For a story as old and celebrated as Lord of the Rings, you would think the setting’s arrival to the worlds of Magic: The Gathering would have an impact on some of Magic’s oldest structures. Although it’s still a bit ahead of time to make a true judgement on this matter, early signs are pointing to some of these cards very much having a place in the Modern format.

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This is for two reasons. Firstly, some of the cards printed in Tales of Middle-earth are the first we’ve seen of their kind despite Magic’s 30-year history. Secondly, some of them are the newer and better versions of effects we already know are powerful. The only thing better than a proven track record is a lower mana cost to go alongside it.



8 Reprieve


Prior to the advent of Modern Horizons, Remand was an incredibly popular card across multiple decks in the Modern format. This is Remand but in white instead of blue. While you might be thinking that Remand doesn’t currently see play in Modern and so neither will Reprieve, the color difference here is quite important.

Remand doesn’t see play partly because it has to compete against every other counterspell available in blue. Meanwhile, Reprieve has to compete against an infinitely smaller pool of counterspells that are available in white. The fact remains that this effect has been good in Modern before, and it may be again now that it’s available outside of blue.

7 Merry, Esquire Of Rohan

Merry, Esquire Of Rohan art from mtg

This card may be a bit more of a longshot, but it does stand to make some of the most impressive waves in the format through the introduction of a brand-new deck archetype. Some of the best creatures in the Modern format are one-mana value legendary cards, including Ragavan, Skrelv, and more.

Pairing these with Merry allows you to start drawing cards off of your attackers as early as turn two. It’s unlikely that a deck will materialize that also makes use of Merry’s first strike abilty, however, if there is a way to do this, Merry may just be one of the best aggressive creatures we’ve seen printed in quite some time.

6 Delighted Halfling

Delighted Halfling

Despite not tapping for colored mana as reliably as previous mana dork printings like Birds of Paradise, Elvish Mystic, and Noble Hierarch, Delighted Halfling does bring to the table an extra point of toughness that might just make it a serious player.

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After all, damaging effects that hit for just one are at an all-time high at the moment with cards like Fire // Ice, Fury, and Wrenn and Six lurking about. Furthermore, colorless mana will sometimes serve a deck’s purposes just fine, and any legendary spells in your deck will have access to colored mana from Delighted Halfling anyways.

5 Cast Into The Fire

MTG Cast into the Fire by Aurore Folny

Speaking of effects that deal a single damage, Cast into the Fire is one more that might be seeing play in Modern. While it’s easy to disregard this spell as a worse version of Abrade, that’s hardly the truth of the matter.

In reality, Cast into the Fire is a different version of Abrade that could see more play depending on the meta. After all, this spell has the potential to take down two one toughness creatures or remove an artifact that has the indestructible keyword. On top of that, Cast into the Fire also gets around death triggers such as the one present on Wurmcoil Engine.

4 Orcish Bowmasters

MTG - Orcish Bowmasters

If you thought we were done talking about sources of one damage, we’re not quite there yet. Orcish Bowmasters is yet another potentially great source of removal due to its ability to repeatedly ping opponents as punishment for them drawing cards outside of their draw step.

Seeing as Bowmasters has flash, you can cast it in response to an opposing draw spell to ensure you get this trigger at least once. You also get an Orc army token that continues to grow in size as your opponent casts additional draw spells. This may be more of a sideboard card at the end of the day, but it looks like a powerful one.

3 Arwen, Mortal Queen

Arwen, Mortal Queen

An indestructible 2/2 is nothing to sneeze at on its own, but Arwen does much better than just that. Thanks to her activated ability, Arwen can boost herself and one other creature you control by +1/+1 while also providing that creature and herself with lifelink.

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She loses indestructible in order to do this but the creature she targets gains indestructible until end of turn, which allows for at least one free lifelink attack. Arwen can easily make for a ton of life gain using this activated ability and she also serves as an amazing blocker while she maintains her indestructible counter. This is an extremely versatile creature that’s oozing with flavor, and she also makes a perfect target for Collected Company.

2 Stern Scolding

MTG - Stern Scolding

If you’re concerned that this counterspell might be too narrow, just take a look at the prevalence of counterspells like Void Snare, Flusterstorm, and Mystical Dispute. This is an admittedly situational spell, but it has an absurd amount of targets in the Modern metagame.

Decks like Murktide Regent, Rakdos Midrange, and Hammer Time are stacked almost entirely with creatures whose toughness is two or less, so it’s not out of the question to imagine this card might even make its way into some mainboards. At the very least, this is a powerful new sideboard tool for blue decks.

1 Flowering Of The White Tree

Flowering Of The White Tree

The stat boost this enchantment provides in relation to its mana value is way better than anything we’ve ever seen printed prior. This goes doubly so if you happen to be playing a deck stacked with legendary creatures, as a +2/+1 temporary boost to creatures normally costs around four mana.

On top of the stat boost, your legendary creatures also gain ward one, which will make them much more annoying to deal with using targeted removal. This enchantment is powerful enough that it’s not out of the question we may see some sort of Mono-White taxes deck emerge in the Modern metagame once it becomes legal.

Alternatively, something similar to the Standard Esper Legends deck might also have a chance at flowering. All this being said, only time will tell.

NEXT: TCG Release Dates 2023

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