The Lord of the Rings Holiday Release is a little over a month away, and there’s been a lot of information released regarding the multitude of products that will become available. All 24 new cards for the LOTR Scene Boxes have been revealed, as well as a handful of rares from the new Lord of the Rings Jumpstart Volume 2 product. In addition to these products, there are a bunch of cards getting new art treatments in unique styles, helping to make opening collector boosters extra special for those who enjoy collecting cards with distinct designs.
Speaking of distinct designs, there’s a group of 20 reprints that can also be found in LOTR collector boosters as part of the Holiday Release. These borderless cards feature artwork specifically created by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt. Known as the Brothers Hildebrandt cards, these reprints show off cards from all different eras in MTG’s history. Before we dive into the reprints, it’s important to look at the artists themselves and what makes these cards so unique.
Info on the Artists
Greg and Tim Hildebrandt are widely acclaimed artists and illustrators and have worked on a variety of projects together. They began their careers back in 1959, and have worked to illustrate for tons of books, calendars, movie posters, and even trading card games like MTG. Both brothers were relatively prolific MTG artists. Greg was responsible for the art on Aether Vial from Darksteel, while Tim designed the art for Krark-Clan Ironworks from Fifth Dawn.
Beyond MTG, they were most famously known for their work on the original Star Wars Movie Poster, as well as the J.R.R. Tolkien Lord of the Rings calendars from 1976-1978. Their direct involvement in the Lord of the Rings franchise as well as MTG makes this a perfect opportunity for additional artwork of theirs to be showcased in these borderless Holiday Release cards.
Of note, the art on these cards was not created specifically for this release. Tim Hildebrandt unfortunately passed away in 2006. This collection of artwork serves as a way to remember the brothers’ legacies and show off some of their best works. For example, the borderless copy of Sylvan Tutor shown above features artwork from over 40 years ago! It’s clear from the flavor text and art associated with these reprints that, even though these cards aren’t new, these versions embody the spirit of Lord of the Rings.
A few of the cards among the 20 Hildebrandt cards have yet to be reprinted for quite some time. Both Urborg and Hammerheim, for example, are from Legends, with no paper reprints until now. Even though both of these cards see little to no competitive play, they both hold decently hefty price tags. Hemmerheim currently sits at $17 according to TCGplayer market price, while Urborg sits at $22.
Similarly, Sylvan Tutor was printed way back in Portal. While the card was reprinted as a Judge promo, it that was not enough to diminish the card’s value in a significant way. Sylvan Tutor is worth roughly $54 according to TCGplayer market price, and as such, is by far the most expensive reprint among the Hildebrandt cards.
One cool feature associated with cards like Hammerheim and Urborg is that they are given new titles that are directly related to Lord of the Rings. All of the Hildebrandt cards showcase artwork associated with Middle-earth, but all of the legendary cards are given specific titles. Notably, much like was the case with the Gozilla cards associated with Ikoria, these titles do not affect the gameplay of these cards. The titles merely function as flavor text, with the real name of the card featured directly below. In addition to Urborg and Hammerheim, Ishkanah, Grafwidow, Kenrith, the Returned King, and Doran, the Siege Tower are legendary cards that receive similar treatment.
Additional Pricey Cards
There are a couple more reprints that are worth a decent chunk of money. First up is Timber Protector. Timber Protector was printed in Lorwyn, but was also never reprinted. It’s an interesting Commander card, and has a price tag of $24 according to TCGplayer market price. Next up, we have Pact of Negation which, despite being reprinted multiple times, still sits at roughly $10.
Every other Hildebrandt card is under $10. A few cool cards for Commander, such as Second Harvest and Diabolic Intent, are worth over $5. Given that these cards specifically have the Lord of the Rings Commander expansion symbol, that means these reprints will not have their format legalities changed in any way. This is an important distinction, as the cards from the Lord of the Rings Jumpstart Volume 2 product are indeed Modern legal (of course, the reprints that are already Modern legal will stay as such).
For a full list of the Brothers Hildebrandt cards, you can see them here.