Published on 06/19/2023

Lord of the Rulings

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New set, new cards, and therefore new rulings! The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth is out now, so let's join the fellowship, defeat the two towers, and give correct rulings to the king.

If you have Magic rules questions that don't need to be answered on the spot, we would love to answer them and might even include them in an upcoming article. For short questions, you can send them to our Twitter account at @CranialTweet, and if you have a longer question, you can send it to our e-mail at .

Q: On Frodo Baggins, what does it mean by "the Ring tempts you"? And what does it mean to be the "Ring-bearer"?

A: The Lord of the Rings set is introducing a new mechanic called "The Ring". It's not fully explained on the cards, but fear not, the set has a "tip" card that explains nearly all the nuances. This tip card can be seen to the right, the top part being the front and the bottom part being the back.

Many cards say "the Ring tempts you". Each time it does, you must select a creature to be your Ring-bearer, if you control one. You may only ever have one Ring-bearer, but you can change it each time you are tempted.

"The Ring" is an emblem that you can have at most one of. Each time you are tempted, it gains a new ability, and each of these abilities makes your Ring-bearer better. Once your "The Ring" has all four abilities, it can't get better, but you still count as being tempted for abilities that care.

Q: If my Frodo Baggins is wielding Andúril, Flame of the West, do I make two attacking Frodos or two attacking Spirits?

A: The wording on this card is a little ambiguous, but you get two attacking Spirits. Two attacking Frodos, making for a total of three, would be a flavor fail. Additionally, nothing would stop the tokens from being legendary, so you would immediately have to put two of the three Frodos into the graveyard. Luckily, you just get some attacking Spirit tokens with flying to help defend Gondor.

Q: If I cast Conflux while I control Aragorn, the Uniter, do I get all four of his abilities to trigger or do I have to chose one ability to trigger?

A: You get all four abilities to trigger! Each of the four triggered abilities Aragorn has are separate abilities and so can trigger independent of each other.

Q: If I cast Orcish Bowmasters in response to my opponent casting Wheel of Fortune in a four-player Commander game, how much damage do I do and how big of an Orc Army do I make?

A: Assuming you don't already have an Army Creature, you get to spread out 22 damage and make a 0/0 Orc Army and place 22 counters on it. Bowmasters deals 1 damage and then amasses Orc 1 just from entering the battlefield. Then, when Wheel of Fortune resolves, each of your three opponents discards their hand, and then draws a fresh seven. This will trigger Bowmasters 21 more times. Each damage can be directed at a different target.

Watching and waiting, for hobbits to eat,
or maybe the next ruling.

Q: How many cards do I draw if cast Field-Tested Frying Pan while I control Marneus Calgar?

A: You draw two cards. If this was worded like Bestial Menace you would only draw one card as all three of its tokens are created as one event. But Frying Pan creates a food token "and then" creates a Halfling token, triggering Calgar twice.

Q: My opponent has just cast Blaze with X=20 targeting me. If I respond by casting Display of Power, will my copy of Blaze deal 20 damage or zero damage?

A: You will deal 20 damage with your copy of Blaze. X in the cost of a permanent or card is considered to be zero everywhere except on the stack. While on the stack, the X is equal to the amount that was chosen when the spell was cast. Copying a spell on the stack, the X is a copiable characteristic.

Q: My opponent says its possible to copy Display of Power in some scenarios, despite it saying "this spell can't be copied". Is this true?

A: In some scenarios it can be copied! The ability "this spell can't be copied" only functions while Display of Power is a spell on the stack. So copies of it can be made from other zones like exile and from the graveyard, for example.

Q: Does Éowyn, Lady of Rohan's last ability reduce Bilbo's Ring equip Halfling ability to zero?

A: It does! Not only can Éowyn's ability reduce an equip to equip , but it can also reduce equip costs with limitations like equip legendary or equip Dwarf. However, this does not reduce reconfigure as it's not strictly an equip ability.

Q: I control Gimli, Counter of Kills and my opponent controls four 2/2 Orc tokens. If I cast Day of Judgment destroying them all, does Gimli still deal damage from his triggered ability?

A: Yes, Gimli will still deal 4 damage, 1 for each Orc, even though he is dying simultaneously with them.

Q: How does Gríma Wormtongue's first ability interact with abilities and spells that set life totals like the last ability of Angel of Grace?

A: When a spell or ability sets a player's life total, it does so by either gaining them enough life to reach that total or lose enough life to fall to that amount. So Wormtongue will prevent a player from going up in life from an ability like Angel of Grace's last ability.

Q: If I cast Hobbit's Sting and the only nonland permanent I control is Gingerbrute, how much damage will it deal?

A: It will deal 2 damage. Gingerbrute is a creature and a Food. Hobbit's Sting counts both groups separately and adds them together to determine how much damage is dealt.

Q: Can my commander deck have nine Nazgûl in it, or am I still restricted to running only one?

A: Nazgûl's last ability gets around the one-of rule in Commander, so you can run anywhere from zero to nine in your Commander deck assuming your commander has black in its color identity.

Q: Even though Abrupt Decay can't be countered, can I still stop it with Reprieve?

A: You can! Reprieve doesn't counter a spell, it merely moves it from the stack to its owner's hand.

Q: I control Counterbalance and I know the top card of my library has a mana value of 1. My opponent controls Storm of Saruman and casts Ponder as their secpnd spell of the turn. Will both the Ponder and its copy get countered?

A: The original Ponder will get countered, but the copy will not. Since the copy was not cast, Counterbalance won't trigger for it.

Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities

Q: I attack my opponent with Witch-king, Bringer of Ruin, but my opponent has five different creatures tied for lowest power. Does my opponent choose which creature they sacrifice, or do I?

A: Your opponent gets to choose. When a player is forced to sacrifice something, by default they choose which object they control to sacrifice.

Q: I control Galadriel of Lothlórien and then cast Frodo Baggins, choosing Frodo as the Ring-bearer, which causes me to scry 3 with Galadriel. If all three cards on top of my library are lands, can I put them all onto the battlefield with her last trigger?

A: Nope. For each time you scry, you can put at most one land onto the battlefield with Galadriel.

Q: Earlier this turn I used Callous Dismissal to put my opponent's Bear Cub into their hand, which created a 0/0 Zombie Army with one +1/+1 counter on it. I then cast Treason of Isengard to put Callous Dismissal on top of my library. When I go to Amass Orcs 2, what happens?

A: Because you already have an Army creature, you will not create an Orc Army creature token, but you will add two +1/+1 counters on the the Zombie Army you have and it will gain the type Orc, making it an Orc Zombie Army.

Q: I have Frodo, Sauron's Bane, and have on previous turns activated his first ability and second ability and successfully made Frodo a Halfling Rogue with the long triggered ability. Can I activate that second ability again, so he has two copies that long triggered ability?

A: Under normal circumstances, no. That second ability only works if Frodo is a Scout, and if he is a Scout that ability turns him permanently into a Halfling Rogue, no longer a Scout. You could use a card like Imagecrafter to turn him back into a Scout, then reactivate his second ability to gain him two copies of the long triggered ability.

Q: Bryan Prillaman asks "If my Sauron, the Necromancer attacks and exiles Clone from my graveyard with his attack trigger, and I have it copy my opponent's Runeclaw Bear, what characteristics will the token I create have?"


A: Short answer: 2/2 green Bear creature with a mana cost of named "Runeclaw Bear".

Longer answer: Sauron tries to make a Clone that is 3/3, black, and has menace, but as it enters the battlefield, Clone's ability copies all the characteristics of the Runeclaw Bear, overriding the 3/3, black, and menace. To help visualize this, I've created a mock-up of the three steps: Step 1: Clone in graveyard. Step 2: What Sauron is trying to create. Step 3: What the Clone looks like on the battlefield.

Well, I'm out, see you next time.

- Justin Hovdenes AKA Hovey
Level 2 Magic Judge
Rapid City, SD


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