Mousumi Karim

magic the gathering lord of the rings

How to Play Magic the Gathering Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth in 10 minutes

Magic: the Gathering (MTG) – known as the most complex game in the world. For those who don’t know, it’s simply a collectible card game or trading card game where players take on the role of powerful wizards. Their latest edition was released on June 23, 2023, and is based on our favorite Lord of the Rings by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Today I’m gonna dive deep into it and write about how to Play Magic The Gathering Lord of the Rings in the simplest way possible. Ready to learn LotR Tales of Middle-earth card game in one read? Here you go!

Understanding the Basics of MTG: Lord of the Rings

Deck Composition of LotR Game

lord of the rings cards

Time to open the Magic of the Gathering Lord of the Rings set. Excited? – you should be. The first thing you’ll see is 60 colorful cards representing creatures, spells, and land. Build a deck with these 60 cards. 

Planeswalker: Creatures of Middle-earth

These are the cards that represent all the powerful creatures from the famous Lord of the Rings – a favorite of you and me. They have pictures like Gandalf, Aragorn, or Legolas on them. Each of these planeswalkers has unique abilities that reflect their character traits. My favorite card is Gandalf the White by the way. What’s yours? 

Life Total and Victory Condition

Everyone starts the 20 life points in the MTG arena. The victory condition is pretty simple – reduce your opponent’s life point to zero, and you win! Easy, right? – wrong! You’ll see what I mean by that when I get into the Magic the Gathering rules for Lord of the Ring Tales of Middle-earth. But before that, lemme introduce you to all the Lord of the Rings character cards.

The LotR Tales of Middle-earth Cards in your deck

Creature Card

Like I said before, these cards represent the characters of Lord of the Rings. You’ll know what I mean if you have read the novel or watched the movie. These will include characters like Frodo, Arwen, and Gimli as powerful allies. There are many other creatures like Orcish Bowmasters, Sauron, Elrond, etc. All the creatures have special abilities or synergies with specific card types.

Basic Land Cards

These types of cards are the ones with iconic places like Rivendell, Minas Tirith, and Modor – the land of the great eye of Sauron – remember? These can generate mana based on the location’s thematic elements. Now what is mana? – patience! I’ll explain it soon. These basic land cards come in one of five colors: white, blue, black, red, and green. They all have their own style and possible mix and match to try.

lord of the rings basic lands

Artifact and Enchantment Card

These cards represent many things like Sting, sword or Lord of the Rings The One Ring. Yes, the one Gollum used to call ‘my precious’ – never heard a more creepy sound after that. pfft! Was it Gollum or Smeagol? – I guess the debate will never end. So let’s get back to the game now.

How to Read the Magic Cards in Lord of the Ring Tales of Middle-earth

Have a look at these cards. See the name with big fonts at the top left of the cards. There’s one number and symbols written at the top right. The number is the generic mana cost and the symbol represents what mana of specific color you need to draw that specific card. So if there’s 1 written and a black symbol, that means you need a total of 2 mana – 1 generic mana and 1 black mana.

Then there’s a pretty colorful picture which is a visual representation of the creatures, artifacts, or land from the movie we all watched. uhh! These pictures always make me nostalgic.

Then there’s a type line below that says what kind of magic card it is like creature, artifact, sorcery, enchantment, etc. Besides that, do you see the subtype? – it’s what type of thing the card is representing. Coming to the right in the same line, there is an expansion symbol. Each unique symbol designates the set. The color of this symbol screams out how rare the card is. Black is the most common type, silver is uncommon. Gold and red colors mean the cards are rare or mythic rare respectively.

Below that, a text box in magic cards can be found. It says what it does in the gameplay. 

Then there’s a quoted text written below that. Honestly, it’s completely useless in the game – just a touch of nostalgic dialogue from the original novel written on the card. Usually, the quote is related to that creature, artifact, or any other object in that card. Hmmm… they surely couldn’t write the speech of Sauron using Tengwar.

The last thing you need to know to read a magic card is the numbers written on the bottom right corner of the card. There are two numbers you see. The left one indicates power or how much damage it can cause in the combat stage. The right one indicates how much power the opponent has to put on that creature to destroy it.

That’s all the basics you need to know before playing Lord of the Ring Tales of the middle-earth.

lotr creature card

Ready to start the game now? Let’s start, shall we?

How to Play Magic the Gathering: Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth

Imagine the epic high fantasy game between you and your friend. and I’m here in the back of your head to help you out.

Both of you start the game with 20 life points. Then you both shuffle the main set of your deck and draw 7 cards each. these cards are called ‘your hand’. How would you know you can jumpstart your game with a good hand? well, if you have a mix of different card types and at least two land cards with a shining beauty, consider yourself lucky to jumpstart.

Now time to take turns. Lord of the Rings Tales of the middle-earth is gone in turns between the players to play.

There are five phases in a turn: 1. beginning phase 2. main phase 3. combat phase 4. second main phase 5. ending phase.

When your turn comes, you start with the beginning phase.

Let’s say you are the one taking the first turn. A special rule in the Lord of the Rings games is the first player can skip drawing a card from their library deck. When it comes to turns of later rounds you’ll need to untap all your permanent cards and the creature cards in this phase.

From here, the main phase starts

Here you can play one land card to reduce more mana to cast creatures or spells. Remember you can play one land card per turn. First, you draw a land card from your hand and pass the turn to your opponent. Then you again take your turn and draw one land card from your deck and tap both land cards. Eventually, be able to cast a spell called ‘mana’ that I mentioned before to draw a creature card. 

Now you are ready for the combat phase.

In this phase of Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth, you declare which of your creatures will attack. No, don’t worry it’s a violence-free TCG. Attacking here simply means you tap the creature card and the combat damage takes place directly to your opponent. Well, he/she can defend himself/herself by drawing their own creature in his/her next turn. This will prevent him or her from losing life points. Well, creatures from both sides will deal damage with one point each. Also, you can’t use the same creature to block the opponent’s attack in the next turn. Once a creature is dead losing all its points it’s put to the graveyard.

From here the second main phase starts. 

This phase is optional for the payers. you can take more actions in your turn after combatting this phase. only if you wish to. Sometimes you may want to save spells for after combat. In this phase, you can play another land card from your hand to cast more creatures and spells. Then you pass your turn to your opponent. He/she can now untap previous land cards and draw another to cast a creature or spell in their defense. For example, let’s say your opponent has drawn a magic sorcery card. This can destroy your creature on attack and put it in the graveyard. These turns between you and your opponent will keep on going where you both untap your land cards, draw a new land card, create mana by taping them all, and attack with spells or creatures, causing damage or killing the opponent creature on the attack. You can draw your artifact cards too along with your creature on attack. it’s like giving your creature more power that can cost your opponent’s life points. Keep this going on until someone’s life point is reduced to zero. 

With this, you are ready to wrap up your turn with the ending phase.

I love this phase. any creatures that you used for attacking or blocking and took the damage on, but still in the game without dying, they heal completely. If you are left with more than 7 cards after the turn, you discard all the extra cards.

With this, you win the game of MTG: Lord of the Rings Tales of the Middle-earth.

Now that we are playing magic’s Lord of the Rings cards, how can it be complete without ‘my precious’ – a version of the one rings of power and its temptation? So here we have a One Ring card with its vicious ability to tempt the player that holds it. The only difference is unlike the novel, any player can draw it from the deck and has to hold it. so you and your opponent both can have the one-ring card at the same time. What do you do then? To block the tempting effect, you choose one creature to be the ring bearer for you. if you have no creature to be the ring-bearer, it will tempt you again and make you have a special ability from the emblem. This is like a special card called ‘the ring’ that stays out of the gameplay. Remember, it can be a blessing or curse at the same time – you never know. 

how to play magic the gathering

Winning Strategy to Play Tales of Middle-earth

Resource Management

  1. Balance on playing characters, casting spells, and using land cards like plains, forest, and swamp.
  2. Keep on tracking what unique resources you have, and adopt your strategy with that.

Ring Corruption and Redemption

  1. The one thing we know about the One Ring is it’s corrupted – we saw Gollum! So use it carefully in the game.
  2. Explore mechanics that let you get redemption or the descent into darkness.
lord of the rings one ring card

Where Can I buy MTG: Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle-earth

Join the fellowship of Lord of the Rings Tales of the Middle-earth by purchasing an MTG set if you haven’t already. I’m sure there are a lot of places to buy from. But my main set of cards from the Lord of the Rings is from Here’s a visual spoiler for you. Find these cards and buy-a-box of LotR here.

You can also get a set booster which pack contains 12 magic card, 1 art card 1 card of tokens, etc. If you buy four of them, it’s guaranteed you’ll get 4 rares with mythic rare cards. Well, you can get a special edition collector booster that’ll also guarantee you 4 rares. I mean you can match to try different combos.


Finally, it’s a very fun trading card game that’ll keep you enjoying your time with your friends. especially, if you are a fan of Tolkien’s novel Lord of the Rings or loved the movie, Magic’s latest edition card game is a must-have for you. It’s not that complicated if you at least have a starter kit of Tales of Middle-earth enterprises and have been reading my guide on how to play magic: the gathering Lord of the Rings. Have fun!

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