Last updated on October 6, 2023
Frodo, Sauron's Bane | Illustration by Marta Nael
J.R.R. Tolkien wanted to use Frodo Baggins to teach the world a few lessons. It doesn’t matter how tiny you think you are, you can make a difference in this world. No one is invincible, and the worst enemy is that which is unseen.
This Commander deck has a very similar flavor. People may think you’re out of action but in fact, you’re already inside Mount Doom holding The One Ring ready to Cast into the Fire. Today I’m showing you my Frodo, Sauron's Bane EDH deck, which will get you tempted by the Ring multiple times. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It can go toe-to-toe with your foes despite being a low power level deck.
With that in mind, let’s go straight to the deck and the surprises it holds.
Call of the Ring | Illustration by Anato Finnstark
Mother of Runes
Giver of Runes
Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff
Boromir, Warden of the Tower
Samwise the Stouthearted
Witch-king of Angmar
Gollum, Patient Plotter
Lurrus of the Dream-Den
Sauron, the Necromancer
Ratadrabik of Urborg
Knight of the White Orchid
Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit
Faramir, Field Commander
Loran of the Third Path
The One Ring
Talisman of Hierarchy
Blade of Selves
Caves of Koilos
Vault of Champions
Plaza of Heroes
Takenuma, Abandoned Mire
Vault of the Archangel
Shizo, Death's Storehouse
This is a synergy deck above all else. The main strategy is to build up our commander, get to four “the ring tempts you” triggers, attack, and win. The various “temptation” cards will help us achieve our win condition by effectively one-shoting players once we get tempted four times. There’s also no way to undo The Ring. Opponents will try to take out our commander, and when they do we’ll simply cast it again and keep going. The game is pretty much lost for our opponents once Frodo is carrying protective equipment like Whispersilk Cloak and Mithril Coat.
This is one of only a few commanders that can make a player lose the game on the spot. Frodo, Sauron's Bane is a 1-mana commander with a 1/2 stat line that you’ll be able to play on turn one most of the time. You can then pay to turn it into a 2/3 lifelinking scout, after which you can pay to reach its final form.
Frodo’s final form is a halfling rogue that takes a player out when it connects in combat if you've been tempted by the Ring four or more times. Let’s keep in mind that 5 mana is a significant mana investment, and our commander doesn’t have any significant built-in protection. That’s why a good amount of our deck guarantees that Frodo is protected and has some evasion in order to effectively deal damage to a player.
Another huge part of our deck is related to the “Ring tempts you” mechanic. You’ll need to be tempted by the Ring at least four times for Frodo to kill someone. The pillars of our deck are: protect our commander with equipment or combat tricks, get tempted by the Ring via cards like Call of the Ring or Nazgûl, and when the time comes, finish an opponent off. Our commander is our primary wincon, but this deck has a few tricks up its sleeve.
Our creatures serve a few purposes, most notably to get temptation triggers and protect our commander. Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff is here to get us some Treasure, while Sun Titan is able to reanimate a value permanent or even our commander if it’s in the graveyard.
Finally, we’re playing many wraith-type creatures to get temptations, represented by eight Nazgûl, Witch-king of Angmar, and Ringwraiths. These work very well together, to the point that we sometimes have a little wraith sub-theme going on.
One of the main strategies we’re pursuing with this deck is to keep our commander alive and have it consistently deal damage to our opponents. To that end, we’re running cards like Teferi's Protection to give Frodo and the rest of our team evasion or protection.
These cards should be used to frustrate our opponents’ plans, protect us from their attacks, or remove a key blocker so that Frodo can get in. It’s worth noting that protection works on offense and defense, so we’re protecting our commander against removal and making sure it can deliver the final blow.
This is not a Voltron deck by any means, but it has some equipment mainly to protect our commander. Whispersilk Cloak grants some protection and makes our commander unblockable, while Mithril Coat has flash and grants indestructible.
Bilbo's Ring fits nicely since it has “equip halfling ”. The weirdest one is Blade of Selves, an equipment that grants myriad to the equipped creature. It’s a combo with our commander and Mirror Box, and it’s a great fit on other creatures with ETBs like the Nazgûl or Sun Titan.
White decks in EDH usually play much-needed sweepers for when things go south. Since our commander is a little guy, it makes sense to play selective sweepers. The Battle of Bywater, Dusk // Dawn, and Austere Command are sweepers that can get big creatures off the table but miss our commander. They also offer additional options like getting rid of enchantments or getting back creatures from your graveyard.
One Ring to Rule Them All destroys all non-legendary creatures, which won't destroy any commanders but at least slows down +1/+1 counters, token-based strategies, or other creature-based strategies across the table.
Frodo, Sauron's Bane can provide some number of temptations in its final form, but that alone takes a while to fully unlock The Ring.
A huge part of our strategy revolves around getting tempted by the Ring at least four times, and we’ll need to play almost all the available cards with the mechanic to consistently achieve this goal. That includes good cards like Call of the Ring or Witch-king of Angmar, but also more passable ones like Claim the Precious, which is a sorcery-speed Murder. That’s also why we’re playing 8 of 9 possible Nazgûl; they tempt you and get better in multiples.
Overall our deck has a low mana curve and our commander is cheap, so we don’t need to play that many lands or mana rocks. Our commander costs a single mana, and we want to play it on the first few turns as often as possible. Having a 2/3 lifelink on the battlefield early while people are slowly developing their boards can give us a huge advantage. That’s why we’re playing a lot of basic Plains and lands that mostly come into play untapped.
We’re playing the classic mana rocks Sol Ring and Mind Stone that generate colorless mana early, but our commander needs colored mana so we’re also playing cards like Arcane Signet, Orzhov Signet and Talisman of Hierarchy.
Inherited Envelope is a nice one here because it adds mana of any color and we get tempted by the Ring too.
The lands we want to see in our opening hand are usually Godless Shrine, Vault of Champions, and Command Tower. As with all decks, you can take a hit on efficiency to go with a more budget-friendly mana base.
The main strategy of the deck is to stick Frodo, Sauron's Bane, gain some life with its second form while attacking opponents here and there, and slowly work on getting tempted by the Ring four times.
You can also make your commander your Ring-bearer and profit from Ring-bearer attacks. There are ways to slowly get resource and card advantage in Smothering Tithe, Esper Sentinel, and Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff, and these should hit the table as early as possible. New MTG and EDH staple The One Ring can grant us protection and card advantage as well.
We can protect our commander from destruction in a dozen ways, be it with Mother of Runes, by sacrificing Boromir, Warden of the Tower, or with cards like Brave the Elements and Gods Willing. Once we get to four temptations and have a card like Rogue's Passage in play, it’s time to kill some players.
Most of the creatures in this deck are legendary. Cards like Mirror Box and Flowering of the White Tree buff legends. Ratadrabik of Urborg also cares about legends, so when a legendary creature dies you’ll get a 2/2 copy of it. Even a non-legendary creature can benefit from these buffs if they’re currently the Ring-bearer.
Our commander is cheap to recast early and can be reanimated via Lurrus of the Dream-Den or Sun Titan, so you should keep the protection spells for later in the game when you have invested a significant amount of mana into leveling Frodo up. You can consider letting Frodo go to the graveyard instead of the command zone when it's destroyed if you have recursion spells in hand.
Eventually equipping Frodo with Whispersilk Cloak and attacking should kill someone regardless of resources and life. Like Thanos, Frodo is “inevitable”. That can put a target on your head if you have the necessary conditions to take someone out. If they can’t deal with your commander, they can go for you instead.
You can create infinite ETB/LTB triggers with Ratadrabik of Urborg and Boromir, Warden of the Tower by sacrificing Boromir and producing a 2/2 non-legendary copy of it. You’ll then make the token your Ring-bearer, it will become legendary, and you can repeat the cycle by sacrificing it and triggering Ratadrabik again. It’s a way to grant your creatures indestructible indefinitely and get infinite temptation triggers.
Another combo is the interaction between Mirror Box, Blade of Selves, and our commander. You can equip Frodo with Blade of Selves and essentially attack everybody at once thanks to the myriad ability. The myriad tokens only copy the original traits of Frodo, so you’ll have to sink extra mana into any Frodo copies that weren’t blocked to pull off the one-hit kill.
It’s Magical Christmas Land to have all this stuff at the same time, and the deck isn’t playing many tutors or focusing on the combo approach.
This is already a low-to-medium cost budget deck and can be built for around $400. Here are suggestions on how to replace the most expensive cards.
Let’s address the mana base first. We can replace Vault of Champions with Tainted Isle, Shizo, Death's Storehouse and Takenuma, Abandoned Mire for two basic Swamps, and Marsh Flats for a Temple of Silence. Shattered Sanctum can be replaced with a basic Plains.
We’re also playing some expensive EDH staples. Cards like Smothering Tithe, Esper Sentinel, and Teferi's Protection don’t have any clear substitutes, so we’ll go with Archaeomancer's Map, Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle, and Generous Gift.
The One Ring and the 8 Nazgûl are very expensive right now, and The One Ring’s unlikely to become cheaper any time soon. Let’s replace it with Phyrexian Arena, and I’ll suggest leaving the Nazgûl on the list for now.
You can go totally Voltron with Frodo by including more cards like Sram, Senior Edificer or Puresteel Paladin and impactful equipment. This turns it into a deck that cares about dealing commander damage and drawing cards whenever you play equipment. You could also simply go the aura route with All That Glitters and Kor Spiritdancer.
You could possibly build a “legendary matters” deck with cards like Arvad the Cursed. You’ll already have a 1-drop legendary creature that can win the game on its own, so why not? A cool challenge is to go 100% Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth and only play cards from the set.
Ratadrabik of Urborg | Illustration by Anna Pavleeva
Frodo, Sauron's Bane has the flavor of being irrelevant enough that nobody cares until it strikes at the heart of an almost unbeatable opponent and wins. One hit from Frodo and it’s over, no matter their board state or life total.
It’s a flavor win in my book and a nice way to shake things up in EDH. This is not the best Frodo, Sauron's Bane deck by any means, but it’s very flavorful and has the tools to win. And make sure your playgroup is okay with decks that can win like this. If they’re alright with it, give this fun deck a spin will you?
What do you think of this decklist? Let me know in the comments section below or in our Discord server. Stay safe folks, and remember that at least in MTG, getting tempted by the Ring is not always a bad thing.Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: