3, Aug, 23

MTG Lord of the Rings On-Track to be the Most Successful Set Ever

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Article at a Glance

The day is August 3, and Hasbro has just released its earnings report for its second quarter to the world. All in all, Magic seems to be a bit down in numbers in comparison to the last one, but fewer core sets were released in 2023’s second quarter.

The more shocking headline, however, is that despite the small drop in Magic product sales overall quarter over quarter, Lord of the Rings performed spectacularly well and stands to become the biggest thing that Magic has ever done.

It Has Only Been a Month

Despite Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth’s official release date being June 23, 2023, according to statements made during Hasbro’s Q2 report Lord of the Rings is currently Magic’s “second biggest set ever.”

As stated by Hasbro CEO Chris Cocks, Hasbro strongly believes that Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will, eventually, be the biggest set that the game has ever seen:

launched what we believe will be the biggest release in our history with Lord of the Rings: Tales
of Middle-earth.”

Frankly, this may not come as a surprise to many MTG players. By crossing over with a legendary and iconic franchise, the increased scope of this product pushed anticipation to new levels. Thanks to The One Ring’s serialized variant, now easily the most expensive card ever, hunts for the card went mainstream.

MTG’s Most Power Crept Sets are MTG’s Most Successful Sets

Upon hearing that Lord of the Rings is the second most expensive set ever, players may wonder what the most expensive one is. That set is currently Modern Horizons 2. Cox believes that, given about a seven-month timeframe, Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will be worth more than Modern Horizons 2.

There are a lot of interesting similarities between Modern Horizons 2 and Lord of the Rings, however. Both of these sets were straight-to-Modern sets, and both of these sets completely flipped multiple metagames on their heads. Unsurprisingly, power seems to sell well.

Modern Horizons caused a complete rotation of the Modern format, and Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth provided two new cards that ended up being the most played cards of the entire Pro Tour tournament and suggested a dangerous level of homogenization.

We actually already wrote about how power creep from recent sets impacted the Lord of the Rings Pro Tour, so if you want to read a much more detailed report on this topic, we recommend you jump over there.

Read More: Absurdly Rare MTG Playtest Cards Suggest New EDH Mechanics!

An Overall Loss

Even though Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth was such a massive success, Magic is down by about 15% year-over-year for Q2 earnings. This, according to Hasbro, is as expected thanks to set release dates. Last year, four Magic sets were released within Q2, while three were released this year. The average amount of revenue per set in 2022’s Q2 was 108 million compared to an average value of 128 million for 2023’s Q2.

As such, as stated by Chris Cocks, Hasbro suggests that “MAGIC is on track for a record Q3 with favorable set release timing buoying results.”

Community Commentary

If anything, the biggest takeaway from these announcements is just how well Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is performing. Not only does this set appear to be on track to be Magic’s biggest set ever, but it also had to pick up after the slack of March of the Machine: The Aftermath.

For reference, March of the Machine: The Aftermath is not a complete set – instead it was Magic’s first-ever mini-set. That said, it was considered a complete set in terms of the three sets that Hasbro considered for its Q2 earnings report. Players do not have access to exactly how much each set made in terms of sales, but there is a ton of speculation, that Lord of the Rings pulled a lot of weight this quarter:

“Judging from the call, I assume that LOTR did way WAY more than average 128M$ per set in the article, in the call they even said that it almost surpass MH2 (but soon will) If overall revenue is 384M$ (3 set * 128M$), if LOTR made 60% of Q2 revenue, mean it’ll make around 230M$.

So this mean the main set like MoM and Aftermath did way worst than 128M$, I wouldn’t be surprise if Aftermath did below 100M$.

If we assume that LOTR took 60% of Rev, and MoM and Aftermath took the rest, they will do just around 77M$ which way worst than last year, but this number based on assumption that LOTR did 60% of Rev which could be super over estimate.”


Because March of the Machine: The Aftermath did not have a Limited environment, the audience that this set targets could be much smaller than usual. The set was also met with a lot of controversy from the MTG community. All-in-all, if this set performed as badly as players speculate it did, we may not be seeing another mini-set for quite some time.

“I think we know from things MaRo has said (and seeing how places couldn’t really sell it) that aftermath was a flop.”


What Does This Mean for the Future?

Many players should find the prospect of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth succeeding to be a strong one. This likely means that more high-quality crossovers will be coming to Magic with cards that offer fresh injections into various metagames. Sure, power creep is undeniably a problem at this point, but forced change is still better than stagnation.

Things may not look the best for Hasbro overall, with the company reporting another overall net loss, but things appear to just be getting started for Magic. Lord of the Rings putting out record numbers despite the set only being a bit over a month old means big things for the game. It will be interesting to see how this success impacts future sets.

Read More: MTG Secret Lair Manager Teases Big Changes in the Future

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