Prepare to journey to the plane of Middle-earth!
We’ve already mentioned that there is an upcoming Magic: The Gathering set called The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, but now we have a sneak preview of what’s to come when the set releases later this month, on June 23. Whether you want to make a deck full of friendly hobbits or menacing orcs, Wizards of the Coast knew it couldn’t do justice to the rich lore and history of The Lord of the Rings without a full set for the ever-popular trading card game.
Beloved characters from across Middle-earth are reimagined on the upcoming cards, with a Magic spin. The artists employed by Wizards of the Coast have put all their heart into blending Sauron, Gollum, Aragorn, Sam, Frodo, and others with the traditional style of Magic cards. In addition to original art, these character cards bring abilities and traits to gameplay that are inspired by The Lord of the Rings.
There are also special character cards throughout the deck featuring distinct, original art inside of a One Ring-inspired border. There is one of these alternate cards for each member of the Fellowship of the Ring.
A number of Instants and Sorceries cards show iconic moments or lines from the original books. Whether it’s Gollum and Sam trying to deal with each other, a marching band of orcs, or the iconic Second Breakfast of Hobbits, these cards will have you feeling like you’re playing through your favorite trilogy moments.
Lands can represent some of the most detailed and expansive pieces of art in any Magic set, and the Lord of the Rings set is no exception. The lands cards feature iconic locations from the books — if you look closely, you might even see the Fellowship or other characters traveling through them!
Finally, the One Ring is as important in this set as it is in the story it came from. The artifact itself is quite powerful. According to its card, it is indestructible and can offer protection against everything in battle.
To get in the spirit of the ring’s rarity, Wizards is printing a single unique art print of the One Ring card. The lucky finder of this One Ring card — which is written in Elvish —will have to be careful that they don’t get too tempted! The set also introduces a new “the Ring tempts you” mechanic, which went through many design iterations as an important central theme to the set.
“During the game design process, the abilities that the Ring gained via temptation changed and were iterated upon constantly,” says Mike Turian, Product Architect for The Lord of the Rings set. “The team tried out different designs and different combinations and went all-out wanting to both create a resonant mechanic and a fun mechanic. A common theme that was present for a while during design was around the Ring-bearer’s controller losing life. We ended up moving this type of drawback to individual cards, such as Call of the Ring, because while the downside of life loss connects with the Ring’s drain on its possessor’s well-being in the novel, as a gameplay mechanic it would often be too strong of a reason to avoid using the fun new mechanic.”
There’s even more to get excited about with this release! There are planned preconstructed Lord of the Rings Commander decks centered on Frodo and Sam as partners, Eowyn, Galadriel, and Sauron. There are also a variety of other card previews out to browse and, of course, Magic: The Gathering Arena is getting some special goodies with a unique battlefield, card backs, and more.
The new set releases digitally in Magic: The Gathering Arena on June 20, and for tabletop on June 23. If you can’t wait for the paper release date, you can head to your local participating game store for prerelease events from June 16-22. Read more about the game’s new mechanics at the official Magic: The Gathering website and preorder your cards at the links below.