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The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth
Lord of the Rings
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description The One Ring on a triangle
Design Ben Hayes (lead), Chris Mooney, Ethan Fleischer, James Wyatt, Lukas Litzsinger, Max McCall, Mark Gottlieb, Mark Rosewater, PJ Rivas, Cameron Williams
Development Glenn Jones (lead), Mark Gottlieb, Ari Nieh, Annie Sardelis, Matt Smith, Patrick Sullivan, Dave Humpherys, Megan Smith, Adam Prosak, Michael Hinderaker, Michael Majors, Dan Musser, Evart Moughon, Piotr Głogowski
Art direction Ovidio Cartagena
Release date June 23, 2023
Themes and mechanics "legendary matters", "creature type matters", Historic
Keywords/​ability words The Ring Tempts You, Amass, Basic landcycling
Set size 281 + 170
Expansion code LTR[1]
Development codename Anvil
Universes Beyond
Warhammer 40,000 Commander Decks The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Doctor Who
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
March of the Machine: The Aftermath The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Lord of the Rings Commander
LTR key art

Key art

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is a booster-based product in the Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond series released by Wizards of the Coast.[2][3][4] The set was released on June 23, 2023.[5][6][7] It was designed to be drafted and went straight-to-Modern.

Set details[ | ]

“  Join the Fellowship  ”
LTR expansion symbol

Expansion symbol

This is a cross-over product based on the The Lord of the Rings, the epic high fantasy novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. It was created in close cooperation with Middle-earth Enterprises, the firm which owns the rights. Hasbro, the mother company of Wizards of the Coast, has earlier published a board game based on the same franchise. The cards in this set feature the triangular holofoil stamp of non-canon cards.

Like all Universes Beyond products, the set is not legal in Standard. In the eyes of R&D, Modern (and historic) legality provides the greatest opportunity for most people to experience this IP while still holding Standard (and Pioneer) as its own space. While the set isn't focused on Modern as a Modern Horizons set might be, R&D wanted to allow as many players to play with these cards and enjoy them.[8] The set was also be released on Magic Online and Magic Arena, where became legal in Alchemy and Historic.[9][10][11]

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth contains 281 regular cards (101 commons, 80 uncommons, 60 rares, 20 mythic rares, 20 basic lands), and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. The regular cards include a cycle of full-art basic lands that feature art from different sections of Middle-earth’s iconic map (#272-281).[12] Alternate card frames have a different card number than the original version.[13] The Jumpstart rares are #282-286 and the Starter Kit-exclusives are #287-298. Promos for the Pro Tour, the Store Championship and the Regional Championship are #299-301. Cards numbered #302-331 have the Showcase Ring treatment, while #332-339 are Nazgûl variants, #340-345 are borderless lands and #346-397 are extended art variants. The Buy-a-Box card is #398 and #399-451 are the scene cards. The Scroll-treatment cards of the Holiday Release are #411-490 for the Commander cards and #452-712 for the main set cards, while the cards with the new Holiday Release foil treatment are #731-757-787-1046.

The set features multiple representations of iconic characters to capture the depths of the story and changes.[7] The circular shape of this set’s showcase ring treatment is meant to express what happens “inside” the Ring, symbolizing “the power that the quest for the One Ring can have in the different characters’ internal struggles.”[12] For this treatment, the design team 30 legendary characters whose actions and motivations were influenced by the power of the Ring.[13]

As a nod to the nine Nazgûl found in The Lord of the Rings, R&D commissioned nine unique pieces of art for the single card named Nazgûl in the main set. The card itself is Relentless, it lets you play up to nine copies of itself. In Set, Draft, and Collector Boosters, each of the nine Nazgûl cards shows up at an equal rate.[13]

There are no Planeswalker cards in the set. According to Blake Rasmussen, this is because "there aren't any Planeswalkers in Lord of the Rings".[14] This differs from previous approaches to other IP's. Some characters look noticeably different from previous depictions, as they are intentionally reinterpreted with diversity and originality in mind.[15]

Arwen, Elrond, Eomer, Eowyn, Faramir, Frodo, Gimli, Gollum, Legolas, Merry, Pippin, Saruman, and Sam each have two legendary creatures in the set. Aragorn, Gandalf, and Sauron have three. Many characters, including some who only have one card in the main set, have additional versions in other products, like the Commander decks.[16]

Storyline[ | ]

The title names the story's main antagonist, the Dark Lord Sauron, who had in an earlier age created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his campaign to conquer and rule all of Middle-earth. From homely beginnings in the Shire, a hobbit land reminiscent of the English countryside, the story ranges across Middle-earth, following the quest mainly through the eyes of the hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin.

Marketing[ | ]

LTR bundle gift edition

Gift Edition bundle

This set has two primary launch windows (June 2023 and a holiday launch in November 2023) and is the first full set release as part of Universes Beyond.

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth was sold in regular 16-card Draft Boosters (one card being a marketing card), Collector Boosters, Set Boosters, Jumpstart Boosters, the The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Bundle (also in a Gift Edition), four Commander decks, Scene Boxes and a Starter Kit.[11]

The set is accompanied by some Secret Lairs featuring the same IP (More Adventures in Middle-earth).[17] Unlike these Secret Lairs, the cards of the main set won't automatically have a Magic equivalent printed later, though R&D have the ability to make Magic versions of any UB card if the need arises.[18][19][20]

Many extended art foils can only be found in in Collector Booster Sample Packs.[21]

Box Toppers[ | ]

Each Lord of the Rings Draft, Set, and Collector Booster display includes a traditional foil Realms and Relics Box Topper card, a skinned reprint with artwork and treatment at home with The Lord of the Rings.[7]

Rings[ | ]

The One Ring Serialized

The One Ring (Serialized 001 of 001)

Found exclusively in Collector Boosters, players may find Sol Rings with art modeled after Elven, Dwarven, and Human rings from the novels, and text written in Tengwar script.[22] These Ring cards can be found in both traditional foil and non-foil. The traditional foil versions of these specialized Sol Rings are serialized — there are 300 Elven Sol Rings, 700 Dwarven Sol Rings, and 900 Human Sol Rings. The non-foil versions are not serialized. There are 3,000, 7,000 and 9,000 respectively.[13]

The One Ring[ | ]

The serialized version of The One Ring, which is a variant of The One Ring Mythic Rare card from the main set, features a raised gold foil treatment applied to the frame, art, and text written in the Black Speech of Sauron using Tengwar letterforms. The serialization denotes that this card is 001/001 — the only one of its kind available in the world. The One Ring (Serialized 001 of 001) could only be found in a single English-language Collector Booster.[23][13] It was revealed to be found in Canada on June 30, 2023.[24][25][26] On August 2, 2023, Post Malone purchased the card from the finder for $2,000,000.[27]

Scene cards[ | ]

The set includes borderless scene cards. When brought together these cards form recognizable scenes from the books. These can be found in Collector Boosters.

Scene # cards Notes
Mount Doom[28] 2 x 2 Also available in Bundles.
Battle of the Pelennor Fields[29] 6 x 3
Bilbo's Birthday Party[30] 2 x 3 Also available in prerelease packs.
Isengard Destroyed[31] 3 x 3
The Bridge of Khazad-dûm[32] 3 x 2
The Scouring of the Shire 2 x 2
The Grey Havens 3 x 2
Aragorn at Helm's Deep 2 x 3 Holiday release (Scene Box)
The Might of Galadriel 2 x 3 Holiday release (Scene Box)
Gandalf in the Pelennor Fields 2 x 3 Holiday release (Scene Box)
Flight of the Witch-King 2 x 3 Holiday release (Scene Box)

Holiday Release[ | ]

LTR Holiday Scene Box 1

Flight of the Witch-King Scene Box

In addition to the June 23 release, this set features a holiday release on November 3, 2023, with four special Scene Boxes that show off more iconic moments from The Lord of the Rings, Jumpstart Volume 2, and a Special Edition of Collector Boosters with special alternate art, an alternate "Scroll" card frame and a new type of foil treatment.[13][33] The Scene Boxes each contain 6 Scene cards, 3 Set Boosters, 6 Art cards and a paper display easel. Special Edition Collector Boosters do not contain Serialized Ring cards. The Holiday release features 24 mechanically unique cards among the scene cards (LTC #491-508).[34]

Events[ | ]

Promotional cards[ | ]

Set Booster tins[ | ]

September 1, 2023, three special The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth themed tins became available in select North-American Walmart and Meijer stores. Each tin comes with three Set Boosters and two accompanying non-Lord of the Rings promo cards: a foil-etched Lathril, Blade of the Elves and a retro frame Llanowar Elves.[36]

Tokens and emblems[ | ]

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth has 12 tokens and one emblem.[37]

  1. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier creature (Gondor) for Aragorn, the Uniter; Denethor, Ruling Steward; Éomer of the Riddermark; Faramir, Field Commander; Faramir, Prince of Ithilien; Horn of Gondor; Prince Imrahil the Fair; Protector of Gondor; Quarrel's End; and Rally at the Hornburg.
  2. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier creature (Rohirrim).
  3. {W} 1/1 Spirit creature with flying for Andúril, Flame of the West; King of the Oathbreakers; Oath of the Grey Host and Shadow Summoning.
  4. {U} 1/1 Tentacle creature for The Watcher in the Water.
  5. {B} 0/0 Orc Army creature (Sauron) for Assault on Osgiliath; Barad-dûr; Book of Mazarbul; Deceive the Messenger; Dunland Crebain; Easterling Vanguard; Fall of Cair Andros; Foray of Orcs; Gothmog, Morgul Lieutenant; Grima Wormtongue; Grishnákh, Brash Instigator; March from the Black Gate; Mordor Muster; Orcish Bowmasters; Orcish Medicine; Saruman's Trickery; Saruman the White; Sauron, the Dark Lord; Shagrat, Loot Bearer; Surrounded by Orcs; Swarming of Moria; The Mouth of Sauron; The Torment of Gollum; Treason of Isengard and Warbeast of Gorgoroth.
  6. {B} 0/0 Orc Army creature (Uruk-hai).
  7. {R} Smaug, a 6/6 legendary Dragon creature with flying, haste, and "Whenever this creature dies, create fourteen Treasure tokens." for There and Back Again.
  8. {C} Ballistic Boulder, a 2/1 Construct artifact creature with flying for Mordor Trebuchet.
  9. {C} Food artifact (breakfast) for Bill the Pony; Brandywine Farmer; Butterbur, Bree Innkeeper; Cirith Ungol Patrol; Eastfarthing Farmer; Elanor Gardner; Galadriel, Gift-Giver; Generous Ent; Many Partings; Meriadoc Brandybuck; Oath of the Grey Host; Peregrin Took; Revive the Shire; Rosie Cotton of South Lane; Samwise Gamgee; Second Breakfast; Shelob, Child of Ungoliant; Shelob's Ambush; Stew the Coneys; The Battle of Bywater; The Shire and Voracious Fell Beast.
  10. {C} Food artifact (farmhouse).
  11. {C} Food artifact (giant spider).
  12. {C} Treasure artifact for Bilbo, Retired Burglar; Bill Ferny, Bree Swindler; Galadriel, Gift-Giver; Glóin, Dwarf Emissary; Gorbag of Minas Morgul; Lobelia Sackville-Baggins; Lotho, Corrupt Shirriff; Mines of Moria; Oath of the Grey Host; Spiteful Banditry and Swarming of Moria.
  13. The Ring emblem.

MTG Arena[ | ]

As a Universes Beyond product, Wizards of the Coast only has a limited use of The Lord of the Rings IP. For Magic: The Gathering Arena this means booster packs will be removed from the store at the end of 2025 and unavailable for purchase from 2026 onwards. Although the booster packs will not be availble, players can continue to craft individual cards using wildcards beyond 2025.[38]

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

The Ring

The Ring emblem

A new mechanic is The Ring Tempts You, showing the corrupting influence of the One Ring on its holder.[39][40] Each time the Ring tempts you, two things happen. First, you choose a creature you control to become your Ring-bearer. If you have a Ring-bearer, you may choose to have that creature remain your Ring-bearer, or you may choose another creature you control to carry that burden.

Second, The Ring gains its next ability, if it can. Once The Ring has all four of its abilities, it has reached its full power and won't gain additional abilities as the Ring tempts you in the future. Notably, The Ring will gain its next ability even if you didn't control any creatures as the Ring tempted you, meaning you didn't choose a Ring-bearer.

To represent the forces of Mordor in this set, Amass from War of the Spark has been modified to allow the creation of Orc Army tokens.[39]

Food tokens, introduced in Throne of Eldraine, have a substantial presence in the set, being present primarily in white, black, and green and largely associated with hobbits.

Basic landcycling returns as a minor theme, having been previously used in March of the Machine.[39] Historic from Dominaria is also used on multiple cards.

Card types[ | ]

Lord of the Rings features a decently sized “legendary matters” theme, and a lot of one-of “creature type matters” cards.

The set debuts legendary instant cards that capture extraordinary moments from main characters' pasts. These powerful spells can only be cast while you control a legendary creature or planeswalker.

Counter types[ | ]

Lord of the Rings introduces Burden -, Hope - and Influence counters. It also sees the return of Verse counters.

Limited Archetypes[ | ]

Lord of the Rings features the following Limited archetypes:[16]

Cycles[ | ]

Lord of the Rings has seven cycles, including three vertical cycles.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Legendary lands Minas Tirith Rivendell Barad-dûr Mines of Moria The Shire
Five rare Legendary lands with an activated ability and that enter the battlefield tapped unless you control a legendary creature.
Rare sagas War of the Last Alliance Scroll of Isildur One Ring to Rule Them All There and Back Again Fall of Gil-galad
Five rare sagas, each with three chapters that represent part of the history of the One Ring.
Uncommon sagas Tale of Tinúviel The Bath Song Oath of the Grey Host Book of Mazarbul Long List of the Ents
Five uncommon sagas.
Landcyclers Eagles of the North Lórien Revealed Troll of Khazad-dûm Oliphaunt Generous Ent
Each of these common cards may be cycled for {1} for a land with a basic land type.

Vertical cycles[ | ]

Cycle name
Aragorn Strider, Ranger of the North Aragorn, Company Leader Aragorn, the Uniter
Depicting Aragorn in various stages of the story.
Gandalf Gandalf, Friend of the Shire Gandalf the Grey Gandalf the White
Depicting Gandalf in various stages of the story.
Saruman Saruman the White Sharkey, Tyrant of the Shire Saruman of Many Colors
Depicting Saruman in various stages of the story.

Notable cards[ | ]

Misprint[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Starter Kit[ | ]

The Starter Kit comes with two Modern-legal 60-card decks, designed to create an interactive learning experience for two.

Starter kit
deck name
Colors Included Commander
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Fellowship of the Ring W G Aragorn and Arwen, Wed
Might of Mordor B R Sauron, the Lidless Eye

Commander decks[ | ]

Tales of Middle-earth features four commander decks.

deck name
Color Identity Commander
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Riders of Rohan W U R Éowyn, Shieldmaiden
Food and Fellowship W B G Frodo, Adventurous Hobbit
Elven Council U G Galadriel, Elven-Queen
The Hosts of Mordor U B R Sauron, Lord of the Rings

Gallery[ | ]

Arena Avatars[ | ]

External links[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Information below the text box
  2. Wizards of the Coast (February 25, 2021). "Magic's Voyages to the Universes Beyond". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2021). "If cards from other ips aren't subject to the same scrutiny they aren't going to mesh. Are they going to be?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. Eric Levine (June 9, 2023). "The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Adam Styborski (August 24, 2021). "What Happened In Magic Showcase 2021?". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Adam Styborski (August 18, 2022). "The Next Year of Magic From Wizards Presents". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. a b c Adam Styborski and Clayton Kroh (March 14, 2023). "A First Look at The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Wizards of the Coast (August 24, 2021). "On The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Format Legality". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Wizards of the Coast (August 24, 2022). "MTG Arena Announcements, August 24, 2022". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Monthly Announcement Day featuring MTG Arena (Video). Weekly MTG. YouTube (November 30, 2022).
  11. a b Wizards of the Coast (February 21, 2023). "On June 23, Experience Middle-earth Like Never Before". Archived from the original on February 21, 2023.
  12. a b Tom Marks (March 13, 2023). "Exclusive: First Lord of the Rings Cards Revealed for Magic: The Gathering".
  13. a b c d e f g Mike Turian & Adam Styborski (May 30, 2023). "Collecting "The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth"". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth – First Look (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (March 15, 2023).
  15. Wizards of the Coast (May 29, 2023). "Creating the Look of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. a b Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2023). "Crafting the Ring, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Magic Showcase 2021 (live) (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (August 24, 2021).
  18. Mark Rosewater (February 27, 2021). "I didn't love Secret Lair Walking Dead, because my choice wasn't Walking Dead Negan or MtG (Name), my choice is Negan, or nothing.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2022). "To clarify on the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Mark Rosewater (February 26, 2022). "Is it too much to ask for in-universe versions of the LOTR set?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Ben Bleiweiss (June 28, 2023). "Wizards just put out a definitive list of Extended Art Foil cards that do and don't exist.". Twitter.
  22. Riley Hicks (February 21, 2023). "Absurdly Rare MTG 'Ring' Card To Appear in Lord of the Rings Set!".
  23. WPN (March 14, 2023). "First Look for Retailers – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™". Wizards Play Network.
  24. PSAcard (June 30, 2023). "The One Ring is found, authenticated, and now rules them all.". Twitter.
  25. Magic: The Gathering (June 30, 2023). "We are thrilled to hear tale of a new Ring-bearer in possession of the serialized 1:1 The One Ring! This journey is finished". Twitter.
  26. Lane Harrison, Derick Deonarain (July 3, 2023). "'My hands were literally shaking': Ultra-rare 'One Ring' game card found by Toronto collector". CBC News.
  27. Oli Welsh (August 2, 2023). "Post Malone has bought Magic’s $2M One Ring card". Polygon. Archived from the original on August 2, 2023.
  28. Marta Nael (May 31, 2023). "As a LotR fan, I'm truly thankful to Art Director Matt Cavotta for trusting me with this assignment.". Twitter.
  29. Tyler Jacobson (May 31, 2023). "Super excited to finally be able to show this full piece which took up a huge chunk of my daily life back in 2021.". Twitter.
  30. Justin Sewell (May 6, 2023). "EXCLUSIVE: Bilbo’s Birthday artwork reveal from new LOTR: Tales of Middle-earth MTG card game". Archived from the original on June 3, 2023.
  31. Dave Rapoza (May 30, 2023). "Borderless scene cards I painted for Magic the Gathering!". Twitter.
  32. Tom Marks (June 8, 2023). "Exclusive: See Lord of the Rings' Iconic Bridge of Khazad-dûm Scene as Magic: The Gathering Cards". IGN. Archived from the original on June 8, 2023.
  33. Magic: The Gathering (June 8, 2023). "The scroll treatments are a sneak peek at some of what's coming in the Holiday release.". Twitter.
  34. 30th Anniversary Panel at GenCon – A Recap of MTG's Past, Present & Future (Video). Magic: The Gathering. YouTube (August 5, 2023).
  35. a b c d Wizards of the Coast (May 31, 2023). "Where and How to Play The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth".
  36. Wizards of the Coast (August 28, 2023). "Thuis Unique Promo for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Arrives Soon". Wizards of the Coast.
  37. Wizards of the Coast (June 9, 2023). "The Tokens of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth". Wizards of the Coast.
  38. Wizards of the Coast (June 19, 2023). "MTG Arena Release Notes – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™". Wizards of the Coast.
  39. a b c Matt Tabak (May 30, 2023). "The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ Mechanics". Archived from the original on May 30, 2023.
  40. Mark Rosewater (May 30, 2023). "Crafting the Ring, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  41. Wizards of the Coast (May 30, 2023). "The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ Battle of the Pelennor Fields Statement". Archived from the original on May 30, 2023.