Spacer Cards

From LOTR-TCG Wiki
4-color Test Print or Spacer card.

Spacer Cards, sometimes improperly called Print Test Cards, were card-shaped swatches of color inserted into Uncut Sheets as a means of marking where one series of cards ended and another began. These were most commonly used in uncut sheets of Starter Decks, where a single sheet of 11x11 cards could exactly fit 2 60-card decks with a single spacer card in between (60 + 60 + 1 = 121 = 11 x 11).

Starter decks were assembled by hand after being cut, meaning that a worker would take the stack of 121 cards, search for the spacer in the middle, and then place the two 60-card decks into their appropriate boxes. Since this was a manual process, the spacer card had a chance of slipping into the starter box unnoticed, which was the primary way in which these spacers would make their way onto the market.

This became such a frequent occurrence that Decipher ended up inserting a more obvious spacer card, which was much harder to miss. This 4-color spacer was used for starter decks in the Shadows set, and as a result spacer cards became much less frequent as an accidental inclusion, even if they weren't completely eliminated. For unknown reasons, Black Rider starter decks reverted to using the full black spacer card.

The style of the color spacer card used by Decipher changed with the release of Bloodlines, switching from a 4-color style to a 5-color one. There is some speculation that international printings may have also used this 5-color version at an earlier date, as the specifics of the color swatch selected were likely a minor detail controlled by each international partner (who handled translation and layout alteration of Decipher's master version); in earlier sets a completely white or unprinted spacer can be seen on uncut international sheets.

The 5-color version exists in both foil and nonfoil variants, as the spacer was used in the RF sheet for Bloodlines and The Hunters (see gallery below). The black spacer also exists in a foil variant, although the origin for this is more obscure and currently unknown. Due to the nature of how foiling works, it can be difficult to tell the difference, as the foiling layer does not look reflective if ink is printed on it, particularly with coverage as complete as on the spacer card. Typically the only way to tell is if the foiling is exposed around the cut edge, or if a nick or scrape on the card's face cuts into the ink and reveals the foiling beneath.

Besides the broad strokes, there is no way to differentiate what set or pack a spacer card was printed in, so the only way to know is if the collector recorded it at the time the card was pulled from a pack.


Click through to any image to see its full resolution.

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