Last updated on May 15, 2024

Tom Bombadil - Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Tom Bombadil | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Wizards decided to do their own thing with Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, instead of taking the easy way out and just copying the wildly popular Peter Jackson adaptations of Tolkien’s work. They signaled this pretty early on by previewing an interesting new commander that was notably left out of the movies, Tom Bombadil.

Tom Bombadil is one of the weirdest characters in The Lord of the Rings and one of its most unique commanders. He pops up early for a quick little plot cul-de-sac and is barely even mentioned for the rest of the trilogy, despite being incredibly powerful. If you, like me, were a fan of this strange guy, it’s a lot of fun to build a Commander deck around him.

Tom Bombadil is a unique 5-color commander as the first to focus primarily on sagas. This theme gives you lots of flexibility in how you build a deck, especially since you can include any saga you want from the game.

While an obvious way to break this commander may emerge once it’s been out for a few weeks, I think it’s more fun to just take sagas that you personally want to play with and find a way to see how they all work together. That’s not to say this deck isn’t powerful, but more that it was built with the idea of playing cards I don’t usually get to.

Let's get into it!

The Deck

Goldberry, River-Daughter - Illustration by Marie Magny

Goldberry, River-Daughter | Illustration by Marie Magny

Commander (1)

Tom Bombadil

Planeswalkers (3)

Calix, Destiny's Hand
Wrenn and Realmbreaker
Vraska, Betrayal's Sting

Creatures (24)

Goldberry, River-Daughter
Calix, Guided by Fate
Satsuki, the Living Lore
Sythis, Harvest's Hand
Sanctum Weaver
Setessan Champion
Eidolon of Blossoms
Elesh Norn
Jukai Naturalist
Scholar of New Horizons
Weaver of Harmony
Herald of the Pantheon
Satyr Enchanter
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Faeburrow Elder
Glissa Sunslayer
Ghen, Arcanum Weaver
Bloom Tender
Brago, King Eternal
Displacer Kitten
Atraxa, Praetors' Voice
Tuvasa the Sunlit
Nylea's Colossus

Instants (4)

Swords to Plowshares
Heroic Intervention
Teferi's Protection
Cyclonic Rift

Sorceries (3)


Enchantments (23)

Long List of the Ents
There and Back Again
The Bath Song
Kiora Bests the Sea God
Elspeth Conquers Death
The Eldest Reborn
Binding the Old Gods
The Cruelty of Gix
Historian's Boon
Birth of the Imperium
The First Iroan Games
Azusa's Many Journeys
Jugan Defends the Temple
The Horus Heresy
Fable of the Mirror-Breaker
Sterling Grove
The Elder Dragon War
Song of Freyalise
Battle for Bretagard
The World Spell
History of Benalia
The Trickster-God's Heist
Sylvan Library

Artifacts (7)

Lithoform Engine
Chromatic Lantern
Sol Ring
Arcane Signet
Chromatic Orrery
Timeless Lotus
Lightning Greaves

Lands (35)

Urza's Saga
Command Tower
The World Tree
Indatha Triome
Spara's Headquarters
Zagoth Triome
Ketria Triome
Jetmir's Garden
Temple Garden
Overgrown Tomb
Misty Rainforest
Windswept Heath
Raffine's Tower
Marsh Flats
Flooded Strand
Mana Confluence
Boseiju, Who Endures
Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Nesting Grounds
Plains x4
Forest x4
Mountain x2
Swamp x2
Island x2
Reliquary Tower

The first thing I did when building this deck was look through all the saga cards that exist right now. I looked for sagas that filled the basic requirements I’d usually look for in spells with their first chapter.

For example, Jugan Defends the Temple and Azusa's Many Journeys can both help with ramp as soon as they come in, and The Bath Song immediately allows you to draw cards. This way I was making sure to include the important parts of any typical Commander deck while also including more sagas that work well with Tom Bombadil.

I also looked for some expensive sagas that I wouldn’t normally include in a deck, like The World Spell, since there’s a chance you’ll get to play them for free thanks to Tom. I tried not to take too many of these, because I found that my opponents would target my commander before it either gained indestructible and hexproof or right before a saga would complete. This led me to reevaluate how many big sagas I wanted to risk getting stuck with in my hand.

When picking creatures I looked for ones like Atraxa, Praetors' Voice that would work well with the deck's sagas. I also chose creatures that work well in a typical enchantments-matter deck. These work just as well with sagas as any other type of enchantment, and I found they made the whole deck a bit more consistent.

The Commander

Tom Bombadil

Tom Bombadil’s abilities both focus on sagas. While you have the flexibility to choose which ones you put in the deck, the only real reason to build a deck around it is if you’re including a lot of them.

I think this commander has a little lower power and toughness than it should, especially when you compare it to a 5-color commander like Jodah, the Unifier. That said, if you’re able to consistently have several sagas on the field, Tom Bombadil’s indestructible-granting ability can make up for this a little bit because it becomes an excellent blocker.

The real spice comes from Tom Bombadil’s second ability. Being able to replace any saga that reaches its final chapter immediately gives you a lot more value out of each one you play. Now, instead of simply three or four turns of benefits, your sagas are giving you a rotating list of different effects for no additional mana. The one issue with this is that your commander will become a pretty big target once the table realizes how good this is.

Tom Bombadil is already a decently powerful commander, but I think it’ll only continue to get stronger as time goes on and more sagas are printed. I can very much see this as a deck I continuously go back to fiddle with, similar to my Superfriends deck.


As I mentioned, this deck can be built in a variety of ways and using a lot of different sagas. You don’t have to stick exactly to my build. Still, these are the ones I’d absolutely recommend keeping.

Long List of the Ents

For starters, Long List of the Ents is very helpful for keeping Tom Bombadil hexproof and indestructible for longer. This saga is really cheap to cast, so it doesn’t matter all that much that you won’t be getting the most use out of each chapter activation.

Both Jugan Defends the Temple and Song of Freyalise can be helpful for ramping up a bit earlier on in the game. Depending on the number of lands in your hand, Azusa's Many Journeys can also be a useful bit of ramp.

There and Back Again

You’ll also want some higher mana sagas like There and Back Again to get the most out of Tom Bombadil’s ability to cheat them out.

The World Spell

The World Spell is particularly powerful because it will both give you extra cards and allow you to play some for free.

Kiora Bests the Sea God

I also think Kiora Bests the Sea God is a good inclusion because each of its chapters is a pretty powerful effect.

While it doesn’t have to be these sagas exactly, I recommend having some like Battle for Bretagard or Fable of the Mirror-Breaker which either produce creature tokens or flip into creatures. This keeps you from having to choose between throwing down a blocker or playing a saga as often.

The Cruelty of Gix

Sagas with read ahead like The Cruelty of Gix can be particularly powerful in this deck. You can either skip right to the last chapter, knowing your commander will then get you another free saga from your deck, or you can read ahead to the middle chapter and get the extra lore counters you need to make Tom Bombadil hexproof and indestructible.

Saga Support

Historian's Boon

There are a few cards that directly support sagas, and they can be very helpful in this deck. Historian's Boon helps to generate more creature tokens for you each time you play or finish a saga, adding even more value to them.

Satsuki, the Living Lore

Satsuki, the Living Lore is another great bit of saga support, allowing you to speed through your sagas more quickly. When Satsuki dies, you’ll also be able to get a saga back from the graveyard or bounce one to your hand and cash in on its earlier chapters again.

Goldberry, River-Daughter

Goldberry, River-Daughter lets you shift your lore counters around from saga to saga, which can help you finish one more quickly or intentionally hold off on completing one that you want to stay on the battlefield.

Scholar of New Horizons

Scholar of New Horizons has a similar ability. Though this card can’t move counters back onto sagas, you’ll be getting a nice bit of ramp while also keeping your sagas on the battlefield longer.

Both Brago, King Eternal and Displacer Kitten allow you to repeatedly flicker your sagas, which gives you multiple activations and keeps more lore counters around for Tom Bombadil.

Both Atraxa, Praetors' Voice and Vraska, Betrayal's Sting can help you add lore counters to sagas as you see fit with their proliferate abilities. This allows you to choose which sagas to speed through and which to keep out longer if you’d like. Vraska can also be used to take out a player if you manage to keep her around long enough.

General Enchantment Support

Apart from cards that work well with sagas, this deck also has a good amount of general enchantment support. Both Jukai Naturalist and Herald of the Pantheon help to reduce the cost of playing your sagas or other enchantments.

Both Satyr Enchanter and Sythis, Harvest's Hand allow you to draw cards when you cast an enchantment.

Even better, Eidolon of Blossoms and Setessan Champion let you draw when an enchantment simply enters the battlefield. You’ll also get another card in your hand when you cheat in a saga with your commander.

Sterling Grove

Sterling Grove is one of the best support cards because this Selesnya enchantment can either be used to keep your enchantments safe or you can sacrifice it to tutor for an enchantment.

Calix, Destiny's Hand

Calix, Destiny's Hand is another great option in any enchantment deck. Each of its abilities works very well in this deck, and its -7 can be a massive swing in your favor if you’ve already run through a lot of your sagas.

The Mana Base

As is often the case with a 5-color deck, this one’s mana base is a bit more complicated to get right. There’s a pretty solid mixture of all the colors in this deck, though possibly a bit more white and green thanks to the enchantment support.

I chose to go with a lot of Triomes like Spara's Headquarters and Indatha Triome that included at least white or green in them. I also included fetch lands like Windswept Heath and Misty Rainforest that can find Triomes with pretty much any single color you may need. I also included a few shock lands, just Overgrown Tomb and Temple Garden. If you prefer having the option for fast mana you can always swap some Triomes for shocks.

Apart from dual and tri-lands, I also have Command Tower and Mana Confluence in this deck. I always like having at least a few options that can tap for any color immediately.

I also usually include Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in my 5-color decks since they’re super helpful with mana fixing. As a bonus, both are getting reprinted as Lord of the Rings versions, so you can have more cards connected to the Middle-earth theme.

Boseiju, Who Endures

As for utility lands, I put in Boseiju, Who Endures. This card is great and honestly if you have a copy, you might as well slide it into any deck that includes green.

Urza's Saga

I also put a copy of Urza's Saga in this deck since it’s a saga you can play for no mana to help support Tom Bombadil.

Reliquary Tower

I also added a Reliquary Tower after playtesting the deck a few times and finding that I was frequently going over hand size.

Apart from lands, there are also a good number of mana rocks in this deck to help support running five colors. Chromatic Lantern is great for earlier mana fixing, as is Arcane Signet to a lesser extent.

Both Chromatic Orrery and Timeless Lotus make it a lot easier to consistently recast Tom Bombadil if your opponents keep removing him.

There are also some great options for mana dorks that support 5-color decks. Bloom Tender and Faeburrow Elder both scale very nicely as you continue to play more permanents of different colors. Sanctum Weaver also scales nicely over time as you play more enchantments.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

While not technically a mana dork, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is always a solid choice for 5-color decks since you’ll get mana fixing. Being able to play multiple lands in a turn reduces the negative impact of tap lands for more value.

The Strategy

This deck works best when you have a lot of options at your disposal. Your sagas cover a wide range of abilities and can help you respond to most situations. It’s also handy if you have something like Teferi's Protection on hand as keeping your board state intact is very important for this deck. Since you’ll want as many cards to choose from as possible, I typically prioritize setting up a value engine early on.

I like to keep opening hands with some sort of draw engine in them, particularly cards like Sythis, Harvest's Hand or Satyr Enchanter. Having these out early makes it a lot easier to keep your hand full and your options open.

You’ll also want to try and get Tom Bombadil out before your sagas are reaching their final chapter. While this isn’t always possible, you’re losing a lot of value on a saga if you’re not able to immediately replace it. This means keeping hands that have some form of mana fixing for early in the game. This deck can end up drawing a lot of cards, so don’t be afraid to go down to 6 if you’re struggling to get a good opening hand.

Because Tom Bombadil’s ability will be giving you random sagas, you’re going to have to be a little more reactive than proactive with some of your strategy in this deck once you have everything set up. This can be a little nerve wracking if you’re someone who likes to have a clear gameplan, but I find this deck to be a nice balance between pure chaos and strict adherence to a single strategy.

Combos and Interactions

This deck isn’t built to combo off, and I think in general it’s pretty friendly for most games without needing to have any rule 0 conversations about the interactions in it. That said, there are some good interactions you should look out for.

One great interaction in this deck is between Sterling Grove and Tom Bombadil. Once Tom’s second ability has been triggered, you can sacrifice Sterling Grove in response and put any saga you want on top of your deck. Then, you’ll get to cheat out the card you tutored for when Tom Bombadil’s ability resolves.

Another fun interaction is between either Scholar of New Horizons or Goldberry, River-Daughter and Long List of the Ents. Once Long List of the Ents hits five lore counters, you can use either of these cards to remove a lore counter from it and put it back down to four. With four lore counters on it, the saga still allows Tom Bombadil to be hexproof and indestructible.

Just continue removing a lore counter from this saga each turn, and your commander will never lose its built-in protection. From a flavor standpoint, I also think this is very fun because it essentially allows you to imagine the Ents droning on and on endlessly until one of your opponents gets so frustrated they destroy one of the two pieces of this interaction.

Budget Options

One of the more expensive aspects of this deck is its land base, which is typical when you have a 5-color commander. If you’re looking to make some quick cuts to save money, you can ditch a few of the more expensive fetch lands. While Marsh Flats is more reasonable, Windswept Heath and Flooded Strand are still over $20 each. You can swap these for some bond lands like Bountiful Promenade which save you a good amount without you losing out on too much mana fixing.

Zagoth Triome and Ketria Triome are also relatively expensive. I wouldn’t recommend replacing them with tri-color tap lands. You’d probably be better off with either more bond lands or possibly slow lands like Sundown Pass.

When it comes to Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, some printings of the cards are more expensive than the others. If you don’t care too much about what it looks like, go with the art deco style from March of the Machine, it’s one of the cheaper styles of the cards and can save you some money.

I think you can cut Urza's Saga without losing out on much. While it’s nice to have a saga you can play for no mana, its abilities don’t interact all that well with the deck as built. You can easily throw in a 1- or 2-mana saga and save yourself about $30.

Other Builds

The main way to make other builds with Tom Bombadil is just by choosing different sagas and the cards you want to interact with them. No matter what direction you take, you’ll still want to lean heavily into using sagas because there isn’t really a point in having Tom Bombadil as your commander otherwise.

One direction I considered taking this deck was to focus more heavily on sagas like History of Benalia or Battle for Bretagard that make token creatures. You could include token doublers like Anointed Procession or Doubling Season to increase their outputs, and use cards like Goldberry, River-Daughter to perpetually be producing tokens each turn with the same saga.

Commanding Conclusion

Satyr Enchanter - Illustration by Sidharth Chaturvedi

Satyr Enchanter | Illustration by Sidharth Chaturvedi

If you’re a big fan of sagas, then I think Tom Bombadil is the perfect commander for you. You can pick and choose any sagas that you personally like and craft an entire deck around them. This deck also offers you a pretty unique way of playing with the random cards you’ll be  getting from your deck which can make each match feel very different and exciting.

What sagas would you include in a Tom Bombadil deck? Were you happy with how Wizards captured this Lord of the Rings character? Let me know in the comments or on Draftsim’s Twitter.

Take care and safe journeys!

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1 Comment

  • Avatar
    George C July 10, 2023 1:43 pm

    Brilliant article! I loved the sagas when I got Akroan War in Theros, but they’ve always been ‘pretty to have’ in a deck and not one I could build a deck around. Stoked to try a Bombadil as a big LOTR’s fan.

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