MTG: Lord of the Rings – A First Look

Today Wizards of the Coast gives us our official first look at the next direct-to-modern set: Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth. We already showed you a peek at the packaging of this set here, and the first three spoilers here. This time we get a whole bunch of information on the set directly from Wizards of the Coast themselves. This is the first Universes Beyond product for Magic that is a complete booster set, so there is so much opportunity to really explore many characters and moments from this universe. While this first look doesn’t focus on mechanics, it does help stores and players get an idea of what will be coming in the set well before official spoiler season that takes place closer to the set’s release. Lets dive in.

Quick Notes

Some quick notes to start us off. Wizards confirmed that there will be no planeswalkers in this set. So that means that we will not be seeing Gandalf as a planeswalker. They also confirmed that this set was designed to not be on the same power level as a Modern Horizons set. So while we may get some really awesome cards, and art, it is not expected to warp the modern format as much as the previous two Modern Horizons sets have in the past.


No better place to start than with the main character, Frodo, Sauron’s Bane. This card reminded me of Figure of Destiny and other similar cards that gain card types and various characteristics after putting mana into them. This card references a mechanic with the phrase “if the Ring has tempted you”, which Wizards noted they would tell us more about closer to the release date.


You can see that Samwise the Stouthearted is an uncommon. It was noted that the same character from Lord of the Rings, like Sam, will be printed at multiple rarities as different cards to represent their journey throughout the story. They showed this off in The Brothers’ War with Urza and Mishra. Of course not all characters will be represented at all rarities. We will have to wait and see what the other versions of Sam will look like.

While not the same card as Snapcaster Mage, as a 2 mana 2/1 with flash targeting a card in your graveyard, it gives off similar vibes.


Once again we see a reference to the “the Ring tempts you.” mechanic. This card’s value is hard to measure until we know more about how it will work.

The Shire

Wizards of the Coast mentioned that one of the sub-themes of the set will be food. And its hard not to notice that The Shire has the same effect as former standard staple Gilded Goose.

Mount Doom

Wizards confirmed that there will not be a cycle of dual lands in this set, it was just that this effect made sense for this card. It is quite interesting to see a land with a board wipe effect on it. It requires a legendary artifact, and costs 7 mana plus this land to activate, so it might end up more of an EDH card than a modern one.

You Cannot Pass!

This card doesn’t quite reach the power level of something like Path to Exile which already isn’t being played a lot in the current modern meta. However, this card could be quite powerful when drafting, as this set has a legendary sub-theme. Regardless of where this card falls on the power level scale, this card represents a very iconic moment and is awesome to see on a card.


Reprieve is quite a powerful uncommon. It is very similar to Remand which has proven to be a powerful tempo spell for blue based strategies. Notably, Reprieve does not have to counter the spell in order to put it back into its owner’s hand like Remand does, so this card can be used to effectively counter cards that can’t be countered like Supreme Verdict or Abrupt Decay.

Tom Bombadil

Tom Bombadil is very special in Lord of the Rings. He was the only known person to not be affected by The One Ring while wearing it. Having the card type of God might cause some further fan theories as to who exactly Tom Bombadil really is. As far as in game mechanics, this card would be a great 5 color Saga commander. At the time of writing there are a total of 85 sagas, which definitely could be enough to build an entire commander deck around this card.

Showcase Art

The showcase ring treatment shows epic moments that take place in Lord of the Rings. There will be 30 cards that have this treatment.

Scene bundle promo

The bundle will contain 4 cards that make up what Wizards of the Coast is calling a “scene”. The bundle will have all 4 cards in foil in each bundle, and you can find non-foil versions in collector boosters. Here is what the scene looks like when you put all 4 cards next to each other.

Wizards announced that there will be a total of 7 scene in June, with 4 additional scenes arriving in November with their holiday release. Here is an example of one of the scenes in the set that represents a truly epic moment across 18 cards.


They couldn’t pass up the opportunity to print some unique Sol Ring variants based on Lord of the Rings. These unique variants can only be found in collector boosters. There are 3 different art variants, Elven, Dwarven, and Human. These represent “Three Rings for Elven-kings under the sky”, “Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone”, and “Nine for Mortal Men, doomed to die”. These Sol Rings will have both non-foil non-serialized, and Double Rainbow Foil Serialized versions. The number of each is based off of the lore mentioned above. Take a look at the details below.

The Truly One Ring

We already saw the spoiler for The One Ring yesterday in our blog post. Today Wizards announced that there will be a very unique version of this card. As you can see in the image below, there will be a serialized 1 of 1 copy of The One Ring. That means this variant will quite literally be The One Ring. The price tag for this card is sure to be very high. This card can only be found in English-language collector booster packs. The art shows off beautiful elven-language text with the flavor text of the famous quote from Lord of the Rings

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them;

There will be non-serialized versions of the card as well, check out where to find them below.

Total 10 map lands

We already showed you the first 5 full art map lands in our previous article, but we now know there will be a total of 10 full art map lands. They won’t form a larger map when putting them next to each other, which is kind of sad. These still look beautiful though. What do you think?

Box Toppers – Realms and Relics

This set will have box toppers for Draft, Set and Collector booster boxes in traditional foil. There will be a total of 30 different box toppers, and they are all a borderless mythic rare lands or artifacts. These cards have the Tales of the Middle-earth commander set symbol, meaning that the legality of these cards will not change as a result of these being box toppers. These cards will also be in collector boosters, but those versions will be either non-foil or surge foil.

The Great Henge, represented as The Party Tree, is a very powerful EDH card that has been in need of a reprint for some time since its original and only printing in Throne of Eldraine. It was speculated to be reprinted in the upcoming set Wilds of Eldraine, and maybe it still will be. To be clear these cards are not changing legality due to these box toppers so cards like Wasteland (Valley of Gorgoroth) will NOT be modern legal due to these box toppers.

Commander Decks

There will be a total of 4 commander decks that accompany this set. Elven Council, a simic deck with a scry subtheme. Food and Fellowship, which will be a food themed deck with Frodo and Sam. The other two decks, they didn’t mention the themes but they are: the jeskai deck Riders of Rohan and the grixis deck The Hosts of Mordor.

We also got to see two cards from the commander set, and were told that these cards are not the face cards that we will see on the packaging but rather cards inside the decks.

Sam, Loyal Attendant will be partnered with the face card of the Frodo from the Food and Fellowship deck. So we know that Frodo will have black mana as part of his identity somewhere. They couldn’t do a Lord of the Rings based set without having Frodo and Sam partner up in a commander deck. We already have commanders like Gyome, Master Chef – Extended Art so it will be interesting to see even more food tribal commander cards. Radagast, Wizards of Wilds will have to be in the Elven Council deck based on the color identity. I wonder if there will be any other bird or beast synergies in the elven deck.


We get a look at the Buy-A-Box promo for this set.

May 30th – Previews Begin

The spoiler season for Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth begins on May 30th. Keep an eye out on for when preorders go up soon.

Todd Silvia