Maro’s Teaser: Exciting LotR Set Secrets Unveiled!

Mark Roswater (a.k.a. Maro), the head designer for Wizards of the Coast, makes a teaser post on his Blogatog before each major MTG set release. In it, we can find partial information, and clues of what to expect about from the set. He did the same for Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth set too.

In today’s article, we’re diving deep into the information of Maro’s LotR Teaser, trying to decipher all the clues. So follow along and be among the first to know what’s coming in Magic’s most ambiguous crossover ever.


Even though there will be brand-new mechanics in the set, Mark mostly talked about the returning ones.

One of them, is the ward mechanic, which protects your creatures from targeted removal. Unless your opponent pays an additional cost of some kind. Typically, these costs include paying extra mana or some amount of life points. This time around, we’re getting a new type of ward cost. Perhaps something that rewards the controller of the said creature?

Next up, there’s a returning mechanic, which now references a new creature type.

Another mechanic makes a comeback. For this one, Maro had to fight tooth and nail to get into the set it premiered in.

Tooth and Nail

Some of these teasers can be a bit cheeky, so here’s our first speculation. The latter two mechanics are essentially the same one. We’re talking about the entwine mechanic, which appeared on various cards, including Tooth and Nail. That’s why Maro choose that specific wording. It could now reference Ents, which would make it a perfect flavor fit, given its name.


In basically every set we get +1/+1 counters, and we’ll also get them in Tales of Middle-earth. However, Mark confirmed that there will be plenty of other counters in the set, including:

  • burden
  • deathtouch
  • first strike
  • hope
  • indestructible
  • influence
  • lifelink
  • lore
  • stun
  • verse
  • vigilance

Many of these are already established keywords in Magic, but three of them stand out. Burden, hope, and influence counters are a new addition to Magic, and it’s going to be exciting to see what they’re all about.


The set will also have some tribal support. These will be a lot of cards that support a specific creature type, although most of them will come as one-off. So, there might be a card for Bird, Ent, Dwarf tribal, and so on.

There will also be a new creature type, that will have its own equip cost. At first, you might think about Dwarves, which are quite handy with weapons of any kind, but that wouldn’t be a new creature type. So perhaps a better guess would be Orcs.


Tales of Middle Earth MTG LotR Teaser Balrog

Commander players are likely interested about this next part, as we’ll talk about the legendary creatures. Mark said that there will be creatures with the following creature types. The additions in the brackets are predictions that we’ve made for each slot.

  • Avatar Demon (Balrog, Durin’s Bane)
  • Bird Noble (Gwaihir)
  • Halfling Knight (Merry Brandybuck)
  • Halfling Soldier (Pippin Took)
  • Horse (Shadowfax)
  • Kraken (Watcher in the Water)
  • Nymph (Goldberry, the River-daughter)
  • Spirit Noble (King of the Dead)
  • Spider Demon (Shelob)
  • Wraith Noble (The Witch King)

Which of these 10 characters would you most like to use as a commander? Let us know in the comments below. What we want is for Shadowfax to include the reminder text for haste. (If you don’t understand the reference, you can check this video to refresh your memory.)

There will also be 2 three-color and 1 four-color legendary creatures, that will go along with an already previewed five color legendary, Tom Bombadil.

Tom Bombadil Lord of the Rings MTG Spoilers

As you can see, there will be a lot of legendary creatures, but that’s expected for a set based on a world with so many iconic characters. That’s why Wizards decided that they will also include a legendary-matters theme. So, you can expect cards that get better if you have legendary creatures in play.

Perhaps, it’ll also focus on any legendary permanents, as there will be five different card types with a legendary supertype.

Text Snippets

Vague information and creature types are by no means the only things that Maro shared. He also included some exciting text snippets that appear on the card. Keep in mind that this is typically not the full text of the card.

For example, here are snippets for for each character from the legendary trio:

  • “Whenever a creature an opponent control dies, put a +1/+1 counter on Legolas.”
  • “When this ability resolves for the third time this turn, Gimli fights up to one target creature you don’t control.”
  • “Whenever you put one or more counters on Aragorn, put one of each of those kinds of counters on up to one other target creature.”

As well as for a couple of other named characters:

  • “Whenever you attack with Merry and another legendary creature,”
  • “Remove an indestructible counter from Arwen:”

Plus some other, seemingly random text snippets:

  • “Copy any number of target instant and/or sorcery spells.”
  • “Then create a Food token for each creature you control.”
  • “Whenever you draw a card during an opponent’s turn, create a 1/1 blue Tentacle creature token.”
  • “You may pay 0 rather than pay the equip cost of the first equip ability you activate during each of your turns.”

Last, but not lest, here’s our favorite text snippet from Maro’s LotR teaser: “Target opponent gains control of target Horse you control.” Perhaps this will reference Rohan lending a helpful hand.

Card Names

Beside the text snippets, Mark actually previewed 10 card names as well.


Two of them are food based. These will go along nicely with one of the already previewed cards, Sam Loyal Attendant.

Sam, Loyal Attendant LotR Commander Decks

There’s Lembas, which will very likely have the Food subtype. Cards with subtype Food allow you to pay two mana, and sacrifice it, in order to gain three life. They can also have some other effects, and Lembas will surely have that as well.

The second food based card, is called after the iconic Second Breakfast. Even if that card won’t be as good, it’ll likely appear on r/lotrmemes, alongside another one – Grond, the Gatebreaker.

Sagas Return?

Next up there’s a card called There and Back Again. The name would fit perfectly on a Saga card. These are enchantments that depict various significant events, and Bilbo’s journey would definitely fit the bill. Maro also stated that there’s a card that makes a legendary Smaug token, and that might be the one to do so.

Three other card names could also be used as Sagas. Breaking of the Fellowship would depict Frodo and Sam going their own way. Fear! Fire Foes! the Scourging of the Shire, while Birthday Escape the more relaxed moment at the beginning of the book. However, the latter one could also be some kind of blink spell. (Such spells exile a creature, then return it to the battlefield. For example, Momentary Blink.)

Three More

Horses of Bruinen will likely be a blue card, given that these are not actual horses, but the horse-like waves that smash the Black Riders, when they are chasing Frodo over the Bruinen river.

On the other hand, there are also actual animals, such as Oliphaunt, the Tolkien’s version of elephant. This would likely be the favorite card of Samwise Gamgee.

Finally, there’s also One Ring to Rule Them All. Perhaps this one will use the ring tempts you mechanic, contrary to The One Ring, which is considered a bit of a flavor fail.

Find Out More About Tales of Middle-earth!

So, that’s everything that was unveiled in the Maro’s LotR teaser. That doesn’t matter that this is everything that we know about this amazing set. Quite the contrary, actually, there’s a bunch of info available for you, if you’d like to learn more.

For example, this set is also bringing us new precons for Magic’s most popular format, Commander. The decks will be led by iconic characters from Middle-earth. From Frodo and Sam to Sauron himself. You can find out everything about the four LotR Commander decks here.

Even the basic lands in this set are going to be stunning. There will be ten LotR full-art map lands. Each one features and area of the Middle-earth. Here’s one of the two different Forests:

If you decide to get a full booster box of this set, make sure that you also get a LotR Box Topper alongside it. These are reprints of popular lands and artifacts from Magic’s past, now set withing the Middle-earth.

Unsure which box to get? Check our MTG LotR Product Guide, where we dove deep into each and every product coming with this set. This way, you’ll make the most informed decision possible.

Anyway, that’s all for today. Until next time, have fun, and enjoy yet another journey into the Middle-earth!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.