Commander Magic Deck Of The Week: Lara Croft, Tomb Raider

Bennie Smith plunders the entire Secret Lair x Tomb Raider MTG set to fuel his Commander Deck of the Week: Lara Croft, Tomb Raider.

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, illustrated by Greg Staples

I’ve never played any of the various Tomb Raider video games that have come out over the years, and I’ve never seen a Tomb Raider movie.  But when the Secret Lair x Tomb Raider cards were revealed, I was immediately intrigued. First, there was a brand-new legendary creature I could build a Commander deck around: Lara Croft, Tomb Raider!

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider

While a decent number of cards printed care about legendary cards, and more recently historic cards, I like that Lara Croft takes a much narrower approach by caring specifically for legendary artifacts and legendary lands that end up in a graveyard. Notably, Lara Croft’s attack trigger can target a legendary artifact or land in any graveyard, so if your opponents are playing those, you have the opportunity to dig them up and play them for your side.

Mostly, though, I think the plan is that you yourself are playing legendary artifacts and lands that might occasionally end up in the graveyard, and Lara Croft will help you “draw” them again by attacking.  Oh, and Lara Croft has a raid trigger that creates a Treasure token at the end of combat on your turn if you attacked this turn, which is nice on its own, but sneakily helps you activate abilities of legendary artifacts or lands you plunder with Lara Croft that might require a color of mana you don’t have access to.

The cool design of Lara Croft alone might have led me to buy this Secret Lair, but once I saw the other cards, I was hooked!

Lara Croft Secret Lair

Thanks to the fine folks at Scryfall for this handy way to look at the Secret Lair. Here are the actual cards these reskins represent:

Anger of the Gods Command Tower Academy Ruins Search for Azcanta Bow of Nylea Shadowspear

Seven cards is on the high side already for a Secret Lair, but many of these are quite good, especially the much-needed reprint of Shadowspear as Totec’s Spear. As many of you know, I’ve been high on this card for Commander since it appeared in Theros Beyond Death.  Giving equipped creature +1/+1, trample and lifelink is incredibly helpful in all sorts of Commander decks, but that activated ability to remove hexproof and indestructible from permanents your opponents control for just one mana is huge for breaking the otherwise unassailable defenses many Commander decks can put together. At a minimum, it counters a surprise Heroic Intervention!

Shadowspear alone would have had me smashing that Buy button, but then we’ve even got Academy Ruins and Search for Azcanta, two fantastic Commander cards, and Academy Ruins is another high-value item. Anger of the Gods, Command Tower, and Bow of Nylea aren’t high-value, but all three are solid cards we’d certainly play in Commander decks, and I’ve put this entire Secret Lair’s contents right in my Lara Croft, Tomb Raider deck. 

Let’s dig into the rest of my list:

Legendary Artifacts – Creatures

K-9, Mark I Hope of Ghirapur Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter Traxos, Scourge of Kroog

K-9, Mark I is a great card to have in a deck that cares about legendary permanents, giving your other legendary creatures ward 1 so long as it is untapped. Its affirmative activated ability really makes it a faithful companion, tapping to make target legendary creature unblockable this turn. It lets Lara Croft attack through blockers that might otherwise stymie you, and it can even be used politically on an opponent’s legend that is attacking another opponent.

Hope of Ghirapur has a powerful sacrifice ability, so this makes a great target for Lara Croft’s discovery ability to recast and reuse multiple times in a game.

Traxos, Scourge of Kroog is a powerful threat, a 7/7 with trample, and its drawback will be practically nonexistent in a deck such as this with tons of historic spells.

Legendary Artifact – Vehicle

The Belligerent The Indomitable RMS Titanic

I love The Belligerent and The Indomitable in general for the card advantage, but am excited to have them here where Lara Croft can retrieve them from the graveyard if they meet with an untimely demise. This makes RMS Titanic quite playable, since it sacrifices after dealing damage to a player, hopefully generating a bunch of Treasure tokens and ready to be discovered again!

Legendary Artifact – Noncreature

The One Ring The Enigma Jewel The Mana Rig Stone of Erech Brass's Tunnel-Grinder The Mightstone and Weakstone The Everflowing Well The Filigree Sylex Hammer of Purphoros Chimil, the Inner Sun Doors of Durin

I just had to reappropriate The One Ring from another Commander deck in order to put it in here; I just love the idea of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider sneaking into Middle-earth and stealing The One Ring.  I mean, that’s one way to keep it away from Sauron, remove it to another plane of existence entirely, right?  And while she’s there, she might as well snag the Doors of Durin too!

Since this is a permanent-heavy deck with legendary cards popping in and out of the graveyard, I figure I’ll meet the descend requirement of Brass’s Tunnel-Grinder quite easily, and be quite excited when it transforms into Tecutlan, the Searing Rift, which will let me discover X each time I cast a permanent spell with the mana.

I don’t think I’ll get to use the reverse side of The Everflowing Well too much with all my legendary permanents, but I’m happy enough with the card draw, self-mill, and mana-ramp aspects of the card in addition to being a legendary artifact.

Legendary Artifact – Equipment

Umezawa's Jitte Blackblade Reforged The Reality Chip

I didn’t want to go too heavily into legendary Equipment, since I have several other Equipment-heavy decks, but these seemed perfect for the deck.  Umezawa’s Jitte can do some fun things in combat when equipped to a creature with first strike like Lara Croft, taking off charge counters before regular damage is dealt to shrink a blocking creature and kill it or growing Lara Croft to survive the damage.

Legendary Lands

Rivendell Geier Reach Sanitarium Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance Inventors' Fair Dust Bowl

If I had extra copies of the other channel lands like Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance I would definitely put them here, but they’re a bit pricey to pick up extra copies. I love Inventors’ Fair since it’s got a way to sacrifice itself to go get an artifact, and then you can discover it with Lara Croft to replay it. I’ve included a Dust Bowl for emergency land destruction against things like Cabal Coffers or Gaea’s Cradle that can end up killing you with mana production, and since I can sacrifice a legendary land and play it again with Lara Croft it won’t set me back on lands too much.

Historic Cards Matter

Weatherlight Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain Mirror of Galadriel The Sixth Doctor Reki, the History of Kamigawa

Artifacts that care about historic or legendary permanents are awesome here, but The Sixth Doctor brings a powerful ability that warrants a slot.  I also like the card draw power of Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and Reki, the History of Kamigawa.

Artifacts Matter

Goblin Welder Goblin Engineer Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer Etherium Sculptor Enthusiastic Mechanaut Emry, Lurker of the Loch Blast-Furnace Hellkite Bjorna, Nightfall Alchemist Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders Slobad, Iron Goblin

I’m digging the Goblins that care about artifacts, like Goblin Welder; Slobad, Iron Goblin; and Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer, and these are great ways to sacrifice The One Ring if it gets too painful so you can redeploy it with Lara. Oh, and Blast-Furnace Hellkite is an awesome combat trick to push through a surprising amount of damage!

Extra Attacks

Aggravated Assault Last Night Together Halana and Alena, Partners

I thought some ways to squeeze out extra attacks so that Lara Croft can trigger twice in a turn would be useful, and I really love Last Night Together, since it protects her too. Halana and Alena, Partners provides an “extra” attack the turn I cast Lara Croft due to the haste, and the +1/+1 counters can make it easier for Lara Croft to attack into larger blockers.

Card Draw

Thirst for Knowledge Harmonize Ohran Frostfang

Lara Croft’s ability provides some potential card draw, and a fair number of the cards mentioned above generate extra cards, but I’ve included a few other ways to keep the foot on the gas.


Nature's Claim Rapid Hybridization Hull Breach Return to Nature Reality Shift Atraxa's Fall

Having all the shenanigans I want in this deck doesn’t leave much room for removal, and I’ll have to rely on others for the battlefield sweepers beyond The Filigree Sylex. If I end up finding one of the cards in my deck doesn’t play as well as I’d like, I’ll likely swap it out for a Blasphemous Act.


Negate Arcane Denial

I’m playing blue, so I need a couple of counterspells to keep people honest!

Mana Ramp

Sol Ring Birds of Paradise Rattleclaw Mystic Sakura-Tribe Elder Nature's Lore Three Visits

Since Lara Croft’s mana cost is three different colors, most of my mana ramp maximizes the chances of casting Lara Croft on Turn 3 to get the party started. Several of my cards transform into lands, so I’ve got a few more ways to ramp too.

The Deck

Okay, here’s the full decklist!

Lara Croft, Tomb Raider
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 12-22-2023
Magic Card Back

Here are the deck stats from our friends at Archidekt:

So, what must-have cards might I have missed including here?  Are you picking up this Secret Lair?

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!