A card depicting The One Ring is due to be printed in Tales of Middle-Earth, the upcoming MTG Lord of the Rings set. A huge amount of excitement has been generated over the fact that a single copy of this card will be written in Black Speech, receive unique artwork, and a tag demonstrating that it is a one-of-a-kind card. This unique One Ring will then be hidden away in a random English language The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Collector Booster Pack.
For all of this hype, however, some MTG players are left wondering just how powerful the card itself is. Alongside their ultra-unique counterpart many, many other copies of The One Ring will be printed. The card appears in Tales of Middle-Earth as a Mythic Rare. Is The One Ring truly the card to rule them all or would players be better off casting it into the fire and avoiding using it at all?
What Does It Do
For four mana, when it is cast, The One Ring grants its controller protection from everything until their next turn. Note that the ring needs to be cast in order to grant this protection, so blinking it using an effect like Teleportation Circle or Ghostly Flicker won’t grant this protection again.
The ring is Indestructible, appropriately enough, and it can be tapped down to gain a burden counter, Its controller then draws a card for each burden counter on the ring. During each of their upkeep phases, the ring’s controller loses one life for each burden counter on it.
Players are divided over whether The One Ring is an incredibly game-breaking card or whether it’s an ultimately underwhelming portrayal of fantasy fiction’s most iconic artifact.
On the EDH Subreddit, the user SnakebiteSnake made a thread where they argued they would be tempted to put it in every single one of their decks.
They wrote: “The card is absolutely bonkers, indestructible, colorless, incredible card draw, and gives you a turn of safety when it comes down. It is astonishingly good and will be a staple forever.”
The top-rated reply to this thread, from user Rivilen, makes the opposite argument.
Rivilen writes: “4 cmc casting cost and the draw being utterly slow will be the reason this will only be a staple in casual commander decks, which is totally fine. Anything over mid-high powered has enough available draw effects that are better and stronger, maybe some mono decks will include this.”
Players seem excited to try the card out in their Trazyn the Infinite decks, as the powerful Necron Commander will be able to draw cards using the ring’s activated ability, whilst ignoring the damage dealt by its triggered ability.
Curiously most of the discourse surrounding the card seems to be based on its potential usage in Commander. The One Ring will be legal in Modern although, apart from a few comments arguing that it could be good in the sideboards of Tron decks, Modern players don’t seem hugely excited about the card. It’s possible that The One Ring’s, relatively, high mana value of four may be preventing Modern players from considering it.
Flavor of the Ring
Whatever players may think of The One Ring’s viability as a card, it is an incredibly flavorful and evocative piece of design. The ring’s ability to turn its wearer invisible is reflected by it granting its controller protection from everything for a turn. The dark temptations it whispers into the mind of its wearer are represented by the increasing number of burden counters it produces. These counters encapsulate how the ring offers power, represented by card draw, but also slowly sap away at the sanity of their wearer, represented by the life loss.
Finally, the card can be paired with Mount Doom to re-enact its destruction in the book. Mount Doom enables a Legendary artifact to be sacrificed, alongside itself, for seven mana. Once this sacrifice occurs, Mount Doom functionally erupts and destroys all but two creatures in play.
The only thing missing from this design is that The One Ring does not interact with the new “Tempted by The Ring” mechanic from Tales of Middle-Earth.
It’s hard to tell just how impactful The One Ring will be. The MTG player base has been known to frequently misjudge the quality of cards before they are released. Perhaps The One Ring will become an immediate staple in Commander, perhaps it will even see some Modern play after all or perhaps it will fade from people’s minds completely once the hype dies down.
If you happen to crack a copy of this card, whether it’s the unique foil version or not, it will definitely be worth toying around with. Mono Red and Mono White Commander decks can always use more card draw options. There’s also definitely the potential to break this card by using it alongside something like Unwinding Clock, or Clock of Omens. The card works especially well with Mind Over Matter, enabling you to draw your entire deck and then pull off a win with a Thassa’s Oracle, a Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or a Laboratory Maniac.
There are definitely many more combos waiting to be uncovered by players eager to get their hands on this contentious new card.