An exclusive sneak peek at some of the wild new playable cards in The Lord of the Rings x Magic: The Gathering holiday updates, courtesy of Wizards of the Coast. You’ve never seen Magic cards like these!
Announced at MagicCon Vegas this weekend, the hugely successful MTGxLOTR is getting a new creative expansion including these new borderless poster art cards. These playable cards include all the necessary details, from the cost at the top right to the effect description hand written. These new cards will be available randomly in the new Holiday Collector Packs.
We got the opportunity to ask art directors from Magic: The Gathering, Sarah Wassell and MTG Hall of Famer Mike Turian, about these new wild designs.
What inspired this path of creativity in the cards?
Sarah Wassell – “The LOTR poster art style is specific to a style of band poster that emerged during the counter culture movement in the US in the 1960s (Seymour Chwast, Pushpin Studios, etc etc. There was a three book LOTR set published with amazing cover art by Barbara Remington that was a cult hit on US college campuses in the 1960s. This surge of interest fed directly into cultural moments with stadium rock bands referencing Tolkien in their lyrics in the 1970s. It’s incredible, the far-reaching effect of LOTR on fantasy and art and music, and we loved taking the space to honor one of the more surprising areas of Tolkien fandom through these “band posters.” And we love the chance to turn Magic cards with all their rule and mechanics into full poster art—it’s such a mind-bending way to approach a format that is so rigid that the elements can disappear through familiarity. “
These look unlike any other MTGxLOTR cards so far. Are they part of a broader artistic trends you are seeing come up?
Wassell – “Hopefully, the broad trend is that we continue to surprise and delight fans! Our goal for Magic art is to always work from a place of passion for the storytelling and characters and find new ways to visually express the lore of the set through connections to pop culture and all kinds of unexpected, nostalgic, or beloved ways of depicting the Magic sets we love so much.”
What has been the biggest surprise so far since initial release of LOTR?
Mike Turian – “The biggest surprise for me is just how the 1 of 1 Ring took on a life of its own. When we were making the card, that was always the vision behind doing a singular card to celebrate Magic and The Lord of the Rings coming together, we wanted to create something that would capture the imagination of fans and bring a piece of the novel to life. Still though, to see how it really did take off was something spectacular. And then, to actually have it pulled out of a pack, and ultimately end up in the hands of a superstar celebrity musician who loves playing Magic, I can’t imagine a better ending to that story!”
How do you find such creative artists?
Wassell – “We try to stay engaged in what is popular and exciting with fan art and pop art. We research art history and then approach our searches from current working artists who are inspired by exciting moments in art’s past. Mostly, we try to start from the source material of our internal world building team and game designers to amplify the exciting moments in a Magic set through the art that excites and inspires all of us in our day-to-day online and IRL journeys.”
The new packs for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Holiday Edition release November 3. Look for pre-orders through your favorite local game store.
After months of hype and fantastic artwork reveals, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards are officially available at most major stores – and selling out fast.
Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has created a Willy Wonka style Golden Ticket race to find a rare 1/1 foil card of the one ring of power. It’s only available in Collector Boosters (says COLLECTOR right on the box). MTGxLOTR has crossed over into “mainstream” pop culture with this chase for the ring.
Tons of YouTubers, Twitch streamers and TikToks are posting videos opening packs of Magic: The Gathering’s new LOTR crossover cards. xQc, one of the biggest twitch gaming stars in the world with millions of followers and a recent $100 million streaming deal (you read that right), was seen opening Collector packs this weekend. Much of it is driven by the search for THE ONE RING 1-of-1 foil card, written in Elvish font, and currently worth $2 million on the open market. Other serialized & numbered “Sol Ring” cards, as the magic ring is called in this card set, are being valued at over $10,000.
Over the weekend, Nerd of the Rings teamed up with TORn staffer Justin to split the cost of a box of Collector Boosters, which currently retail for around $400, and streamed opening half a box each. The results were surprising! Thanks to the superchat donations, another box of these cards will be opened on Nerd of the Rings’ live stream next Sunday.
We did some homework to try to figure out what you should be buying, with so many packs available. The basic rule is, if you are simply chasing great artwork and collecting the valuable cards for display or resale, you’ll want to buy Collectors Packs. Those have the best chance to get great cards.
A listing at TCGPlayer.com has a rare “Sol Ring” One Ring card serialized (with xxx / xxx) for $11,000.
Here’s the official press release from Wizards of the Coast / MTG:
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™ Now Available
Gather the Fellowship on Tabletop, Arena, Local Game Stores
RENTON, Wash. — June 26, 2023 — Wizards of the Coast, a division of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAS), has released the highly anticipated Magic: The Gathering set. This Universes Beyond card set combines Magic’s deep and strategic gameplay that players love with characters and settings from the classic trilogy from J.R.R. Tolkien for a one-of-a-kind experience in Middle-earth.
With The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™, players will join the Fellowship and relive or create their journey through Middle-earth. Each game is a new adventure, and players will decide whether they bear the burden of The Ring to save Middle-earth or claim its power and cast the realm into shadow.
“Much like The Lord of the Rings, Magic: The Gathering is about fellowship,” said Bill Rose, global play lead for Magic: The Gathering. “We can’t wait for Magic fans and new players to come together on the journey there and back again through the thematic gameplay that Magic fans all over the world have come to love and appreciate.”
Iconic scenes from the Third Age of Middle-earth are brought to life through stunning original art. Each card is a mini masterpiece, providing a new interpretation of the beloved characters, lands, and relics that Tolkien brought to life in his classic trilogy. Some adventures just can’t be contained in one book or one journey.
The pivotal moments of The Lord of the Rings are so powerful, it took multiple cards to depict them in their entirety. Collectors can assemble special combinations of Magic cards to recreate climactic scenes in larger tableaus, like the Battle of the Pelennor Fields at Minas Tirith or Bilbo’s Birthday party.
With thematic gameplay, like having any creature become a Ringbearer, this nostalgic tale has been seamlessly integrated into Magic: The Gathering. The story may play out very differently, and the effects of the Ring on your Ringbearer will linger even if someone else claims it.
One of One Ring
The One of One Ring Promotion is an extraordinarily rare promotion only for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth™. The card is mechanically identical to other versions of the card with English text, but this one copy of this premium foil card with raised gold foil will be inserted into an English language Collector Booster pack and printed with 1 of 1 numbering and with Elvish script. The precious One Ring could fall into the hands of any player, presenting a unique opportunity for collectors and fans of the franchise
Additional collectable opportunities continue with new Sol Ring art cards featuring the Elven, Dwarven and Human Rings of Power, each with Elvish script and unique framing on the card. As a staple in the Commander format, Sol Ring is one of Magic’s most famous and used cards, making these unique versions highly desirable for collectors and players alike.
As the Ringbearer, the One Ring changes the abilities of a creature that has been tempted by its power. It immediately becomes legendary and can’t be blocked by creatures with greater power. In time, The Ring’s other abilities will provide valuable combat bonuses, increasing in power as The Ring Tempts You mechanic enters into the game through other cards.
Celebration Weekend and Arena Play
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth ™ is available now. Local game stores in the Wizards Play Network (WPN) will be hosting key events to celebrate the launch. Participating game stores will welcome new players into the fellowship in a celebration event weekend on July 7-9, so anyone can learn to play Magic in a relaxed environment. All WPN events can be found using the Wizards Store Locator.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth ™ is also available now on Magic: The Gathering Arena in Alchemy and Historic formats. ARENA is the online playable version of MTG, with apps on iphone and android.
In the latest annual financial report from Swedish holding company Embracer Group, the purchase price for its newly acquired Middle-earth IP has been revealed as US $395 million. This is nearly double what Amazon paid for the TV rights to LOTR, and includes everything outside those TV rights — movies, music, merch, games and theme parks.
According to Variety, Embracer also reports “several world-class products” from The Lord of the Rings are in the works. These include the already announced new Warner Bros / New Line Cinema deal for several new films, and an original online MMO RPG persistent world game set in the Third Age from Amazon Games.
It should be noted that Middle-earth Enterprises (MEE) were already making big moves before the acquisition. The newly licensed Magic: The Gathering card game The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, five new video games including Gollum Game and a new Weta Digital LOTR game, as well as merch trademarks for Rings of Power were all in process before the Embracer acquisition of MEE from The Saul Zaentz Company.
Interestingly, the Embracer annual report says there was a cash payment of $267 million for Middle-earth Enterprises, implying that the extra $130 million could be performance-based rewards or stock in the new owner. Saul Zaentz, the enterprising filmmaker, music producer and deal maker, owned the rights that enabled all the films and games over the last 50 years. Rumors last year had the rights valued at $2 billion, nearly 5x the actual acquisition price. This may be how much Embracer expects to make from Middle-earth. For comparison, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit and LOTR films have made nearly $10 billion in box office, home video, games and merch.
Middle-earth returns to card decks worldwide with the new officially licensed The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth sets. Wizards of the Coast, owners of Magic: The Gathering, streamed a first look at many of the LOTR cards, mechanics, characters and artwork arriving in June.
For old fans returning to Magic: The Gathering, many will appreciate this announcement – Wizards has licensed artwork from Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings, as “Secret Lair” variant cards!
Some of the cards have generated immense conversation on social media, which is a signing of increasing popularity. These LOTR decks are selling extremely well on pre-orders, and tons of fans can’t wait to get their hands on them. Wizards of the Coast provided this quote to Kotaku about the fresh artistic interpretations of Middle-earth:
Diversity:The Lord of the Rings is about the different peoples of Middle-earth coming together to fight Sauron, finding strength in their diversity. Fans of all backgrounds have been enjoying these stories, characters, and locations for decades, and we wanted this set to reflect on that broad inclusion. Originality: The goal of this set is to express the story and setting of The Lord of the Rings through Magic: The Gathering Countless prior efforts have painted vivid pictures of this world, but our goal is a modern take on the work of J.R.R. Tolkien, lovingly crafted for an ever-expanding fandom.
Get Aragorn with Anduril, and the rest of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth card packs, everywhere June 23, 2023. Support local game shops and pre-order with them.
Staffer Demosthenes here with a quick update on behalf of Justin.
First, there will be a expansion featuring cards based on Hildebrandt Tolkien artwork in November. Second, the Bakshi Secret Lair will only be available from The Wizards of the Coast website — so if you want it go looking there!
Finally, Amazon also has a number of special booster packs for pre-order. The big Booster Box is currently unavailable, but you can still pre-order small packs (of 15 cards) at the time of writing. Hopefully I got that all correct! Oh, and there’s a lot of discussion of the new MTG LOTR cards happening on our Discord so feel free to drop by and join in at discord.gg/TheOneRing.
Amazon Games, developers of the acclaimed New World online RPG game, are heading development of a new multiplayer The Lord of the Rings video game.
Embracer, the fresh new owners of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, are licensing the Middle-earth MMO gaming rights to Amazon Games, whose first and only game, New World, was a big bold swing into a crowded massive-multiplayer-gaming space against Grand Theft Auto, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, No Man’s Sky, and of course LOTRO.
This new LOTR MMO game will be a persistent open world Middle-earth set in the third age, but not based or connected to Amazon’s billion-dollar The Rings of Power TV series. Development is currently planning to launch on PC and console.
Reviews for Amazon’s New World currently sit at 6/10 on Steam with 200,000+ reviews, and a Metacritic score of 70. Metacritic is basically Rotten Tomatoes for video games, averaging review scores from professionals and the community. From what we have read, New World was praised for good modern graphics and multiplayer engagement, but with a limited set of innovative game mechanics.
This new game is unrelated to the cancelled LOTR online MMO game that was being developed in China. Amazon is building this in-house with its team from an earlier acquisition of Double Helix, a successful studio responsible for many franchise spinoff games like Enter the Matrix, Star Wars Episode III, Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, Killer Instinct, G.I. Joe, Silent Hill, and more.
Fans may welcome a next-gen Lord of the Rings MMO experience, as one of the common knocks on the hugely successful (and still updating) LOTRO is the dated graphics. Amazon Games will have their work cut out for them to differentiate from Peter Jackson’s cinematic world, Standing Stone Games’ deep lore gaming in LOTRO, and the future secrets from The Rings of Power. LOTRO is still one of the best reviewed MMO games, even after 16 years of fresh expansions.