted to build them so bad. Creating a Clue every time a creature entered was such great value I couldn't pass it up, but I didn't really like their second ability to steal cards from opponents. But now we have Samwise, who is my favorite Food commander from the set. He generates great value when combined with cards such as Whitemane Lion to always have a creature to cast. White is one of the best blink colors, so getting multiple Food each turn will be easy, and his last ability is graveyard recursion in the command zone, allowing you to return the best card from your graveyard. While Academy Manufactor was just reprinted, thanks to this set, it's jumped back up in price, so if you have one or the budget for it, I'd highly suggest you pick one up for this deck.

Key cards to include: Farmer Cotton, Peregrin Took, Sam, Loyal Attendant, Trail of Crumbs, The Gaffer

This has been another installment of Shower Thoughts; be sure to check out my YouTube channel, BathroomBrewsMTG, for weekly MTG content and the accompanying video. Also, make sure to check out my Patreon if you want to take your support further.

This has been Ben, from BathroomBrewsMTG, and remember, always wash your hands!

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG ( Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.