12 minute read
Whether you are a fan of The Lord of the Rings, Magic the Gathering, or both, this new partnership is sure to be an enticing prospect. The question, however, isn’t ‘Will we partake in this titanic collaboration?’ but ‘HOW shall we partake?’. If you find yourself asking such questions then we are here to help. In this article we break down the contents of every cardboard purchasing option and offer our view on who it is meant for so you can decide what’s best for you.
If you aren’t here for an unexpected journey where we deep dive into each product in excruciating detail, then we advise you grab hold of the handy hyperlink eagle below and fly to the summary - we won’t be offended!
Table of Contents
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Starter Kit
The Tales of Middle Earth Starter Kit is an introductory product designed to offer an easy first step for new players into the physical and digital world of Magic: The Gathering.
Primarily created for would-be players by providing: 2 instantly playable 60-card decks, a learn-to-play guide and codes to unlock the cards on MTG’s main online platform ‘MTG Arena’. Each deck includes a foil mythic rare card and 4 rare cards (alongside uncommons, commons and lands) but is not intended as a collector’s product.
If you wish to learn to play Magic the Gathering then Starter Kits can be an easier solution than building a deck from scratch. The power level is likely to match the ‘beginner’ label, so do not expect to win any tournaments with one of these pre-built decks.
The deck lists for this product will be available before release, which means this is one of only a few products that you can purchase with a 100% guarantee of the contents. This may be beneficial if you are looking for specific cards included in these decks.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Starter Kit for?
New players, collectors of specific cards guaranteed to be inside, or MTG Arena players wishing to grow their online collections.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Draft Boosters
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Draft Booster for?
A die-hard MTG fan that refuses to believe that Set Boosters offer better ‘crack-a-pack’ value, anyone looking to enjoy a round of limited play with friends, or someone wishing to continue their sealed Draft collection.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Set Boosters
Set Booster Boxes contain 30 Set Booster Packs, each of which contain 12 playable cards. The breakdown of these cards is as follows: 1 art card (5% chance of having a gold signature), 1 basic land (15% chance of being foil), 6 commons/uncommons, 1 ‘unique’ common/uncommon, 2 “wild cards” (from common to mythic rare), 1 rare (1 out of 8 rares is a mythic rare), 1 foil card (of any rarity) and a marketing/token (25% chance of being from “the list”). Finally, each sealed box will contain a Traditional Foil Box Topper from a list of 30 cards yet to be fully revealed. If you're struggling to get your head around this breakdown then don't worry - we barely understand it ourselves!
All you really need to know is that Set Boosters are designed for opening and for the vast majority of collectors, players, or cardboard hoarders, Set Booster Packs will fulfil what is required. Providing you with more opportunities for rare or mythic rare cards, as well as guaranteeing a foil in each pack is essentially enough to tip the scales away from Draft Packs.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster for?
Anyone looking to open a pack for fun, value, or to grow their collection. Set Boosters offer a lot more bang for your brandy-buck.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Collector Boosters
Collector Booster Boxes contain 12 Collector Booster Packs, each of which contain 15 playable cards. The breakdown of these cards is as follows: 1 foil (borderless or alt art), 1 borderless rare or mythic rare, 1 alt art rare or mythic rare, 1 foil common or uncommon (borderless or alt art), 2 common or uncommon (borderless or alt art), 1 foil rare or mythic rare, 2 foil uncommons, 5 foil commons, 1 foil alt art basic land and 1 foil double-sided token. Finally, each sealed box will contain a Traditional Foil Box Topper from a list of 30 cards yet to be fully revealed.
Wow. That is a lot to unpack, literally. These Collector Boosters are a true event to open. They were designed to maximise ‘booster fun’ by ensuring pretty much every card inside is exciting and has some value to it. Not only that, but it has become the only place to pick up some specific artworks from each set and this set is no different.
As you can see here, there are 3 alternative Sol Ring artworks that have been ingeniously printed in the rarities aligned to Tolkien's original tale. They are even serialised to emphasise just how rare they are.
There has been a lot of talk about the famous 1 of 1 'The One Ring' card. There is literally only going to be 1 of these cards printed and it will only be placed into 1 Collector Booster Pack. If you want a chance (all be it a very slim one) of pulling it then you will need to open a Collector Booster.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Collector Booster for?
The serious collectors, someone with a need for the thrill of the chase, and lovers of shiny and beautiful art in cardboard form.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Jumpstart Boosters
Jumpstart Booster Boxes contain 18 Jumpstart Booster Packs, each of which contain 20 playable cards. The breakdown of these cards is as follows: 1 of 5 themed rare cards specifically for Jumpstart, 1 rare or mythic rare from the main set, 11 or 12 commons or uncommons and 7 or 8 basic lands (of which 2 are foil).
If the contents seem strange; that’s because they are. Like a mixture between the Starter Kit and Draft Booster Packs, Jumpstart Packs are designed to be used to play a game of, you guessed it, Jumpstart. Grab 2 packs, shuffle them together and play. Simple. However, it means they are not truly designed to be opened and sifted for parts. Even so, all of the commons, uncommons, rares and mythic rares are still lovely cards and if you wanted to grab a pack or 2 just to see what was inside then it is completely up to you.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Jumpstart Booster product for?
Players looking for a fun, quick way to play a levelled game, anyone looking for a specific Jumpstart rare, or to expand your collection of Jumpstart Packs.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Bundle
Each Bundle contains: 8 Set Booster Packs, 4 special alt-art shiny treatment scene cards, 40 land cards (20 foil, 20 non-foil) and 1 Spindown life counter, all wrapped up in a handy-sized storage container.
One of the best things about the Bundle is that it offers a number of useful and set-themed additions to packs, with the most popular item being the box itself. Naturally, the real value comes from the Set Boosters which are more expensive per pack than purchasing a Set Booster Box, but still offer the same ‘booster fun’ nonetheless.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Bundle for?
The flexibility and utility of this box lends itself to pretty much anyone. If you want to open a few packs but can’t afford a Booster Box, or if you like having a branded storage container for the cards from that set, then the Bundle is a great option. It’s genuinely hard not to recommend this for everyone.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Gift Bundle
Each Gift Bundle contains: 1 Collector Booster, 8 Set Booster Packs, 4 special alt-art shiny treatment Mount Doom Scene cards, 40 land cards (20 foil, 20 non-foil), 1 exclusive Spindown life counter AND MY AXE!*, all wrapped up in a handy-sized, foil storage container.
*Axe not included.
There is nothing more a wandering Hobbit could need. You get everything from the standard Bundle, but shiny, PLUS a Collector Pack. More value, more fun, but usually tougher to get hold of. These are not always printed in the same volumes as the standard Bundles.
As previously mentioned in the Collector Booster section, the 1 of 1 'The One Ring' can only be found in a Collector Pack. This means, however, that it could potentially be inside of the Collector Pack in a Gift Bundle. Again, the chances are almost too small to comprehend, but if you wish to have a chance to find it then Collector Packs are your only hope.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Gift Bundle for?
Anyone that wants a Bundle with a little bit extra - if you can find it then it’s worth picking up. As the name suggests, one of these will make a fantastic gift for the Middle-earth enthusiast in your life. Our pick for best product in the range.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Commander Decks
Each MTG Tales of Middle Earth deck contains: 100 playable Commander legal cards, two of which are foil legendary cards that could be used as the commander, 10 double-sided tokens and a thin cardboard deck box. In addition, within the box you also receive a ‘2-card Collector Booster Sample Pack’ containing 2 special treatment cards from the set, 1 of which is rare or mythic rare.
Commander Decks are pre-built decks designed to be used for play in the format of Commander. If you wish to play a multiplayer format with up to 3 other players and have a good understanding of the rules of MTG, then these are usually a fantastic way to play. However, if you are only interested in the cards for their artwork and collectibility then understanding exactly what the decks contain is key.
Out of the 100 cards in the deck, 60-70 will all be different individual cards. No repeats or duplicates. Although most of these cards will be reprints from Magic the Gathering’s history, there will be a selection of brand new, never before seen cards. So if your aim is to collect a load of different cards and not risk opening packs to get 5 of the same Rare, Commander Decks may be worthwhile.
We saw with the Warhammer 40k Commander Decks that Wizards of the Coast can produce a set of decks that have staple Commander cards reprinted in a style befitting the collaborative IP. Hopefully we will see this again, in which case these will be fantastic collector pieces.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Commander Decks for?
Primarily for MTG Commander fans to use and play with, the artwork will still be good and some of the cards in these decks will be exclusive to the decks (and 1 slot in Set and Collector packs). Picking these up to guarantee a whole bunch of unique and different collector pieces is not a bad idea.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Prerelease Packs
Each Prerelease Pack contains: 6 Draft Boosters, 1 Stamped Promotional Foil rare or mythic rare, a Spindown dice, and a thin cardboard deck box.
The Prerelease Pack is the product you receive when attending a Prerelease event at your local game store. Created as a neat package for each attendee to have everything they need to create their sealed deck (except basic lands). The ‘per pack price’ is a lot higher than buying Draft Packs in a Draft Box and you’re taking a bit of a gamble on the randomised promotional foil having some value to make up the difference.
Who is the MTG Lord of the Rings Prerelease Pack for?
Those of you that are going to a prerelease event and anyone wanting neat sets of packs for sealed play at home.
MTG: Lord of the Rings - Accessories
With every Magic set that is released, Ultra Pro creates a range of set-themed accessories to go with it and the Lord of the Rings collaboration is no different. Specifically, you will have the opportunity to pick up sleeves, deck boxes, binders and playmats, all printed with images of your favourite characters.
For most MTG players, sleeves and deck boxes are a must for protecting your cards and organising them amongst your collection. For a collector looking to pick up a number of LOTR MTG cards for the first time, grabbing a binder to display your new cardboard pieces in, or a playmat to use on your desk at home may be more appropriate.
If you are interested in buying a few different TCG accessories for this set, it is worth noting that they do not release at the same time as the main set. Ultra Pro tends to have quite a delay on producing and distributing their specialist pieces so be prepared to wait a few months before they will be with you.
Final thoughts on the product range
In total, there are 8 product types from Wizards of the Coast for the Lord of the Rings Universes Beyond crossover and each of them has their own merits. For collectors or anyone curious about this cross-over set, there are Set Booster Boxes, Gift Bundles and, if you are feeling extra extravagant - Collector Booster Boxes. If you want a shot at pulling the 1 of 1 exclusive card ‘The One Ring’ then you will need to open Collector Boosters which are only found in Collector Booster Boxes and Gift Bundles.
For those new to MTG and looking to start to play using this fine set, the Starter Kit or Commander Decks are a great place to begin. Alternatively, if you have a few friends to play along with, Draft Boosters enable the 2 limited formats of Draft and Sealed, both of which are incredibly fun.
If you are looking for a sealed product to stash away or put on display for years to come, the best thing we can say for this is to purchase something you like. Having artwork on the box you want to look at every day or be proud to own is the most important thing.
We also touched on the accessories on offer which are a great addition to any collection. Make sure you have looked through all of the characters before placing an order as there are many to choose from. Unfortunately, as the release date for such accessories are so far away, no previews of the artworks is currently available. We are especially excited to see what the Premium Holo-foil Playmat looks like!
If you can see a good reason to pick up any of the other products then great, go for it. If you find yourself looking over all of the cards in the set - once it’s been revealed - and you only want a few of them, buy Singles. Just look online or at your local game store and pick up the Singles you want, as it will always be easier and cheaper this way.
However you choose to partake in this epic set, as long as you are having fun and enjoying yourself, be safe in the knowledge that you are doing it right.