5, May, 23

MTG Lord of the Rings' Core Cryptic Mechanic is Finally Revealed!

Article at a Glance

The MTG Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth crossover is arguably one of the most ambitious projects the TCG has ever embarked on. Offering a new look at Tolkien’s beloved series, many MTG players are incredibly excited about this straight-to-Modern product. There are already a series of game-changing things being introduced in this set, like a true one-of The One Ring serialized card that has many players guessing the amount of zeroes in its asking cost. The biggest question of all, however, is what happens when The Ring Tempts You.

We’ve already seen some of our favorite characters, like Frodo and Gandalf, in their MTG forms. That said, we haven’t been able to totally understand what some of these cards are doing… until now. Many MTG players have been wondering what the heck Tempting the Ring has meant on these early spoilers, and the mechanic has finally been unveiled at Magic Con Minneapolis. Here is what happens when The Ring Tempts You!

What is ‘The Ring Tempts You?’

Ladies and gentlemen, you may want to sit back and grab a snack for this one. Tempting the Ring is a multi-layered mechanic that has a lot of moving parts.

So, in order for any of this to start mattering to you, you need to be Tempted by The Ring. Once The Ring Temps You, you will get the emblem above. This is unlike Monarch in that this shifts control between players. Everyone can get Tempted by The Ring and get their own copy of The Ring.

Once The Ring Tempts You, you need to select a Ring-bearer. This will be a creature you control who gains any abilities that The Ring is able to grant.

Every time The Ring tempts you, you will gain the following ability on The Ring emblem above. The first ability you gain is the top one. Each time you are Tempted, you will gain the ability under the one you already have. All of these abilities pertain to your Ring-bearer. The first time you are Tempted, you will get the first ability on The Ring immediately, allowing your Ring-bearer to become unblockable by creatures with a greater power than itself.

Once the Ring has Tempted you enough to unlock all of the abilities provided, your Ring-bearer will be unblockable by creatures with a greater power, will loot on attack, will cause your opponent to sacrifice any creature that blocked it at the end of combat (combat damage will still be dealt) and, should it connect with an opponent, will ding all of your opponents for an extra three life.

Do note that the first ability will make your Ring-bearer Legendary, so be careful about choosing a creature you have multiple copies of.

Nitty-Gritty Stuff

This is the big new mechanic for the Lord of the Rings set, and, chances are, many MTG players will be engaging with it. A whole bunch of corner cases will come up involving this. Hopefully, this article can help to answer what will likely be the most common ones:

  • Choosing a creature to become your Ring-bearer is not a targeting ability. Your opponent cannot respond to your choice with their own actions. Once The Ring Tempts You (that trigger resolves), there is nothing stopping you from successfully choosing your Ring-bearer.
  • You can only have one Ring-bearer at a time, and you can choose a new bearer each time The Ring Tempts You. This also means that you can decide to keep your Ring-bearer the same, but you will not be able to have more than one Ring-bearer.
  • You do not need to control a creature to be Tempted by The Ring. The Ring can still Tempt You, but you will simply fail to choose a Ring-bearer. This will allow you to successfully unlock the next ability on The Ring regardless of your board state each time The Ring Tempts You.
  • If you have all of the abilities unlocked on The Ring and it Tempts you again, you can simply choose another Ring-bearer, and nothing else happens.
  • Once you lose control of a creature or have it otherwise leave the battlefield, that creature will stop being your Ring-bearer. This doesn’t mean you can choose a new one; you must be Tempted again to do that.

How Does The Ring Tempt You?

This preview card from MTG Con Minneapolis’s recent is a fantastic representation of how new Lord of the Rings cards will be able to Tempt You. A literal trigger on a card reads, ‘The Ring Tempts You.’ Congrats, you have been Tempted by The Ring.

Call of the Ring is an absolutely ludicrous enchantment in Black that is a Commander player’s dream. Not only do you get to develop your Ring very quickly, but this can also draw you an extra card every time you choose a Ring-bearer at the cost of two life. For reference, you can be Tempted by The Ring multiple times in a turn, so this can draw you a lot more cards than you think. You get all this as an enchantment for the dirt-cheap mana value of two.

This will also allow you to get additional value out of your other creatures that care about being your Ring-bearer – which there may be a lot of.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know about Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Cards Care About Bearing Rings

The above card previewed alongside the core mechanic for MTG’s Lord of the Rings crossover serves as an example of an overarching trend for the set – these cards get additional buffs when they are your Ring-bearer.

Admittedly, this new Sauron is not the most powerful card in the word. It definitely pales in comparison to the Call of The Ring enchantment. That said, it can still be a strong tool for Commander decks that care about reanimating their creatures.

For five mana, Sauron, the Necromancer, is a 4/4 Legendary Avatar Horror with Menace. Whenever it attacks, Sauron will exile a creature from your graveyard. This will create a tapped and attacking 3/3 Black Wraith token copy of it that gains Menace.

Honestly, this ability is pretty powerful – until you realize that the spirit will be exiled at the end step. This can create some gotcha moments with some crazy cards like Master of Cruelties, but it’s hard to consistently accumulate value with this card – unless it is your Ring-bearer.

If Sauron is your Ring-bearer, the creature will not get exiled on your endstep. This trigger will still occur, but your token will simply fail to be exiled if Sauron if your Ring-bearer upon resolution. Sauron will not check again on the next endstep to see if it still exists – once your token passes the requirement once, your opponent will need to deal with it. Notably, should your Sauron be dealt with in response to this trigger, your token will be exiled.

Read More: MTG Commander Masters Previews Reinvent Popular Archetypes!

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