Lord of the Rings Magic the Gathering
D&D / TTRPGs, Fantasy Topics, News, Opinion

What to Expect from the Magic: The Gathering Lord of the Rings Crossover

We create a few cards we think would make perfect additions to the Lord of the Rings Magic: The Gathering card set.

We are rather fond of Lord of the Rings and watch it a few times throughout the year. We also recently got back into Magic: The Gathering with the release of the Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms set. As storytellers and game designers, we’ve also created our own board games and thought we’d try our hand at making a few Magic cards for the future Lord of the Rings set.

Magic includes Lands, Artifacts, Creatures, Sorcery, Planeswalkers, Instants, and Enchantments. We’re going to talk about four of these that have been on our minds ever since the announcement at Magic Showcase 2021.

Lord of the Rings

Planeswalker: Gandalf the Grey

Gandalf the Grey

Mana Cost: 2 Plains, 2 colorless

First Ability +1: Place a +1/+1 counter on Gandalf.

Second Ability – X: Counters act as hobbits or dwarves. Subtract counters to reduce damage to life points or Gandalf.

Third Ability – 7: Create an artifact creature token that is either a dwarf or hobbit. It has “This creature’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of counters on Gandalf .” This creature has first strike and lifelink.

Enchantment: The Fellowship

Mana Cost: 1 Plains, 1 Mountain, 1 Forest, 1 Island, 1 Swamp, 1 colorless

Ability: Enchant creature gets +X /+X per named creature you control. Enchanted creature has vigilance as long as you control all members of the Fellowship.

Lord of the Rings

Creature: Gollum

Mana Cost: 3 Mountain

Gollum is a +4/+1 creature with first strike and vigilance.

Artifact: The One Ring

Mana Cost: 5 Colorless

Attach Cost: 2 colorless

Ability: The One Ring has shroud.

Once attached to a creature, they too gain shroud.

Lord of the Rings
Fantasy Topics, News

One Card to Rule Them All, Lord of the Rings Coming to Magic: The Gathering

We discuss some big fantasy news of the week as Magic: The Gathering announced it is making a Lord of the Rings card set.

When Magic: The Gathering announced a Dungeons & Dragons set we ordered 500 cards as soon as possible. One of the game makers’ next crossovers is Lord of the Rings and we couldn’t be more excited. Announced during Magic Showcase 2021, the set will release in 2023.

That’s a long way off from now but it gives us time to speculate on what kind of cards will be included. Characters like Gandalf, Galadriel, and Elrond have great potential to be planeswalkers as do Saruman and Sauron. Whereas heroes such as Frodo, Samwise, Gimli, and the rest of the Fellowship would make great legendary creatures.

Gandalf artwork

“It is such a big world. So many stories, so many characters…and the only way we could pull it off was to do a full set.” Said Mark Heggen product architect for Magic the Gathering. “We have these characters with so much backstory and their own personality and their own history and now we get to put them on a Magic card and we want to both be true to their spirit and put a little Magic twist on them.”

The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth will also be releasing on MTG Arena and Magic Online.

Ascension Eternal
Fantasy Topics, Opinion, Reviews

Ascension: Eternal 10th-Anniversary Board Game Review

A fun, Magic the Gathering-inspired deckbuilding game

We were given a free copy of Ascension: Eternal, in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are our own. Ascension: Eternal was designed by Justin Gary, Rob Dougherty, and Brian Kibler, and is manufactured by UltraPRO.

Ascension: Eternal is a fast-paced blend of Magic the Gathering and action role-playing video game. Each game can be played in as quickly as 20 minutes with two players. Up to six can play with expansions. At first glance, it can appear overwhelming with its large abundance of cards and tokens but it’s actually rather simple in its design. Players build a deck of Heroes and Constructs to be the first to collect the most amount of tokens. It’s all about strategy and playing the battlefield.

Ascension Eternal


For anyone who is a fan of lore – like us – there is an entire backstory to Ascension. It reads as follows:

Welcome to the world of Vigil. The barrier that protected Vigil from distant realms is collapsing. Samael, the Fallen One, has returned with an army of monsters from beyond. You are one of the legendary warriors capable of protecting Vigil from annihilation, but you cannot do it alone. Recruit mighty heroes and wield powerful constructs to aid you in battle. Each honor and defeat Samael’s forces to save the world!

How to Play

We checked out the 10th-anniversary edition of Ascension Anniversary. The massive box comes with 181 cards – all of which are stunning – and one layout mat to help you keep track of card placement. Each player starts with a deck consisting of 10 identical cards. Cards include either Runes that are used to buy new cards or Power that is used to fight monsters and cultists.

Ascension Eternal
Gamora the cat getting in on the action.

Players draw five cards and use them to gain new Heroes and Constructs or fight Monsters. The original deck grows and expands over time as players gain new Heroes and Constructs. Both cost Runes and help to defeat monsters, draw cards, or grant other boons to gain Honor tokens. Whereas Monster cards can only be defeated by Power and grant you certain abilities upon beating them.

The game ends when the last token is collected. Players then add up all their tokens and Honor points listed on their cards. The one with the most Honor is the winner.


It’s all about knowing what cards you have in your deck and what is out on the field. It’s a strategic game but isn’t complicated in any way. The rules are presented in an easy-to-understand and straightforward way. And the board gives a clear presentation of where cards go and how to set up the game.

There is one major thing we wish were included with the set. The addition of a simple handout for players to keep track of rules would be useful. Ascension is played similarly to Tyrants of the Underdark which does include a guide for each player. Having to pull out the rulebook each time to check what to do can slow down game time.

Ascension Eternal

Another thing is to see who plays first. It’s a pet peeve of ours. Ascension says choose randomly which is fine but there could be a more fun mechanic to see who starts. Other games use fun, quirky mechanics, like ‘the last person who ate a doughnut’ or ‘the oldest or youngest’.


Ascension: Eternal is built for fans of Magic the Gather and Dungeons & Dragons. It may look intimidating but can be learned in a short amount of time. Each game can be played quickly as well leaving you plenty of time to play multiple games per night. The cards are beautiful and the lore is engaging and allows players to role-play out moments if they so choose.

We give Ascension: Eternal a 9 on a d10!

D&D / TTRPGs, Opinion, Storytelling Tips

How to Use Magic the Gathering to Build TTRPG Encounters

As a Game Master, planning out future sessions can be difficult and time-consuming. For instance, there may be times when you forget to create an encounter altogether or have no ideas at all. It happens to the new game masters and some of the best world builders around. We’re here to provide some quick tips and tricks to building an encounter in no time.

One of our more recent ideas involves Magic the Gathering. With the announcement of the Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms card set we have been getting back into the card game. After spending hours looking at new cards and playing Magic the Gathering: Arena we got the idea of how to build an encounter using Magic cards.

If you’re in a pinch and need to create an encounter just grab a stack of Magic cards.

Physical Card Deck

If you, like us, collected Magic the Gathering cards then there are hundreds if not thousands of them lying around. All you need to do is shuffly the cards into two different piles: Lands and creatures and effects. However, you can go one step further and divide creatures and effects into two seperate piles to create three piles of cards.

Land. The Land acts as the location for the encounter.

Effect/Creature. These cards act as the encounter scenario and can be social or a fight.

Shuffle the cards and select one land and two cards from the creature/effects deck. The chosen cards will act as your encounter.

Digital Randomizer

The second way to make a random encounter is to go to Magic’s website. Through it you can search through any card released for the game. You can either search for specific cards by typing in a name or effect or use the random card option.

Example. We went with the digital randomizer while writing this article and this is what we put together in a few seconds.

We were given Dimir Aqueduct, Hunting Pack, and Rishadan Dockhand. Dimir Aqueduct will be the location where the encounter takes place. From the picture, we can gather that it is someplace underground perhaps outside of a city or along the path of the aqueduct itself. The card is a blue and black mana so it can be pure and clean water or water that is tainted by undeath or necromancy.

The other two cards help flesh out the encounter itself. Hunting Pack could represent a pack of hyenas who have made their home inside the aqueduct. Rishadan Dockhand could be the NPC who presents the quest to the party and they need the hyenas cleared out so people can drink the water again.

This is one of many ways you can interpret the cards chosen. By using the picture, text, or mana color you can quickly build encounters on the fly for your next Dungeons & Dragons session.

D&D / TTRPGs, News

Strixhaven Magic: The Gathering Setting is Coming to D&D

A new Dungeons & Dragons sourcebook will explore the setting of Strixhaven from MTG.

For all fans of fantasy, this is an exciting announcement! Dungeons & Dragons has just announced a new sourcebook that is associated with Magic: The Gathering. Specifically it will be focused on the magical school of Strixhaven. It will be titled Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos.

Within the university of Strixhaven there are five separate colleges each with their own focus. Lorehold is more research-based, Prismari is art-based, Quandrix is math-based, Silverquill is precision-based, and Witherbloom is nature-based.

This is not the first D&D book based around Magic: The Gathering. Ravnica and Theros have come before and have been successful. Unearthed Arcana playtest material will drop June 8th to gather more player feedback.

So who will this setting most appeal to? The Harry Potter fandom might get a kick out of this. If you like magical universities, the Citadel from the world of Thread of Souls also falls under that umbrella.

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos will officially drop on November 16, 2021. There will be more info announced during this year’s D&D Live in July, which we will be covering here at Tal & Ru Travels.