Modern Decks with Lord of the Rings



I’ve been considering playing in a Modern tournament, but I don’t really have time to test, so I’ve just been writing up deck ideas. Ultimately, I decided I didn’t want to deal with choosing a deck without testing or getting cards together, especially given that there was a sealed tournament at the same time that I could play instead. As a result, I have a bunch of completely untested, untuned deck ideas. Ordinarily I might save these to work on later, but realistically, I’m not going to be playing much Modern in the near future, so I thought people might be interested in some ideas that I think have a chance in Modern, even if they’re completely untuned.

Personally, I suspect that the two most important cards in Lord of the Rings are Delighted Halfling and The One Ring. Delighted Halfling is an important mana creature because it has two toughness, which protects it from Wrenn and Six, and it makes Legendary spells uncounterable, which seems really important with Legendary spells that do something as soon as you play them, like planeswalkers, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, or The One Ring.

The first deck I want to look at doesn't use The One Ring, but does use Delighted Halfling with a number of other cards from LTR. This is a Winota, Joiner of Forces deck, or perhaps, really, it’s a Jodah, the Unifier deck.



1 Arwen, Mortal Queen

4 Copperline Gorge

4 Delighted Halfling

1 Djeru and Hazoret

1 Frodo Baggins

1 General Ferrous Rokiric

1 Glissa Sunslayer

4 Great Hall of the Citadel

2 Hajar, Loyal Bodyguard

1 Jirina, Dauntless General

4 Jodah, the Unifier

1 Lagomos, Hand of Hatred

1 Merry, Esquire of Rohan

1 Migloz, Maze Crusher

1 Minas Tirith

1 Minsc, Beloved Ranger

1 Mobilized District

4 Mox Amber

1 Nashi, Moon's Legacy

1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers

2 Pippin, Guard of the Citadel

4 Plaza of Heroes

1 Radha, Heir to Keld

3 Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer

4 Razorverge Thicket

1 Samut, Vizier of Naktamun

3 Skrelv, Defector Mite

1 Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance

1 Thalia and The Gitrog Monster

4 Winota, Joiner of Forces

I didn’t get around to making a sideboard for this deck, and really, that’s not the point. What I think is interesting about this deck is how the manabase works.

Every card in this deck that costs more than one mana is multicolor–I kind of had Pillar of the Paruns in mind when choosing the spells, but I ended up going with Plaza of Heroes and Great Hall of the Citadel instead, and then I needed most of the other lands to be able to cast Delighted Halfling. Since every card in the deck outside of mana producers is a legendary creature, this deck uses Mox Amber extremely well, and with so many lands that give mana of any color for legendary spells, Jodah, the Unifier is extremely easy to cast.

There are a lot of similarly powerful two and three mana legendary creatures, so I just played 1-2 of each to minimize issues with the legend rule and get the most out of Jodah. There aren’t that many humans that Winota can hit, but the real goal is just to dig for Jodah.

Figuring out which lands to play in a deck like this is really difficult–you have a lot of options for five color lands with the ones I’m playing and Pillar of the Paruns, and great utility lands as well. I’m pretty skeptical of Minas Tirith, since it only works when you’re in a pretty good position, and isn’t great at casting spells. Similar things could be said about Mobilized District, but a potentially free creature land was just too good to pass up, and it’s cool that Great Hall of the Citadel can forgive a colorless land when casting Jodah.

Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers felt like a very low cost inclusion, since Delighted Halfling is really the hardest spell in the deck to cast. The channel lands are great, but I’m also afraid of lands that only tap for a single color, especially if that color isn’t green. Still, Sokenzan is good enough with Winota that I had to try one.

I’m definitely skeptical of a deck that’s all lands and creatures, but being able to make such difficult casting costs work while powering Mox Amber and Jodah as huge payoffs in addition to getting uncounterability from Delighted Halfling seemed like enough upside to look into.

Given that I abandoned Pillar of the Paruns, it’s possible that there are some mono color legends that would give it a bit more utility that might be worth considering.

While I’m talking about linear aggro decks with excellent lords, I think it’s worth mentioning Wraiths–the new tribe that’s really just Nazgûl:



1 Breeding Pool

4 Cavern of Souls

4 Changeling Outcast

4 Collected Company

4 Glasspool Mimic

2 Misty Rainforest

4 Mothdust Changeling

4 Mutavault

9 Nazgûl

1 Overgrown Tomb

4 Phantasmal Image

4 Polluted Delta

4 Spellstutter Sprite

1 Swamp

4 Universal Automaton

4 Verdant Catacombs

2 Watery Grave


4 Concerted Defense

2 Fatal Push

3 Masked Vandal

2 Orvar, the All-Form

4 Thoughtseize

I wanted to play Unsettled Mariner, but I couldn’t make the mana work, and I’m definitely not willing to give up Mutavault. There are very few Wraiths that are legal, and most of them are terrible. Fortunately, there’s always Changelings. The idea here is that Nazgûl are basically just much better Thalia’s Lieutenants–they grow all of your wraiths when you play them, but instead of just growing themselves when you play another, they grow all of your other creatures again. This means that if you hit two of them off a Collected Company, all your creatures get +4/+4, and that’s assuming you didn’t already have any on the battlefield. If you had one, then all your creatures are getting +6/+6.


Since stacking Nazgûl is very powerful, this deck plays 8 clone effects–4 Phantasmal Image and 4 Glasspool Mimic so that you can hit multiple Nazgûl off a Collected Company as often as possible.

I wanted some interaction, and with 12 one mana changelings and 4 Mutavaults, I thought Spellstutter Sprite would be the perfect way to add interaction without making Collected Company worse–now you can try to use it as a counterspell.

The Changelings and Spellstutter Sprites all contribute to your party, which makes Concerted Defense an efficient counterspell in the sideboard.

I’m not sure if Universal Automaton is better than Birthday Escape, which draws a card and triggers your Nazgûl, but I thought it was important to have as many creatures in play early as you can to get the most out of Nazgûl’s pumps.

Moving on to something completely different, I wanted to try to maximize Delighted Halfling by casting a bunch of strong spells that would be particularly great to make uncounterable, which lead to this Omnath deck:

Delighted Omnath


1 Boseiju, Who Endures

1 Counterspell

4 Delighted Halfling

1 Ephemerate

1 Eternal Witness

3 Flooded Strand

1 Forest

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Island

4 Leyline Binding

1 Lightning Bolt

4 Misty Rainforest

4 Omnath, Locus of Creation

1 Otawara, Soaring City

1 Path to Exile

1 Plains

4 Prismatic Ending

1 Sacred Foundry

4 Solitude

1 Spara's Headquarters

1 Steam Vents

1 Stomping Ground

4 Teferi, Time Raveler

1 Temple Garden

4 The One Ring

4 Windswept Heath

4 Wrenn and Six

1 Ziatora's Proving Ground

This one’s pretty simple–Halfling makes your planeswalkers and The One Ring resolve, then you draw a bunch of efficient removal and protect yourself and your planeswalkers. Teferi can bounce The One Ring if it gets too painful or you need protection for a turn.

I don’t know that there’s a lot more to say about this one, it’s a proven core of strong cards that I’ve just added the strong new cards to. It’s possible that it wants to trim an Omnath or The One Ring for more interaction or Expressive Iteration, but I think both cards are very strong and play extremely well together, since the mana from Omnath can cast The One Ring and the life from Omnath offsets the burden of The One Ring.


Not much more to say about that deck, so onto another deck that uses Delighted Halfling and The One Ring:

Delighted Sam Combo


4 Blooming Marsh

1 Boseiju, Who Endures

1 Carrion Feeder

1 Cauldron Familiar

4 Chord of Calling

4 Delighted Halfling

1 Eternal Witness

2 Forest

4 Gilded Goose

1 Godless Shrine

2 Grist, the Hunger Tide

2 Orcish Bowmasters

3 Overgrown Tomb

3 Samwise Gamgee

2 Sheoldred, the Apocalypse

1 Swamp

1 Temple Garden

4 The One Ring

2 Trail of Crumbs

4 Verdant Catacombs

4 Wall of Roots

4 Windswept Heath

1 Wooded Foothills

2 Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

2 Young Wolf


2 Force of Vigor

2 Endurance

2 Orcish Bowmasters

2 Trail of Crumbs

4 Thoughtseize

3 Fatal Push

I like the Samwise Gamgee/Cauldron Familiar/sac outlet combo, but I don’t love the Asmor/Cookbook/Daredevil food shell. This deck gives me a Yawgmoth style midrange game with a toolbox and combo finish.

I have The One Ring, Trail of Crumbs, Yawgmoth, and to some extent Samewise Gamgee as card advantage engines with Sheoldred to offset life payment. Wall of Roots and Orcish Bowmasters make it easy to use Chord of Calling to find the pieces I need, and Gilded Goose, Delighted Halfling, and Wall of Roots give me a lot of extra mana that isn’t vulnerable to Wrenn and Six.

I’m not exactly sure how good to expect Orcish Bowmasters to be, but if The One Ring is popular, they’ll be excellent, and then this deck might even want to play four of them.

I think this is my favorite of the decks, and likely what I’d want to play if I were playing Modern this weekend. I think it attacks from a lot of different angles and in ways people won’t really expect yet, while also being very consistent.

After trying to build Modern decks for awhile, I figured I’d close with my take on the top 5 LTR cards for Modern:

5.) Forge Anew

4.) Samwise Gamgee

3.) Orcish Bowmasters

2.) Delighted Halfling

1.) The One Ring

Nazgûl could surprise me and earn a slot, and my sleeper pick that I’d kinda like to see show up is Samwise the Stouthearted, but with Forge Anew having a natural home in Hammer, I think it’s the most likely 5th slot, with the others coming in higher because they can impact more different decks.