Magic: The Gathering LotR Expansion Tales From Middle Earth – Characters, cards & formats


Wizards of the Coast’s upcoming Magic set is entirely based around the world of Lord of the Rings. Here’s everything we know so far!

It seems as though the vicious grasp of Sauron cannot be contained to just Middle-Earth. The jubilant world of Lord of the Rings is coming to Magic: The Gathering, and Wizards of the Coast is only getting the pot of potatoes to a simmer according to previews.

With a brand new stream having just happened, we now have a better idea about the Lord of the Rings mechanics. On top of this, we also know more characters that are coming to the set, which just seems to be everyone.

Article continues after ad

Where to buy Magic: The Gathering’s Lord of the Rings set

all LOTR Magic products

Magic’s Lord of the Rings set is currently up for pre-order, wherever you get your sets. This is being distributed as a regular set for MTG, so it’s all in on the different products you can grab.

This includes bundles, Commander decks, collectors, and set boosters.

AmazonBest for sealed product
TCGPlayerBest for singles and sealed product

When does MTG LOTR release?

The Magic: The Gathering Lord of the Rings set will launch on June 23, 2023. Prerelease will happen to start June 16 in stores, while Arena will see a release of the set on June 20.

Article continues after ad

Magic’s 2023 is back-to-back bumper releases, with their own story coming to another eventful close and a Doctor Who set coming much later.

Every character in MTG Lord of the Rings

In their original Q&A session, Senior Communications Manager, Blake Rasmussen, confirmed the set will only involve the trilogy. This means no characters from The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, or Amazon’s Rings of Power show will be featured.

In the original stream, Rasmussen went on to say there will be multiple versions of a single character spread amongst the sets.

Article continues after ad

Right now, we know that the following characters will be included in Magic’s Lord of the Rings set:

  • Gandalf the Grey
  • Gandalf the White
  • Frodo Baggins
  • Samwise Gamgee
  • Aragon
  • Arwen
  • Gollum
  • Sauron
  • Radagast the Brown
  • Tom Bombadil
  • Faramir
  • Èowyn
  • Balrog
  • Boromir
  • Nazgûl
  • Merry
  • Pippin
  • Rosie
  • Gimli
  • Galadriel
  • Legolas
  • Gothmog
  • The Witch-King

From the four Commander decks coming alongside the main set, we also know that major players from Rohan, the Elves, and Mordor will be making an appearance. Elrond was name-dropped. Whether everyone features in the main set or not is yet to be seen.

After a few weeks of silence, we have finally seen the various versions of the Fellowship. This includes Gimli and Legolas, which have landed in Green/Red and mono-Green. Meanwhile, Aragon, The Unifier has every color but black.

Article continues after ad

Every LOTR card coming to MTG

None of the cards we saw seem particularly powerful in Modern, and the team behind the set is stepping very carefully. The Walking Dead’s Secret Lair changed the shape of the game entirely for those that play Vintage and Legacy, with Rick dominating the meta.

This angered fans at the time, due to the cards being highly limited in availability and no alternative versions made available.

Mount Doom

For instance, there’s no dual land cycle this time around. Most sets will come with five cards that are part of a ‘cycle’. Here, it seems that Mount Doom might be the only one, and was expressly pointed out by Rasmussen that this was designed for flavor first.

Article continues after ad

Some cards appear to be coming with up to two different versions. Most seem to be extended art, but particular ones like The Shire will feature an entirely different look.

Other land cards shown in the most recent stream actually appear to be variations on existing cards.

An incredibly interesting collection of cards is the nine variations of Nazgûl to represent the nine men who became them. On top of that, there are also a few creatures featured.

Article continues after ad

Scene cards

Lord of the Rings scene cards

Gollum, Frodo, The One Ring, and Sam will all feature in a Borderless Scene. When matched up together, these will form a memorable moment from the books.

So far we know that the throwing of the ring into the fires of Mount Doom will be one, and The Battle of the Pennor Fields is another. However, as we’ve yet to see every card, we could see things like the Fellowship being formed at a later date.

Article continues after ad

Box topper alternate version cards

There are some cards that will be found in the box toppers that are branded as Lord of the Rings Commander (LTC) but are totally Modern playable. These cards are alternative versions of other cards (similar to the Godzilla cards from Ikoria).

So far, we’ve only seen The Party Tree (The Great Henge), Bridge of Khazad-dûm (Ensnaring Bridge), and Valley of Gorgoroth (Wastelands). No other box toppers were shown in the most recent stream, but more variations on existing Magic cards were.

Article continues after ad

Joining those above are Paths of the Dead, which is just Cavern of Souls.

Exclusive land cards

The land cards are really cute this time around. Each one will be a segment of the map drawn by Tolkien for the books.

MTG LOTR land cards

The ultra-rare One Ring card

MTG Lord of the Rings One Ring card

In a bizarre thing to see unfold, the commercialization of these incredibly dangerous in-world items is very funny. Each card, outside of The One Ring, will function like Commander staple Sol Ring. As such, these ring cards will only be playable in Commander and even have a little LTC stamp in the corner.

Article continues after ad
LOTR MTG Sol Rings

There will be one The One Ring, 300 Eleven Sol Rings, 700 Dwarven Sol Rings and 900 Human Sol Rings. This lines up with the poem:

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all,

One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Fellowship of the Ring

All of the rings will be serialized in Collectors Boosters, but there are non-serialized versions of the cards alongside them in regular packs. These Elvish versions will be increased to 3000, 7000, and 9000 amongst Collectors Boosters for non-serialized editions.

Each of the Sol Rings will feature Elvish written on them, while The One Ring features Mordor’s Black Speech.

Article continues after ad

Mechanics in MTG LOTR

So far, we know that there’s a focus on Food, Partners (in Commander), and The One Ring. On top of this, Amass is making a return, but replacing War of the Spark’s Zombies with Orcs.

The Ring will come into play similar to Dungeons in the D&D set, where it is activated after it appears in an ability. You then have to be tempted multiple times to gain all the effects, all of which appear to be positive.

Article continues after ad

In a blog, Mark Rosewater, lead designer on the game, said that it is counter-intuitive to have the Ring bring in-game positive effects, but it was the only way to get players to actually interact with it.

What formats will Lord of the Rings cards be legal in?

The following formats will allow the play of Lord of the Rings cards:

  • Modern
  • Legacy
  • Vintage
  • Historic (MTGA only)
  • Alchemy (MTGA only)
  • Commander
  • Pauper

Will LOTR come to Magic Arena?

Yes, the set is confirmed to be coming to Magic Arena on June 20. It’ll be available for play in Historic and Alchemy formats.

If you click on a product link on this page we may earn a small affiliate commission.

Article continues after ad