As part of the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Prerelease, WPN retailers will be able to give out promo cards as a celebration of Magic’s 30th anniversary. This is one example of the many ways Wizards of the Coast is trying to make Magic’s 30th anniversary as memorable as possible. From 2022 to 2024, eight prereleases will utilize these promos. In total, there are 30 different promos, meant to showcase one for each year of Magic’s existence.
Dominaria United was the first set to feature these promos. Going way back to Magic’s origins, this set featured cards such as Serra Angel which was originally printed back in Alpha. The last set, March of the Machine, showed off three promos: Eternal Witness, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, and a limited print run of Chord of Calling. Wizards of the Coast has been releasing some of these promo cards in smaller quantities than others, meant to give players a chance to walk away with a pricier card at their prerelease outside of the normal kits.
Lord of the rings will be the fifth set to feature these promos, and there is certainly extra talk surrounding one of these promos in particular. Let’s dive into these promo cards for the Lord of the Rings Prerelease and see how they hold up.
The Rarer Promos
This time around, the rarer promos available are Glen Elendra Archmage and Tarmogoyf. That’s right, one of Magic’s most iconic Creatures could be yours at your local Lord of the Rings prerelease!
Tarmogoyf has been around for over a decade and a half, and while it is still extremely iconic, its power level and price have gone down a fair bit. There was a point where Tarmogoyf was one of Magic’s most sought-after cards. For Modern enthusiasts, it represented an extremely efficient beater that could grow surprisingly large in short order. Unfortunately, power creep has certainly caught up with the card. Combine that with its vast number of reprints, and the card is now available in its cheapest form for only $10. Still, it’s a great card to have as a promo to represent Magic’s history and could make anyone who gets it at prerelease very happy.
Of note, these Tarmogoyf promos are only available in Japanese, which differs from the other promo cards which are available in English. For seasoned veterans of the game, this may not seem like a big deal, but it will likely cause lots of questions at local game stores from players that are newer to the game. For players that don’t recognize the iconic card, not being able to read it or even recognize the name of the card may cause them to not appreciate it as much. That doesn’t take away just how much nostalgic value this card will have for players who do recognize the card.
The other promo card available on the rarer side is Glen Elendra Archmage. While this card is a cool Commander card and is often featured in the Vintage Cube on Magic Online, it feels like a weird choice. When compared to an iconic card like Tarmogoyf, Glen Elendra falls short in its recognizability. To accurately celebrate Magic’s 30th anniversary, many people will likely look towards cards that are unique and hold a place in their memory. In this regard, I think Glen Elendra falls short, even if it does hold a similar price tag at $8.
The More Common Promos
Acidic Slime and Terastodon are both cool cards to see as promos for this 30th anniversary celebration. While neither carry a hefty price tag, both are excellent Commander cards that see tons of play in Magic’s most popular format. At five mana, Acidic Slime acts sort of as a baby version of Terastodon, letting you blow up any Artifact, Enchantment, or Land from the opponent. In Commander, a format centered around mana rocks like Sol Ring and somewhat frustrating Enchantments like Rhystic Study, this card does a great job keeping other players in check.
Terastodon is even more iconic, letting you convert any three noncreature Permanents into three-power Elephant tokens. Together, the power of these three tokens matches that of Terastodon, assuming you targeted three noncreature Permanents.
While it may seem like centering these prerelease promos around Magic’s 30th anniversary should be all upside, there was a lot of controversy back with this promotion with Phyrexia: All Will be One. While it was clear that certain promos would be more rare than others, the extent was not clear, and it ended up having a lot of people frustrated. Some stores had over 97% of their promos be the more common promos. This meant that lots of players got their hopes up only to be disappointed. Unfortunately, this disappointment is unlikely to go away.
Tarmogoyf may feel like the perfect promo to have as a rarer option. It’s iconic and has historically been on the more expensive side. However, it is actually less expensive than the chase promo from Phyrexia: All Will be One was at the time. Kor Haven promos were going for $17 at their cheapest before prerelease, whereas Tarmogoyf is only going for $10 at its cheapest. Not only that, but because of how iconic Tarmogoyf is, people are likely to get their hopes up even more, despite the price difference. This could make them especially upset when they learn that not only did they not receive one, but almost everyone was in the same boat.
The hope is that Tarmogoyf and Glen Elendra Archmage are not quite as scarce as Kor Haven and Vindicate were, but it is likely these cards follow a similar path. Utimately, the additional promotional cards offered as a result of Magic 30 can only be a good thing, and maybe players’ appreciation for the opportunity to open a card like Tarmogoyf at their prerelease will outweigh the negatives. Should the availability of these rarer promotional cards continue to frustrate collectors, a slight adjustment may be in the works.