Tales from Middle Earth: MTG Style


A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about Tomb of Horrors. I meant forit to be a weekly installment as I worked through the various trials faced by the protagonist in Ready Player One. Then, as you know, life got busy. Well, I still plan to undertake all of those thing. It just might have to wait until after our Germany trip at this point. After all, I still need to figure out what to do for each trial. What does any of this have to do with Tales from Middle Earth?

Nothing, of course. But, you knew that. Sometimes we go off on tangents here at 2 Generations Gaming. I feel like that made more sense in the earlier context when I started writing the article. Now, though, I fail to see my intent. Oh well. Many of you might not read this one because the overall intent of the article comes not to praise Lord of the Rings, but to bury it.

It’s Not Just Me, Right?

I make no secret of my dislike for Lord of the Rings. In fact ,I talked about it again in recent episode of Noob’s Book Club. As a result, that is only one reason why I will be skipping this set altogether. Normally, I buy a booster box and a bundle (by now we all know these were fat packs in the past, but I always feel compelled to explain that) of each set to put into binders for my collection.

However, I don’t have the same connection to Lord of the Rings as many nerds. As such, a collection of cards from that “Universe Beyond” (to use the tag line I saw somewhere describing these sets) makes no difference to me. I texted Chris when I saw the article I will discuss in the next section. He said that Jason geeked out about the set, but he agrees with me that Lord of the Rings is just boring.

The main other reason for not caring about the set is that cards have no legality in Standard. I play mostly Standard on MTGA to finish quests. I play some Historic (if I don’t have the right deck for Standard) and almost no Modern, so the discussion of those formats is also moot and gives me no reason to buy the cards. I guess if some of the cards work in my Commander decks, then I’ll consider them.

Why Do We Keep Having This Conversation?

Once upon a time, I heralded the arrival of the internet as a new golden age of humanity. It gave us access to the wealth of human knowledge. Then, phones put that knowledge in to the palms of our hands. At this point, ignorance became a conscious choice. Boy howdy, have many people made that choice.

It seems like we get finished with one conversation about the skin color, gender, or sexuality of one fictional character and then another pops up. Most recently, people fight over black mermaids and now elves. I used to think that this was ignorant but mostly harmless. Surely, any such discussion is rife with dangerous undertones.

However, I recently saw a clip on Facebook that I reposted. It talked about Edison inventing the light bulb. Then, they discussed Lewis Latimer, the black man who invented the filament and what drove him. Then, of course, I made the connection between that and these idiot conversations. “When people start arguing about mermaids and elves, they are upholding the systems that hold people down.”

The “ONE” Ring

Scrolling through the headlines, I saw that someone offered over 100,000 for this card. That quickly got out of hand and the “bounty” now sits at 1 million or more. Well, when I saw the first article, I reacted as many of the characters in the book. I decided that if I opened the ring, I would throw it in the volcano. Several other people made the same comment. Then I texted it to Chris and we talked about how neither of us had any interest in the set.

Nevermind the irony that probably the most famous metaphor for wealth and power as a corrupting influence now exists in physical form. I acutually appreciate that. At the same time, I recognize the ridiculousness of the whole situation. 1 million dollars. For a single piece of laminated cardboard with some fancy writing on it? I simply cannot with y’all anymore.

The Verdict

Cards based on one of the most boring fantasy stories ever told? Check. Look somewhere else if you want a review of them. For the first time ever, I understand the people who slam Wizards of the Coast as simply only in it for the money. That always feels like such a dishonest criticism in our society. Hey, we’re hyper capitalists, but you aren’t supposed to do things for the money. Say, what? Anyway, those of you who are fans, I hope you enjoy Tales from Middle Earth. I will be skipping this one.

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