MTG Players Wonder Why Lord Of The Rings’ Ring Mechanic Has No Downsides

MTG Players Wonder Why Lord Of The Rings’ Ring Mechanic Has No Downsides

Over the weekend, Magic: The Gathering players found out what it means to be tempted by the Ring, a new mechanic coming up in Magic’s Lord of the Rings crossover set, Tales Of Middle-earth. We knew that there would be temptations from the Ring ever since March’s preview, but we didn’t know how it would work until MagicCon Minneapolis.

It turns out, there’s very little downside to being tempted by the Ring. Whenever a card says “the Ring tempts you,” you march down an escalating series of rewards from an emblem called The Ring. The first time you’re tempted, you get the emblem and assign a creature to become your Ring-bearer, making it legendary and more evasive. Get tempted again and your Ring-bearer will make you draw and discard a card whenever it attacks. Tempt again and it’ll cause all blocking creatures to be sacrificed at the end of combat, and tempt a fourth time for your Ring-bearer to cause all opponents to lose three life whenever it deals combat damage to a player.


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Related: Magic: The Gathering’s Lord Of The Rings Crossover Is Going To Bankrupt Me

Astute Lord of the Rings fans might notice that being tempted by the Ring has all upsides and no downsides, which is very unlike how the Ring is portrayed in either the books or the movies (just look at Gollum). When asked why being tempted by the Ring didn’t come with Gollum-creating side effects, head Magic designer Mark Rosewater explained that it just made the Ring a less tempting offer.

MTG Players Wonder Why Lord Of The Rings’ Ring Mechanic Has No Downsides

“We tried granting downside effects,” Rosewater wrote on his blog. “It wasn’t fun and it made players not play the mechanic. We did find having the Ring makes the Ring-bearer more of a target for your opponent to kill, and that did feel like a downside while not stopping people from playing the mechanic.”

There are a few things we should also mention about being tempted. First, you can be tempted even if you don’t have a creature to turn into a Ring-bearer, and you can choose a new Ring-bearer every time you’re tempted. It’s also not like Monarch in that everyone can be tempted by the Ring to receive these same benefits.

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And while being tempted is all upsides, there can definitely be cards that make being tempted a significant risk. Frodo, Sauron’s Bane, for example, will kill a player if he attacks successfully and that player has been tempted by the Ring four or more times.

magic: the gathering's one ring card
via Magic: The Gathering

Despite being an emblem, there’s also an actual card called The One Ring, and it doesn’t even tempt you for playing it. It provides significant card advantage and a turn of invincibility, but the true value of The One Ring comes from the fact there are going to be alternate art versions that have limited printings. There will be some with the human design, some with the dwarven design, and some with the elvish design, and then there will be one very special One Ring with unique art and a serial number of “001/001.” This true One Ring already has a $100,000 bounty for whoever is lucky enough to pull it from a booster pack.

Magic: The Gathering – Tales from Middle-earth arrives June 23.

Next: No Matter Who Finds MTG’s Unique Lord Of The Rings One Ring Card, We All Lose

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