In early November, products from the Lord of the Rings Holiday release finally became available. Nearly half a year after the original release of Lord of the rings: Tales of Middle-earth, a Holiday release was set to bring a bunch of intriguing new cards, treatments, and products to the table. Likely the most interesting part of the release were the introduction of four new Scene Boxes. Each Scene Box, designed to depict special moments from the Lord of the Rings franchise, contains six new cards that were not featured in the original release months ago. Beyond Scene Boxes, this release also brought Jumpstart: Volume 2 as yet another source of new cards.
New mechanically unique cards were not the only fun feature from the Holiday release, however. A new type of collector booster, known as the Special Edition collector booster, just recently became available for purchase. One of the main draws to these packs is that they showcase a wider range of card treatments. For instance, there’s an emphasis on unique “Scroll” style card frames, as each Special Edition collector booster contains 10 cards with a Scroll frame guaranteed. Additionally, a new foil treatment was shown off with the release of this product.
Beyond just the specific slots associated with the Lord of the Rings collector boosters changing for the Special Edition versions compared to the original versions, some of the slots now provide greater odds of pulling high-end cards! The thing is, not only does this make it more likely that you will pull a pricey card out of a pack, but it also simultaneously drives the prices of these cards down. This is exactly what happened with Surge Foil variants of Realms and Relics cards.
Realms and Relics Treatments
Realms and Relics cards were special borderless reprints of various Lands and Artifacts throughout MTG’s history. The cards were also skinned, meaning they featured overlays as well as new titles directly associated with Lord of the Rings. The original names of the cards would appear directly below the title, and these cards would function identically to their original, non-skinned versions. These cards were utilized as box toppers, available when players purchased draft, set, or collector booster displays. These box toppers specifically came in traditional foil.
Of course, some of the Realms and Relics cards were worth more than others. For instance, cards like The Great Henge that were already worth a decent chunk of money were rather pricey, while cards like Mouth of Ronom stayed rather cheap. While these cards were available in traditional foil as box toppers, they could also be opened in non-foil and Surge foil form in collector boosters.
What’s interesting is that the Surge foil variants of these cards, regardless of their original prices, were rare enough that they maintained very hefty price tags. Mouth of Ronom, despite being worth under $2 in both traditional foil and non-foil form back in August, according to TCGplayer market price history, boasted a price tag of over $60 around the same time. This is because, in addition to being available exclusively in collector booster packs, they were also extremely rare.
A Change in Odds
Back when Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth saw its original release, only 0.8% of collector boosters featured a Realms and Relics Surge foil. Given that these cards were only found in collector boosters to begin with, it makes sense why these cards were worth an enormous amount. Since the Holiday release, though, that has all changed. The same exact Surge foil versions of the Realms and Relics cards are featured in the Special Edition collector boosters, except you will have a 12.6% chance of opening them.
This is clearly a huge difference, and the prices of Realms and Relics Surge foils have plummeted as a result. The $60+ Mouth of Ronom, for example, has quickly diminished to $23 in the last 10 days. The Great Henge, over $240 from August through October, is now only $52. For reference, that’s only $11 more than the cheapest non-foil version of The Great Henge.
One of the most drastic changes in price occurred with Reflecting Pool, which saw a massive drop from over $160 in August all the way down to under $14. This is a classic example of just how much an increase in supply can affect the secondary market.
Collector Booster Pack Prices
Interestingly, this trend may be affecting the value of collector boosters themselves in the secondary market. Part of what makes collector booster packs rather expensive is the fact that players have the opportunity to pull expensive cards that are exclusive to collector boosters. Since November 3, Special Edition collector boosters have been steadily decreasing in price, according to TCGplayer market price history. This may be, in part, due to the fact that one of the more valuable groups of cards that could be pulled have dwindled in price so heavily.
Even still, though, these collector booster packs are likely to remain rather pricey as players search for serialized cards. Serialized Ring cards, such as the Dwarven, Elven, and Human copies of Sol Ring, are not available in the Special Edition collector boosters. However, serialized, double rainbow foil variants of the Realms and Relics cards are available in roughly 0.2% of Special Edition collector boosters.
With only 100 copies of each serialized card out there, these cards are sure to be worth a lot and keep the price of these packs up in the process. So, if you’re feeling an itch to crack some packs, there are still plenty of valuable cards to open, but the massive price drop in Surge foil Realms and Relics cards should help keep them much more affordable.