[In her best Cate Blanchett impression]
It began with the forging of the great IP crossover between Magic: The Gathering and Lord of the Rings. In addition to rendering J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved characters as powerful Magic cards, Wizards of the Coast also printed special thematic versions of the game’s Sol Ring card modeled after the book series’ rings of power.
Three (hundred) were made for the elves, immortal, wisest, and fairest of all beings. Seven (again, hundred) for the dwarf lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And nine (you guessed it, hundred) rings were made for the race of men, who, above all else, desire serialized, double-rainbow foil Sol Rings. For within these rings was bound the strength and the will to run the Magic tables at your local game shop.
But they were all of them deceived, for another ring was made.
Deep in the land of Hasbro, in the fires of Mount Wizards of the Coast, the Dark Lord Mark Rosewater forged a one-of-one, serialized master ring. And into this card he poured his cruelty, his malice, and his will to frustrate players with an indestructible card-drawing factory.
(Though obviously cool, the One Ring, as a Magic card, actually isn’t all that powerful. It can draw you a lot of cards, which is always good, and with the right card combinations, it can continuously protect you from damage. However, it’s relatively easy to thwart. Unlike its namesake that has only one mountain-based weakness, the One Ring card can easily be countered, exiled, tapped, sacrificed, or otherwise enchanted into uselessness. But for extra credit, if you’re a filthy mill deck player, you can work with the One Ring to simply mill your opponent to death.)
Image: Wizards of the Coast
One ring to rule them all.
One by one, the Friday Night Magic events fell to the power of the Ring, with players unable to resist the allure of finding Magic’s very own version of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. But there were some who resisted.
A last alliance of players and enthusiasts marched against the armies of Magic card resellers, hoping that if the card were found, it’d be by someone with a genuine love for the game who’d treasure it as a collector’s item.
Victory was near, but the power of the Ring could not be undone. It was in this moment, when all hope had faded, that Brook Trafton cracked opened the fated pack.
The speculators were defeated, and the Ring passed to Trafton, who had this one chance to destroy evil forever.
“Look what I found! Let’s goooo!” he wrote on the TikTok revealing the card.
But the Ring of Power has a will of its own.
And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost… to the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), the most well-known trading card authenticator, which graded the card at a nine — or mint, according to PSA’s 10-point grading scale.
(There’s also a delicious irony here that a brand-new unplayed card that was probably hermetically sealed upon its discovery, could only net a nine instead of a 10 because foil cards like the One Ring are notorious for curling.)
History became legend. Legend became myth. For a time, (roughly a month) the One Ring card passed out of all knowledge. It waited. Darkness crept back into the game shops of the world. Rumor then grew of a shadow in the Great North, whispers of a nameless fear, and the Ring of Power perceived its time had come. It abandoned Trafton (but he was, like, totally cool with that).
“I just really hoped it would go to someone who would appreciate it as much as I do,” Trafton wrote on the TikTok that revealed the card’s fate.
But then something happened that the Ring did not intend. It was picked up by the most unlikely creature imaginable: a rapper, Post Malone, of the Beerbongs & Bentleys.
“I’ll take it,” said Post Malone who is well known for his ardent and deep-pocketed love of Magic: The Gathering.
We don’t know how much he paid for the card, but it was probably a lot of money, with reports valuing it between $1 and 2 million. Let’s hope, in his possession, the Ring grants him a much better fate than what befell those other guys, for the time will soon come when Postie will shape the fortunes of all.