MTG: The Lord of the Rings card preview – Sauron’s Ransom

Here's a global exclusive preview of one of the new cards from The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set.
Lord of the Rings magic the gathering

Magic: The Gathering has collaborated with a number of iconic IPs as part of their Universes Beyond series, and the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set is one of the biggest yet. Ahead of the 23 June 2023 release, we’ve got an exclusive preview of a new Instant card from the set.

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth delves right into Tolkien’s world, reimagining key events, characters, and locations from the Third Age. Iconic characters like Gandalf, Sauron, and Frodo are given the Magic art treatment, and with the 1 of 1 Ring card already fetching a $1 million USD bounty, the set looks ready to become a favourite for collectors.

Read: March of the Machine breathes new life into Magic: The Gathering

Here’s the exclusive reveal for one of the new cards coming to The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Sauron’s Ransom.

Sauron’s Ransom is a three-cost instant that lets you choose an opponent to look through the top four cards of your library before putting them into a face-down and face-up pile. One of these piles goes straight into your hand, while the other is put into your graveyard. Given this is a blue-black card, it’s highly likely to have high synergy with black cards that allow you to grab cards from your graveyard.

Interestingly, Sauron’s Ransom’s final effect states that The Ring tempts you, a new mechanic in The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth. If this is the first card you’ve played with this effect, you receive an emblem called ‘The Ring’ which contains four abilities. 

Lord of the Rings magic the gathering
Image: Wizards of the Coast

The four abilities listed on The Ring emblem are as follows:

  • Your Ring-bearer is legendary and can’t be blocked by creatures with greater power.
  • Whenever your Ring-bearer attacks, draw a card, then discard a card.
  • Whenever your Ring-bearer becomes blocked by a creature, that creature’s controller sacrifices it at the end of combat.
  • Whenever your Ring-bearer deals combat damage to a player, each opponent loses 3 life.

If you control one or more creatures when it comes into play, one of these creatures is selected as the Ring-bearer and gains all currently active abilities. To make this mechanic and emblem even more powerful, whenever you’re tempted by the ring, the next ability on the card is activated in addition to all previous ones. You can also change the Ring-bearer whenever you’re tempted, and once all four abilities are activated and The Ring is at full power, you can continue to change the attached creature when tempted and grant them all of the powers available. If you’re tempted enough times, your selected creature becomes a formidable addition to the field.

While Sauron’s Ransom is already a handy instant on its own due to the mill and draw effect, this could be the perfect card to quickly switch your Ring-Bearer in combat or on another player’s turn to buff another creature. 

lord of the rings mtg magic the gathering
Image: Wizards of the Coast

The card art by Alex Brock and the flavour text reference the scene from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, where the Mouth of Sauron presents Gandalf and his party with Frodo’s Mithril shirt. The card comes with both the normal treatment and in an extended-art version.

Magic: The Gathering’s The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set releases on 23 June 2023, and between the references to iconic events from the Tolkien universe, gorgeous art (including the 18-card depiction of the Battle of Pelennor Fields), and new mechanics, is an interesting new addition to the Universes Beyond roster. If you want to check out the set ahead of the official full release date, you can head to one of the Magic: The Gathering prerelease events at your local Wizards Play Network store.

Emily Spindler-Carruthers is a journalist interested in writing about diversity and accessibility in gaming, and the ways in which video games can impact communities. You can find her @Sagef0xx on Twitter.