Last updated on May 14, 2024

Dawn of a New Age - Illustration by Anato Finnstark

Dawn of a New Age | Illustration by Anato Finnstark

Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is upon us, and I can’t wait to open those packs, be it draft, set, or collector boosters. WotC has another hit on their hands, both in gameplay and financially. Today I’m focusing on the money aspect; after all, MTG is an expensive hobby, and one of the ways to stay on it is to open and sell expensive cards.

I’m covering all there is to know about Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth’s most expensive and must-have cards, including the Commander set. I’ll be focusing heavily on EDH playability, since EDH has become the most played MTG format and affects card prices a lot.

And if you haven’t heard, there’s a small (less than 0.0001%) chance of opening the only copy of a card in MTG’s existence, so we’ll surely talk about that. Let’s dive deep into Tolkien's world adapted to MTG’s cardboard pieces and see where the dollar bills lie!

Quick note: The prices listed are based on TCGPlayer Market Price at the time of writing and will fluctuate over time.

#35. Gimli of the Glittering Caves

Price: $11.62

Here’s a mono-red commander that’s also a nice creature in an equipment- or legends-matter deck. Gimli of the Glittering Caves will naturally grow over the course of the game, and double strike allows it to make up to two Treasure tokens when dealing damage to a player.

Plus, Gimli is a warrior for Najeela, the Blade-Blossom decks.

#34. Aragorn, King of Gondor

Price: $11.64

Aragorn, King of Gondor looks very strong in Commander. It gives you the monarch ability, and once you’re the monarch, your creatures are unblockable.

This is a commander that can be built in various ways, be it an equipment/Voltron deck, a saboteur deck, and more. If you lose the monarch ability, attacking with Aragorn helps you recover it.

#33. Forge Anew

Price: $11.77

Forge Anew is an enchantment that can reanimate an expensive equipment, and that’s very cool with mechanics like living weapon and for Mirrodin!. You can also equip expensive equipment like Colossus Hammer for free.

I expect this card to be played or tried in numerous formats and become a staple in EDH. White has this small theme of enchantment and equipment/artifacts matter with commanders like Alela, Artful Provocateur, so Forge Anew can fit there as well.

#32. Bilbo, Birthday Celebrant

Price: $11.87

Bilbo, Birthday Celebrant is a card lifegain players are eager to test and build around. Getting to 111 life is a little hard, but there are several infinite life combos lying around.

Oh, and Ajani, Mentor of Heroes can give a little push in that department. You don’t need to reach 111 life. Just having Bilbo around helps you immensely in your lifegain synergies; suddenly all your cards that gain life are a little bit better because of it.

#31. Sail into the West

Price: $11.93

Wheel effects are usually sorcery speed, but Sail into the West is instant speed. If you’re playing 1v1, you vote for “embark” and that allows you to discard your hand and draw seven cards at your opponent’s end step. If you’re playing EDH, you’ll not always get what you want, but either you’re retrieving two important cards from your graveyard or wheeling.

This card can be an eternal format player, and it even passes the “pitch to Force of Will” test.

#30. Delighted Halfling

Price: $12.34

Delighted Halfling is poised to be a multiformat staple as a 1-drop that can generate mana of any color to cast a creature and make it uncounterable. You’ll always be able to cast your commander and other legendary spells without being countered.

It’s also a fixer for 4+ color decks, and Modern/Legacy decks get another tool to fight counterspell decks.

#29. Crown of Gondor

Price: $12.99

Crown of Gondor is an equipment that combines the monarch ability with going wide. This card will work best with commanders that incentivize you to go wide and make tokens, and you can cast a commander, become the monarch, and equip the Crown to a creature in the same turn. If your commander has haste, you’ll often be able to equip it and attack in the same turn.

I can see this card becoming a staple equipment, at least in EDH.

#28. Orcish Siegemaster

Price: $12.99

Orcish Siegemaster wants you to have a huge orc army to give trample to. The Siegemaster can become a powerful threat in Voltron/aura builds, or decks that have extra combat steps.

This card gets at least +6/+0 thanks to the double trigger in Isshin, Two Heavens as One decks, and it’ll be a staple at least in orc typal decks.

#27. Rapacious Guest

Price: $12.99

Rapacious Guest does a little of everything. You can use it in combos that abuse ETB and LTB to win a game, but you can also attack with small creatures, make a lot of Food, and gain a bunch of life. That’s something that lots of Orzhov () and Golgari () builds are interested in doing.

Rapacious Guest can also be a nice equipment carrier and go to the red zone since your opponents won’t be too keen on killing it once it’s a 5/5 or bigger.

#26. Gwaihir, Greatest of the Eagles

Price: $12.99

Gwaihir, Greatest of the Eagles is a big flying creature that slots well into lifegain decks. Making a 3/3 flier when you gain three life is no joke, and giving flying to other big-sized ground creatures is an awesome ability.

While you can make a Gwaihir commander deck, I’d slot it into a nice Selesnya () or Abzan () deck filed with beefy creatures that can’t fly.

#25. Shelob, Dread Weaver

Price: $12.99

Shelob, Dread Weaver is an interesting spider for spider Commander decks, and can be a spider commander or a reanimator commander by itself. You can use enemy creatures to draw cards or reanimate them to employ in your own army.

You’ll also passively hate graveyards, not to mention slow most graveyard loops and sacrifice decks.

#24. The Gaffer

Price: $12.99

Lifegain is already a popular theme among Commander decks, and The Gaffer easily slots into any of them. There are lots of cards that give you mana in increments of three, and most lifelink creatures worth playing already have three power or more.

Plus, you’ll draw a card for free whenever you sacrifice a Food token.

#23. Palantír of Orthanc

Price: $13.91

Palantír of Orthanc is an artifact that gives you one of two things each turn: you either draw a card, or mill X and target player loses X life. Each turn you put a counter on Palantír to increase the amount of X, so the risk for your opponents gets bigger every turn.

This card will probably fit into most self-mill decks. You can also choose a player that’s low on life and force them to give you cards if you're playing an aggressive deck.

#22. Sauron, Lord of the Rings

Price: $13.96

The real Lord of the Rings is here. It looks expensive at eight mana, but Sauron, Lord of the Rings comes with a free 5/5 Orc Army and a free reanimate spell. If you wanted a commander that’s like Cruel Ultimatum, this is for you.

It’s also a 9/9 trample that its very strong on its own and makes for an awesome Ringbearer.

#21. Reanimate

Price: $13.98

Reanimate is a black staple in MTG, and it's being reprinted in this set.

This card already sees play in a variety of formats, EDH included. Paying only a mana to get this effect is very efficient and gives you a massive tempo advantage. Yes, you’ll have to pay some life too, but players start with 40 life in EDH and some commanders, like Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, give you a bunch of extra life to offset the cost.

#20. Witch-king of Angmar

Price: $14.26

Witch-king of Angmar will make it so that your opponents won’t want to attack you, unless they have a big and wide creature army. It’s a discard outlet by itself, and you can easily build a Voltron deck or reanimator deck around it.

You can kill an opponent in three hits with Andúril, Flame of the West equipped. It can even protect itself well!

#19. Toxic Deluge

Price: $14.48

Toxic Deluge is a reprint of one of the best black sweepers ever. Playable in Legacy and EDH alike, it costs only three mana and you can even decide to pay less mana and keep your bigger creatures alive.

Giving -X/-X to all creatures gets around indestructible, protection, and damage prevention.

#18. Andúril, Flame of the West

Price: $14.58

Andúril, Flame of the West gives a huge +3/+1 bonus and gets you some 1/1 Spirit tokens. It also rewards you for equipping legendary creatures (like your commander). The potential of this equipment in a flying/token matters deck is absurd, and even the little evasive commanders can become game winning threats on their own.

#17. Haldir, Lórien Lieutenant

Price: $14.98

Haldir, Lórien Lieutenant is a nice tool in an elves deck. You can use the mana generated by your mana elves to cast it and give your army a big Overrun effect.

Haldir goes very well with other cards on this list like Galadhrim Ambush. The question most players will ask is, “do I play Haldir as a commander or as another card in my elf decks?”

#16. Aragorn, the Uniter

Price: $16.98

Aragorn, the Uniter is a 4-color commander that rewards you for casting multicolored spells. What’s more, it creates 1/1 Human tokens, so you can have a human typal subtheme, preferably with gold cards.

There are a lot of cards that already support this theme, and players love 4-color commanders because they’re rare. No surprise that this card is getting all the hype.

This is the commander that will let you play all other Aragorn cards too, and they all work well together. Aragorn typal, anyone?

#15. Cavern-Hoard Dragon

Price: $16.99

Here’s one really hyped card for red mages. Cavern-Hoard Dragon is a massive dragon that generates Treasure tokens to go alongside Ancient Copper Dragon. The nicest thing here is that you’ll usually get a good cost reduction to cast your big threat, particularly if one of your opponents has a Dockside Extortionist in play.

#14. Gollum, Obsessed Stalker

Price: $17.98

Gollum, Obsessed Stalker requires you to track a new thing during a game, and that’s being hurt by it at least once. You’ll play this in black lifegain/lifedrain decks either as a card or commander, and I can see weird games where all players get hurt once by Gollum at the beginning of the game and keep losing life in increments throughout.

#13. Glamdring

Price: $18.43

Glamdring is a powered Runechanter's Pike, and it’s bound to make the 99 of plenty of spellslinger and equipment-based decks. It gets better with self-mill effects and evasive creatures, and you’ll eventually get to cast instants and sorceries from your hand for free.

This card also rewards decks that spend their turn drawing lots of cards at sorcery speed before combat since they are able to recover the tempo with a Glamdring hit.

#12. Gandalf the White

Price: $18.56

Gandalf the White[card] combines the ability to cast legendary and artifact spells with Gandalf the White deck, or adding it to your 5-color humans/legends matters deck.

#11. Sauron, the Dark Lord

Price: $19.13

Sauron, the Dark Lord is a very strong threat on its own. It’s difficult to target thanks to the ward ability and will produce a powerful army of orcs on its own. You’ll also get a lot of the ring tempts you triggers as the game goes by, and Sauron with the ring is a powerful force to be reckoned with.

Who would'a thunk?

#10. Spiteful Banditry

Price: $19.63

Red decks got a new toy across multiple formats, and it’s very similar to The Meathook Massacre. Combining a wrath effect with Treasure making is a good combination, and I can see Spiteful Banditry becoming a red EDH staple mainly in Rakdos () or Grixis () decks that want to build around Treasure and artifacts.

#9. The Black Gate

Price: $19.98

The Black Gate is a nice utility land that can help you to attack a player freely if they have the most life. This can be used in politics regarding other players, it’s a gate that can be fetched with other cards, and it works wonders with mechanics like dethrone.

The Black Gate doesn’t even have real downside since it can enter untapped, and having the legendary type is usually all upside in EDH.

#8. Galadhrim Ambush

Price: $19.98

Galadhrim Ambush is a very similar card to Arachnogenesis, and it'll probably be a green staple in EDH, particularly in elf decks. It gets the preference here over Arachnogenesis because elves are a much more well-supported deck than spiders, and you can certainly play both in your green tokens deck.

#7. Arwen, Weaver of Hope

Price: $19.98

Arwen, Weaver of Hope makes it so that each creature you cast comes with an extra +1/+1 counter, and that can get better with typal elf incentives and equipment. Elf decks in EDH already have lots of token making, and another anthem is welcome.

You can play Arwen in an EDH deck as a support card, or as a mighty elf commander.

#6. Saruman, the White Hand

Price: $20.00

Saruman, the White Hand is a typal goblin and orc commander, showing the flavor of Saruman, the creator of Isengard’s armies. Each noncreature spell you cast comes attached with an orc because of the amass effect, and you’ll have a powerful army beatstick as the game goes on.

The actual high cost of the card reflects its power and MTG players’ love of typal EDH decks.

#5. Saruman of Many Colors

Price: $20.11

Saruman of Many Colors is an Esper () commander that has nice stats and some built-in protection, but its ability is very confusing to understand. What you get with this commander is the ability to copy cheap instants, sorceries, and enchantments from your opponents’ graveyards.

Like Snapcaster Mage’s ability, you’ll exile cards from their graveyards and cast a copy of the card exiled. Building this commander is a nice exercise because you’ll want to mill opponents, cast low-mana value spells to be able to double spell a lot, along with casting some high-cost spells.

This is an exciting card for sure, and it gives players loads of possibilities for building different Commander decks.

#4. Sol Ring

Price: $21.16

Sol Ring is probably the most played card in EDH, and it’s reprinted in almost every Commander set. This is a high price for an uncommon card, and we’re talking regular art Sol Ring, because there are serialized versions that are much more expensive.

Different from other valuable cards from this set, I’m not sure if this card will hold the value in the long run. It’s a good bet to sell it when it’s still expensive.

#3. Dawn of a New Age

Price: $23.29

Dawn of a New Age is a good personal Howling Mine in an EDH deck with some creatures laying around. You’ll usually cast it and draw an extra card for three or four turns on average.

It’s like a white Phyrexian Arena, and you’ll not even lose life. Plus, it only costs two mana.

#2. Orcish Bowmasters

Price: $23.79

Orcish Bowmasters is being heralded as the black Dockside Extortionist or Hullbreacher, and I can see why. You can add this card to any black deck, and you don’t even need to build around it.

Let’s say your opponent casts Brainstorm. You’ll flash the Bowmasters right after they draw three cards, deal three damage to any target, and make a 3/3. You can do the math and see what happens if every player draws 7 cards after a wheel effect.

#1. The One Ring

Price: $36.99

We’re talking about the normal version and not the unique, serialized 001/001. The One Ring is still that good, and you can get it in a normal, cheaper version if you want it.

The One Ring is going to be a new EDH staple. You get protection the turn you cast it, so you get a nice advantage even if you cast this card in the late game. What’s more, you can use the black ability to draw cards and lose life in every color, and you’ll draw even more cards if you have proliferate or counter synergies.

It’s also colorless and goes in any EDH deck.

Promos, Alternate Art, and More

Each MTG set nowadays has lots and lots of different card arts, alternate arts, and foil treatments. LTR is no exception, so let's go over the main ones from this set.

Showcase Ring Treatment

30 legendary characters are getting the showcase ring treatment in this set, and those range from heroes like Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas to villains like Sauron, Saruman, and the Witch-king of Angmar. These special cards can appear in all boosters, and I’d expect these to be really valuable due to the popularity of EDH.

For a quick comparison, right now the showcase version of Gandalf the White is selling for over 30$, the foil showcase version is around 70$, and the normal version is listed at just shy of 20$. We can expect the value of showcase cards to be at least 30% more expensive than the normal version, and that’s being conservative.

Realms and Relics Box Toppers

This set has a selection of 30 lands and artifacts that are all desired reprints, going from important lands like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Karakas, and Cavern of Souls to staple artifacts like The Great Henge, Shadowspear, and Ensnaring Bridge.

These Realms and Relics can be found in collector boosters and as a box toppers in surge foil versions across all kinds of booster boxes. Those will fetch a pretty penny, with The Great Henge and Cavern of Souls already hitting over $50.

Here’s a small list of the most valuable Realms and Relics cards with their prices as listed on TCGPlayer:

Bundle Promo Cards

Each bundle promo comes with the same four cards depicting a scene where Gollum “helps” Frodo to get rid of the One Ring once and for all. Clearly, The One Ring is carrying the value of the bundle promo, as you can see the values below:

Serialized Cards

Sol Rings

Based on the LotR lore, “3 rings given to the elven kings, 7 rings given to the dwarven kings, and 9 rings given to human kings,” WotC made special serialized Sol Ring cards. The text on these ring cards is in Quenya, the language of the high elves.

Here are how many of each were made in total (the total count is proportional to the amount of Rings in LotR):

These don’t have a price on TCGPlayer yet, but I believe that they’ll easily hit the 1,000$+ mark judging by other serialized cards WotC has released in past sets.

The One Ring

The 1 of 1 Ring

The moment we were all waiting for! By now everyone and their mothers know that MTG will have a unique card, and that’s The One Ring serialized 001/001.

People on the internet have already put a 2 million Euro bounty on this card, roughly 2,158 million dollars. Quite frankly the card might be worth even 5-10 times more than this. Not even extremely rare cards like Black Lotus are in this level, since there are a couple copies around the world.

The 001/001 One Ring is truly the chasest card of this collection, and in MTG overall.

Wrap Up

The One Ring - Illustration by Veli Nyström

The One Ring | Illustration by Veli Nyström

This set is filled to the brim with cool and valuable cards, and there are unique commanders and cards that will surely become format staples. And, of course, the most valuable card in MTG’s history, the one and only, The One Ring.

These are the cards that caught MTG’s community‘s attention and are receiving the most hype, so I’d hold to those cards if I open them. Especially if they’re foil or have a different art treatment. Keep in mind that these are all prerelease prices and will change.

I wish the best luck to all of you players are opening LTR packs! Let me know if you open any value cards in the comments below, or come talk about it in the official Draftsim Discord.

Thanks for reading folks, and stay safe!

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1 Comment

  • Avatar
    Paul June 27, 2023 3:42 am

    Just got a copy of the one ring.

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