The Balrog, Durin’s Bane
The Balrog, Durin’s Bane

The Balrog, Durin’s Bane

Date Reviewed:  June 12, 2023

Constructed: 3.0
Casual: 5.0
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 4.0 
Commander [EDH]: 4.2

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

Reviews Below: 


It’s amazing how Tolkien could write so much content, yet have his setting still contain so many mysteries. Even if you read the Silmarillion, you’ll still be unsure just what Balrogs are capable of – or even how many there really are. This card, though, is capable of a lot of cool stuff. There’s ways to power it out with its cost reduction clause, either with your own cards or by disrupting your opponent in various ways, and taking something with it when it dies feels like adding insult to injury (though as James says, it certainly fits with what happened in the story!). Evading non-legendary creatures is surprisingly relevant outside of its draft format, although I hear rumors of “Oops, All Legends” decks in the Commander meta – that can actually be an odd sort of advantage, of course, since a lot of legendary creatures have abilities that make decks reluctant to use them to block a 7/5 demon.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 5
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4

 James H. 


One of several variants of one of the iconic fiends of The Lord of the Rings, also responsible for Gandalf’s unfortunate death experience in the mines of Moria during The Fellowship of the Ring, this version of the Balrog might be the most threatening of the lot if you can enable it. A 7/5 with in-built haste and evasion is a promising start, and it can take something with it when it dies. The sacrifice rider is an interesting wrinkle that can enable this to be cast for as little as two mana, and it tracks sacrifice from all players; if you can reliably get this down to three or two mana, this becomes an excellent investment. I doubt it’ll wreak havoc in Modern, but I could be wrong, because it feels like there’s a shell that The Balrog, Durin’s Bane will slot flawlessly into.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 5
Limited: 4 (it’s powerful, but nearly every creature above common in Limited is legendary; that said, this is still a powerful creature able to bust through boards)
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4.25

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