Originally announced all the way back in 2021, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is 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 can’t wait for the upcoming 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 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. At long last, however, this has finally changed, as with the release of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth drawing near, Wizards has recently revealed all. Throughout a recent First Look video, Wizards unveiled spoilers, art treatments, and the rarest MTG card of all time! As you can imagine, this has pushed hype for the set to unprecedented levels!
So, with the set’s release date nearing, and more details to dissect, here’s everything you need to know about The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth MTG set!
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 Release Dates
Almost two years after the product was first announced, Wizards of the Coast has finally confirmed the release dates for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth. This information was recently delivered in a monumental monthly livestream, which was chockablock with announcements. Following this, in a more recent livestream, Wizards revealed even more dates to keep players in the know, and the hype train steaming along.
Thankfully, after literal years of waiting, there isn’t long left to go, as the hugely anticipated releases surprisingly soon. Here are all the dates that 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 featuring The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth: July 28th – 30th
- Store Championships: August 5th – 13th
- Holiday Release: November 3rd
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Mechanics
With the Debut video for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth still months away, players still have a short while to wait before mechanics are officially revealed. That being said, however, thanks to some recent leaks, we have been given our first taste of what’s to come. Namely, following some dumpster diving, we know that the “tempted by the Ring” mechanic exists within the set.
Unfortunately, even following this mechanic being seen on cards that were officially spoiled by Wizards, there’s no telling what this card actually does. It’s possible, the mechanic may be a new game piece similar to Commander-focused mechanics such as The Initiative or Monarch. Alternatively, it may be a new life counter mechanic that ticks up when “the ring tempts you.” Ultimately, at the moment, prior to the May 30th Set Debut video, there’s no telling for certain.
Alongside a preview of one of the set’s mechanics, players have also been given a glimpse at the set’s creature types. Curiously, rather than leaning into The Lord of the Rings lore, it appears Tales of Middle-earth is using preexisting MTG creature types. This means rather than the set having Hobbits, characters will instead be depicted as Halflings instead. Furthermore, The Lord of the Rings’ Maiar, such as Gandalf, have been given the MTG creature type “Avatar” within the set. Thankfully, not all of The Lord of the Rings’ races are being changed, as Elves, Orcs, Humans, and Dwarves are all preexisting MTG creature types.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Leaks & Spoilers
As we already mentioned above, the first The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth spoilers came from the trash. Being found by an anonymous opportunistic dumpster diver, these damaged card sheets were then posted online for all to see. Thankfully, following this somewhat disgusting leak, Wizards of the Coast has gone on to give fans a proper First Look at the set. During this recent livestream, Wizards revealed all manner of spoilers to get MTG players excited about the set. For better or worse, so far, many of the spoilers aren’t much to write home about. That being said, however, a few choice cards definitely sound out for being interesting and powerful cards.
As arguably the most iconic object in The Lord of the Rings franchise, it should come as no surprise to learn that The One Ring is a good MTG card. Offering repeated and increasing card draw at the cost of life, The One Ring has the potential to generate immense card advantage. Alongside The One Ring, Tom Bombadil also captured the hearts and minds of many MTG players. Thanks is thanks to their abilities enabling a new type of themed tribal deck within MTG; Saga tribal. While there’s no telling if this theme will be good, it certainly looks like it’ll be a lot of fun.
Lastly, the uncommon card Reprieve caused some concern among MTG fans. While Wizards has stated repeatedly the power level of the set is below Modern Horizons, this card nevertheless looks strong. Offering an effect similar to Remand, Reprieve will likely see a lot of play. Thankfully, despite this card’s power, the entire set shouldn’t be nearly as strong. This should prevent Modern from experiencing a controversial rotation thanks to another direct-to-Modern set.
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.
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 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.”
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