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"Food and Fellowship" Precon LOTR-Only Upgrades! (And Bonus Regular Upgrades)


The Lord of the Rings Commander preconstructed decklists have been revealed and with it comes another round of my precon upgrades. We're going to do a thorough analysis of each deck, highlighting its goals and how well it accomplishes them, check out its deckbuilding fundamentals, identify its strongest and weakest cards, then use all that information to make an optimized $30 upgrade paths!

Because a huge draw of these LOTR commander decks is the setting themselves, I'm doing something special with this round of upgrades: on top of my regular upgrade guide I will also be providing a LOTR-only upgrade path using only cards from the LOTR set (the main set, box toppers, and cards from other precons) so people looking to keep their decks 100% LOTR-themed can still do so! So whether you're looking to power up your precon while keeping it fully LOTR-themed or just want to start optimizing the decks with the most powerful cards available, this article should be helpful to everyone!

Other LOTR precon upgrades:

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Food and Fellowship is a White/Black/Green Food deck that has a strong focus on Lifegain and Tokens themes, which are tied together by our primary Food theme since those are artifact tokens that can be used to gain life! We have tons of cards that generate food for us and then we utilize those food tokens to fuel our cards directly (Feasting Hobbit) or indirectly fuel our lifegain payoff cards (Prize Pig) and token payoff cards (Rosie Cotton of South Lane). The goal of our deck is to keep our life total high while we eliminate our opponents by smashing them with big beaters!

So if you love the idea of a Food deck and want to play as the Hobbits, Food and Fellowship is the deck for you!

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The Precon List

Before we talk upgrades, let's take a look at the stock list to see what we're working with:

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Food and Fellowship puts its unique Food theme front and center with a good amount of support: I count 18 cards that create or care about Food, which is quite a high number considering how shallow a card pool Food has to work with! I also count 19 additional Lifegain cards that either gain life or care about gaining life, and 6 additional Token cards that either create or care about tokens. The ratios tell us that this is primarily a Food deck with a major Lifegain subtheme and a minor Token subtheme. 

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Which Hobbits Should Be Our Commanders?

We have 3 options to lead this deck: either the partners Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit & Sam, Loyal Attendant, the partners Merry, Warden of Isengard & Pippin, Warden of Isengard, or the solo commander Bilbo, Birthday Celebrant

To briefly summarize their strengths: Bilbo is your choice if you want to focus purely on Lifegain since he increases the potency of all your lifegain cards and then doubles as a finisher for the deck. Merry & Pippin are the best choice if you want to focus on the Food + Token aspect of the deck, as Pippin provides the Food that Merry needs to feed your growing army of creature tokens and then Pippin turns that into a hasty finisher. And finally Frodo & Sam are the best choice if you want to focus on the Food + Lifegain aspect of the deck, as Sam provides a ton of lifegain for the deck while Frodo uses that lifegain to generate a lot of incremental value.

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In terms of who should lead the precon, Frodo and Sam have a huge advantage: as we highlighted earlier, the deck is primarily a Food (18 cards) and Lifegain deck (19 cards), and Frodo + Sam are simply the best suited to lead that style of deck. So we're going to stick with them for the upgrades.

Alright, let's move on to upgrading the deck with Sam & Frodo as our commanders!

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Analyzing the Precon & Identifying Weaknesses

Now that we've glanced at the stock list and settled on our commander, let's take a closer look at the deck itself to identify what parts benefit the most from upgrades.

As I often explain in my Budget Commander articles, every time I build a rough draft of a deck, I make sure I have a certain ratio of mana, interaction, card advantage, etc. This gives me a reference point to compare to the deck and see which areas may need improvement. My general ratio is:

  • 50 mana; lands and ramp, usually a 37–13 split
  • 10 card draw; cards that net you 2+ cards in hand
  • 8 targeted removal; split between creature / artifact / enchantment removal and countermagic
  • 3 board wipes; creature-light decks might want one more, creature-heavy decks might want one less
  • 2 graveyard recursion
  • 2 flexible tutors; higher budgets I recommend more tutors
  • 1 graveyard hate; since you need to keep Graveyard decks honest 

That's always my starting point, which is then tweaked to suit the individual deck's strategy and further tweaked with playtesting. I always find it immensely useful to figure out some quick ways to improve the deck in question.

Let's see what the rough ratios are for Food and Fellowship and how it compares. I count:

The ratios are pretty good! Maybe one or two more targeted removal spells but otherwise I dig what I see.

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Upgrade Goals

The stock list is already quite good, so we're just going to focus on improving what's already here with minor tweaks:

  • Enhance our main Food theme
  • Add one or two extra spot removal

LOTR-Only Upgrade

If you want to upgrade the deck using only cards from the LOTR set then you're in luck since there's some awesome upgrades available: I love Samwise Gamgee as a food producer and payoff and we have another amazing wipe with The Battle of Bywater. I also added some box topper alt art like Whispersilk Cloak.

Adds:

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Cuts:

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$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

$30 Regular Upgrade

By expanding to all format-legal cards you get access to the single best Food card: Academy Manufactor. Two incredible ramp options are also added: Inspiring Statuary and Jaheira, Friend of the Forest which dial up our ramp all the way to 11.

Adds:

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Cuts:

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$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Further Upgrades

If you want to stick with LOTR-only cards I'd recommend the following (make sure they are the LOTR version): the box topper LOTR version of Ancient Tomb, The Great Henge, Sword of the Animist, Horizon Canopy, Reflecting Pool, and of course Bilbo's Ring and The One Ring!

For regular upgrades I highly recommend: Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose, Mondrak, Glory Dominus, Anointed Procession, Parallel Lives, Eerie Ultimatum, and you can also run the Cat Oven combo with Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven + Clock of Omens, and there's the Ballista Combo Heliod, Sun-Crowned + Walking Ballista, and finally the Exquisite Blood Combo since the deck already runs the other piece Sanguine Bond

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One Down, Three to Go!

Apologies for the wait on this one: I moved to Paris for the summer and forgot my laptop charger which wasn't easily replaced, and then for extra fun I'm literally sweating as I type because my place is a sauna with no air conditioning and THEN the site crashed right as I hit "send" on the article without saving ahead of time so I had to rewrite everything whee!

So what I'm saying is expect a precon article every day from now on hopefully!



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