Originally announced all the way back in 2021, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth was one of the anticipated MTG sets in years. This is despite the Universes Beyond brand having previously been mired in controversy and subject to constant complaints. Now that the dust has had time to settle, however, MTG players are widely supportive of MTG’s crossover brand. So much so, in fact, that many players couldn’t wait for the crossover with one of the world’s biggest fantasy franchises; The Lord of the Rings.
Since its initial 2021 announcement, Wizards have kept their Lord of the Rings-themed MTG cards close to their chests. For two years, Wizards only teased players with the occasional tidbit or reference to the product, steadily building up hype.
As release drew near, however, this unsurprisingly all changed, with players being inundated with spoilers. Following this, and the hunt for The One Ring, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth has launched and gone down in history.
While The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth may have launched back in June, miraculously, the set isn’t finished yet. With another release on the horizon, there’s still plenty worth knowing about this set. So, without any further ado, here’s everything you need to know about The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth in MTG!
What is The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth?
Even if you’re not familiar with the Universes Beyond sub-brand, thankfully, the set’s products are fairly self-explanatory. For instance, as the name suggests, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set is MTG’s crossover with the Lord of the Rings franchise. As a set in Magic’s Universes Beyond series, it is non-canonical and won’t be Standard legal. Instead, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth will be a direct-to-Modern set. This, of course, means the set’s cards will also be playable in Eternal formats such as Commander, Legacy, and Vintage.
Unlike previous direct-to-Modern sets, such as Double Masters 2022, digital MTG players aren’t left out this time. Alongside the set’s paper release, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth is also coming to MTG Arena. Launching as an Alchemy set, thankfully, the cards will not be subject to any rebalancing or changes.
With The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set, it’s important to note that it’s not based on the blockbuster film franchise by Peter Jackson. Instead, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is set in its own universe based on the J. R. R. Tolkien books. That being said, however, there are some notable differences between the original books and the Magic: the Gathering set. For instance, within The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Aragorn II Elessar is black.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth The One Ring
Before we get into all the mechanics, spoilers, and nitty-gritty details, we have to mention one thing first. Or rather… We have to mention one ring first… The One Ring, that is…
To stop with the wordplay, The One Ring has undeniably been the focus of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. Not only is the card a true competitive powerhouse, but it’s also extremely expensive. This is true both for the regular card, and the glorious serialized variant.
Aptly celebrating this unique set, Wizards of the Coast created a one-of-one copy of The One Ring. Inserted into one random Collector Booster, this card drove the entire TCG world mad. With bids flying in and players hunting en masse, The One-of-One Ring turned into a veritable golden ticket.
Miraculously, it only took a short few days for The One-of-One Ring to be found. Discovered by MTG player and forklift-certified Canadian Brook Trafton, the hugely anticipated hunt was rather shortived.
After discovering the card, Broof Trafton would go on to sell it to MTG superfan and rap star Post Malone. Malone reportedly purchased The One-of-One Ring for $2 million. This makes The One-of-One Ring the most expensive MTG card ever printed by quite some margin.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Release Dates
While it did take a while to get an answer out of Wizards, all the release dates for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth MTG set have been revealed. These were given to us in a monumental not-so-monthly Monthly Announcement livestream. This livestream also revealed the existence of Commander Masters, which similarly has players hyped.
After literal years of waiting, thankfully, it now isn’t long until The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth officially launches. In the meantime, there are plenty of spoilers to enjoy! As, if you have someone missed all the social media posts about it, we’re in the set’s spoiler season right now!
In any case, to lay them out nicely and clearly, here are all the dates you need to know for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth.
- MagicCon: Minneapolis: May 5th – 7th
- The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Debut: May 30th
- Card Previews: May 30th – June 9th
- Commander Previews and Decklists: June 8th
- Complete Card Image Galleries: June 9th
- In-Store Prerelease Events: June 16th – 22nd
- MTG Arena Digital Release: June 20th
- Global Tabletop Release: June 23rd
- Launch Party Events: June 23rd – 25th
- Bundle: Gift Edition Release: July 7th
- The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth In-Store Celebration Events: July 7th – 9th
- Commander Parties: July 21st – 23rd
- MagicCon: Barcelona: July 28th – 30th
- Store Championships: August 5th – 13th
- Holiday Release: November 3rd
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Mechanics
Initially spoiled by some enthusiastic dumpster diving the main new mechanic in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth centers around the titular One Ring. Seen on many cards as “the Ring tempts you,” this not entirely flavor-accurate mechanic introduces a brand new game piece. For better or worse, this novel mechanic is both rather weird and complex.
After first being tempted by the ring in a game, you must choose a creature you control to become the Ring-bearer. Whenever you’re tempted by the ring again, you may change this Ring-bearer if you so wish. If your Ring-bearer dies, or you lose control of it, the ring will keep all of its earned abilities.
Speaking of earning abilities, this also happens whenever you get tempted by the Ring. Over the course of a game, The Ring can gain four abilities. This can happen even if you can’t make a creature your Ring-bearer. After achieving the four abilities, which you’ll earn from top to bottom, The Ring won’t get any better. This does not stop you from getting tempted by the Ring, however.
Alongside The Ring having powerful abilities itself, some spells and abilities may refer to you Ring-bearer. This can be seen on cards such as Sauron, the Necromancer. Additionally, some cards have triggered abilities that will occur when the Ring temps you.
Thankfully, since this is quite a lot to keep track of, Wizards has created a helper card, as you can see above.
First seen in War of the Spark, Amass is back in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. This time around, however, as you can see above, rather than amassing Zombies, you’re amassing Orcs. Thankfully, unlike The Ring’s shenanigans, Amass is a fairly straightforward mechanic. Subsequently, here’s the flavor text for the mechanic.
“Put a +1/+1 counter on an Army you control. It’s also an Orc. If you don’t control an Army, create a 0/0 black Orc Army creature token first.”
Alongside the new and new-ish mechanics, in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth there is also a quintet of returning MTG mechanics. Since you may well have seen these before, we won’t be going as in-depth into these mechanics. That being said, here’s a little bit about each of them!
Brought into play by a variety of creatures and spells, Food Tokens can be tapped and sacrificed to gain you two life. Some cards such as Bill the Pony will allow you to sacrifice Food Tokens to activate abilities.
Templated as plainscycling, islandcycling, swampcycling, mountaincycling, and forestcycling, cards with these abilities can each be discarded after paying the listed cost. Upon doing this, players will be able to search their library for a card with the appropriate basic land type, reveal it, put it into their hand, then shuffle.
When entering the battlefield, each saga starts with a lore counter on it. This causes the first ability (the Chapter I ability) to trigger. As your first main phase begins, another Lore Counter will be added to the Saga, causing the next ability to trigger. This process will continue until the last chapter ability has been triggered. Once this happens, the Saga is automatically sacrificed.
Historic is a term that refers to artifacts, Sagas, and anything with the legendary supertype. Within The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth there are several MTG cards that care about this designation. Abilities may refer to historic permanents on the battlefield, historic cards in your graveyard, or historic spells.
Introduced in Dominaria United, Stun Counters allow creatures to be tapped for longer. If a tapped creature with one or more stun counters on it would untap, instead, it stays tapped and one stun counter is removed from it. This can be because it’s the untap step or because a spell or ability tries to untap the creature.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Leaks & Spoilers
While the first spoilers for the set may have come from the garbage, the set’s official spoiler season is now well and truly underway. As usual, this has graced MTG players with all manner of spoilers to enjoy and scrutinize.
Out of all the cards that have been revealed so far, none have excited players as much as The One Ring. Being released with a one-of-one serialized printing, this card is on par with being the rarest MTG card ever printed. Thankfully, the card is also part of the regular set.
Due to the rarity of the serialized The One Ring, many players are expecting this card to be tremendously expensive. In fact, many players believe this card could sell for upwards of a million dollars! That, however, would require finding it, which is a lot easier said than done. Currently, the highest public bid for the card is $190,000.
Alongside The One Ring, there are plenty more cards for MTG players to get excited about. Many of these we’ve written about in their own individual articles. Subsequently, if you want to know more, have a read of the articles below.
- LOTR Spoiler Threatens to Overhaul EDH’s Most Competitive Table
- MTG LOTR EDH Cards Feature Absolutely Ridiculous Abilities!
- MTG EDH Players Are Losing Their Minds Over LOTR Common!
- MTG’s Rarest Card Already Looks Curled!
- New MTG LOTR Card Creates Two-Card Infinite Combo!
- Powerful MTG Lord of the Rings Spoiler Shuts Down Free Spells!
- MTG LOTR Box Topper Cards Feature Multiple $50+ Reprints!
- Newly Spoiled LOTR Card Showcases Multi-Format Potential!
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Booster Fun
Thanks to the increasing collectability of MTG, practically every modern Magic: the Gathering set has a number of unique art treatments. Unsurprisingly, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is no different. Within the set, there are a number of chase art and foil treatments for players to hunt throughout different boosters.
The most tantalizing of all of these is undoubtedly the serialized one-of-one copy of The One Ring. Appearing in one out of three million Collector Boosters, this card is poised to be incredibly valuable. That being said, however, the card is also creating its fair share of controversy, as the card may be too rare for its own good!
Alongside this unique one-of-one serialized card, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth also features 1900 serialized copies of Sol Ring. Styled after the rings of power given to Elves, Dwarves, and Men, these cards will also be incredibly lucrative. While there’s no telling their price, for now, it’s likely they’ll each be worth a thousand dollars, if not more!
Thankfully, for collectors on a budget, not all of the set’s art treatments are this expensive. As. found within Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters, there is also the “showcase ring treatment.” While this art variant won’t be anywhere near as expensive as the serialized cards, it should nevertheless still be a lot of fun to play with.
As if those tantalizing treatments weren’t enough to get players excited, Wizards has even more in store. Later in the year, Wizards will release The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Collector Boosters: Special Edition. That’s right, this MTG set is effectively being released twice! These unique packs will contain a brand-new foil treatment, as well as new art variants.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday Release
In a very unusual twist, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth MTG set is being released twice. As you might have guessed from the release dates section, this second edition is the Holiday Release. Aptly releasing around November, this new release will feature new products, as well as brand-new MTG cards!
For The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday release, there are two main products to look out for. The first of these is The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Scene Boxes. Each containing six brand new cards, art cards, and a display stand, these boxes are designed to be a great gift.
Alongside looking good thanks to being Scene Cards, the Scene Boxes also offer decent value. Not only do you get the cards and art, but each box also includes three Set Boosters. For interested players, four different Scene Boxes are available to purchase.
As if Scene Boxes weren’t enough to get you interested, the Holiday Release also includes brand-new boosters! Dubbed Collector Booster. Special Edition, these new packs include new art treatments, as well as the new Scene Cards. From what we’ve seen so far, the new packs contain at least two unique art treatments.
While it’s always nice to have more art, especially on beloved characters, unfortunately, there are some problems. Shortly after they were announced, many MTG players took issue with the new Rock Poster art style. It may look absolutely amazing, however, admittedly it is rather difficult to read.
As a note, the Collector Booster: Special Edition packs do not contain the serialized Sol Ring cards. Instead, these packs contain 100 serialized versions of the new Rock Poster cards.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Products
As is typical of a modern Magic: the Gathering set release, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will be comprised of multiple different MTG products. Since the set is aimed at new players, the product lineup is even more extensive than usual. While this should mean everyone can purchase what they want, unfortunately, keeping track of it all may be rather tricky.
Unfortunately for players, both new and old, it also appears that the set is going to be rather expensive. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Collector Booster Box pre-orders, for instance, have been seen selling for upwards of $519! For comparison, Collector Booster Boxes for Phyrexia: All Will Be One typically sell for around $218 on TCGplayer.
Considering that The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is being aimed at new MTG players, it’s safe to say many aren’t happy about these exorbitant prices. Nevertheless, here are all the products available for the set and a little bit about them courtesy of Wizards.
“Featuring two 60-card decks with everything you need to learn and play Magic: The Gathering, the Starter Kit also includes ten more new-to-Magic cards (five in each deck) headlined by a traditional foil mythic rare card for each deck—perfect for anyone starting a Magic journey with The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. The new-to-Magic cards in the Starter Kit are Modern legal, and each card in both decks features artwork celebrating The Lord of the Rings.”
“Already know how to play Magic? Jumpstart Boosters with five unique themes allow players to hop into The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth for quick, fun, and easy-to-start games. Like recent Jumpstart Booster releases, each of the five themes also includes a rare card designed for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Jumpstart.”
“Build your sealed deck with six Draft Boosters and two foil-stamped promo cards: a rare or mythic rare from the set plus a beautiful borderless scene card to assemble a scene available only through Prerelease Packs and Collector Boosters! Prerelease Packs also include a spindown life counter. It’s just what you need to form your Fellowship and challenge fast friends locally.”
“Ready to draft with friends? Need more sealed-deck pools to play with? Draft Boosters are the tried-and-true way to play Magic just by opening new cards. Even better, each Draft Booster display comes with a Realms and Relics Box Topper card!”
“See more of what The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth offers and expand your Magic collection with Set Boosters: a fun-to-open booster featuring an opportunity to open multiple rare or mythic rare cards, a chance at flavorful reprints of Magic’s past with cards from The List, and an art card in every booster. Plus, each Set Booster display comes with a Realms and Relics Box Topper card!”
“For fans who want it all, Collector Boosters are the easiest way to add the coolest cards to your decks and collection. These boosters include multiple rare or mythic rare cards and feature beautiful Booster Fun treatments and foil cards, plus your opportunity to find amazing collectible cards found only in Collector Boosters. And to top it off, each Collector Booster display also includes a Realms and Relics Box Topper card!.”
“With eight Set Boosters, a themed storage box, 40 basic lands (20 traditional foil and 20 non-foil), and an oversized spindown life counter, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Bundle makes a great gift for any fan of Magic or The Lord of the Rings. And these Bundles include an exclusive set of variants that show off one of the beautiful features of the set: borderless scene cards..”
“In addition to our June 23 release, we have a little more in store for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth this year. Arriving November 3, some exciting additions that share more from The Lord of Rings include:
- Scene Boxes—discover beautiful traditional foil borderless scene cards depicting new moments from The Lord of the Rings.
- Collector Booster: Special Edition—packed with a new treatment and a special edition for longtime Magic and The Lord of the Rings fans.
- The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ Jumpstart Volume 2—adding more themes to mix and match within The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth.
November’s releases for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth build on the excitement of the set just in time for the holidays!”
“The four Commander Decks for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth add even more characters and flavor to the experience. Each deck features 20 new-to-Magic cards (including two mythic rares) legal in Commander, Legacy, and Vintage. Plus, you’ll find a Collector Booster Sample Pack, and every card in each deck has artwork set in Middle-earth. These flavorful decks are ready-to-play adventures featuring familiar characters working together for the fate of Middle-earth.”