Here’s How The Ring Tempts You In The Magic: The Gathering’s Lord Of The Rings Expansion

Here’s How The Ring Tempts You In The Magic: The Gathering’s Lord Of The Rings Expansion

Back in March, Magic: The Gathering players got their first look at cards from the upcoming Lord Of The Rings: Tales Of Middle-Earth expansion. Along with familiar faces like Frodo, Gandalf, and more, some of the cards revealed featured a phrase alluding to a new and unique mechanic: “The Ring Tempts You.”

With Magic-Con Minneapolis beginning today, we have the exclusive reveal of this new mechanic, as well as two brand-new card reveals centered around the mechanic and how it can provide even more benefits outside of its core uses.

The Ring emblem, the focus of the mechanic.

How The Ring Tempts You

One thing to note, before we begin, is that this is not pertaining the card called “The One Ring.” That’s a standalone Legendary Artifact card with its own abilities–and an one-of-a-kind serialized version coming out with the set. This mechanic revolves around an emblem that boosts a creature’s abilities, and it is triggered with specific card text.

Whenever a player uses a card that includes the phrase “the Ring tempts you,” that player immediately places The Ring emblem (above) into play. The emblem contains four abilities, which are listed below:

  • Your Ring-bearer is legendary and can’t be blocked by creatures with greater power.
  • Whenever your Ring-bearer attacks, draw a card, then discard a card.
  • Whenever your Ring-bearer becomes blocked by a creature, that creature’s controller sacrifices it at the end of combat.
  • Whenever your Ring-bearer deals combat damage to a player, each opponent loses 3 life.

When the Ring emblem comes into play, if the player controlling it also controls one or more creatures, they must select one of their creatures to be the Ring-bearer and attach the emblem to that creature. The designated creature then gains the abilities listed on The Ring emblem based on how many times the Ring has tempted the player during the game.

For example: if you attach The Ring to a creature the first time you’ve been tempted, only the first ability, “Your Ring-bearer is legendary and can’t be blocked with creatures with greater power,” goes into effect. If it’s the second time the player has been tempted, the designated creature will gain the previous ability and the “draw a card, then discard a card” ability.

After four instances, the emblem is fully powered, and whichever creature is assigned to be the Ring-bearer gains all four abilities. Furthermore, those abilities remain on the emblem for the rest of the game, and each time a player is tempted after all abilities have been activated, the only action they can take is changing which creature becomes the Ring-bearer.

Additional rules for The Ring.
Additional rules for The Ring.

The Fine Print

There are a few caveats to using The Ring emblem, and these points will appear on the back of The Ring emblem’s card. The ones to remember are as follows:

  • The Ring can tempt a player even if they do not control a creature.
    • We asked Wizards Of The Coast to clarify what happens in this case, and communications director Blake Rasmussen explained that the abilities stack even if there’s no creature on the board to designate. “If you’re tempted by The Ring three times without a creature, but on the fourth time you do have a creature,” Rasmussen explains, “that creature will have all four abilities, not just the first one.”
    • Also, according to Rasmussen, “a creature entering the battlefield after its controller has been tempted does not immediately become the Ring-bearer. They have to wait until the player is tempted again.”
  • The Ring gains its abilities in order from top to bottom. Once it gains an ability, it has that ability for the rest of the game.
  • Each time the Ring tempts you, you must choose a creature if you control one.
  • Each player can only have one emblem named The Ring and only one Ring-bearer at a time.
Call of the Ring (regular and full-art variant)
Call of the Ring (regular and full-art variant)

New Card: Call Of The Ring

So far, we’ve seen a few cards that include “The Ring tempts you” among its text, but here we have a brand-new one to reveal: Call Of The Ring.

  • Call Of The Ring (Enchantment)
    • Costs 1 mana of any color and one black mana.
    • At the beginning of your upkeep, the Ring tempts you.
    • Whenever you choose a creature as your Ring-bearer, you may pay 2 life. If you do, draw a card.

This new enchantment not only kickstarts the temptation early, but it also turns it into a ticking time bomb of escalating power. Even if you can’t draw other cards that tempt–though this card also helps get through the deck faster with that second ability–within four turns your emblem will be fully charged. Pair this with Frodo, Sauron’s Bane, who can win you the game just by damaging a player after being tempted four times, and Call Of The Ring can become a problem in a hurry.

Other cards with “the Ring tempts you” revealed so far include:

  • Frodo, Sauron’s Bane (Legendary Creature – Halfling Citizen)
    • Costs 1 white mana and comes into play with 1 power and 2 toughness.
    • If Frodo, Sauron’s Bane is a Citizen, pay two black or white mana in any combination and he becomes a Halfling Scout with 2 power, 3 toughness, and lifelink (whenever he deals damage, you gain that much life).
    • If Frodo, Sauron’s Bane is a Scout, pay three black mana and he becomes a Halfling Rogue with “Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game if the Ring has tempted you four or more times in this game. Otherwise, the Ring tempts you.”
  • Samwise the Stouthearted (Legendary Creature – Halfling Peasant)
    • Costs 1 mana of any color and one white mana, and he comes into play with 2 power and 1 toughness.
    • Flash (this creature can be cast whenever an Instant spell can be cast)
    • When Samwise the Stouthearted enters the battlefield, choose up to one target permanent card in your graveyard that was put there from the battlefield this turn. Return that card to your hand. Then the Ring tempts you.
  • Gollum, Patient Plotter (Legendary Creature – Halfling Horror)
    • Costs 1 mana of any color and one black mana, and he comes into play with 3 power and 1 toughness.
    • When Gollum, Patient Plotter leaves the battlefield, the Ring tempts you.
    • Pay 1 black mana and sacrifice a creature to return Gollum, Patient Plotter from your graveyard to your hand. This ability can only be activated as a sorcery.
Sauron, the Necromancer (regular and showcase variant)
Sauron, the Necromancer (regular and showcase variant)

New Card: Sauron, the Necromancer

Some cards, like the aforementioned Frodo, give a player further rewards if the Ring has tempted them enough times. Others, like the brand-new Sauron, the Necromancer, become more powerful if they are designated as the Ring-bearer.

  • Sauron, the Necromancer (Legendary Creature – Avatar Horror)
    • Costs 3 mana of any color and two black mana, and he comes into play with 4 power and 4 toughness.
    • Menace (This creature can only be blocked by two or more creatures when attacking.)
    • Whenever Sauron, the Necromancer attacks, exile a target creature card from your graveyard. Create a tapped and attacking token that’s a copy of that card, except it’s a 3 power/3 toughness black Wraith with menace. At the beginning of the next end step, exile that token unless Sauron is your Ring-bearer.

Creating a tapped and attacking token of a creature that was thought to be dealt with is powerful enough on its own–especially if that creature is something like Samwise who has a potent “enters-the-battlefield” trigger, since the Wraith copies all of the abilities. However, letting that creature stick around as a Wraith with menace simply by designating Sauron as the Ring-bearer can fill up your board with tough-to-kill creatures in a hurry. LOTR purists might not like the idea of Sauron bearing the Ring–the idea of it makes us shudder, honestly–but in Magic it will be a huge benefit.

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