Magic: The Gathering finally gives me a reason to care about its least exciting cards

Magic: The Gathering LotR land cards
(Image credit: Future)
Jacob Ridley, man of the land

Jacob Ridley headshot on a green background

(Image credit: Future)

This month I have been giving into my desires: I shouldn't have bought a single Magic: The Gathering booster pack for over £30 but I did it anyways because I'm a sucker for anything related to Lord of the Rings.

This month I hoped to be: Basking in the glory of the One Ring card I pulled. But, alas, I didn't get it, and instead I feel flattened like that one guy that gets squished by the Nazgul at Bree.

I have too many land cards in my boxes of slightly stale Magic: The Gathering cards, and I certainly didn't think I wanted any more. I could make an actual mountain out of all the Mountain land cards I have. And while some land cards are nicer than others, I've become quite numb to the whole lot. For that reason, I've laid off buying MtG boosters for a while now, preferring instead a quiet life in the Shire away from it all. 

Yet in my infinite wisdom I found the allure of MtG's new The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth too great for my puny human mind, and in the foolish hopes I might stumble across the One Ring card, I spent far too much money buying a single Collector Booster pack.

That's a single pack of 15 cards, not the £400 booster box that my partner thought I had ordered. Though they received that news rather well, which does open the door a little to a future purchase if I say so myself.

While I sadly must report that I didn't find the million-dollar or more One Ring (and it was all looking so likely), I did find my very own precious: these absolutely gorgeous land cards.

My first pull from the pack was a Mountain card I didn't mind having around. It's a shiny Mountain depicting The Misty Mountains in all their estranged, loosely-mapped out beauty. It's a card so lovely, and importantly shiny, that it genuinely makes me reconsider ignoring red cards my entire MtG playing career.

Then I pulled the Shire Terrace, a land card depicting an area not unlike Hobbiton. It notes, "Everything looked fresh, and the new green of Spring was shimmering in the fields." The detailing is wonderfully quaint, too, with clouds shimmering in the far distance.

Already I was quite smitten with my lot, then I pulled a rarer Rivendell card that is quite frankly the loveliest land I've ever laid my eyes on. It's once again a shiny card, as they all are in the pack, but it expands beyond the black border into a stunning view at Rivendell perched on the cliffside.

I wasn't buying this pack for the land cards—what with land cards usually being so plain to look at, they may as well be blank to me now. But alas, they're weirdly my favourite pulls from the entire pack, barring perhaps the Many Partings card depicting Frodo and Samwise giving a tearful goodbye. Or on the flipside, the Avatar Horror mythic Sauron, the Dark Lord. It's the Dark Lord, come on.

I had thought prior to these that my days collecting the physical cards were entirely over, following my ex-colleague Alan Dexter into the world of Arena on the PC. Yet one does not simply turn up a chance to encounter the One Ring. I'm still going to be good and ignore the gnawing feeling of buying more packs just to see what's up with more of these lands, but let it be known that these cards are some of the finest I've seen in my time playing Magic.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would later go on to win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top team as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. He also enjoys making short videos for TikTok and believes everyone reading this should go follow our account immediately.