Throughout the past 30 years, it’s safe to say MTG has had no shortage of controversial cards. From Alchemy exclusives to format-warping staples, we’ve seen no end of complaints about cards over the years. More recently, however, no card has ignited the MTG community into a frenzy of debate like The One Ring.
Offering an incredible card draw for a surprisingly negligible downside, The One Ring is a supremely powerful MTG card. In fact, it’s easily the best card from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. Usually, these powerhouse cards are a welcome treat, sharking up the metas for often stale formats. Unfortunately, however, The One Ring doesn’t fall into the favorable category.
Due to the near lack of a downside, especially in Commander, there’s nary a reason not to play this card. While this isn’t inherently bad, it is rather dull. After all, just like Sol Ring this can be deck construction rather boring. Thanks to this, alongside the card’s immense strength, it’s no surprise many MTG players want something to be done.
While unaffiliated with Wizards, recently, some MTG content creators are doing just that… Well, it seems like they’re planning to, at least. Doing what Wizards and the Commander Rules Committee wouldn’t The One Ring has finally been banned! Ish…
Commander Clash to the Rescue… Almost
Over the weekend, MTG personality and MTGGoldfish host SaffronOlive revealed the surprise ban. In an update to the Commander Clash banlist, SaffronOlive emphatically stated “We’re banning The One Ring effective next recording.” Unsurprisingly, when explaining this decision SaffronOlive noted the card’s immense, practically unavoidable strength.
“We found that it’s optimal to play it in essentially every deck since it’s colorless and it warps pretty much every game it shows up in.”
Despite the lack of action from Wizards, this assessment certainly isn’t a new groundbreaking revelation. In fact, we said almost this exact thing back in early August. Prior to the scheduled ban/unban window that month, we identified The One Ring as a prime ban candidate. Ultimately, it’s just too good, and too easy to play, warping countless games as a result.
With this in mind, it seemed to be absolutely no wonder that it was added to the Commander Clash house ban list. After all, it joins multiple other incredibly powerful colorless cards. This includes Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Sol Ring, and Jeweled Lotus. Each easily fitting into any Commander deck, these cards can often make things rather boring.
Wait… That’s Not Right
While keeping games interesting is obviously a priority is obviously a priority for Commander Clash, there is an issue with the above ban list. It’s not right. Following up on SaffronOlive’s statement, Tomer Abramovici from MTGGoldfish chimed in with a clarification. “We didn’t house ban it,” Abramovici revealed, much to the surprise of many. “We’re strongly considering banning it but we haven’t reached a consensus yet.”
So, to lay it out as clearly as possible, The One Ring has not been house-banned by Commander Clash. Not yet, at least. Instead, SaffronOlive appears to have enthusiastically jumped the gun. Whatever the cause, the result is the same; The One Ring has not been banned on Commander Clash yet.
Despite this clarification from Abramovici, it nevertheless seems that The One Ring’s days are numbered. After all, the points that SaffronOlive brought up are still valid, as The One Ring is game-bendingly powerful. Subsequently, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see an official announcement about the updated banlist soon enough.
What About the Rest of Us?
Unsurprisingly, considering the strength and prevalence of The One Ring, many MTG players were happy to see it banned. Sure, it may only be banned from MTGGoldfish’s Commander Clash games, but that’s better than nothing. At worst, this change makes some MTG content more enjoyable to watch. At best, this change could herald a greater shift in the future.
Looking across social media online, it’s not hard to see calls for The One Ring to be banned. Whether it’s removed from Commander, Modern, Alchemy, or everything, it’s clear that something should be done. Unfortunately, however, many MTG players are skeptical about this actually happening thanks to The One Ring’s curious release schedule.
Unlike most MTG sets that are just one and done, The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is being released twice. Launching again, on November 3rd, this second release includes new cards, products, and art treatments. A major component of this release are the new “Special Edition” Collector Boosters which will obviously include The One Ring.
Thanks to this unorthodox release structure, banning The One Ring could make opening packs exceptionally frustrating. Just imagine opening packs on Christmas morning to find a copy of The One Ring buried inside. Rather than finding a $50+ bomb of a mythic, instead, it’d be practically worthless. With this in mind, it’s no wonder this theory exists to explain Wizards’ lack of action on the card.
For better or worse, this theory from the community is exactly that, as it hasn’t been confirmed by Wizards. Subsequently, it’s entirely possible that The One Ring could be banned during the upcoming ban window on October 16th. Alternatively, we all might just be living in a post-The One Ring world, whether we like it or not.
There’s Always Rule Zero
Thankfully, even if we’re stuck with the worst-case scenario, there is a solution to The One Ring’s woes; Rule Zero. Using this incredibly flexible rule, MTG players are able to ban The One Ring from their own Commander games. That is, at least, provided that everyone at the table is prepared and agrees to it.
For now, this may be all that players are able to do, unfortunately, however, this doesn’t help with the situation in Modern. There, The One Ring seems poised to continue running rampant for at least another month, if not a lot longer. Ultimately, it seems that may just be something we’re going to have to deal with, as Wizards controls the banlist.