Frodo holding the One Ring MTG LOTR
Image via Wizards Of The Coast

Magic: The Gathering The Lord of the Rings Set – Dates, Cards, & Details

The One Ring is coming to Magic: The Gathering in 2023.

Magic: The Gathering is continuing its crossover sets with the franchise that had more of an impact on the fantasy genre than any other: The Lord of the Rings. This means that Frodo Baggins, Gandalf, Sauron, and the One Ring will soon become part of the card game in the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set.

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The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is part of Magic: The Gathering’s Universes Beyond series, which accommodates all of the crossover content, such as the Warhammer 40,000 cards. The set includes 281 cards, along with alternate art versions of many cards. The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will be Modern legal but not Standard legal and will be released in both Magic Online and MTG Arena. The set won’t feature any Planeswalkers, though it will have Legendary creatures, and it’s expected to be self-contained and won’t connect to the ongoing Magic: The Gathering storyline.

Related: Magic: The Gathering – March Of The Machine: The Aftermath Set – Dates, Cards, & Details

When Is Magic: The Gathering’s The Lord Of The Rings: Tales Of Middle-Earth Released?

Battle of Pelennor Fields MTG LOTR
Image Via Wizards Of The Coast

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will be released on June 23. A pre-release will be held from June 16-22, as well as a special holiday season release planned for November 2023. The set will include a Starter Kit with two ready-to-play decks, Jumpstart Boosters that can be used to assemble decks quickly, and various Booster Packs with different cards and rarities. There will also be four Magic: The Gathering Commander Decks: Riders of Rohan, Elven Council, The Hosts of Mordor, and Food and Fellowship.

How The One Ring Works In Magic: The Gathering’s Lord Of The Rings: Tales Of Middle-Earth

Bilbo's Party card MTG LOTR
Image Via Wizards Of The Coast

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will introduce a mechanic centered around The One Ring, which acts similarly to the Dungeons introduced in the D&D sets. There are cards in the set with text saying, “The Ring Tempts You,” which creates an emblem called The Ring and causes the player to designate one of their creatures as the Ring-Bearer. The set also introduces Burden Counters, which reflect the corrupting influence of The One Ring.

The Ring emblem has four powers that are granted to the Ring-Bearer. Each time The Ring Tempts You is brought into effect, The Ring gains another one of its powers. The first ability of The Ring makes the Ring-Bearer a Legendary creature that can’t be blocked by enemies with a higher Power; the second allows the controller to draw a card and discard a card when the Ring-Bearer attacks; the third causes any creature that blocks the Ring-Bearer to be sacrificed by its owner at the end of combat; and the fourth causes all opponents to take three damage whenever the Ring-Bearer deals combat damage to any player.

What has fans most excited about The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is that there is an actual One Ring card in the set, in that there is only one version of it being printed. This card can only be found in English Collector Boosters, with flavor text based on the inscription on The One Ring in the books. The hunt for The One Ring will be the thing to watch out for, as it’s likely to become the most expensive card in the set.

What Kinds Of Cards Will Appear In Magic: The Gathering’s The Lord Of The Rings: Tales Of Middle-Earth?

Gandalf fighting the Balrog MTG LOTR
Image Via Wizards Of The Coast

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set will include new creatures and artifacts from Tolkien’s world, which will be adapted to Magic: The Gathering in different ways:

  • Full Art Maps – These are versions of the five Basic Lands showing pieces of the Middle-earth map.
  • Ring Frame – These alternate art cards have a frame based on the design of The One Ring.
  • Borderless Scene – These are cards with art from the same image, such as Gollum reaching out on his card into one of The One Ring cards. The biggest of these is a piece of art showing The Battle of the Pelennor Fields, depicted over 18 different cards.
  • Realms and Relics – These box toppers act as The Lord of the Rings variants of existing Magic: The Gathering cards, such as Ensnaring Bridge becoming the Bridge of Khazad-dum.

Related: The 10 rarest cards in Magic: The Gathering

There are lots of exciting crossovers happening in Magic: The Gathering in the future, including Assassin’s Creed, Doctor Who, and Final Fantasy, but few are as fitting as the one with The Lord of the Rings. There is no franchise more important to the fantasy genre than Middle-earth, and to see its heroes and villains brought into the Magic: The Gathering multiverse is something that longtime fans have waited decades to experience.

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Scott Baird
Scott has been writing for Gamepur since 2023, having been a former contributor to websites like Cracked, Dorkly, Topless Robot, Screen Rant, The Gamer, and TopTenz. A graduate of Edge Hill University in the UK, Scott started as a film student before moving into journalism. Scott covers Dungeons & Dragons, Final Fantasy, Pokémon, and MTG. He can be contacted on LinkedIn.