Following the reveal of more details for the heavily anticipated Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set, the MTG community has been filled with chatter about all the new information regarding out of the most anticipated crossovers to ever come to Magic: the Gathering. This has, of course, not been without controversy. The early pricing of sealed products for the upcoming set has been nothing short of expensive, and this has some players worried. Among these new prices is a $500 price tag on Lord of the Rings Collector Booster Boxes. With such a huge price tag on the crossover’s premium product, players have been left wondering what sort of goodies could entice such a price hike. Surprisingly, players overlooked a detail that was right on the box. It looks like some MTG serialized ‘ring’ cards will be appearing in the new Lord of the Rings crossover!
What are MTG Serialized Cards?
While serialized cards are as old as time in terms of the collectible card industry, they are a pretty new thing for MTG players. We’ve talked about the history of serialized cards in Magic since they recently made their first initial appearance in The Brothers’ War, but for the sake of context, MTG serialized cards are, basically, premium versions of a card that are released in a very low quantity. To represent the quantity, serialized cards are numbered collectibles. A great example of this is the recent Shivan Dragon Secret Lair card that ran into some controversy regarding the card’s artwork. Each of these Shivan Dragons is numbered, and there are only 295 of them in the world.
Since there is such a limited number of these premium cards, they tend to go for some outrageous prices. Even though the Secret Lair Showdown cards released for the first time at MTG Con Philadelphia are not serialized, they are released in a minimal quantity. For example, recent copies of the premium Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer from this tournament currently go for $4000 or more due to the card’s scarcity.
MTG Serialized ‘Ring’ Card?
With a swift and not-so-detailed background of serialized MTG cards out of the way, let’s take a look at the return of serialized MTG cards in the LOTR set. For reference, The Brothers’ War had a lot of serialized cards as a part of its Collector Booster chase cards. These will be returning in March of the Machine but were not a part of Phyrexia: All Will Be One.
Highlighted by Redditor chappers, it appears that serialized cards will be returning in Collector Boosters of the upcoming Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set. While we haven’t officially seen any of the cards from this set, some players are already speculating what this could mean. Aside from the obvious signs that ‘the ring to rule them all’ may have a serialized copy, there could be a larger net being cast with this statement:
“20 rings, each serialized to 1000, for 20,000 total &
still about 3 times rarer than BRO serial cards.[Sorry, 63 * 500 = 31,500.]
Probably won’t happen though, unless I am mistaken Tolkien didn’t name, describe, or build a lot of lore for the 9 or for the 7 – so it seems incredibly difficult to turn those into cards without a lot of artistic liberty.
I’m pretty sure the product notes explicitly said ‘ONE ring serialized cards’. So if that is the scope….there are some limitations here.
It wouldn’t make sense to have a 1/60,000 One Ring cards serialized.
But 1/1,000 for 3 different One Ring art treatments would be astoundingly rare. Maybe comparable to Hidetsugu neon ink?”
Besides the obvious implications that a serialized ring card could be a super rare copy of ‘the one ring to rule them all,’ that is at the center of the LOTR IP, there could actually be multiple different ‘ring’ cards or artworks featured in the serialized lineup. There are even several players speculating that a new premium Sol Ring printing could be among the serialized cards seen in MTG’s heavily anticipated crossover. The speculation getting the most mileage out of the community, however, is a serialized series of artworks representing the actual rings given out in the LOTR Lore:
“the three elven rings all have distinct looks if they’re gonna go that route, might as well go all out.
i doubt they’ll pay for art for a card that they only print one copy of though.
if there’s ever a time to bring back gilded foiling in a different frame it would be for those cards though”
The Rings of Power
To elaborate a bit more on this theory, let’s take a quick look at all of the known Rings of Power and what significance they hold in the LOTR lore:
Firstly three of the rings of power given to the Elves managed to evade Sauron’s grip for the entirety of the story. Nenya, known as the ring of water, is capable of “preserving and protecting things.” This was wielded by Galadriel and was concealed from Sauron’s gaze throughout the story. Once the One Ring was destroyed, Nenya lost its power.
Narya, the Ring of Fire, is the second ring to evade Sauron’s grasp. This ring eventually ended up in Gandalf’s hands and was known to “inspire hope and boost morale in others.”
Vilya, the third ring among this trio, was known as the “Ring of Air.” Apparently, no one really knows what exactly this ring was capable of, but many believe that this was the power used by Elrond to protect the Elven city of Rivendell. It is also thought to be behind the Water Horses that save Frodo when he is being chased by the Ring-Wraiths.
There were seven Rings of Power gifted by Sauron to the heads of the most powerful Dwarven clans. These, obviously, were meant to corrupt the Dwarven leaders and make them serve Sauron. Nine Rings were also gifted to Human royalty of a similar nature. Humans, however, proved to be much easier to corrupt, which quickly turned them into the Ring-Wraiths that cause Frodo a lot of trouble throughout the duration of his journey.
There is also, of course, The Ring of Power which Frodo needs to escort and destroy. This Ring has the power to control all of the other Ring Bearers. As such, it is the most powerful ring in the LOTR Lore.
To be clear, there are more Rings of Power than what is discussed here, like how Saruman apparently tried to forge his own Rings of Power, and further research can be done for readers who are curious in learning more about the Lord of the Rings Lore. The key to this quick contextual glimpse is to demonstrate how this speculation from MTG players could play out when serializing cards. As an extreme example, there could be various artworks for the ‘Ring of Power’ that only number to the number of rings actually seen in the Lore of Tolkien’s original work.
How Much Will These Cost?
Serialized cards have already proven to fetch massive prices on the MTG secondary market. While a premium on the numbered cards released in the Collector Booster Boxes for this set is a near-certainty, it’s tough to say how massive that premium will end up being. We know nothing about how exclusive these printings are or how viable the cards are going to be in competitive play. We ultimately don’t even know how March of Machines is going to affect the serialized market since that set is going to hit shelves months before the Lord of the Rings crossover does. This new information does, however, raise some interesting questions for the community to consider.
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