The first look for the upcoming Lord of the Rings set has passed, and many MTG players are, understandably, incredibly excited for the Modern legal set. It has been made exceedingly clear during and prior to these previews that this set is tailored to Tolkien’s written works, and the cards oozing with flavor tell these stories quite well.
While Tolkien’s original story was a written one, many have engaged with the Lord of the Rings franchise through the hit movie series. As many movie enjoyers already know, cinematic iterations of a written work tend to exclude some details for the sake of timeliness and can change other aspects from how they were in the books. Some of these changes are incredibly iconic to the Lord of the Rings franchise that many engage with and has caused some drama surrounding the newly spoiled MTG cards.
Not ‘You Shall Not Pass?’
Among controversies with the newly revealed cards is the You Cannot Pass combat trick. This instant is meant to capture the legendary moment where Gandalf, the Grey stops the Balrog from destroying the rest of the Hobbit party. The legendary line that Gandalf is known by from the movies, however, is not ‘You Cannot Pass,’ but instead, ‘You Shall Not Pass!
As pointed out all over Reddit and by multiple personalities on Twitter, You Cannot Pass is actually what Gandalf says in Tolkien’s written work:
“To head off what I assume will be the most common response, in the book he says you cannot pass.” – frozensun516
While this card accurately portrays the book instead of the epic moment that Gandalf is known by many for, many MTG players and LOTR fans point out that, in the movie, Gandalf also says the ‘You Cannot Pass’ line before saying its more famous counterpart. This can be seen, as pointed out by Redditors, 46 seconds into the YouTube clip shared above. For those unfamiliar with Gandalf’s famous line, this also showcases that.
While many MTG players have spoken up regarding their preference for the ‘You Shall Not Pass!’ line, there is a very good reason for the name captured in regards to this legendary moment. While many, like Redditor trnelson1, point out that “shall not was such an epic moment,” many players understand why Wizards of the Coast took the direction they did.
Who is Tom Bombadil?
Tom Bombadil was one of the characters that appeared in the Lord of the Rings First Look Livestream showcased yesterday. This Modern legal card looks like a fantastic Commander for an archetype that did not have fantastic support until now: Saga tribal.
While the card looks incredibly fun to take for a spin, many Lord of the Rings fans that are only familiar with the movies may not know who this character is. This makes sense since Tom Bombadil did not appear in the Lord of the Rings movie franchise.
Tom Bombadil is similar to a God character in Middle-earth, as his creature type suggests. According to the Lord of the Rings Wiki, Bombadil has a long history behind his character, but he is mostly known for being completely unaffected by The One Ring’s power. Not only is he not tempted by the ring, but he also fails to disappear when he puts it on briefly after saving Frodo. When Frodo tests the ring to ensure that Bombadil didn’t do something to it, he does vanish, but not from Bombadil’s sight.
Immediately upon my realization that a character like this existed, my first question was, “well, why doesn’t he become the ringbearer and destroy it?” Since he is entirely unaffected by The One Ring, he would probably be the safest person to bear it. Interestingly, this discussion, apparently, actually came up in Tolkien’s texts. When The Council of Elrond became aware of Bombadil’s existence after saving Frodo multiple times, they seriously considered giving Bombadil The Ring since it seemed to have no power over him. Gandalf interjected, saying it was a bad idea. Bombadil would likely take The Ring if many asked him to do so, but he would not understand why he is taking since this The Ring does not affect him. As time passes, Gandalf worried that Bombadil would forget about The Ring and throw it away, which would start the whole cycle anew. If you want to learn more about Tom Bombadil, check out this article that talks about why he wasn’t in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Lord of the Rings MTG 30 Prerelease Promotion
While this last one isn’t really a current controversy, it does recognize the return of an old one. These 30th Anniversary Celebration promotional cards typically aren’t given out in equal amounts. This is not something made aware to the average MTG player, which can be quite confusing to collectors.
As pointed out by this snippet of a Wizards of the Coast article, the Japanese-language Tarmogoyf and the Glen Elendra Archmage will be available in very limited quantities for this round of releases. As such, expect them to command a high price.