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Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Over and Underperformers Guide

In this guide, we go over the over and underperformers for Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth Limited.

Hey everyone! I have once again returned to update you on what is going down in limited land for The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth. Today we’re going to be discussing the over and under performers. Yeah, that means we are going to be pointing out where I was wrong about things during preview season.

Keep in mind that this is focusing on cards that are defying my original expectations. It isn’t saying “OMG did you know that Anduriel is amazing!!”, we all knew that so it is performing as expected. I’m also not going to dunk all over Brandywine Farmer or Shire Scarecrow because that’s like pushing over a six-year-old so you can do a windmill slam on a nerf hoop.

I normally have the original grades and the updated ones in here, but I felt that was a little constricting. There are times a card feels better or worse than expected, but not enough to grade it differently. What I say about the cards is far more important than the number value. You number people don’t need to worry because everything is already updated in the tier list which is conveniently linked in this article.


Fear, Fire, Foes!

It’s not that I didn’t think this was going to be a mythic uncommon, it’s that I find myself living in constant terror hoping they don’t have this. There are so many times that you don’t have an option other than putting yourself in the position to have your entire side lit up by one card.

I’ve already had multiple games where I’m sitting there thinking I’m dead with every other draw in my deck, but I just ended up taking over after I ripped FFF!.

Basically, when you play FFF! your opponent yells three words that start with an F, but they sure aren’t fear, fire, or foes.

Saruman’s Trickery

Now this is the type of trickery I want to pull off. I have been high on counterspells since preview season, but sheesh this one has been ridiculous. While comparing LTR to a core set was definitely too far, counterspells are still really good in Middle-Earth. This one chucks in a free creature making it a potentially literal beating.

It also gets around the problem where people can cast Amass spells while you’re staring at your Glorious Gale. This went from an auto include to a premium high pick.

Took Reaper

Just because this is overperforming doesn’t mean you should do anything crazy like pick this early. Going into the format, I was very much against 2/1s in this format. I did underestimate the value of a ring temptation especially on a death trigger (which is approximately a billion times worse than an ETB). I originally thought that this shouldn’t ever make the cut, but it’s been sliding in as a card 20-23.

Deceive the Messenger

I am not too proud to admit that I have walked into this a few times already. It plays very nicely in the Izzet and Dimir spells decks where you end up getting a flash 1/1 and the potential to eat something. It’s also good on offense when they think they are getting a fair trade. One thing that really helps this on Arena is the presence of the landcyclers making the normal tells hard to read.

Just don’t do something silly like using it on a ringbearer before you assign blocks.

Dunland Crebain

It’s not like I was insanely off about this, but enough that it bothers me. I had it as a play every copy you get, but there are a ton of cards that I would take Dunland Crebain over that I wouldn’t have at the beginning of the set.

I have a blind spot for common creatures before playing the set because I’m always like “Oh this looks too good; they must have tested it so I’ll lower my expectations”. Strangely enough I did the same thing with Preening Champion where I rated it lower than I wanted to because of that. Both ended up with the same story where I was already fixing my tier list grades by the end of day one. I’ll chalk this up as a lesson learned (again…sigh) and consciously try to not to have a repeat on the next set.

Palantir of Orthanc

I saw a lot of people hating on this card while I thought it was going to be around the same level as top commons/uncommons. Instead it can be straight up bananas.

Luckily, I opened it in my first sealed and got to jam it right out of the gate. The pattern usually went that I played this, I used the scry and they were like “No card for you!” took five to the face and let me have a personal Howling Mine for the rest of the game.

Of course, I’m required to mention the brave soul who remained adamant that I wasn’t getting extra cards and just died to it on turn five.


Shire Terrace

I was low on this to start out, but figured that some multicolor decks would want it. I haven’t actually played one so far, but I am very happy when I see my opponent play it. That’s all I really need to know about it.

One Ring to Rule them All

This is actually hard to get a definitive grade on because it has such a humongous delta of effectiveness. It requires quite a lot of maneuvering to maximize it and it feels so good when you just destroy their side while keeping yours.

Unfortunately, most players tend to be playing plenty of legendaries and they even have a turn to prepare themselves for the wrath. It just feels so clunky when your opponent is laying the legendary beats. I’m still interested in playing this, but would much rather take a solid removal like Smite the Deathless or Claim the Precious.

Shire Shirriff

There are still times this is really good, but I overestimated the ability to always have a token to sacrifice. While Selesnya will usually have a random food hanging around, a lot of the other combinations might leave you with sacrificing a creature token as your only option.

The majority of the times my opponent has played this, I just killed it and got a free ETB while they were out a resource. Since that is a possibility try to hit an amass token or something that won’t give them more value if it comes back.

Ithilien Kingfisher

I wanted this to be good, but it just plays awkwardly. If you get a fair trade and get to go up a card, that’s just fine. Unfortunately, it’s a 2/1 for three and that’s usually an ignorable clock in the air. This is another prime example of ETBs being way better than death effects.

That one in the butt also leaves you vulnerable to collateral damage from Fear, fire, Foes! and The Black Breath. Smite the Deathless even exiles it so you don’t get the card.  Now its more of a card 20-23 than a sure-fire inclusion in every blue deck.


You know who doesn’t care for elvish bread? Sauron’s forces aka the Rakdos gang. That’s pretty much all you need to know about why this isn’t doing as well as expected.

I thought this did just enough to be included because it supports so many different game plans. It just doesn’t really support the best game plans. It’s still valuable in those other archetypes so take it when it is good, pass it along when it’s not.


I loved Remand so much, but nostalgia had me thinking this was a premium card. It’s still completely fine, you just want to pick it up later in the draft.

Unless you hit a four or five drop with this, they can usually replay whatever you hit later in the game so it can end playing as a hard to cast cycle for two mana. It is really amazing when you hit a Nasty End though.

Wrap Up

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back in the next day or so with my comprehensive draft guide so you’re fully prepped for the Arena Open. Until then, stay classy people!

I’m always open to feedback, let me know what you loved, what you hated, or just send dog pics. You can contact 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.

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