Exclusive spoilers, box toppers, Jumpstart cards, and more are on the menu for today’s WeeklyMTG stream. Host Blake Rasmussen and Vice President of Design Aaron Forsythe teamed up to give everyone a few more spoilers from the upcoming The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth set as well as a deep dive into some of the design processes that went into the cards.

Scouring of the Shire and The Battle of the Bywater

A good portion of the Tales of Middle-Earth set is devoted to the story that comes after the main story of Lord of the Rings. If you’re less familiar with the events of the books, a disgraced Saruman ventures to the Shire, using his exceptional speaking voice and knack for convincing people to become something of a king among the Hobbits.

Spiteful Banditry is a great example of a card from this portion of the series. On the surface, Spiteful Banditry looks awfully similar to another big mythic enchantment, Meathook Massacre. The big difference between the two is that Spiteful Banditry creates a Treasure token whenever one or more of an opponent’s creatures die, and that ability triggers only once per turn.

Another major player during the Scouring of the Shire is Sharkey. This seemingly random character is the disgraced Saruman, removed from most of his powers but still retaining his knowledge and ability to influence people to do his bidding. This Blue/Black creature has a very unique ability to turn off your opponent’s lands while gaining those abilities for himself.


The box toppers for Tales of Middle-Earth are an opportunity for Wizards to showcase scenes, events, items, or places that are incredibly cool and important in the books but didn’t have space in the main set. Instead, they turned popular Magic staples into some of those missed opportunities as a perfect way to bring these iconic entries from the books to the game.

/ Sword of Hearth and Home

While not a magical sword in the books, the sword that King Théoden of Rohan rides out to battle with has been upgraded to a Sword of Hearth and Home, a fitting choice from among the Mirran swords as Théoden rides to protect his people.

Ring of Barahir / Sword of the Animist

The Ring of Barahir might seem an odd choice to become a Sword of the Animist but it is a nice, smaller detail from the books to become a card. The Ring was originally created by the Elves in Valinor and became an heirloom of Aragorn’s bloodline. Aragorn then gave it to Arwen as a symbol of his love.

Shards of Narsil / Thorn of Amethyst

A fascinating choice for Magic to pick, the Shards of Narsil are the pieces of the shattered sword that cut The One Ring from Saruon’s hand during the War of the Last Alliance thousands of years before the books. Since they’re not usable as a weapon, turning them into the Thorn of Amethyst is a fitting choice.

Minas Morgul / Cabal Coffers

Once the shining city of Minas Ithil, the corrupted city of Minas Morgul shines with unnatural light and becomes something of a fortress for the Witch-king of Angmar and the other Ringwraiths.

Meduseld, Golden Hall of Edoras / Castle Ardenvale

The great hall of King Théoden of Rohan, where the king lived and would deal with courtly duties. It is called the Golden Halls because, from a distance, the yellow straw roof appears to shine like gold.

Glittering Caves of Aglarong  / Gemstone Cavern

These beautiful caverns sit deep behind Helm’s Deep and are where those who couldn’t fight hid once the walls of Helm’s Deep were breached. Once Sauron was defeated, Gimli returned to the mines to excavate the gems and preserve their beauty.

Bag End / Horizon Canopy

Neither nasty or dirty, Bag End is a cozy and warm Hobbit hole and home to both Bilbo and Frodo until the latter sold it at the start of his adventure. Samwise would eventually inherit Bag End once Frodo departs from Middle-earth.

White Tower of Ecthelion / Karakas

The tallest peak at the top of Minas Tirith, the White Tower of Ecthelion bears a striking resemblance to Karakas, making it a natural fit for the card. While not visible in the art, the White Tree of Gondor stands just before the Tower.

An interesting and slightly frustrating thing to note, the box topper White Tower of Ecthelion / Karakas is banned in Commander decks but is identified as a Commander card with the Commander set symbol.

Osgiliath, Fallen Capital / Kor Haven

The former capital of Gondor before it fell to Sauron’s Orcs, the final fall of Osgiliath signaled the start of the War of the Ring for many in Middle-earth. Its name beautifully translates to “Citadel of the Stars” but tragically, the city would never rise to the greatness that it once was blessed with.

Redhorn Pass / Mouth of Ronom

Redhorn Pass is the narrow and treacherous path that the Fellowship takes on the mountain Caradhras is seen in the snow land Mouth of Ronom. Unable to go further, the snowy mountain pass forces the party to try going through the Mines of Moria, with equally disastrous results.

Buckleberry Ferry / Oboro, Palace in the Clouds

Buckleberry Ferry is a cute choice for Oboro, Palace in the Clouds. This river crossing helped the Hobbits escape several Ringwraiths while on their way to Bree. Since a ferry travels back and forth, it matches the repeated bounce ability that Oboro has.

Inn of the Prancing Pony / Pillar of the Paruns

Managed by Barliman Butterbur, Bree Innkeeper, the Prancing Pony is the large inn where the Hobbits were supposed to meet Gandalf after leaving the Shire and instead meet Strider. It is a meeting place for all types of folk in Middle-earth, making Pillar of the Paruns a great pick for the Inn.

Henneth Annun / Reflecting Pool

A massive waterfall and gentle pond hides one of the many outposts that Faramir and his rangers to hide and mount attacks against the Orcs of Mordor. At its basin is the Forbidden Pool, where no one is permitted to enter at the risk of revealing the secret outpost, making it a fitting choice for Reflecting Pool.

Helm’s Deep / Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep

Named after a former king of Rohan, Helm Hammerhand, Helm’s Deep is a massive defensive structure built into a valley gorge before the White Mountains. The entire fortress is called the Hornburg, and is said to never have been breached, until the War of the Ring. Making it Shinka is fitting for the legendary fortress, given the number of battles that it has sustained and resisted over the years.

The Dead Marshes / Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Whether they are a trick of light, remnants of evil sorcery, or some other evil means, The Dead Marshes show the ghostly forms of all beings who died in a climatic battle against the forces of Mordor. The marshes have spread and consumed the lands around it, making the swamps of Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth the perfect box-topper to represent it.

Jumpstart: Lord of the Rings Edition

We got a first look at five unique rares coming in the Jumpstart packs for Tales of Middle-Earth. The rares are:

The Holiday Release Mystery Continues

Will be a mix of new cards and reprints from Tales of Middle-Earth in the upcoming “Holiday Release.” While the two did not want to go into more details now, they reassured viewers that there will be more information coming soon.

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