The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth
Lord of the Rings and Magic: The Gathering seems like a match made in Mordor…err, heaven. Two fantasy worlds where creatures of all kinds do battle, and spells and sorcery can change the course of the conflict.
Join the Fellowship
Set in Middle Earth, players will visit some of the well-known settings from Tolkien’s fantasy stories and will avail themselves of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs and Wizards as they cast spells on their way to victory. Each of the colours within the set fit perfectly with one of the different races within the Middle Earth story. Green, for instance fits in perfectly with the Elves and the Ents as they are creatures of the forest, whilst Black fits in well with Orcs and the shadow-like Nazgul.
Thanks to our friends at Wizards of the Coast, we at Hooked Gamers were invited to a preview event and had the opportunity to test out the latest set based on J.R.R Tolkien’s characters and story based in Middle-Earth.
On the first occasion that the Ring tempts you, players are given an emblem named The Ring. The Ring has four abilities that will activate each time that the Ring tempts you – starting from the top and working your way down the list. Players must choose a Ring Bearer to hold the Ring, and the abilities affect the chosen creature.
In our preview play, I found The Ring mechanic can be quite a powerful feature, particularly when playing a four-player Commander game. But even when playing with the Jumpstart decks which are shorter matches than Commander, the tempting of the Ring can provide some powerful attacks.
Amass is actually a returning mechanic, but with an Orcish twist. The Orc Army is basically a creature token that can have several counters placed on it. Amass Orc will add counters to an Orc Army you already have or create a new Orc Army token creature.
In shorter matches, the Orc Army can be used as a low-level pawn, but given time, players can build some quite large Orc armies, placing counters on the original Orc Army, and combined with some of the actions from some of the Amass Orcs cards, these can become game winners.
Food tokens are artifact tokens that allow the user to spend two mana and tap the token to sacrifice the token and gain three life. There are several cards within the set that also have actions assigned to sacrificing a food token.
This activated ability will have a different name depending on which lands you are playing. The ability allows players to pay the mana cost to discard the card so that they can search their library for a land card to put into their hand.
Each Saga enters the battlefield with a lore counter on it, causing the first ability—the chapter I ability—to trigger. As your first main phase begins, add another lore counter and the next chapter ability triggers. This continues until the last chapter ability has finished. Once that happens, players sacrifice the Saga.
The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set comes without Planeswalkers, but there are plenty of Legendary Creatures from the stories to entertain players. All of the well-known characters from the novels feature, with some such as Gandalf featuring on multiple cards. Each player will no doubt have a favourite character.
I must admit, I am particularly fond of the map style land cards. These resemble the hand drawn map featured in Tolkien’s books. And although the Legendary land cards feature some wonderful artwork featuring some off the main locations within the Fellowship’s journey into Mordor, the map lands have a more authentic Middle Earth vibe.
As a fan of the novels by Tolkien and the movies directed by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth is a welcome addition to the Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond collection of sets. The set seems to blend the two fantasy worlds together seamlessly and has some of the most gorgeous artwork seen in a Magic set.
For more information regarding the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set, head on over to the official site. And, as always, follow us on Instagram for news updates, reviews, competitions and more.