Village Bell-Ringer | The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth
22, Sep, 23

Unreadable LotR MTG Cards Frustrate Players With Amazing Art

Article at a Glance

As many MTG players will know, Magic: The Gathering is an incredibly complex game. Featuring hundreds of mechanics and thousands of cards, it’s no wonder a lot of players get overwhelmed. Thankfully, there is one rule that MTG players figure out what’s going on no matter what deck they’re playing. Reading the card explains the card. 

Using this rule, it’s possible to understand and enjoy MTG after just a brief tutorial. Considering Magic’s depth and complexity, this is vital to the game’s success and growth. This is especially true for sets like The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. Enticing new players to the game in drove, this set needs to be clear so prospective players don’t get confused and give up. 

Thankfully, after launching in June, it’s safe to say The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth achieved this goal. For better or worse, however, Hasbro and Middle Earth Enterprises aren’t stopping there. Releasing the set again in November, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is coming back with a vengeance. Unfortunately, in this triumphant return, it seems readability is optional. 

A Very Special Special Edition

Mount Doom | LotR MTG Rock Poster Cards | The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

Within The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday release there are two main products. The most enticing out of these are the new Scene Boxes, which include brand-new cards. Revealed officially yesterday, many of the new cards are incredibly exciting for both casual and competitive players. 

While the Scene Boxes are definitely the jewel in the Holiday Release’s crown, there is another major product. Replacing the lack of the One-of-One Ring, there will be brand new Collector Boosters too. Named Collector Booster: Special Edition, it now seems this product more than lives up to its name. 

Debuted by IGN, yesterday we also got our first peek inside the Special Edition Collector Boosters. Revealing a brand new and highly lucrative “Rock Poster” art style, players undoubtedly have a lot to look forward to. After all, as you can see above, these Rock Poster cards are incredibly striking and bold. 

Looking as if they’re right out of a Secret Lair, 20 Rock Poster cards can be found in the new Boosters. From what we’ve seen so far, this means the art treatment will be largely reserved for the set’s best cards. Yes, this means that [tooltips]The One Ring[/tooltips] will be getting the Rock Poster treatment. In fact, this card has already been revealed and it looks just as wild as you might expect! 

Beyond just having an incredibly striking look, the new LotR MTG art is also deeply collectible. This is thanks to the return of serialized cards within Collector Booster: Special Edition. To amp up the pack opening process, each Rock Poster card has 100 serialized printings that can be found. Between their unique look and the artificial rarity, these cards are sure to be expensive.

Reading Is Overrated

Saruman of Many Colors | Sauron, the Dark Lord | The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

Promising style as well as value, it’s no wonder that many MTG players are excited about the upcoming LotR Rock Poster cards. Despite this excitement, however, there is one major problem. As you can probably see, or rather not see, the Rock Posters are rather hard to read. In a game like MTG where clarity matters so much, this has concerned many MTG players.

“At first I liked this treatment, but I kinda want cards that are easy to read.”


“Yup. One of my friends got the last posters set and I’m constantly asking him what they do. Sorry I can’t recall every card’s text by it’s name and yeah those cards are essentially impossible to read from across the table, upside down. Art is cool but they are a functional nightmare”


“I am so f*cking sick of these cards. I’m not one of those players that knows what every card does by name off the top of my head. Having people drop sh*t like this on the table is such a drag.” 


From the comments above, which are plentiful across social media, it’s safe to say this art isn’t perfect. Miraculously, however, it isn’t even the most unreadable art to be included within a Booster pack before. For Dominaria United, Wizards landed themselves in hot water thanks to including Phyrexian Text cards within Draft Boosters. 

In an attempt to share the Booster Fun love, this decision caused a lot of confusion as the cards were completely unreadable. Potentially being found for the first time during a Draft, players literally couldn’t read the card to understand the card. Thankfully, Gatherer and Scryfall help to fix this problem, however, that only works if you can access those websites. 

Considering unreadable MTG cards have already caused controversy last year, this repeat may seem completely nonsensical. This time around, however, things aren’t quite as bad as they seem. Ultimately, the new Rock Poster MTG cards can only be found in the Special Edition Collector Boosters. Additionally, these cards can only be found in English.

Thanks to being exclusive to this LotR product, MTG players should know what they’re in for. Alongside this, as the name suggests, Collector Boosters are typically for Collectors, not casual first-time players. As fun as it is to collect cards, new players are instead pushed towards Draft and Set Boosters, or Starter Kit products. As you would hope, these products don’t include almost unreadable cards. 

Not the First and Not the Last

Aragorn, the Uniter | Arwen, Mortal Queen | The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

Ultimately, even if new players shouldn’t open them in packs, unreadable MTG cards are still a problem. After all, new players can still see unreadable cards like [tooltips]Arwen, Mortal Queen[/tooltips] at FNM. While this is true, however, it’s also not really a new problem. 

While definitely not an excuse for making unintelligible cards, Secret Lair has existed for four years at this point. Through this product line, Wizards has created hundreds of nigh unreadable cards, and players love them. Sold directly rather than via packs, opponents can still face these cards no matter what format they’re playing. 

At this point, between Secret Lair drops, Promo cards, and now the LotR Poster cards, illegibility is nothing new in MTG. Sadly, it’s just a problem that MTG players are going to have to deal with. Like other controversial features like Alchemy, Acorn Cards, and Universes Beyond, you can’t stop other players from enjoying it. If you don’t like it yourself, however, you simply don’t have to play with them. 

Read More: MTG Could Be Getting Another Brand New Format Soon!

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