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Magic: The Gathering’s Lord of the Rings crossover will be a complete, draftable set

Expect Secret Lair collectibles, Commander decks, and a digital release as well

Image: Dmitry Burmak
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Magic: The Gathering’s upcoming set based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings books will be a complete, Modern-legal set of cards. The official title is now The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. The announcement was made Tuesday during the Magic Showcase 2021 streaming event.

First revealed to investors in 2020, the Lord of the Rings set won’t be available until some time in 2023. It’s part of the Universes Beyond initiative, which includes daring crossovers with Warhammer 40,000, Fortnite, and Street Fighter. Like the previously released Adventures in the Forgotten Realms which brought iconic characters and locations from Dungeons & Dragons into the original collectible card game for the first time — it will be a full product line. That means players will be able to draft cards for pick-up play, and compete in multiplayer games with one of four preconstructed Commander decks.

Making the game legal for Modern also means that hobbits, elves, and Uruk-hai will be showing up in competitive circles for years to come.

“We have these characters with so much backstory and their own personality and their own history,” said product architect Mark Heggen during the event, “and now we get to put them on a Magic card and we want to both be true to their spirit and put a little Magic twist on them.”

The Lord of the Rings-themed set will be available in both physical and digital formats. It’s set to release for Magic Online and Magic: The Gathering Arena. There will also be multiple Secret Lair drops, according to Heggen.

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