Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Early Look

Chris CornejoModern

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is right around the corner with previews starting next week on May 30. We’re here to round up everything we know about the set so you can be prepared for Magic’s journey into one of the most impactful fantasy settings of all time! 

The Story

Settle in, this may take a while. 

The One Ring
The One Ring

Nah, just kidding. Look, there’s three venerated books (not counting all the other Middle-earth set books and writings) by J.R.R. Tolkien, which were adapted into three of the most successful movies of all time (and a few animated features about 20 years before those came out). There is so much lore around this saga that there’s no way I can cover it in the scope of this article. There’s a good shot you’re already at least passingly familiar with the story, and if you aren’t, here’s a quick elevator pitch: 

In a tale that became the progenitor of most modern fantasy, a small, peaceful creature known as a hobbit finds a magic ring. This ring is even more special than it first appears to be, however, launching our reluctant protagonist, his friends and allies into an epic quest against a dark lord for the fate of the world.

The Timeline 

Here’s the important dates we know for the set: 

  • Card Kingdom’s presale for the set begins: May 24 (today!) 
  • The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth bebut and previews begin: May 30 
  • Card previews: May 30–June 9 
  • Commander previews and deck lists: June 8 
  • Complete card image galleries: June 9 
  • In-store prerelease events: June 16–22 
  • MTG Arena digital release: June 20 
  • Global tabletop release: June 23 
  • Launch party events: June 23–25 
  • Bundle: Gift Edition release: July 7 
  • The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth in-store celebration events: July 7–9 
  • Commander parties: July 21–23 
  • MagicCon: Barcelona, featuring The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth: July 28–30 
  • Store Championships: August 5–13 
  • Holiday release: November 3 

Wait, what’s that last line? Holiday release? That’s right! In November, more products will be coming: 

  • Scene Boxes: featuring beautiful traditional foil borderless scene cards (more on these later). 
  • Collector Booster: Special Edition: with a new treatment not found in the original Collector Boosters. 
  • The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Jumpstart Volume 2: adding more themes to mix and match with the original Jumpstart release for the set. 

The Set 

The set itself will be legal in Modern, Legacy, Vintage and Commander, with the cards from the Commander decks legal in all the same formats save Modern. While that does make this a supplemental set for non-rotating formats, the set will have all the products we’ve become familiar with for a Standard set release: 

Starter Kit

The starter kit features two 60-card decks, which are perfect for beginner players. These decks each feature five new-to-Magic cards not found in the rest of the set (all of which will be legal in the same formats as the main set), including the two face foil mythic rares.

Jumpstart Boosters and Prerelease Packs

Primarily meant for the prerelease events, these packs contain six Draft boosters, a spin-down life counter and two stamped promos: a rare or mythic rare from the set and a borderless scene card normally only available in Collector Boosters (more on scene cards later). 

Set, Draft and Collector Boosters

Each Set, Draft and Collector booster will also come with a traditional foil Realms and Relics Box Topper card – lands and artifacts from Magic’s past that have been reskinned to fit into the Lord of the Rings setting. Non-foil and Surge foil versions of these 30 cards can also be found in Collector boosters. 

Lorien Brooch
Lorien Brooch

There is also a Buy-a-Box promo available with Set, Draft, Collector and Jumpstart Booster Boxes while supplies last at your local game store: 

Commander Decks

There are four Commander preconstructed decks planned for Tales of Middle-earth:

  • Riders of Rohan (white/blue/red) 
  • Food and Fellowship (white/black/green) 
  • Elven Council (blue/green) 
  • The Hosts of Mordor (blue/black/red) 

Each deck features 20 new Magic cards, which will be legal in Legacy, Vintage and Commander. Each deck also comes with a Collector Booster sample pack, along with many reprints featuring Lord of the Rings themed art!

Bundle (and Gift Edition)

The Bundles for this set come with eight Set boosters and 40 basic lands, 20 of which will be foil. Additionally, they will feature four foil variants only available in both versions of the bundles (although non-foil version can be found in Collector boosters): 

When arranged this way, these “scene” cards for a panorama depicting a pivotal moment from the Lord of the Rings saga. Other scenes exist, ranging from the above two-by-two grid all the way up to a three-by-six grid. While these particular scene cards are found in Bundles, other Scene cards (for a total of seven scenes) can be found in Draft, Set, and Collector boosters. 

Booster Fun 

We’ve already covered a decent amount of what you can perhaps find in any given booster, but there’s more! 

These Map lands can be found in Jumpstart, Set and Draft boosters, and as traditional foils in Collector boosters.  

The Showcase treatment for the set features, fittingly enough, a ringed border:

There are 30 cards receiving the Showcase treatment, available in Set, Draft and Collector boosters. 

Also in those boosters are Borderless Lands, depicting various places from the story: 

Extended art version of Rares and Mythics are also up for grabs.

Secret Lair 

It has been confirmed that there will be a Secret Lair drop featuring cards from the Lord of the Rings… although any further details have yet to be revealed. 

To Rule Them All

The One Sing (Serialized)
The One Sing (Serialized)

Serialized cards have come into Magic recently, but with this set, there’s a special wrinkle to these ultra-collectible cards. The One-of The One Ring. That’s right, only one of this card will be printed in a random, English language Collector Booster!

The story features more than just The One Ring, however, and the Rings of Power show up in the set as special version of Sol Ring: 

Available in all languages of Collector Boosters, only a limited number of these rings will be available as well: 

  • 300 Serialized double rainbow foil Sol Ring (Elven) 
  • 700 Serialized double rainbow foil Sol Ring (Dwarven) 
  • 900 Serialized double rainbow foil Sol Ring (Human) 
  • 3,000 Non-foil Sol Ring (Elven) 
  • 7,000 Non-foil Sol Ring (Dwarven)
  • 9,000 Non-foil Sol Ring (Human) 

There and Back Again

Excited for the set yet? Good news! While you do have to wait a bit still to get your hands on these cards and products, our presale is live right now! All of your the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth needs can be fulfilled here!