From LOTR-TCG Wiki

Foil cards were printed with a shiny layer on the paper, which causes a reflective rainbow effect when it catches the light. Most foils came from random insertion into booster packs, although some Promotional and Tengwar cards were also printed in foil. In general as a result, foil versions of cards are rarer and more expensive than their nonfoil counterparts, and are the holy grail for many collectors.

Decipher artists put time and effort into customizing the foil effect for each card, masking the image so that different parts of the image would have the foil effect applied. Thus, a few different kinds of emphasis were used:

Here on the wiki, we have successfully gathered images for nearly every foil card known. See List of Foil Cards for a gallery (tho be warned, it takes a while to load and browse).

Movie Era[edit]

For the first 10 sets, each set was printed twice: once as standard cards, and again as foil. Each booster pack had about a 1 in 6 chance of having one of the cards randomly replaced with a foil card of a random rarity. This meant that collecting full foil sets was significantly more unpredictable, and also could result in some interesting booster packs: for instance, this could result in a booster with two rares (one of them foil, replacing one of the common cards). Due to the mechanics of inserting foils into early sets, it was possible - though very unusual - to open a pack with more than one foil card plus an ordinary rare.

In the Fellowship of the Ring set (and presumably for all movie-block sets), the odds of which card was inserted as a foil varied based on its rarity, which was as follows [1]:

  • 1 Common foil every 13 packs
  • 1 Uncommon foil every 18 packs
  • 1 Rare foil every 26 packs

Each of these chances was calculated independently, which results in each booster having a ~17% chance of having at least one foil, which is where Decipher's 1 in 6 advertised chance calculation comes from.

Tournament Prizes[edit]

Foils were also awarded as rewards for tournament play; tournament directors could register their events with Decipher, who would ship foil prizes to them for a fee, which would ideally be covered by the event entrance fee. A former Decipher employee estimates that due to the tournament prizes, less than half of printed foil cards ended up distributed in booster packs.

Decipher Foil Announcement:

Players can also get these foil cards by playing in sanctioned The Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game tournaments. Every sanctioned tournament will have three foils to give out. A random Rare foil will go to the winner, a random Uncommon foil will go to second place, and a random Common foil will be given out to a random participant. The foils for tournament prizes will be taken from the parallel foil set and are not different from the ones that are in booster packs. Completing the foil set will not be simple, but it will be an attainable goal. Being a tournament player increases your chances of completing a foil set of these cards.

Shadows Era[edit]

Starting with the Shadows set, parallel foil sets were no longer created, and instead specific cards from each set were re-issued with new Collector's Info. 18 cards made up the Legends line, and 9 cards made up the Legends Masterworks line.

Production Process[edit]

The foil effect on cards actually comes from the paper, which has a shiny layer added to it. Decipher produced foil images that pop by printing foil-obscuring ink on the card so that only parts of the image would shine with the rainbow effect. This was done by producing a black-and-white mask for each foil image that looked like this:

This example is actually from the Star Trek CCG, but the same method applies.

The black indicates where there would be no foil, and the white indicates which parts will have both the printed color and the rainbow diffraction foil effect.

Physical Products
Card Product Booster Packs
The Fellowship of the RingMines of MoriaRealms of the Elf-lords
The Two TowersBattle of Helm's DeepEnts of Fangorn
Return of the KingSiege of GondorMount Doom
ShadowsBlack RiderBloodlines
The HuntersRise of SarumanTreachery & Deceit
Starter Decks The Fellowship of the RingMines of MoriaRealms of the Elf-lords
The Two TowersBattle of Helm's DeepEnts of Fangorn
Return of the KingSiege of GondorMount Doom
ShadowsBlack RiderBloodlines
The HuntersRise of Saruman
Deluxe Starter Sets The Fellowship of the RingThe Two Towers
Draft Packs Fellowship Draft PackTowers Draft PackExpanded Middle-earth
Card Variants Print Runs (First Edition, A Revision, B Revision, Duplicate Version) • ReprintsFoilTengwarLegends (RF)Legends Masterworks
Tengwar Anthologies The Fellowship of the Ring AnthologyThe Two Towers AnthologyThe Return of the King AnthologyThe War of the Ring Anthology
Complete Packs The Nine Riders CollectionThe Wraith CollectionAge's End
Prizes League KitsDGMA PrizesTournament Prize SupportTournament Foils
Promo Distribution Oversized CardsMagazine InsertsDVD InsertsRetail Reward IncentivesEvent PromosThe Countdown CollectionThe Weta CollectionLOTRO Promos
Other Two-Player QuickStart SetRace to Mount DoomWeta Book CardsProduct Box CountsUncut SheetsSpacer CardsCustomizable League CardsHunters Design-a-Card Contest
Unreleased Beta Cards Of Very Little Importance (Beta)Fortune of Fate (Beta)Always a Baggins in Bag End (Beta)Maiden of the Golden Ale (Beta)Ripples in the Pool (Beta)Of Very Little Importance (Beta)It's the Beard (Beta)There are NO Dwarven Women! (Beta)
Non-card Product Merchandise HatsT-shirtsPinsPostersPostcardsBindersAd SpotsDice
Magazines Scrye MagazineInQuest MagazineFan Club Official Movie Magazine

Scrye TTT Player's GuideScrye ROTK Player's Guide

Unreleased Merch 2002 Toy Fair CalendarFilm Cell CardsOfficial Signed Cards
New Line Fax Proofs Lithograph ProofsBalrog Promo ProofMines of Moria Booster Pack ProofsMines of Moria Card ProofsMines of Moria Packaging ProofsMines of Moria Poster ProofToy Fair Calendar ProposalMines of Moria Sell Sheet ProofRealms of the Elf-lords Promo ProofsFilm Cell Card Proposal
  1. Information pulled from pre-release FOTR information on the Wayback: [1]