MTG’s Lord Of The Rings Set Brings Bilbo, Gandalf Together In Six-Card Art Piece
MagicCon Minneapolis has come and gone, bringing us a tantalizing look at what’s to come in Magic: The Gathering. Besides the Doctor Who Commander decks and Magic’s return to the fairy tale world of Eldraine, Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will bring Tolkien’s epic fantasy world to the Multiverse.
We’ve already seen a few cards coming thanks to the sneak peek back in March, but MagiCon brought us a deeper look into the One Ring and its many temptations. But on top of that, we were treated to some spectacular art that will actually be used on not one, not two, but six cards coming in Tales of Middle-earth.
The piece is collectively called “Bilbo’s Birthday,” and it depicts the grand celebration of Bilbo’s eleventy-first year. Bilbo is naturally front and center, but there are plenty of other Hobbits present, including Frodo, and longtime friend of the Shire, Gandalf the Grey.
Wizards of the Coast cut “Bilbo’s Birthday” into six cards to create six cards coming in Tales of Middle-earth. First is Lobelia Sackville-Baggins, a Halfling Citizen that can zap a recently deceased critter from your opponent’s graveyard to create a whole bunch of Treasure tokens. Wizard’s Rockets is excellent mana fixing on a one-mana cantrip, while Gandalf, Friend of the Shire provides quick sorceries and added cards so long as you can make someone else your Ring-bearer.
The bottom set of cards brings another mana elf in Delighted Halfling, only its Halfling Citizen and not an elf. Bilbo, Retired Burglar can provide both some mana ramp and some Ring temptations, while Frodo Baggins naturally makes an excellent Ring-bearer and synergizes well with the Ring.
Speaking of the Ring, Minneapolis MagiCon confirmed there’s not just the One Ring to worry about in Tales of Middle-earth. Players gain escalating benefits every time they’re tempted by the Ring, with the first temptation enabling a Ring-bearer and subsequent temptations providing greater buffs.
It’s a little curious that the Ring seems to only help players it tempts, but Magic designer Mark Rosewater confirmed that negative consequences led players to avoid playing with the mechanic during testing. And while it might seem like being tempted by the Ring is all upside with no downside, there are a few cards coming in Tales of Middle-earth that’ll take advantage of players that are fully enthralled by the Ring’s power.
Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth arrives on June 20 with previews starting on May 30. And before then, Magic: The Gathering Arena arrives on Steam to provide a digital Magic experience starting May 23.
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