Humans, Humans, Everywhere!

There’s a lot going on in the Lord of the Rings set. In the early previews, we’ve gotten a pretty fantastic build-around Commander, who does something unique in a prevalent tribe and in some new colors:

Éowyn, Shieldmaiden, is not a defensive Commander, despite her name. She wants a legion of Humans coming into play, attacking for a bunch, and drawing you cards. This looks to be a fun build, focusing on a tribe that doesn’t have a strong, thematic, multicolor Commander. There’s a couple members of the Kudro family, and several versions of Sigarda who want you to play Humans, but Éowyn tells you exactly what to do, preferably the turn she comes into play so you can get some bonuses immediately.

This is probably going to cause some spikes going forward, and let’s make a preliminary list and see what we can do right away.

I’m not going to lie: There’s a boatload and a half of choice for a Humans deck. Scryfall says there’s 2,037 humans in these colors, and while I think my choices are defensible, more will pop. That’s just the nature of things. Secondly, with Commander Masters coming, plus Secret Lairs, etc., reprints are going to hit some of these cards. It’s pretty certain that at least one of these will be reprinted soon, actually more than one because my first mention is a confirmed reprint for later this year.

Rick, Steadfast Leader ($50 or so) – I have said on podcasts and articles what a terrible idea it is for new cards to only be available in special forms like this. The Walking Dead Secret Lair was the first example of this, and they’ve gone back to this well, promising to use The List to put more copies out there. It’s been done for Stranger Things, it’s due for Street Fighter and the recent D&D set as well.

Rick will get reprinted in The List for Wilds of Eldraine, along with Negan and the whole crew. Rick is clearly the best of the bunch, giving two good abilities and a huge stat boost for only four mana. Being at $50 right now, this is a card you really want to have in any Human-based deck, and the good news is that The List copies, while only being available in nonfoil, promise to be a lot cheaper.

The originals, only available in foil, have a chance to appreciate from here and I think you can at least be able to move any copies you have from $50 to $75. It moves a couple copies a day, and offers a chance at some profit. At the least, get your personal copy now if you want a shiny version.

Esper Sentinel ($30 for the cheapest version, up to about $46 for the most expensive) – A very strong contender for a reprint in CMM in August, this does everything you want in a Humans deck. It draws you cards when your opponents do things they are guaranteed to do, and also offers you a chance to play a one-drop Human for Éowyn, play her, and profit.

Esper Sentinel has reached mega-staple status on EDHREC, being in 256,000 listed decks, and so the reprint is coming. Until it does, Éowyn is going to be part of why this card keeps rising higher and higher.

Hanweir Garrison ($5-$8) and Hanweir Battlements ($4-$9) – These are two cards that haven’t really had a deck that allows them to sing, but are perfect for Éowyn. We want haste, we want lots and lots of Humans, and everyone loves Melding cards for giant cards. 

The only thing that doesn’t work is that the Garrison’s attack trigger happens a little too late for Éowyn’s trigger, which is at the beginning of combat. Garrison is one of the fastest ways to get to six Humans, though, so when this starts climbing, be ready to cash in.

Grand Abolisher ($27 to $121) – Another card that’s begging for a reprint, the only foils of this from M12 are more than a hundred bucks. As useful Humans go, this one is worth the price of admission.

Having this in play gives you such a feeling of security, that nothing can go wrong. This ought to be in more decks, but it’s so noninteractive that I think Wizards has been hesitant to reprint it. I’m constantly surprised that it’s not played in Modern more. If it dodges a reprint in CMM this summer, we’ll see this grow as folks want the warm safety blanket.

Sakashima of a Thousand Faces ($27-$40), Sakashima the Impostor ($3 to $143) and Sakashima’s Student ($14, no foils) – It’s easy to forget that these aren’t just Clone effects, they are Humans and will work with lots of effects. You might not want them to come in as copies of your Humans, but you might also want them to copy your Commander, which two of them can do. 

Again, I’m expecting at least one of these to catch a reprint in Commander Masters, so speculate carefully, but these cards are also under pressure from clone themes and ninja decks, so this isn’t just a spec based on Éowyn.

Hero of Precinct One (all under $1) – Now let’s get to the cards that synergize best with Éowyn’s text box. In this instance, if you have the Hero, and cast Éowyn, you’ll get the trigger, create a token, and then Éowyn will see that you had a Human come into play and all of her fun happens. If you have even one other Human, you’ll immediately get a card.

This was from Ravnica Allegiance, so there’s no special versions, only regular and foil. This is a pretty cheap card to get a premium treatment now, but we’ll see about the reprints we get going forward. For now, buy a brick now and buylist them out for $2 each.

Outlaws’ Merriment (50¢ to $8) – There have been a lot of ways to potentially use this random effect, especially given the ‘party’ mechanic, but no matter which token you get, it’s good with Éowyn. It’s a damn shame that Assemble the Legion is Soldier tokens, but you get what you get. For the Merriment, I think I’d prefer to be stocked up on the super-cheap copies, though the FEA versions are also at their lowest:

As a mythic from the first FEA set, there aren’t a lot of these on TCG right now and if you’re going to go build Éowyn’s deck, this is an excellent place to start. The low number of copies is appealing on the FEA, but there’s definite brick potential in buying a whole lot under a dollar and buylisting them for double to triple that.

Thraben Doomsayer (25¢ to $3) – Foils at $3 would be the play here, as they are from 2012 and there are relatively few in circulation. Nonfoils were in Commander 2020 decks, and there’s a very large number of those around. Again, this as a play before Éowyn means you get all of Éowyn’s goodness on the turn she comes down, and I hope you’re never in a Fateful Hour situation.

Gallows at Willow Hill (25¢ to 75¢) – Finally, a pet card of mine when I had a Humans token deck a while ago. You will be amazed at the number of times you can activate this card with token makers like Call the Coppercoats, Increasing Devotion, Reverent Hoplite, etc. Reusable ways to destroy creatures is a great way to make up for how undersized your Humans are, and if there’s no good attacks, you can just solve target problem. I don’t think this will bite hard price-wise, but it’s an example of the random Humans and Human accessories we’re about to see spike.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.