Last updated on April 1, 2022

LotR set promo image by Dmitry Burmak

Promo image by Dmitry Burmak

With the new Universes Beyond series we were greeted with one of the most impressive feats yet: Hasbro somehow convinced the Tolkien estate to allow them to create an entire Lord of the Rings set!

While details are very sparse right now, we know a few things about The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth so far:

The Lord of the Rings Basic Information

Set Details

Set SymbolTBA
Set CodeTBA
HashtagTBA
Number of CardsTBA
RaritiesTBA
MechanicsTBA

Important Dates

EventDate
Previews startTBA
Available on Draftsim’s draft simulator2023
Release on MTG Arena2023
Available on Arena Tutor2023
Paper release date2023

About the Set: The Story

Dungrove Elder - Illustration by Matt Stewart

Dungrove Elder | Illustration by Matt Stewart

Assuming they stick to the core books, we’ll probably see Tales of Middle-earth somewhere in the middle of the War of the Ring.

For the uninitiated, Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy tale that spans three books. Without getting into the crazy mythos of Middle-earth, the story is about an evil entity known as “Sauron” who was defeated at the hands of men and elves after nearly destroying the realm. He needs his Ring of Power (known as “The One Ring”) to reform his physical form and finish what he started. But the ring was lost to time.

Unfortunately, a small hobbit eventually discovers that ring, which throws the world back into chaos. A small group of heroes known as the “Fellowship of the Ring” seeks to bring the ring to the mountain where it was forged, to destroy it once and for all.

Middle-earth is known as the “original” high-fantasy setting upon which almost all of the modern fantasy fiction stems, so we’ll see a lot of fantasy tropes in this set. Elves, orcs, treefolk, hobbits, and humans all have a place here.

Set Mechanics

Sol Ring - Illustration by Mike Bierek

Sol Ring | Illustration by Mike Bierek

We don’t know anything about the set as of right now. But, of course, we can speculate.

One of the major themes of the books is the racial dynamics between these creatures. Elves are the oldest, being created first, followed by the dwarves, and they hate each other. On the other hand, men are the youngest of the races and often quarrel among themselves due to the lack of a proper king to rule them.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this set features some heavier tribal mechanics to reflect this. I don’t think it’ll be on the same level as Lorwyn, maybe more like the Ixalan block’s subtler tribal mechanics.

This set will also be Modern and Historic legal, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the power level is a bit above what we see in a typical Standard set. I don’t expect it to be on par with a Modern Horizons set but there’s a strong chance it’ll be around there.

Speculation

We have a lot of time to speculate since Tales of Middle-earth isn’t going to release until 2023, but not enough details for any well-informed guesses.

We already know the set will feature the Fellowship and other iconic characters and items throughout Middle-earth. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see lesser-known characters like Tom Bombadil or Beorn and his Beornings. Sometimes it’s just easier not to explain why there’s an omnipotent not-quite-hobbit man who’s married to a river. Destructoid seems to think it’ll be more in line with the Peter Jackson films, but I couldn’t find any sources to verify this.

MTG Cardsmith user OndSluHai created a custom LotR set that gives us a pretty decent idea of some cards we might see. I’m partially fond of The One Ring and Boromir of Gondor.

There are some other fan-made sets floating around the aether from years ago, but they aren’t very well balanced in my opinion.

Official Spoilers

Nothing to see here yet, and it’ll probably be quite a while before we get any more details. But you’ll be the first to know the second we do!

Available Products

Wizards mentioned that they’d offer a “full product lineup,” which means that we’ll be seeing draft and set boosters as well as four Commander decks. Unfortunately, this is still speculation until we get closer to 2023.

Closing the Red Book of Westmarch

Llanowar Elves - Illustration by Chris Rahn

Llanowar Elves | Illustration by Chris Rahn

I’m very excited about this set. I’m a massive LotR fan, even going so far to have the White Tree of Gondor tattooed on my arm. I hope this set overperforms, but either way I’ll show my support for it as long as it looks accurate to the source material.

How about you, dear reader? Are you awaiting the stories of elves, hobbits, dwarves, and men? Or do you prefer your goblins to go WAAAAGH instead? Let me know in the comments down below.

As for me, I’ve got to re-read the Silmarillion and hype myself for the new Amazon show. Have a good one!

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