MTG Lord of the Rings release date, card spoilers, and news

The Magic: The Gathering Lord of the the Rings release date is nearly here, check the latest Tales of Middle Earth set details and new cards.

MTG Lord of the Rings release date - artwork of Frodo holding the One Ring

When is the MTG Lord of the Rings release date? Magic: The Gathering has a major crossover with Lord of the Rings coming up in 2023. This MTG Lord of the Rings set, Tales of Middle Earth, will feature all the classic characters and events you know from the fantasy book series, reimagined with iconic MTG LOTR artwork and Magic gameplay.


MTG Lord of the Rings is Wizards’ next big Universes Beyond project, after the roaring success of the MTG Warhammer 40k EDH decks. This time, the company has gone a step further, creating an entire Magic set based on another IP, along with four Commander decks, and some MTG Secret Lairs for good measure. As you may have guessed, Wizards is looking at Lord of the Rings with giant dollar signs in its eyes.

MTG Lord of the Rings - a list of key release dates for the MTG LOTR set.

MTG Lord of the Rings release date

Wizards of the Coast has officially confirmed that the MTG Lord of the Rings release date is Tuesday, June 20, 2023. The Tales of Middle Earth will arrive on MTG Arena first on June 20, a few days before its tabletop release on June 23. Paper players will be able to enjoy the cards before anyone else if they go to one of the Lord of The Rings pre-release events, running from June 16 – June 22.

Check out our MTG 2023 release schedule to see how it fits in, among sets like Phyrexia: All Will Be One and March of the Machine.

MTG Lord of the Rings release date - The balrog preparing to fight gandalf.

MTG Lord of the Rings cards

Spoiler season has been and gone! We’ve seen all sorts of cards, from both sides of the War of the Rings. Let’s not waste time chit-chatting, and instead get onto the cards themselves.

Name your favourite Lord of the Rings character, quick! If you picked one of the good guys, chances are they’re in the gallery below, as pretty much everyone who’s anyone has their own card in this Universes Beyond set.

On the bad guys side, meanwhile, we’ve seen a new Sauron – maybe the best one yet? And a Witch-King with terrifying artwork. Speaking of art, it seems there are nine different artworks for the nine Nazgul, but only one mechanically unique card. Then there’s orcs, and bats, and oliphants oh my, showing off the new version of the Amass mechanic that’s used by the forces of Mordor.

In actual fact, the first official card spoilers for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth have already emerged, showing us plenty of iconic characters, from Gollum to Gandalf.

Spoilers began with Gandalf the Grey and The One Ring, an Izzet creature and a powerful legendary artifact. This Gandalf is one of at least three versions appearing in the Lord of the Rings set (there’s also Gandalf the White and Gandalf, Friend of the Shire).

You’ll soon notice a trend here, the most iconic Lord of the Rings characters are getting several different cards, showing them at different points in the LOTR story.

Some more recent MTG Lord of the Rings card spoilers come from MTG Minneapolis. We got to see one of many Saurons, and a card named Call of the Ring. The confusing Ring Tempts You mechanic was also unveiled. Surprisingly, it’s all upside, an emblem that cycles through multiple modes, unlocking new abilities for your chosen ringbearer. Bit of a flavour miss there.

Back in March, the First Look stream (below) opened up the spoiler flood gates. We got some iconic creatures like Aragorn and Arwen, seen getting hitched, and Sauron, with finger stubs smarting. These rather simple cards are from the Lord of the Rings starter kits, designed to get new players on board.

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There’s also Gollum, Patient Plotter and Frodo, Sauron’s Bane. Tom Bombadil has a really interesting card revolving around sagas. And then there are two Sam cards, Samwise the Stouthearted (who can save you from the grave) and Sam, Loyal Attendant (who loves food).

That latter card is from the Commander deck Food and Fellowship, which will presumably feature hobbits and Food tokens. Another Commander card (this time from the Elvish Council deck), Radagast, Wizard of Wilds creates beasts or birds whenever you cast spells.

It’s not just creatures – there’s some interesting sorceries and instants, including Reprieve, which is almost a two-mana white counterspell. And You Cannot Pass (not shall not, it’s a book quote) that can destroy blocked creatures.

Finally, a look at some MTG lands. There are lovely basic lands featuring the map of Middle Earth. And some legendary lands showing key locations. For instance, The Shire can tap creatures for food, and Mount Doom, a red-black land that hurts you when it makes mana, but can also hurt your opponents, and act as a board wipe if you sacrifice it and a legendary artifact (like The Ring).

Another detailed look at MTG Lord of the Rings cards we’ve seen is an 18-card collage that forms one piece of artwork, depicting the Battle of Pelennor Fields. We can see from the way the piece is divided that the Witch-king, Fellbeast wyverns, and a swarm of giant bats all get cards, as do riders of Rohan, orc troops, Gondor soldiers, and Oliphant cavalry. It seems like Minas Tirith may also be a (presumably land) card.

This isn’t the only Lord of the Rings collage in the set, versions of the One Ring, Samwise, Gollum, and Frodo cards combine to form a scene, showing the Ring being cast into Mount Doom, and there’s another collage showing Bilbo’s birthday party.

Finally, MTG cards come in Elvish now. There are a bunch of Sol Rings, reskinned as Rings of Power, that feature Elvish text. Designed as collectors items, these come with numbered stamps to show off their scarcity. And there’s just a single Sol Ring card featuring One Ring art – only one will be printed in total, and so it’s expected to be ridiculously expensive.

Rest assured, our all-seeing eye will be scouring the Shire and beyond, and as soon as more card spoilers start filtering in, we’ll display them all here.

MTG Lord of the Rings release date - Gandalf at Bilbo's birthday party

MTG Lord of the Rings set details

Like all other Universes Beyond cards, the MTG Lord of the Rings set will not be legal in Magic’s Standard format. However, the cards are legal in Modern, and of course Commander.

The set is apparently not designed specifically for Modern. Instead, it’s primarily considered a Limited format intended for MTG drafts – it remains to be seen what kind of power level the set has, and how big a dent it makes on MTG’s Modern meta.

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth set will also be playable in MTG Arena’s Historic format, as it’s getting a digital release on Arena as an Alchemy set. (It’ll come to Magic Online too.) Check out our MTG Arena codes guide – if there’s a way to get free Lord of the Rings packs, we’ll include it there.

Holy moly, there’s a lot of content in this release. As well as the main Lord of the Rings set, WotC is launching two Starter Kit decks, designed to bring new players to the game. There’ll also be Jumpstart packs, and two versions of the bundle, one regular, one gift edition.

MTG Lord of the Rings Commander

There’ll also be four Lord of the Rings Commander decks, each with 20 brand new cards, as well as a whole load of reprints. The deck’s face commanders have not been shown, but we do have some information on the deck names, colours, and their rough themes:

Name Colours Playstyle Commander
Riders of Rohan Red/White/Blue Humans/Tokens Unknown
Elven Council Blue/Green Elves/Votes Elrond
Food and Fellowship White/Green/Black Food Sam and Frodo
The Hosts of Mordor Red/Black/Blue Renimate/Amass Sauron

MTG Lord of the Rings Secret Lair

There are also some Lord of the Rings Secret Lairs coming out, but we’ll have to share more details on these as they arrive, since right now, we’ve got nothing official. If they’re like the Warhammer Secret Lairs, we’d expect them to focus on tangential parts of the Lord of the Rings universe that aren’t covered by the main set. Perhaps they’ll have content from The Silmarillion or The Hobbit.