Saruman of Many Colors
Saruman of Many Colors

Saruman of Many Colors

Date Reviewed:  July 17, 2023

Constructed: 3.00
Casual: 5.00
Limited: 5.00
Multiplayer: 4.37
Commander [EDH]: 4.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


Saruman’s always fascinated me in my readings, re-readings, and viewings of Lord of the Rings, because he’s a huge threat but we actually see him on screen, unlike Sauron. We get much more of the characters’ interactions with him, which makes his actions and their impact feel very immediate and quite intimidating.

Speaking of which, have you ever seen a ward cost as specific as this card has? To be fair, there are a lot of instants and sorceries that see play in Modern, and the cost isn’t entirely prohibitive on paper, but how many of those would you regularly want to discard in the name of getting Saruman off the table? That also makes his triggered ability potentially devastating, when you get to set it off – his high mana cost means that it can be hard to get that trigger the same turn you cast him, and that’s the main thing working against him in tournaments. But if you can get around that, there’s probably an amusing rogue deck to be made. And besides, there are plenty of formats where he’s just as intimidating as he is in the books!

Constructed: 3
Casual: 5
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 4.5
Commander [EDH]: 4.5

 James H. 


Saruman is a memorable antagonist, a wizard turned astray by the lure of Sauron and the promise of power afforded by the dark lord. One of the maiar sent to protect Middle-Earth, the white wizard’s downfall is humiliating, forsaken by the lord he served and killed at the hands of his underling (regardless of if the movie or book is taken into account).

Saruman of Many Colors is a formidable spellcaster, representing the fallen wizard at full power. He plays into the “second spell” theme we’ve seen hither and thither, with a very powerful payoff in being able to steal a spell from a graveyard for himself. Notably, he’s good at getting spells there, between ward forcing a discard of one of the types he can pilfer and him milling opponents to look for a spell to abscond with. “Each turn” is also quite a threat if you can abuse it, and Saruman is very vicious if he gets set up.

I’m not sold on him in Modern; stealing things is always a bit of a risky strategy, and while he’s mostly self-sufficient and resistant to removal, he’s just a 5/4 without anything worthwhile to steal. There might be room for him, even with him costing six mana; as long as he’s your first spell, following up with something cheap or free will do the job.

Constructed: 3 (probably a bit high, but I can see the potential)
Casual: 5
Limited: 5 (resists removal, and the mill might be a viable win condition)
Multiplayer: 4.25 (“each opponent” is a lovely bit of text, as is “each turn”)
Commander [EDH]: 4.5

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