Commander Deck Of The Week: Gollum, Patient Plotter

My Precious! Bennie Smith builds his latest Commander Deck of the Week around Gollum, Patient Plotter.

Gollum, Patient Plotter
Gollum, Patient Plotter, illustrated by Dominik Mayer

I preordered my The Lord of the Rings Bundle because it guaranteed a copy of The One Ring, along with the other three copies of the extended scene cards depicting the story climax at Mount Doom.  When I was looking at new legends I wanted to build a paper Commander deck around, I kept coming back to the really cool artwork for Gollum, Patient Plotter by Marta Nael, grasping desperately for his Precious, The One Ring, and I knew I had to build a deck around it.

Relatively recently, I’d built a mono-black deck around Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist, and while it was fun for a couple of games, it’s pretty linear in what it wants to do, which meant I’d grown tired of it.

Luckily for me, there was a fair amount of the deck that I would want in my Gollum, Patient Plotter deck, so pulling together Gollum, Patient Plotter went quickly, and now I can share it with you!

Plots, Plots, Plots

Gollum comes down from the command zone on Turn 2, and if it dies, you can usually just leave it in the graveyard, where you can sacrifice a creature to bring Gollum back to your hand. Gollum leaving the battlefield means that the Ring tempts you, so it should be pretty easy to ramp up the power of the Ring to Level 4, which makes your Ring-bearer problematic. A lot of the creatures I’d want to run are recursive creatures that come back from the graveyard and have low power, which makes them perfect for skulking past blockers, sifting through extra cards, and draining your opponents for life.

Let’s dig into the decklist!  Keep in mind if you don’t have The One Ring, you can still run a Gollum, Patient Plotter deck without it; I’m just running it for flavor reasons.

The Ring Tempts You

Sam's Desperate Rescue Gollum's Bite Call of the Ring The Black Breath Claim the Precious Uruk-Hai Berserker Inherited Envelope Ringwraiths

Gollum’s ability to have the Ring tempt you unfortunately means that Gollum won’t be able to become Ring-bearer himself most of the time, so I decided to run just about all the cards I could that say “the Ring tempts you.”  Notably absent are the Nazgul, but I’m not going to pay $15 apiece for nine uncommons, no matter how well they fit the theme. Claim the Precious is a poor version of Murder, but the flavor is perfect.

Ringwraiths doesn’t tempt you, but it does come back from the graveyard when the Ring tempts you, and I’ve found that this card plays much better than you think if you’ve got plenty of tempting going on, and with that effect tied to the commander, this fits.

Sacrifice Fodder

Persistent Specimen Bloodsoaked Champion Cult Conscript Haunt of the Dead Marshes Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia Bloodghast Reassembling Skeleton Nether Traitor Junji, the Midnight Sky

These are all the recursive creatures we can easily sacrifice to bring Gollum back from the graveyard and then bring them back too. Nether Traitor is particularly great later on as your Ring-bearer, as its shadow ability will make it nearly impossible to block. Junji, the Midnight Sky doesn’t come back from the graveyard, but it’s a large flyer with a potent dies trigger, so I think it’s worth a slot.

Sacrifice for Profit

Phyrexian Tower Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist Ayara, First of Locthwain Sloppity Bilepiper Krav, the Unredeemed Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools

I moved Ashnod to the 99 because she’s still a good way to sacrifice Gollum or any of the other recursive creatures, and the Powerstone tokens can be used to pay for bringing back the recursive creatures. Ayara, First of Locthwain gives you triggers when another black creature enters the battlefield and sacrifices creatures to draw a card. Sloppity Bilepiper is a card I’d forgotten I had sitting in my box of black cards, but sacrificing a creature to give my next creature spell cascade sounds like too much fun not to run.

Gollum having a dies trigger makes it an excellent target for sacrifice, and since it’s legendary, Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools will even give you an extra card when it sacrifices a creature for two cards.

Other Ways to Leave the Battlefield

Dokuchi Silencer Sword of Hearth and Home Throat Slitter Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

While your mind instinctively goes towards dying as the way Gollum’s ability to tempt you will fire, it actually says “When Gollum, Patient Plotter leaves the battlefield”, so I’ve got a few other ways to check off this box without Gollum actually dying. The most fun way is using a Ninja’s ninjutsu ability to bounce Gollum back to your hand and letting you switch Ring-bearers mid-combat. If Dokuchi Silencer deals combat damage to an opponent, you can even discard Gollum to the graveyard and eventually bring him back.

The combat damage ability of Sword of Hearth and Home can “blink” Gollum, and in a pinch it can get you back a creature that an opponent has stolen control of.

Dies Triggers

Barad-dur Blood Artist Grim Haruspex Tallyman of Nurgle Pawn of Ulamog Ebondeath, Dracolich Body Launderer Forge, Neverwinter Charlatan Pitiless Plunderer Sengir, the Dark Baron

Since Gollum is a creature sacrifice engine of sorts, I’m playing ways to get benefits from creatures dying, such as Blood Artist and Pitiless Plunderer. I know Sengir, the Dark Baron has gotten a lot of guff over the years, but I think it could grow into quite the flying threat in a deck like this, so I’m willing to give it a shot. I’m also excited to finally find a home for Forge, Neverwinter CharlatanTallyman of Nurgle is a bit like an underpowered Grim Haruspex, but I’m excited to try to meet its mini-quest The Seven-fold Chant to draw a whopping seven cards like it was a three-mana Griselbrand.

Card Draw

Castle Locthwain Skullclamp Nasty End Deadly Dispute Sign in Blood Night's Whisper Tome of Legends Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

Speaking of card draw, I’m playing a lot of lower end card-draw spells to keep the gas flowing and hitting my land drop each turn. I’m excited to play the new Nasty End, since I’m more than happy to sacrifice my legendary commander and put Gollum into the graveyard. With Gollum dying and coming back a bunch, Tome of Legends should provide a steady supply of fresh cards too.


Go for the Throat Feed the Swarm Gruesome Realization Damnation Nevinyrral's Disk Argentum Masticore Cavalier of Night Noxious Gearhulk

In addition to Claim the Precious and Ringwraiths, I’ve got even more removal spells and creatures. I’m excited to play Argentum Masticore, since I’m fine with pitching cards to its upkeep trigger as a colorless way to destroy enchantments and artifacts I might otherwise have a difficult time with.

Since so many of my creatures, including my commander, can come back from the graveyard, I’ve made room for the old-school removal spell Nevinyrral’s Disk

Mana Ramp

Myriad Landscape Cabal Coffers Sol Ring Wayfarer's Bauble Arcane Signet Relic of Legends Solemn Simulacrum

Even though my mana curve is fairly low, and I’ve got a lot of card draw to ensure land drops each turn, I do have a bit of mana ramp in here, including Cabal Coffers to gain a bonkers amount of black mana. Solemn Simulacrum has added utility here as an easy creature to sacrifice to bring Gollum back from the graveyard to your hand.


The Mycosynth Gardens Barrow-Blade Bilbo's Ring Tormod, the Desecrator Open the Graves

Tormod, the Desecrator and Open the Graves should spit out a steady stream of 2/2 Zombie tokens when Gollum dies and then leaves the graveyard. I’m running The Mycosynth Gardens as an out to The One Ring if the burden counters get too painful; copy it, and then the legend rule makes you choose which one to keep, and you can sacrifice the real version and get a freshly unburdened version left behind.

Equipping Bilbo’s Ring onto Gollum is a flavor win, since that nasty thief Bilbo stole the Precious from Gollum to begin with!  And lastly there’s Barrow-Blade, which can let a Ring-bearer with a leveled-up Ring destroy a blocker that might otherwise be indestructible.

Other Utility Lands

Takenuma, Abandoned Mire Hive of the Eye Tyrant Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth Barren Moor Desert of the Glorified Polluted Mire

Rounding out the deck, I’ve got utility lands to help with mana flood, and of course Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to combo with Cabal Coffers.

The Deck

Okay, here is the full decklist:

Gollum, Patient Plotter
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 07-07-2023

Here are the deck stats from our friends at Archidekt:

What must-have cards might I have missed including here?  Which card from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth are you building around? 

Talk to Me

Do me a solid and follow me on Twitter!  I run polls and start conversations about Commander all the time, so get in on the fun!  You can also find my LinkTree on my profile page there with links to all my content.

I’d also love it if you followed my Twitch channel TheCompleteCommander, where I do Commander, Brawl and sometimes other Magic-related streams when I can.  If you can’t join me live, the videos are available on demand for a few weeks on Twitch, but I also upload them to my YouTube channel.  You can also find the lists for my paper decks over on Archidekt if you want to dig into how I put together my own decks and brews. 

And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

Visit my Decklist Database to see my decklists and the articles where they appeared!