Goldberry, River-Daughter | The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth
20, Jun, 23

Lord of the Rings MTG Set Has an Expiration Date?!

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As the first-ever Universes Beyond MTG set, Wizards of the Coast has understandably been going all out. For better or worse, this means that The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is a deeply collectible MTG set. With myriad different art treatments and a prized one-of-one serialized card, this set has it all. 

Beyond just being a treat for MTG players on paper, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is also getting a digital release. Launching onto MTG Arena today as an Alchemy set, Tales of Middle-earth promises to be thoroughly enjoyable to play. Unfortunately, collecting this new Universes Beyond set, however, is a whole different matter entirely. 

Thanks to the cacophony of cards and collectibles Tales of Middle-earth is arguably a step backward on MTG Arena. It’s enough of one, at least, that Magic: the Gathering players are pushing back against the set’s fumbled flaws. This, however, is unfortunately far from the only frustrating issue. On MTG Arena, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth seems to have an expiration date!

“RIP Golden Packs” 

Golden Demise | Rivals of Ixalan
Golden Demise | Rivals of Ixalan

First introduced with The Brothers’ War, Golden Packs were an immediately beloved MTG Arena feature. Providing an added incentive to opening packs, Golden Packs dramatically increased the number of rare and mythic cards on offer. This allowed pack openings to nearly enough match the rewards earned via Drafting successfully. 

Considering not every MTG player enjoys Draft, this feature was incredibly well received by players. Standard players especially were hugely benefited by this change, as they could more easily expand their collection. Thankfully, for these players, following their initial success, Wizards revealed Golden Packs would be sticking around. 

While this was initially considered good news, since then, player opinion has since taken a turn. For better or worse, Golden Packs are no longer just for Standard sets. In order to make collecting the new set as easy as possible, Golden Packs can now reward The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards.

Since this contradicts Wizards’ initial plans for Golden Packs, unsurprisingly, many MTG players were unhappy about this change. After all, while there are a lot of interesting cards, Tales of Middle-earth is an Alchemy set. Due to the fundamental flaws with this format, many MTG players refuse to interact with it let alone collect cards for it. 

Thankfully, while this decision has annoyed players, it’s not all doom and gloom. Currently, Golden Packs only guarantee two of the six cards are from the latest eligible set. Subsequently, MTG Arena players still have a good chance of finding Standard viable cards. 

For even more good news, MTG Arena players who want to obtain Golden Packs aren’t forced to purchase Tales of Middle-earth Boosters. Instead, March of the Machine and The Aftermath packs will also both contribute to Golden Pack progression.

The Expiration Date

The Countdown Is at One
The Countdown Is at One | Unstable

Thankfully, while a lot of MTG players weren’t happy with the change, the updated Golden Packs aren’t all bad news. For MTG players who want to collect Tales of Middle-earth, for instance, they’ll be hugely beneficial. In theory, this isn’t anything out of the ordinary, as Golden packs have always had this benefit. This time around, however, Golden Packs are a lot more important than usual. 

Unlike any other set in MTG Arena’s history, players are on the clock for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. This is thanks to the set having an expiration date. According to Wizards, sometime during 2025, this Historic legal MTG set will no longer be available for sale. While this is obviously bad news for players who might collect the set slowly, thankfully, it’s not all doom and gloom. 

Fortunately, after two years, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth isn’t being expunged from the game entirely. Instead, it will only be the set’s packs that will be removed from the store sometime during 2025. This means that MTG Arena players will still be able to use Wildcards to craft the set’s cards. 

Since you’ll still be able to use Tales of Middle-earth cards, this move is certainly better than nothing. That being said, however, new players who start after 2025 will definitely be worse off. Should a new player want to craft the entire set for whatever reason, they’ll need 1136 Wildcards. 

Mercifully, for better and for worse, not every Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth card will be Constructed viable. Subsequently, the amount of cards players will need to craft will be significantly reduced. Even then, playing a different deck that doesn’t use Tales of Middle-earth cards is always an option. 

Countless Costly Collectibles

Sin Collector | Dragons Maze
Sin Collector | Dragons Maze

While The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth may only be available for a relatively short time, thankfully, MTG Arena players are getting a lot of content. Sadly, this doesn’t mean that Commander cards are finally coming to the game alongside highly-requested multiplayer formats. Instead, MTG Arena is getting a haul of cosmetics as Wizards is “bringing you the full experience of a Magic card set.” 

In non-marketing jargon, this means that the majority of the set’s card styles will be coming to MTG Arena. Some of these, such as the Full-Art Basic Lands and Borderless Legendary Lands, will be available via dedicated store bundles. Other card styles, such as the Showcase Ring styles, for instance, will be sold over time on the MTG Arena store. 

Unfortunately, while these card styles do definitely look good, there are some problems. First and foremost, due to “technical restrictions,” the borderless scene cards will not arrive on MTG Arena “at this time.” Alongside this, it’s possible, albeit unconfirmed, that card styles may be removed from the store in 2025, similarly to packs. If this does happen, MTG players may need to buy these card styles before they’re never available again, lest they miss out.

Read More: MTG Missed These Core Lord of the Rings Details!

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