Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

MTG’s Lord of the Rings cards let you lead an army with the ultimate commander: Bill the Pony

Perfect for horsing around.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Magic: The Gathering has unleashed its latest batch of reveals for upcoming Lord of the Rings set Tales of Middle-earth, revealing new cards, nods to Tolkien’s books and fresh gameplay mechanics. Among the flood of news was a particularly amusing tidbit: you’ll be able to use Bill the Pony as a commander.

In the Lord of the Rings books, Bill is purchased by Frodo Baggins during the hobbits’ stay in Bree. Samwise Gamgee forms a particularly close bond with the horse, helping him recover from his previously poor treatment. The faithful pony then accompanies Aragorn (then Strider) and the hobbits on their journey, then the Fellowship of the Ring from Rivendell to the gates of Moria, before being released back into the wild. (This moment makes up most of Bill’s fleeting appearance in Peter Jackson’s movie adaptation.) At the end of the trilogy, Bill gets a happy ending alongside the hobbits, accompanying Sam and Frodo to the Grey Havens.

Despite Bill’s fairly minor role in The Lord of the Rings, he’s nevertheless found a place in the hearts of many a Middle-earth fan due to his loyalty and bravery. Not to mention the fact he’s just an adorable pony, of course.

Why Commander is the best way to play Magic: The GatheringWatch on YouTube

Bill finally gets more of a starring role in Tales of Middle-earth, Magic: The Gathering’s crossover with Lord of the Rings. The 1/4 creature card sees the horse able to create two Food tokens - one of the set’s new mechanics - upon entering the battlefield. Food tokens can be sacrificed by paying two mana and tapping a card in order to gain three life.

Bill can alternatively choose to sacrifice a food to buff one of the controlling player’s creatures by making its combat damage equal to its toughness, rather than its power. Illustrator Christina Kraus’ artwork makes a playful nod to Bill’s connection to Sam and food-themed abilities, with the hobbit’s cooking pans seen slung on his saddle. During a recent press preview, senior art director Ovidio Cartagena teased that the pans appear across several cards as an Easter egg for keen-eyed Lord of the Rings fans.

Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

Most importantly, though, Bill the Pony is a legendary creature - allowing him to be used as a commander in MTG’s popular Commander format. The card requires three colourless mana in addition to a single White mana, meaning that you’ll need to build your Commander deck with White and colourless cards.

So if you want to lead your army of orcs, elves, dwarves or hobbits into battle with a pony as their leader, you can do!

Tales of Middle-earth will release for Magic: The Gathering on June 23rd, following its pre-release between June 16th and 22nd, and launch on MTG Arena on June 20th.

Read this next