Beware Of WOTC "False" Advertising On Lord Of The Rings Commander Precons
Wizards of the Coast doing sketchy things to get money from Magic: The Gathering is nothing new. The serialized one-of-one "The One Ring," (despite being a significant flavor win for the Lord of the Rings set) is ultimately a way to drive the sale of collector booster boxes. And as if the general hype isn't enough, WOTC is resorting to devious advertising on the LOTR commander precons to make it look like players have a shot at the 001/001 One Ring if they buy one. Don't be fooled.
To elaborate, the serialized version of The One Ring (which currently has a value of 2 million dollars) is only available in English collector boosters. Commander precons contain a "collector booster sample pack," which includes two cards. One will usually be uncommon, and the other a mythic or rare. One of the cards will come from the precons and the other will be from the main set. LOTR collector booster samples do not contain The One Ring.
While there's nothing wrong with that, they are sample boosters, after all, and are a separate thing... What's sketchy is how WOTC advertises the collector booster sample pack on the precon. They've formatted stuff so anyone who doesn't know what's up will think there's a legit collect booster with the deck. Let's look at precisely what I mean, compare it to products of the past, and talk if this is just shady or illegal.
Here is what you'll see at the top of each LOTR: Tales of Middle-Earth commander precon. It shows what the precon includes aside from the 100-card deck. And they have "collector booster" on a line all by itself. The "sample pack" second half is dropped down an entire line leaving the "collector booster" on the top line alone. So, if someone unfamiliar with what these usually contain were to look at this, it would look a lot like the deck had a collector booster, a sample pack, and two legendary traditional foil.
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I mean, there's no dash, no coma showing where one thing ends and another begins, and they are not on the same line. To the uneducated eye, it does read that a traditional collector booster is included. And that is not true. Considering the One Ring is such a selling point for the set and only comes in collector boosters, they did this so people would be more likely to pick up these decks, thinking they had a shot to pull the 001/001 ring. To further illustrate their intentions, let's look at how this was done in the past.
This is the same tab from the March of the Machines set, which came out a little while ago. This one has everything together on a single line in a way that clearly represents what is in the box. If you look at any precon (that contains sample packs) before the LOTRs decks, you'll find this same thing. This means that they didn't accidentally write this misleadingly. Until now, they've done things in a way that made sense but changed it for Tales of Middle-Earth.
It was certainly intentional, and it's 100% misleading. If it's misleading to the point of illegal or actual false advertising, I don't know. But I did reach out to an attorney and ask their opinion. I think the legal team over at Hasbro would understand what they can and can't do, but you never know - Class-action lawsuits happen to giant companies. I'll update the info here when I hear back about the legality. Either way, it's certainly in bad taste.
There you have it, my friends. I wanted to write this article to inform everyone that these decks don't come with traditional collector boosters and cannot contain the serialized version of The One Ring that everyone is chasing. Here's a link to the complete list of all Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-Earth products, what they contain, and if they can have the serialized cards inside. Comment below and let me know if you think this is illegal or just pushes the line of clever advertising.