29/08/2023 In the latest quarterly update, the rules committee has said these cards aren’t “making as big of a splash as many had anticipated”, adding that they “don’t foresee either card causing problems that warrant immediate action.”
The Commander rules committee (Commander RC) is keeping a close eye on two Magic: The Gathering cards from the new MTG Lord of the Rings set, which seems to imply they might be ban-worthy in the near future. While there are no new additions to the MTG Commander banlist at this stage, a Commander RC blog post from June 19 says the committee is “following the community’s discussions and concerns”. The MTG Lord of the Rings cards in question? Orcish Bowmasters and Mirkwood Bats.
The Commander rules committee is an independent group, but they’re regularly consulted by Wizards of the Coast when it comes to design. It’s also (mostly) in charge of the Commander part of the MTG banlist, so their take on a card can have an impact on the MTG format. (Their calls to never print Elesh Norn seem to have gone unheeded, though.)
Orcish Bowmasters is a 1/1 creature that can be cast for one black and one colorless mana. It has Flash, and it deals one damage to any target and Amasses Orcs when it enters the battlefield or any time your opponent draws a card (after their initial draw step).
Mirkwood Bats is another black MTG card – this time costing three colorless mana and one black. It’s a 1/1 creature with Flying that causes all your opponents to lose a life whenever you create or sacrifice a token.
There’s been plenty of buzz about Orcish Bowmasters online, and on secondary markets it’s already one of the most expensive cards from the MTG set. The combination of Flash, Amass, and the chance to take regular potshots in response to card raw is a pretty potent one. While the card has also seen praise, it’s a little less clear why Mirkwood Bats poses a threat.
Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth released on June 20, with pre-release events starting on June 16. While it’s early days for the set, we’ve already got a good idea of what Magic cards are hot or not. Shelob has caused other spider cards to spike, and the MTG Nazgul have gone even bigger with price increases of over 500%.