This past summer, Wizards of the Coast released Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth, a Universes Beyond-centric Magic: The Gathering set. This set is legal in the Modern format, Commander-based cars notwithstanding. But we were all deceived, for Wizards had another trick up their sleeves. Today, Wizards of the Coast has released Scene Boxes, four sets of six cards each showing a pivotal scene from the Lord of the Rings novels. They provided us with two of these scene boxes for review purposes, and here’s what we think about them!
Gandalf in the Pelennor Fields
The first scene box we wish to talk about is Gandalf in the Pelennor Fields. This is a scene depicting Gandalf the White in a battle against the army of Minal Morgul, the forces utilized by Sauron as he clamors for his former glory. It’s a really cool scene.
As for the cards in this scene box, each card uses an older game mechanic. For example, Courageous Resolve uses “fateful hour”, a mechanic that cares if you have a low life total. Further examples include Fell Beast’s Shriek, which uses splice, and Gandalf of the Secret Fire, which uses suspend. These cards are pretty powerful for what they do, but are largely unsynergistic with one another. Still, Gandalf of the Secret Fire can use all of them in a Commander deck helmed by him. It’s not a terrible coincidence, but it is an interesting note to consider for all scene boxes, as it were.
Aragorn at Helm’s Deep
Next, let’s discuss the other scene box we received from Wizards of the Coast: Aragorn at Helm’s Deep. This scene box is as stunning as the first and has similarly good utility in the cards it provides.
Like Gandalf in the Pelennor Fields, Aragorn at Helm’s Deep contains six cards showing the titular scene. This time, it’s the Battle of the Hornburg, in which he wizard Saruman’s forces are decimated by the army of Rohan. Furthermore, similarly to the previous scene box, this one has cards that use older mechanics like Formidable, Flashback, and Renown. Finally, the scene box’s legendary creature, Aragorn, Hornburg Hero, can lead a Commander deck containing all of the cards within this scene box.
Our Verdict on Lord of the Rings Scene Boxes
We like these scene boxes quite a bit. As an institution, if Wizards of the Coast wants to expand their license deals with Bethesda, Ubisoft, Marvel, or whoever else through these, we endorse that decision. They provide a really cool gift for the holidays for Magic: The Gathering fans and Lord of the Rings aficionados alike. We’d love to see what they do with this sort of SKU in the future!