The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth isn’t just a draft set and pre-constructed Commander decks—it will also be accompanied by a Secret Lair drop!

Don’t miss our coverage of today’s other The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth news—all of the previews from the main set as well as the Secret Lair drop based on the animated film.

Secret Lair drops for Universes Beyond products are a fun way for Magic to engage with other IPs to make visually stunning cards. To celebrate the The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set, Wizards of the Coast and Middle-Earth Enterprises partnered to bring the classic 1978 animated The Lord of the Rings film to the game. The drop will be available on June 26, 2023 at 12 PM Eastern and will cost $40 for the foil version or $30 for the non-foil version.

The teaser image from the Secret Lair drop features Frodo and Gandalf.

The teaser image from the Secret Lair drop features Frodo and Gandalf.

Directed by legendary animator and filmmaker Ralph Bakshi, the 1978 film brought a new level of realism to animated films that were rarely seen at the time. Using a process called rotoscoping, Baskhi recorded live actors portraying characters and acting out scenes before tracing them onto animation cells. Baskhi is well known for his extensive use of this technique, having directed several films prior to The Lord of the Rings utilizing rotoscoping to achieve his unique style.

The resulting look brings a terrifying realness to the Orcs and evils of Middle-Earth while giving the heroes and other characters a certain level of life that other forms of animation might not be able to.

Unfortunately, Wizards did not tell us which cards might be in the drop. While we’re still waiting for more details on the Secret Lair to be revealed, there are some stunning scenes from the animated film that could easily find their way to the drop. The teaser image depicts both Gandalf and Frodo, though the scene could fit any number of cards.

What Could the Lord of the Rings Secret Lair Drop Include?

Possible inclusions from the film could be a new version of Galadriel, seen here revealing her ring Nenya to both Frodo and Sam as they look into the Mirror of Galadriel while resting in Lothlórien.

Orcs in Bakshi’s animated film have an otherworldly feel to them, with burning red eyes, glowing tusks, and are often cloaked in dark armor or cloaks, towering above Hobbits and Humans alike. Bakshi’s animated film was impressive for being able to depict upwards of one thousand characters on screen, something few others could replicate at the time.

The balrog known as Durin’s Bane has been depicted in various ways over the years, with Bakshi’s both being a very book-accurate depiction of the fallen Maiar from the time before the world was created and also a little silly with its massive, stiff wings and lion’s head mask.

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