How Do I Buy Cards?

"Plastic-wrapped cardboard crack" is, if anything, understating the problem.

Why Buy?

If you're starting fresh and looking to start a new collection, it's important to take a minute to consider the state of current supply. In early 2020, sealed product abounded on various websites, but as of 2021 those sources have finally just about dried up (spurred in large part by the resurge in popularity due to the pandemic).

If you're just looking to get into the game to play, be aware that there are digital platforms available for playing with all cards for no cost. See How Do I Play? for more details.

If however you've got time and money and patience to spare, then read on!

Where Can I Buy?

See the full maintained list of merchants on the How Do I Price Cards? page.

How to Buy?

There are four major ways to purchase cards: singles, sealed product, card lots, and complete sets. Each of these represents a different time and money investment, so pick the style that fits your available resources.


Anywhere that cards can be found, individual cards can usually be purchased. This isn't a cost-effective method for bulk commons and uncommons, but if rounding out a set collection or hunting for rares, this is often the only reliable way available.

Complete Sets

One of the best bang-for-buck methods is to purchase complete sets, which usually means 1 of each card from a single set. Occasionally (especially for later sets) you can find partial sets, such as a "complete Commons/Uncommons" set, which is the same thing restricted to the listed rarity.

Sealed Product

Booster packs (11 random cards) come in boxes of 36, and starter decks (59 fixed cards, 3 random rares) come in boxes of 12. These have started to become scarce, so you may pay a premium for the opportunity of opening up fresh packs. Nonetheless, there's always a chance that you score big and find a rare card that effectively pays for the box itself. The rest of the time you'll of course get trash that you could have purchased individually for less, so gamble responsibly.

Unlike some other CCGs, the LotR-TCG doesn't have as rampant a problem with pack-weighing (foil cards are heavier than standard cards, so if you put a pack on a precise scale you can reliably identify packs with foils). Nonetheless, realize that any loose packs you purchase could have been weighed already. If you're not after foils then this is a moot point.

Card Lots

Most likely to show up on eBay, card lots are when people go "here's a big ol' box of cards, not sure what's in it" and you take a chance on it being good. This is a very effective way of boosting your collection if just starting out, and is a gamble if you don't have big gaps. Usually such sellers don't know anything about the game, which can cut both ways (maybe it's a meticulously complete set, maybe it's actually Middle Earth CCG cards listed incorrectly).

You may also come across actual fans parting with their collection for one reason or another, and those are less likely to be as cost-effective but less obscure in what they contain. If you have the cash, such a purchase could single-handedly get you everything you want.

What All Can I Buy?

Besides the standard cards released in starter and booster packs, there were various alternate printings of cards to offer more things for collectors to collect. If you're collecting just to play, you can treat these as just a bonus (or collateral to trade), but if you're out to collect 'em all, then there's a lot more than just the base game afoot:


The first 10 sets (except Reflections) had both standard and foil variants for each card. Booster packs had about a 1/6 chance to have a non-rare card replaced with a random foil. Complete foil sets are thus rare but not unheard of for those sets.

Sets 11 and later did not have complete foil sets. Instead, about a dozen or so cards from each set had Rare Foil (RF) variants that were inserted into packs at a rate of about 1/7, replacing the random foil. These RFs are sometimes called Legends.

Legends Masterworks

Sets 12 and later added Legends Masterworks to the mix, which were foil cards using alternate art for the entire card template. These cards were inserted at a rate of about 1 every 36 packs (or one per booster box).

Promotional Cards

Set 0 indicates a card released as a special print run. The number of ways a Promo card might have been distributed are myriad: tournament rewards, dvd pack-ins, online store bonuses, you name it. Most Promo cards were reprints (or pre-prints) of cards in normal sets, but there were a handful of exceptions (0P56-0P60, 0P62-0P67).

Alternate Languages

Although primarily aimed at English-speaking audiences, the game was also printed for various other (usually European) markets. Cards exist for the following languages:

  • German: sets 1-14
  • French: sets 1-14
  • Italian: sets 1-14
  • Spanish: sets 1-6
  • Polish: sets 1-3
  • Mandarin: set 1
  • Portuguese: set 1