Magic: The Gathering previews of LOTR cards receive mixed fan reactions

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards for Magic: The Gathering get mixed reactions, like a different Aragorn and the One Ring.

Early previews of the Magic: The Gathering cards for the Universes Beyond crossover with the Tolkien mythos have begun to surface. And fans have mixed reactions to specific cards, such as a very different version of Aragorn and a one-of-its-kind "true" One Ring card.

Previews of The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth cards for Magic: The Gathering elicits mixed reactions, such as a very different Aragorn and a "true" One Ring. (Images: Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro and Middle-Earth Enterprises)

Magic: The Gathering has had multiple crossovers with other popular properties through its Universes Beyond sub-sets. Previous examples include Godzilla, The Transformers, Stranger Things, Warhammer 40K, and Dungeons & Dragons, to name a few. And while Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro have been slammed by fans and Bank of America for overprinting and diluting the brand, these crossovers have sold well.

Wizards of the Coast has started sharing examples of the cards that will be appearing in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth on its official social media.

Aside from the previews of individual cards in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth crossover with Magic: The Gathering, WoTC revealed there will be regular versions and special "Ring Treatment" and "Borderless Scene" cards. The artwork and presentation of these cards will be different, while retaining the name, gameplay features, and function.

For instance, there will be cards that have its text in the Elvish language, while others will have images that form a part of a larger scene.

There will be multiple versions of cards in MTG's The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth.

But there are a few cards that have raised the eyebrows of MTG and LOTR fans. One card, in particular has received mixed reactions due to an unexpected visual representation. The card in question is "Aragorn and Arwen, Wed". This legendary creature card is meant to represent the former ranger and reinstated King of Gondor together with his elven betrothed.

While the mechanics of the card itself is rather useful, particularly for "weenie decks", most of the commentary is centered on the art representing Aragorn. Instead of the traditional Caucasian male, this version of Aragorn aka King Elessar, is a black male. Some fans who have been used to the Peter Jackson-directed film version of Strider (played by Viggo Mortensen) were taken aback by this change.

However, it should be noted that The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth is a separate iteration of the Tolkien mythos. While traditionally, the characters in the Tolkien mythos were assumed to have fairer skin tone, there is already a precedent for a more diverse representation, as in the case of Amazon’s The Rings of Power TV series.

Plus, there will be multiple versions of The One Ring, including a singular version. There is a main set version, Bundle Alt-Art Promo version, Extended version, and a 1 of 1 Ring. That last one mentioned will be truly unique, as only one will be officially printed. No doubt this card will be extremely sought after by collectors of both Magic: The Gathering and LoTR-related paraphernalia when it is released later in the year.

The synopsis for this Magic: The Gathering Universes Beyond set reads:

Your journey there and back again in Magic: The Gathering begins with The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. The characters you know and the story you love set out on a new adventure in this Universes Beyond set where you can join the filthy, cruel Hobbitses on their quest or seize the power of the dark lord to rule them all. This set is... Precious... to all of us.

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Magic: The Gathering’s Universes Beyond booster packs, starter decks, and limited-edition boxes will be released on June 23, 2023.

Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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