Since the day when we were invited to the Magic the Gathering: Lord of the Rings event we went to, we have been pretty excited about the entire set and it’s one worth the hype. Both Magic and J.R.R Tolkien fans came together to enjoy this set. That said, as someone who grew up with LoTR – it holds a special place in my heart. Thanks to Wizards of the Coast, they sent us an MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box to open and we enjoyed this one.
MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box Review
Basic Lands: The Map of the Middle-Earth
Let’s start with the Basic Lands because, in all honesty, it is one of the most detailed lands you could get right now because it’s the literal Map of Middle-Earth. Now yes, if you are looking for the normal land, then yes, you could get those – in fact in a rather similar foiling as the Warhammer 40K decks (The Surge Foil). But the foiling on the Map cards is a whole lot prettier than one would expect.
As usual, you have two different map parts in each land colour: that’s the Mountain, Forest, Island, Plains and Swamp. So, little did the excited child in me know that I was setting myself up for disappointment because what comes next will make you feel all scrambled. So, as someone who enjoys Tolkien’s work, the land is something that I am not a stranger to. In fact, I pulled the book out to see the map.
Then I realized that things didn’t add up, that it didn’t make sense. Looking at Mordor made me realize that the map layout for these Basic Land cards is impossible to display because it superimposes each other from a macroscopic to a microscopic level.
— InfiniTokens Dry Erase Tokens (@InfiniTokens) March 14, 2023
Yep. I can feel exactly what you feel. So, just brace yourself for this – but hey that didn’t stop me from collecting the entire set, which I did through the Set Booster except for one mountain which a friend came to the rescue (Thanks, Michele).
The Legendary Lands
Moving on to the other lands, in the last set – the March of the Machines, we saw the Sphere Lands. In this set, we see a bunch of Legendary Lands, that allows you to do some funny stuff like scry, Amass, Draw, and Create a Food token or a treasure token. So, we cracked not one not two but THREE Mines of Moria, one The Shire and one Barad-Dur. These are pretty nice lands, however, given it only taps for one colour (except for Mount Doom), it might seem a little limited in terms of function. But hey, to each their own.
The List Cards We Cracked
Yes, you do have the chance to crack some list cards in the Lord of the Rings Set as well, so fret not. But cracking good ones might be a challenge. One thing I am pretty glad that I didn’t crack is Broodbirth Viper because I have a playset of those.
Everything that we cracked in this box ended up being pretty great – some jank cards which I love through and through and one pretty valuable card – Bane of Progress; which happens to annihilate or shut down artifact decks immediately and makes this elemental a buffed-up monster that could potentially wipe half the life of an opponent, if you play cards that would give haste to your creatures.
The other card I liked is “Cast Down”, a no caveat “Destroy target nonlegendary creature” for 2 mana cost. There’s a funny card, Viashimo Heretic which basically deals damage equal to the total costing cast of an artifact which you can destroy too. Activated ability aside, it sure is nice to kill two birds with one stone. Other than that, you can check out some of the other list cards we cracked in this image.
New Mechanic: The Ring Tempts You
This set brought not one but two different mechanics to the table, which sure has been an absolute pain to deal with because we have played a few games till this very moment with LOTR-themed decks. That said, The Ring Tempts You is a special mechanic that’s introduced in this set where when a card says “The Ring Tempts You” – you’d venture into this “initiative” where there are 4 stages.
When it tempts the first time, you give the ring to a creature – and it becomes a ring bearer. Logically, you’d want to give it to a small creature, therefore your opponent can’t block with a big one. For the next “tempt” mechanic, you will level up all the way to the final one, which may seem puny at first but brutally painful later. Now, if you still play a “tempt” card, you can now move the ring across different creatures with all four abilities. If someone does a board wipe and your creature dies, the ring does not lose its ability – therefore will be waiting for the next card with the “tempt” text to get equipped to it.
Mechanic Number Two: Amass
Amass is a simple mechanic – it’s exactly like how it was in War of the Spark where you create an Army and grow but since this is Lord of the Rings, the Amass is based on Orc Army. So, when a card says “Amass Orcs 2” – that means, you create an Orc token first (if you don’t have one) and give +2/+2 counters to it. If there are other Amass cards in your deck, it just creates and grows.
If you love Magic The Gathering for the art, you will love everything about the Lord of the Rings set because this set is an absolute art galore that comes in various flavours and styles that would get every person’s attention. As someone who literally spends a few bucks more just to get the nicer art for my deck, this set is absolutely detrimental to my wallet. Starting off with the first one:
Magic made 77 scene cards and that encapsulates 10 scenes from the movie, most importantly, The Battle of Pelennor Fields being the biggest one. You can get the Mount Doom set from the Bundles, which is a better buy as the four cards are guaranteed. Among all the scenes, the one that might be tougher to collect would be Bilbo’s Birthday Party because there are two variants of it. The normal ones which you can crack in set, draft and collector booster packs and there’s the Prerelease version which has the 2023 embossed logo on it.
Personally, I am hunting for the latter, so, there’s a good chance I will be able to find it or not. But otherwise, every other scene card seems to be easy to come across – however, some cards will be pricey, specifically the key ones like Saruman of Many Colours, Spiteful Banditry, and March of Lost Ents just to name a few. You can check out Draftsim for the list of scene cards.
The Ring Art Style
And then there’s the Ring Art Style – this is particularly very beautiful to look at, where the art in the middle depicts the scene of the character from the movies, with the Elvish inscription that translates to One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. So, it comes in a combination of colours depending on which one you are going for, so it is nice to collect the entire set for display or even just play with them.
The foil ones are just absolutely stunning, this is coming from someone who only collects non-foils.
That Rare Uncommon: Nazgul
One of the hardest uncommon to come across and also happens to be the most valuable uncommon we have seen in this set belongs to Nazgul. Magic and Lord of the Rings, decided to make not one but nine different Nazguls with different artwork – so much so to the point Moxfield made a joke about it. This creature does defy the hard rule of EDH but we will talk about that in another article.
However, Nazguls are very hard to come by and TCG Stores have said that out of 5 set booster boxes, some did not have any at all. So, the odds of collecting the Nazgul are a little slim but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible – and if you plan to pay for those, as singles, expect to pay anywhere from $13.99 for the Non-Foils and double the price for Foils. Lucky for me, we got two Nazguls out of Nine, so wish us luck in finding the other 7.
What Did We Crack?
Our Commons and Uncommons
The Commons and Uncommons from the MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box are pretty nice cards with very thematic art once again that will captivate your eyes. We have uploaded all the Commons and Uncommons we have cracked and you can check out the album below. Obviously, we did crack some duplicates, which we omitted from the photos.
We cracked a nice amount of Rares in this MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box, with the Artifacts being our favourite – more specifically the Horn of the Mark and Horn of Gondor. In one of the recent Sealed events we went for APAC, we got the Elven Chorus which is a pretty powerful card.
Other than that, Doors of Durin can show a nice time if you play Red and Green – where it bypasses the Summoning Sickness, helps you put a creature from your hand to the battlefield, tapped and attacking. Forge Anew is a good enchantment if you play white because not only you can bring back pieces of equipment from your graveyard but also, you can equip anything at instant speeds with even first-time discounts.
You can take a look at our other cards.
Our Mythics (Yes, we cracked One Ring)
Our Mythics weren’t the best per se, because out of the seven cards, we cracked two which is literally the face commander and the alternate commander of the Elven Council Commander Set – which I am playing as my current EDH deck.
The rest are okay, but hey, we did crack the One Ring which definitely takes the cake – because this card even as a non-foil normal art, is the most expensive card in the entire set. Well, not as expensive as the 2 Million Euro bounty One Ring.
Last but not least, the Box Topper
In every MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box, there’s a Box Topper card, which is specially printed for this set only and they are cards from other sets we have seen before. In our box, we cracked Shadowspear, the foil version no less – which is beautiful to say the least.
Should you Crack the MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster?
Now, we cracked this MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box a while ago and honestly, we enjoyed cracking it. Now right after we cracked open the box, a day later, the One Ring was found and it was definitely the turning point for the set. However, since then, we have only seen cards slowly creeping up in price. That’s because there are more serialized cards to be found – the Sol Ring with the Elven, Dwarven and Human. So, the hunt isn’t quite over. And making things interesting, at least here in Malaysia, you still cannot find Collector Booster boxes for sale at all – which makes the entire situation pretty much worse.
After cracking this MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box, I and my friends cracked more as a part of the Welcome Party, the limited-edition dice and so on. Personally, I am a wee bit tired from cracking, and if I crack any more Knights of Dol Amorth, I will riot because I have more than one playset of it.
But there’s something Magic and Lord of the Rings did right than any other set. This sets a new benchmark for the Universes Beyond set as Lord of the Rings set is lore-rich literature and anyone from seasoned Magic players to J.R.R. Tolkien fans, everyone is going to enjoy this very much. In fact, many new players have joined because of Lord of the Rings – so, yay for the new player base.
Since I have cracked an MTG Lord of the Rings Set Booster Box, I will stick to getting the singles but however, observe the market before you pull the trigger and spend an exorbitant amount of money. Because there’s a good chance, it will crash – however, it might take a while, given how this set has been pretty unpredictable.