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The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Limited Set Review: White

J2SJosh reviews and rates every White Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth card for limited!

Hey everyone! The shadows out of Mordor have been growing longer and it is time for us to rise up to destroy the evil forces of Sauron. Well, I guess we could also be playing for the other team as well, but either way we’re heading into Middle Earth for a fabulous adventure.

As a long time lover of Lord of the Rings, I am extremely excited to spend a couple months drafting this set. I am slightly less excited about how much my wife is going to spend on boxes of them, but it makes her happy so it’s all good.

Now let’s start checking out how these cards are going to play out in limited.

Here’s the usual grading scale:

Banish from Edoras

Rating: 2.0/5

Removal is still removal, but this is pretty bad removal. Recent sets have shown that five mana sorcery speed removal just doesn’t cut it in modern limited. Straight up exiling any creature means that it could be a decent sideboard card or a card 20-23 in some decks.

While not really a productive thing to discuss, this would be much better as an instant. Having to take a hit before taking advantage of the mana reduction on a tapped creature is a very real cost.

The Battle of Bywater

Rating: 3.5/5

The hobbits are finally revolting against Sharkey’s tyranny and those of you who only watched the movies have no idea what’s going on here. Basically, Saruman took over the Shire and razed it to the ground, the hobbits wanted to get back to a life filled with second breakfasts while smoking out on the porch. Stuff went down from there.

Like most sweeper effects, this is significantly better in bo1 where your opponent has no clue it is coming. You can durdle around dropping hobbits without it being suspicious then blast your opponent’s bigger creatures while getting more food than a drunken Door Dash order.

Similar to most removal that is limited to killing bigger creatures, it is possible to get stuck in your hand in some matchups. Only requiring three power instead of four is a huge difference though so it will be a very rare occasion that it does nothing.

Bill the Pony

Rating: 2.5/5

Did you know that Bill the Ponyhad to be banned for power level in a previous LotR CCG?  This doesn’t have a chance to reach those heights, but it still is a solid limited card. It doesn’t look like much on the surface, but it does provide three game pieces out of one card.  

While fine in most decks, the main archetype I do want this in is based around aggressive flyers. Bill clogs up the ground nicely because the threat of activation will keep the opponent’s smaller creatures at bay. The food also gives you a nice life cushion if you’re racing.

Boromir, Warden of the Tower

Rating: 3.0/5

There are so many cards that are flavor wins in this set. I really have to give Wizards props for nailing it on that. Being able to sacrifice Boromir to protect your creatures with a ring temptation thrown in is just a fantastic representation of the story.

As far as the card goes, this is a commander plant that still at least does something useful in limited. The body is fine with most of the value tied into making your opponent play a game of chicken every time they want to kill one of your creatures.

Dawn of a New Age

Rating: 3.0/5

If you have a bunch of creatures out, this will slowly bury your opponent in card advantage. Even if you only have two creatures out, it ends up being a slow Divination and four life for the low cost of two mana.

Where the speed of the format ends up landing is really going to affect the value of this. I am pretty sure that I am going to have to adjust this grade one way or another.

Dunedain Blade

Rating: 1.5/5

You need a whole bunch of humans before you start to consider playing this card. Even on the cheap it’s just fine. If you’re planning on paying full retail for the equip, you need to make better decisions with your life.

Eagles of the North

Rating: 2.0/5

We just came off of a set with a cycle of landcycling creatures where they started off fine, but most of which ended up pretty bad (I’m looking at you Furnace Host Charger) once decks became more streamlined.

There is a massive difference between having to pay one or two for this ability. One slides into your curve silky smooth while two means you’re potentially missing out on a valuable turn.

Without the Plainscycling, the card would be good at four mana, maybe playable at five mana. With it, I think I’ll be fine running one of these. I would actively want to wrangle up one of these if I was splashing another white card though.

Eastfarthing Farmer

Rating: 2.0/5

This hobbit is ready to mess someone’s day up with that pitchfork. I don’t value a food token anywhere near some other great limited abilities like decayed zombies or blood tokens, but it is still an additional game piece. Depending on how your deck takes advantage of food will determine how much you want to work with this farmer.

East-Mark Cavalier

Rating: 2.0/5

There are enough goblins and orcs running around Middle Earth (I’m sure Sierkovitz will tell us the exact numbers) that I’m sure the ability will come up. Mostly a curve filling two drop that will occasionally do something extra.

Eowyn, Lady of Rohan

Rating: 3.0/5

Eowyn inspires those around her, especially if they are armed with some equipment. Notably it doesn’t say another creature so she can give the abilities to herself.

This is a prime example of where building a deck instead of a pile of cards matters. Equipment such as Dunedain Blade are much more palatable when they cost one less to equip and get both abilities from her.

Errand-Rider of Gondor

Rating: 2.5/5

This grade is going to fluctuate from deck to deck based off of how many legendary creatures and ways to get tempted by the ring you have. A 3/2 for three that draws a card is a premium card, but one that pseudo loots is not remotely in the same class.

Escape from Orthanc

Rating: 1.5/5

I do have a soft spot for one mana tricks, but this one doesn’t quite do enough to want more than one in your decks.

Esquire of the King

Rating: 2.0/5

They were afraid of having another Steadfast Unicorn incident so they made this poor soldier tap to perform their duties. Wizards never let them join in any Rohirrim games.  

It should be pretty easy to activate this on the cheap so sticking one into your deck will be just fine. I would actively want it if I was going wide, but would pass if I was going tall.

Faramir, Field Commander

Rating: 3.5/5

While Hill Giants aren’t really what you want these days, it should be pretty easy to entice a trade and then play this to recoup a card right away. It is also a great go wide engine by adding an extra 1/1 every time someone other than Faramir gets tempted.

Flowering of the White Tree

Rating: 4.0/5

Glorious Anthem has always been a good limited card and dropping it to two mana would be a great card on its own. In most sets, adding ward and an extra power to legendary creatures wouldn’t normally be a big deal. However, this set is stacked with legendary creatures and even your ringbearer (from every card that says the ring tempts you) is legendary.

Fog on the Barrow-Downs

Rating: 3.5/5

I thought we were done with three mana Pacifism effects. We’ve been spoiled with two mana Arrest cards lately and now we come back to this. I’d still run it if I was removal light and just needed a way to deal with something.

The changing to a spirit is actually a huge draw back because it means that they can start a new amass orcs army. If it remained an army, it would make their amass cards dead until they found a way to get rid of it.

Forge Anew

Rating: 1.5/5

Another constructed card hanging around a limited set. At first glance, I thought this was terrible and should never be played in limited. After thinking it through, it does make combat absolutely miserable for your opponent because they have to account for you being able to move equipment around at instant speed (on your turn) for free.

Definitely a build around, but it does have some potential especially if you have a way to get an equipment in your graveyard early. Luckily your ringbearer loots as long as you’ve been tempted twice so you can toss one in the bin for some value.

Frodo, Sauron’s Bane

Rating: 3.0/5

I’m going to base most of this off of being a 2/3 lifelink that can potentially be attacking on turn two. While it’s technically three mana, being able to pay it in installments is a huge difference.

The triple black is a huge ask, but could be potentially game changing (or even game ending) if you pull it off. It can be especially frustrating for your opponent since having Frodo be the ringbearer is hard to block profitably as a 2/3 (the first ringbearer ability prevents it from being blocked by creatures with greater power).

The best part about being able to just kill them with this is using Escape from Orthanc or Landroval, Horizon Witness because you can finally fulfill everyone’s scenario of “Why didn’t the eagles just fly them to Mount Doom”.

Gandalf the White

Rating: 4.0/5

Gandalf shows up neither late nor early, but precisely when he feels like it. He usually feels like it when your opponent is attacking so you can surprise block to pseudo Flametongue Kavu someone in the middle of nowhere. Giving flash to the rest of your legendary spells and artifacts is going to wreak havoc on your opponent’s plans as well.

Oh yeah, something about double triggers as well. It’s freaking Gandalf, we all just assumed he’d be great.

Hobbit’s Sting

Rating: 2.5/5

Definitely not in the same class as Patriar's Humiliation since two mana is a huge jump up from one. You should still be able to kill most things with this backed up by your hobbits and their horde of food.   

Landroval, Horizon Witness

Rating: 2.5/5

A cool twist on the Pegasus Courser ability by letting it trigger even without this attacking. Evasion seems like it will be powerful and this hands that out like Halloween candy. Flying by eagle is still pretty pricy at five mana to get it started.

Lost to Legend

Rating: 2.0/5

Two mana instant speed removal is typically pretty good even if it is a bit circumstantial. In a lot of situations, it is the legendaries and ring bearers that you want to remove anyway.

The chance is very minimal that your opponent doesn’t have any legendaries or cards where the ring tempts them in their deck.

Despite the odds, I fully expect it to be like Go for the Throat for Floridamun when they always only had artifact creatures. He’s never going to get to use this. 

Nimble Hobbit

Rating: 1.5/5

I must admit that this is the first time I’ve ever seen a hobbit launch themselves off of a fence to drop kick a ruffian. Someone probably should have told them to aim a tad lower for a critical hit though.

As long as you are the beatdown, this is a nice way to turn your food into something useful while still adding to the board. You probably should only be playing this in decks that are planning on going wide and attacking.  

Now for Wrath, Now for Ruin!

Rating: 1.5/5

Not even close to a good Overrun variant. I might play one in a deck centered around going wide, but it shouldn’t be a priority. If you end up wanting one, you’ll be able to pick it up late.

Protector of Gondor

Rating: 2.0/5

We’ve seen this card plenty of times before in other sets. While you should evaluate everything in its own context it’s always been in that same playable, but still sometimes ends up on the chopping block range.


Rating: 3.0/5

Hey it’s Remand, but white. You’re normally trading up on mana with this while it replaces itself. Your opponent will be quite annoyed when you say something like “Let’s just put a pin in that and come back to it”.

Rosie Cotton of South Lane

Rating: 2.5/5

Another build around, but a potentially powerful one if you have enough token makers running around. This makes Bill the Ponya lot scarier when he’s swinging for six. On top of that your opponent has to tell everyone they caught a beatdown from Rosie Cotton and Bill the Pony

This leads to a bunch of infinite combos in constructed, but nothing too crazy available in draft here. There are going to be decks where she is the key piece, but I can’t put her any higher because there will be plenty of decks where you shouldn’t play her.

Samwise the Stouthearted

Rating: 3.0/5

Good old loyal Sam. It’s not hard to setup an early trade before Sam comes to the rescue to put you up a card and a temptation.

Just like Sam, this card is very solid and reliable. That means he’s never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down, never gonna run around and desert you.

Second Breakfast

Rating: 1.5/5

I feel like I may play this card more than I should due to my love of second breakfast. I am a sucker for some bacon and eggs…and maybe some pancakes…ok, I guess a waffle too. Seriously these hobbits eat like freaking kings though.

Oh yeah, enough about food, back to the review. It’s an expensive combat trick that can occasionally get the double blow out, but would be played around less if it was an uncommon.

Shire Shirriff

Rating: 2.5/5

That is the actual spelling of the card. It’s more of an honorary title in the shire, but who am I to question someone who just tied up that orc.

It’s fairly easy to get a food token if you’re doing anything related to the Shire so this ends up being a two mana Faceless Butcher. Sounds good to me.

Slip on the Ring

Rating: 2.0/5

I do love me some flicker effects as long as they are a reasonable cost (sorry Scrollshift). Two mana is perfectly manageable as long as you have some good ETBs or cards worth protecting. The temptation is just the gravy on top (which I assume is a copious amount when hobbits are involved).

Soldier of the Grey Host

Rating: 1.5/5

This might let you trade up as a trick, but its never going to save your creature. Then you’re stuck with a really expensive Wind Drake. More of a card to keep in mind when blocking then something that you actually want to be playing.

Stalwarts of Osgiliath

Rating: 1.5/5

It gets a little bit of value up front by tempting you with the ring. As long as you’ve had one prior temptation your ring bearer will even grow this to a 5/4 the turn you drop it (if you get an attack off which is a big if).

It’s just a five drop that needs other things to line up to be worth it. Maybe an occasionally acceptable curve topper, but you can do better.

Tale of Tinúviel

Rating: 2.5/5

This has potential to be really powerful, but requires some setup. It’s not really great if you’re just making a random 2/2 indestructible for a few turns and reanimating a mediocre creature. It’s pretty awesome if you make a big trampler indestructible and bring back some monster your ring bearer looted away.

It is nice that you can give the lifelink to any two of your creatures and not just the ones you targeted with the first steps. That helps alleviate the occasional “oops I do nothing” in the third step.

Took Reaper

Rating: 1.5/5

Unless you’re going hard on the ring tempting you, this is mostly filler. The one toughness might be a problem with cards like Rally at the Hornburg and other token makers running around. You even have to worry about Cast into the Fire and The Black Breath as well. This also applies to all of the other one toughness creatures, but I didn’t want to repeat myself a bunch.

War of the Last Alliance

Rating: 1.5/5

I’m really not a fan of four mana do nothings. This does tutor two relevant creatures so I would run it if I had multiple legendaries worth getting. I would need at least four good legendary creatures to be convinced though.

Step three is one of those things they can see coming, but sometimes can’t do anything about. It can end the game or at least put them in the position to make some bad blocks.

Westfold Rider

Rating: 2.0/5

Acceptable curve filler with some upside. There are enough Sagas and Equipment running around that this could have some relevant targets.

You Cannot Pass!

Rating: 1.5/5

I would have preferred this was a really good card so I could say You Cannot Pass! this card. Unfortunately, this is really narrow even with plenty of legendary creatures running around.

Wrap Up

White is about what you would expect in a Lord of the Rings set. It is well stocked with hobbits and food (can’t really have one without the other). It has plenty of decent low to the ground creatures and some pretty medium removal.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back tomorrow with my limited review of blue for Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth. Until then, stay classy people!

Fine…I guess I will add that I’ll see you LTR! I’m pretty ashamed of that one, but I have a brand to uphold here.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me at:

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Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 235

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