Lord of the Rings Prerelease Information

Lord of the Rings Prerelease Information

Join the Fellowship and embark on an epic quest to save Middle Earth! Journey with familiar favorites on a whole new adventure, there and back again, filled with valor, courage, and second breakfast.

That's right - Lord of the Rings has joined the Magic: the Gathering Universes Beyond family. We've had commander decks and secret lairs before, but for more information on this brand new full-sized magic set and its prerelease weekend, read on!

Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth Prerelease Overview

What's a Prerelease?

If this is your first new Magic set, prerelease events are a way to let you try out a set before it hits the shelves (or is even available on Arena). Prerelease events are usually held the week before the official release date of a set. So for Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth, that's June 16-18. Here at Phoenix we like to host 6 sealed prerelease events. Wanna join one? Check out the schedule and links below, or hit up our event calendar.

Sealed Prerelease Events

Each event will consist of a sealed event of some variety (regular or 2 Headed Giant), and last 3-4 rounds of play. More on that just a bit further down. If you’d rather draft a prerelease, we have you covered the Tuesday after prerelease weekend!

Bonus Draft Prerelease Event!

  • Flight 7 - June 20, 6 PM! (This event will go live on Monday, June 19 at 11 AM)

Lord of the Rings Preorders and Buy-A-Box Promo Information

Preorders for Lord of the Rings are already up on our web store when you’re ready for them. As with most recent sets, preorders for whole boxes (see below) will also receive the following buy a box promo (while supplies last).


You'll receive one buy-a-box promo for every purchase of the following items:

You'll get 1 promo per qualifying item(s) purchased. So if you preorder 6 prerelease kits and a set booster display, you'll get 2 of these lovely promo cards.

Box-Topper Realms and Relics

The incentives for buying a whole set, draft, or collector box don't end there! Each box of Tales of Middle Earth will have one of thirty possible box-topper cards depicting the realms and relics of Middle Earth. Each of the cards chosen has received an alt-art Borderless treatment, wherein each card is designed after an iconic place or item from the novels, though their abilities match that of an existing Magic card. Here's an example: 

30th Anniversary Promos 

Looking to get your hands on extra special promos celebrating 30 years of Magic? Just sign up for one of the prerelease events and get one of four possible promo cards when you finish the event!

Please note, however, that we didn't get even numbers of every promo! We got wayyyy more Terastadons and Acidic Slimes than we did Tarmagoyfs and Glen Elendra Archmages, so please bear in mind that not every player will get all four cards!

Additional promos can also be awarded by event staff for excellent behavior such as assisting other players with deck building, helping event staff, and good sporting behavior and more. If you’re looking for one particular promo, please understand that we did not receive equal amounts of all the promos for this set. Some cards will be harder to find than others!

Preparing for a Prerelease at Phoenix

Once you've preregistered for your event(s) of choice, there's a small checklist of things to do before prerelease weekend rolls along. If you're planning to play at one of the in-person events, here's what you'll need to be aware of:

  • Review our current guidelines regarding in-store play. (updated May 17, 2023)
  • Per our new in-store play guidelines, players who need an accommodation to attend a prerelease event should request them at least 48 hours prior to the event.
  • Food and Non-alcoholic drinks are allowed inside, so please do make sure you bring a snack and water bottle in case you get hungry between rounds.
  • Optional, but highly recommended: Download the Magic Companion app to your phone or tablet.
  • Optional, but highly recommended: Make sure you have a login setup with the MTG Companion App (if you play Arena, these login credentials are the same for both game and app).

A further note on our in-store play / mask policy: After careful consideration, our team has opted to make masking optional but encouraged during these events. Players who wish to attend who have an underlying health condition that puts them at greater risk for exposure can request an accommodation (see the link above to our new policy).

What to do during Prerelease Weekend

If you're playing in one of our in-person events, just make sure you arrive at the store before the event's start time. We recommend aiming for about 30-45 minutes prior to the event to make sure you can get checked in, find a seat, and get comfortable in the space. You can do some trading, or pick up some sleeves or what have you, and it's way easier if you do that ahead of start time rather than during deck construction.

The Prerelease "How to"

All of our regular Tales of Middle Earth prerelease events will be a sealed (or limited) format events. That means you'll be given 6 draft boosters of Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth and a foil prerelease promo inside of your prerelease kit. We'll give you about 45 minutes to open those packs, sort them, and build deck out of the contents inside. Here are all the deck building requirements: 

  • Minimum Deck Size is 40 cards
  • You may use the contents of your prerelease booster packs (plus the date stamped promo) to build your deck.
  • Aside from basic land, you may only use whatever is in your prerelease kit to build with. (No trading with other players or combining multiple pools, please).
  • There's no cap on the number of cards of the same name you can have in the deck (ex: if you open 5 of the same card, you can use all 5 if you want).
  • You may adjust your deck between games or matches. If you're just not doing well with what you built, maybe try a different combination of colors!

Once you've got your deck built, set the rest of your card pool aside until the end of the event. Don't trade anything away yet, cause those leftover cards will be your sideboard. 

Prerelease Prize Support

All of our prerelease events are run with an eye towards having the best possible time, learning, and trying out new ideas and strategies that come from every new set. So with that in mind, we stick to a simple pack-per-win prize structure that looks a little like this:

  • 4 Wins - 4 Packs
  • 3 Wins - 3 Packs
  • 2 Wins - 2 Packs
  • 1 Win - 1 Pack

With the exception of the Friday at 3 PM event, each event will have a maximum of 4 rounds. All prizes will be awarded to players in the form of Lord of the Rings Tales of Middle Earth Set boosters once they've finished with the event. Only play 2 rounds and need to drop? No problem! Just let us know you're leaving and we'll give you whatever prizes are owed at that point.

Because the 3 PM Friday event will be constrained to 3 rounds in order to make sure that the 7:30 PM event can start on time, it will have a similar prize structure to the one listed above, but adjusted slightly. In order to accommodate the missing round, the final round of the event will count for 2 boosters (so you can still win as many as four packs if you 3-0 the Friday event).

Tales of Middle Earth Prerelease FAQ

Here's a few commonly asked questions about prerelease events and in-store play events. If your question isn't on this list, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at the store! We're happy to answer any questions you might have.

Q: How well do I have to know Magic to play at a prerelease?

A: Not that well really! We ask that you have a working knowledge of the game (i.e., you know how to play, and no one's going to need to explain turn order or any of the basics), but beyond that we'll do our best to accommodate any and all skill levels. Prerelease events are a fun and casual environment, and if you're having a tough time with something we'll have a judge or tournament organizer available to help you through it.

Q: What should I bring with me to the event?

A: Here's a short checklist of items that are either required or good to have:

  • A water bottle and energy bar or dry-snack
  • Sleeves and a deck box (you also can buy these at the shop if you forget them)
  • Dice for counters!
  • A life pad or way to track your life during the event (if you'd rather not use the provided spindown).

Q: Should I preregister for the event?

A:  If you're able to, yes absolutely! Preregistration locks in your spot at the event. The last thing you need or want is to show up on the day of and find out we sold out the night before (which is a thing that has happened in the past).

Q: If I preregister and can't make the event, what happens?

A: That depends on you! In the event you aren't able to make it to the event, you can either contact us to request a refund, or stop by as you're able to and pick up the prerelease kit we would have handed you if you had gone to the event. If we don't hear from you, we'll assume you want the prerelease kit and hold it til the next time we see you.

Q: I've never built a deck for limited before. Any pointers?

A: We've got a few! Here's a short list of handy tips when building a limited / sealed deck:

  • Stick to 40 cards! That's roughly 23 spells and creatures + 17 land. Those numbers will shift a little bit depending on what you open, but broadly that's where you should aim to be.
  • Play the colors that let you play your best cards. 
  • Don't be afraid to experiment! You can switch your deck around between rounds and between games. Every card you're not actively using in your deck is part of your sideboard, so if one color combo just isn't working for you, maybe wait until the match is over and try swapping it around.
  • It's okay to ask for help from other players. This is a prerelease; we're here to have fun and enjoy the new set. You'll often find that we've got several players at each prerelease that enjoy helping and mentoring newer players through the deck building process.

Q: Any other advice on getting ready for a prerelease?

A: Yup! If you can, try to familiarize yourself with the set ahead of time. Keep an eye out for spoilers! By the time you're reading this, spoiler season will already have started and you can bet that there's a few really cool looking cards and mechanics out there that need reading up on. 

Q: What if I need to swap from one event to the other, can I do that?

A: Sure! As long as there's still a spot at the event you want to swap to, yes definitely. Just email us (or contact us through the contact page of our website) and we'll get right on it.