As the fourth Magic: The Gathering – Universes Beyond set, not to just be a Secret Lair Drop Series, MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth has been the most anticipated since it was announced. Drumming up the hype, even more was the announcement of a 1-of-1 Ring of Power that’ll only be found in one Collector’s Booster, not to mention the limited number of double rainbow foil Sol Rings in Elvish, Dwarven and Human. A lot of this set has been discussed around the almost Willy Wonka-like Golden Ticket chase. There is undoubtedly more to this set, however, with beautiful art, renditions of historic moments in TLoTR lore and a limited game that feels like you’re nearly playing another TCG entirely.
At the heart of The Lord of The Rings is “the one ring,” and the MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set has had its major mechanics designed around the ring. So let’s start with the temptation of the ring.
MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth introduces “The Ring” as a new “helper card,” which you’ll need to remember which one of your creatures your ring bear at different times. Whenever a creature or spell says, “The Ring tempts you,” you choose one of your creatures to become your Ring-bearer. If you trigger this again, you may switch The One Ring between your creatures. Of course, you can only ever have one creature carrying The Ring.
Each time The Ring tempts you, you’ll also earn one of its abilities, which stays for the rest of the game.
Your Ring-bearer is legendary and can’t be blocked by creatures with greater power.
Whenever your Ring-bearer attacks, draw a card, then discard a card.
Whenever your Ring-bearer becomes blocked by a creature, that creature’s controller sacrifices it at the end of combat.
Whenever your Ring-bearer deals combat damage to a player, each opponent loses 3 life.
Playing around opponents’ attempts to ramp up their Ring-temptation is exciting. As is winning a game because your opponent can’t either block your Ring-bearer with more powerful creatures and even if they do block with something else, it’ll die anyway; if they take the combat damage, they’ll lose 3 more life as well.
Tieing all The Ring tempting together are triggered abilities on cards that’ll take place whenever The Ring tempts you. These can range from
Another big part of TLoTR is, of course, the Orc Army, and you’ll have plenty of them in the MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set with the updated ‘Amass’ mechanic which moves away from the Zombies, to the armies of Mordor. The core of the keyword remains the same: whenever a card says to amass Orcs X, you either add X +1/+1 counters to your current Orc Army if you control one and if you don’t, place a 0/0 Orc Army token onto the battlefield with that many +X/+X tokens on it.
Amass decks have proven to be a lot of fun in both Sealed and Draft formats, taking me to my first sealed 7-win on MTG: Arena. Plenty of cards in this set trigger the “Amass” keyword, and then finding a way to get your 10/10 Orc Army over the top with trample or something is all that’s needed to lock in a win.
Drafting the MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set has been a blast as the returning abilities like land cycling and sagas, mixed with the new and updated ones with The Ring tempting and TLoTR flair has each game of MTG feeling like a new one.
For collectors, this set is one of the most insane to try and see a finished binder sit on a shelf. With a one-of-a-kind The One Ring sitting in a Collector’s Booster somewhere in the world and the 300, 800, and 900 Double Rainbow versions of the Elven, Dwarven, and Human Sol Rings to collect, it is a mammoth and nearly impossible task. If you can look past the money cards that are dragging streamers like xQc into spending 12k+ AUD on Collector’s Booster boxes.
There are still plenty of stunning cards to find here. Even among the basic boosters, something like the “Gandalf the White” card is enough to excite me. Let alone if you manage to open an Extended Art Version.
Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for sending over a bunch of MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth to get my collection started, which I open in the video below. Spoilers: I didn’t open the one-of-one copy of The Ring, you would have heard about that by now.
MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth also contains a stunning assortment of lands that make up a map of Middle-Earth, as well as 18 borderless cards that can be joined together to re-create one of the most epic moments in Middle-Earth history.
Between the amount of available product, the mechanics, limited and the collection value MTG – The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth is easily the best Universes Beyond set that Wizards of the Coast has produced so far. Even if you’re not into MTG but a fan of The Lord of the Rings, this is the time to learn to play with intro decks, duelling decks, commander decks and more available to pick up and play and journey into Middle-Earth.