Elvish Mariner | Illustration by Axel Sauerwald
Jumpstart is, for my money, the best way to onboard a new MTG player. I’ve played a lot of starter formats and decks, all the way back to the actual old “starter” decks and both versions of Portal. And given the wide popularity of the Lord of the Rings franchise and the Tales of Middle-earth Magic release, Lord of the Rings Jumpstart may be the perfect vehicle for teaching a friend how to play Magic.
Jumpstart, in case you don’t know, is an easy way to play Magic. You take two boosters, shuffle them together, and you’re ready to battle with your 40-card deck. And if I can do that with my favorite hobbits, so much the better!
Let’s take a look at all the details you need to know to get started.
|Mechanics||The Ring tempts you, Food tokens, amass, landcycling|
The first version of Lord of the Rings Jumpstart was released June 23, 2023 with the main Lord of the Rings set. But there’s a second Jumpstart for LTR, Volume 2.
|Previews Start||September 22, 2023|
|Full Gallery Available||September 22, 2023|
|Paper Release Date||November 3, 2023|
A fellowship of hobbits, humans, an elf, a dwarf and a wizard quest to destroy The One Ring. To do that it can only be Cast into the Fire of Mount Doom. There’s a lot of story. Three novels, some extended edition films, and lots of fan work and speculation.
Most of the cards in these packs are main Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth commons and uncommons. But there are ten new rares in these Jumpstart sets.
Five rares new to The Lord of the Rings Jumpstart arrived in summer of 2023. They also showed up in Lord of the Rings Collector Boosters as extended-art variants:
Five rares new to Volume 2 arrive in November 2023, and they’re available as extended-art variants in the Special Edition Collector Boosters:
It’s unclear if anyone has pulled The One Ring from the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth rare/mythic flex slot in any of the first round of Lord of the Rings Jumpstart packs, but that’s theoretically possible. Since the packs are mono-colored, you could just try for the black decks for a shot at Orcish Bowmasters, but the rate on that has to be worse than for regular packs if you’re on the hunt.
Because there’s a slot in each pack for the unique Jumpstart rare, you get a guaranteed pull of that card in the appropriate color deck. These are all interesting cards, although they cost a bit too much for what they do. None seem particularly Modern playable, save one, but there are a few good Commander cuts in the bunch.
I already really liked Elvish Mariner in my Galadriel of Lothlórien scry-matters deck. Even without the attack trigger I was starting to tap down half a dozen things a turn, which works great with top-end Simic stompy payoffs. This seems like a lock for a Hylda of the Icy Crown deck if that turns out to be decent, as well. Low impact, but a fun add.
I think it’d be hard to get the trigger on this without a haste enabler, but the best humans decks in Commander are pretty solidly multicolor. I can see Minas Tirith Garrison popping off, especially if you’ve given all your attackers vigilance with something like Brave the Sands.
Assault on Osgiliath has a huge potential, but the three red pips mean it’ll likely only find homes with mono-red commanders like Krenko, Mob Boss. In that deck this card has no X and serves as a cheap Overrun effect. If you can keep your commander on the battlefield and your mana is decent, this card slaps in Ovika, Enigma Goliath, which is where I play it, hoping for that one big turn.
Am I nuts that I think this could make Modern humans lists? Riders of the Mark is so interesting. I know humans lists are stacked, and the meta is stacked against them to boot, but 5-color humans decks do occasionally pull down MTGO Modern challenges these days. I’d absolutely swap out my Mantis Riders for this beater, which can come down as a 7/4 for 1 mana and then bounce back to hand while dropping four tokens. Obviously, if you can’t keep any creatures on board then this is an anchor of sadness in your hand, but if you can’t keep anything on the board with humans, you’re finishing the round early and going to lunch anyway.
In Commander, multicolor humans, let’s just freaking go.
As with other Jumpstart releases, the product is defined by its boosters and the game mechanism which shuffles them together. A Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Jumpstart Booster box or Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Jumpstart Volume 2 Booster box is a convenient way to go.
If the rares take off, individual boosters in those colors might be hard to grab individually, and the underwhelming white packs might be all that’s left at the LGS that sells boosters on their own.
Elanor Gardner | Illustration by Torgeir Fjereide
That’s the story of Lord of the Rings Jumpstart! I think it’s a fun format with a fun IP, and I think a number of the rares unique to this set are worth picking up for Commander. This means if your LGS has a Jumpstart event upcoming with the November release, it might be worth it to throw down.
If nothing else, we’ve got five totally new Lord of the Rings cards for fans and collectors. Did I overlook the potential of one of the rares? Let me know in the comments or on Discord.
Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: