There And Back Again
There And Back Again


Date Reviewed:  July 26, 2023

Constructed: 3.00
Casual: 4.25
Limited: 4.50
Multiplayer: 3.50
Commander [EDH]: 3.63

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


There’s a number of Sagas where each of their abilities is average or decent, and having them all in the one place is what makes the card really notable. I feel like There and Back Again fits into that category – none of the abilities is really huge in itself, though it is worth mentioning that red doesn’t seem to be the main color for “the Ring tempts you”, and that Smaug is efficient for turn seven and has an insane death trigger. But when you have all three of them in just one card, it makes it a lot easier to find a way for your deck to make use of all of them, even though it’s not one of the Sagas with a very clear in-built strategy (a story, if you like).

There is, then, some gameplay value in There and Back Again, but the thing that’s almost the most impressive is how each of its abilities can be directly related to part of the plot of The Hobbit. Now I just need to figure out if there’s a Mountain from Tales of Middle-earth that depicts Erebor, and put exactly one of it in the deck . . .

Constructed: 3
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 3.5
Commander [EDH]: 3.5

 James H. 


There and Back Again is probably the most direct reference to The Hobbit, the first of the works written set in Middle-Earth, as this set has featured. It was both the title of the in-universe retelling of Bilbo Baggins’ misadventures with a rowdy pack of dwarves and a subtitle to The Hobbit proper. In it, the enterprising eponymous hobbit winds up far from home and helping the dwarves in question retake their home and comes back with loot and renown. One of the things he brought back world prove itself to be more important, but that’s a separate tale, isn’t it?

There and Back Again mentions all of the important beats from the story: Bilbo getting the Precious from Gollum nearly by accident, hem retaking the Mountain home, and having to deal with a displeased dragon who likes treasure and burnination. In gameplay, the main beat here is that, two turns after things start, you get Smaug, a massive threat that provides ample compensation if he were to die. (The 14 treasures he gives up is a reference to that the party in The Hobbit consisted of Bilbo, the dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield, and 12 other dwarves.) The mana acceleration is neat, though most decks will find that seven mana is less integral than six mana as a breakpoint goes, and tying up a creature for two turns is actually surprisingly useful in a pinch if you need it.

This is certainly flavorful, but I’m not sold on it being a force; it’s a five-mana card that needs two more turns to really mature, and red is rarely the color best suited for it. That said, red-containing decks without a lot of push to end might have a use for this as a threat to end the game; it’s incremental value until it pops on its third verse, and that Smaug has haste makes this a pretty acceptable payoff. I’d be surprised if it saw play in Modern, but it’s a lovely card for more casual play.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 5
Limited: 5 (the dragon is a top-end finisher on tis own)
Multiplayer: 3.5
Commander [EDH]: 3.75

We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews.  If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email.  We would be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc.   😉

Click here to read over 5,000 more MTG Cards of the Day! We have been reviewing cards daily since 2001!