Last updated on April 1, 2022
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:
- This set will not be Standard legal. Instead it’ll be slotted straight into Modern and Historic.
- Cards will not be turned into traditional Magic cards, but Wizards reserves the right to reprint them or print a regular Magic version.
- But there will be Secret Lair cards that will have Magic card equivalents.
- The set is designed to be drafted, so we’ll most likely get a draft experience similar to Modern Horizons or Commander Legends.
The Lord of the Rings Basic Information
|Number of Cards||TBA|
|Available on Draftsim’s draft simulator||2023|
|Release on MTG Arena||2023|
|Available on Arena Tutor||2023|
|Paper release date||2023|
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.
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.
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.
There are some other fan-made sets floating around the aether from years ago, but they aren’t very well balanced in my opinion.
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!
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.
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!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: