MTG’s Secret Lair product tends to offer a variety of deals that keep players looking for a deal invested. Some incredibly expensive cards like Stoneforge Mystic and Grand Abolisher got reprinted in these drops. For players looking to find valuable reprints, or even their favorite cards with some incredible new artwork, these can be fantastic products. There are some very strong reprints in the Summer Superdrop as well.
Of course, if you take a look at any of our financial Secret Lair drop reviews, nothing is created equal. There are some absolute slam-dunk Secret Lairs in the value department, but there are others that completely miss the mark. That said, these still offer some incredible artwork so, to the right buyer, even the financially suboptimal Secret Lairs can be suitable for the right individual.
This leads to the new Lord of the Rings Secret Lair announced as a part of the new Superdrop. When the first card released as a part of this drop was revealed, things were already off to a worrying start. Fortunately, the Secret Lair still had the opportunity to redeem itself with the rest of the contents. That opportunity has now passed.
Alongside the release of the Summer Secret Lair Superdrop, Wizards of the Coast announced the release of the More Adventures in Middle-earth Secret Lair. Offering premium treatments for four new cards from the Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth set with nostalgic artwork, there is definitely an audience for this type of product.
That said, that audience is not those who are looking for financial deals in their Secret Lair reprints. In fact, this may, financially, be the worst Secret Lair ever. Sure, technically, the basic land Secret Lairs are strictly worse value-wise than these ones, but this is the worst Secret Lair offering something other than basic lands in a secondary market finance sense, at least in terms of reprint value. Here’s what the contents of this Secret Lair include:
Gandalf, Friend of the Shire
Gandalf, Friend of the Shire has a lot of different promotional printings. Available in the main set, as a full-art Prerelease Promotional card (which can also come in Collector Boosters), as a Magic Play promo card, and, finally, as a Secret Lair card, there are a ton of different printings for this bulk bin card.
At the end of the day, Gandalf, Friend of the Shire is an uncommon. Sure, the ability to play sorceries at instant speed on a creature with Flash could make it Commander playable. The second ability isn’t bad either, as long as you’re consistently trying to get Tempted by the Ring. That said, an uncommon with no competitive play and no collectibility cannot escape the fate of not being financially relevant, especially when Draft packs are currently selling like hotcakes.
Mirror of Galadriel
Another draftable Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth uncommon, the Mirror of Galadriel basically has the same strengths and weaknesses as the previous card. This card could be fantastic in a ‘Legends Matter’ EDH deck that can reduce its activated ability to zero mana to activate. The card becomes a heck of a lot better at that point, but it’s not revolutionizing any formats.
Ultimately, this being an uncommon, and not a desirable one, in the current Limited format squanders any potential value it could have. Its not worth anything.
Shire Terrace introduces a new alternative to the Evolving Wilds land type. There is some slight upside and downside with this card in comparison to the popular bulk mana fixer. If you need an untapped land, Shire Terrace can be that land. Able to tap for a generic mana, this card can allow Commander and Limited decks to play on-curve more reliably than Evolving Wilds does.
The downside, in tandem with the card’s upside in this comparison, is that it needs a steeper price to help fix your mana. Instead of just tapping the Evolving Wilds to find a basic land of your choice, Shire Terrace demands players to tap an additional mana to access the same effect.
While this makes Shire Terrace a promising new land for multicolored EDH decks on a budget, the card ultimately has no value. This is a common in Lord of the Rings Draft, meaning that its absolutely everywhere now. Heck, you could probably show up at your Lord of the Rings Draft night and pick up the normal variant for free from one of the drafters.
Slip On the Ring
Rounding out the offerings, Slip on the Ring is another undesirable Limited Common. If you’re trying to Blink cards while Tempting the Ring, chances are this trick will get a slot in your EDH deck. Trying to do literally anything else? Chances are there’s a better alternative that still isn’t expensive. Blinking stuff? Try Ephemerate! Tempting the Ring? Try any of the LOTR cards that can do it more than once. This could have some secondary market value if it were a rarer card but, alas, its another Common in the main set.
For two draftable uncommons and two draftable commons, this Secret Lair will cost potential customers $30 for the nonfoil version and $40 for the foil one.
You may not be surprised to hear that players are not too fond of this new Secret Lair. Offering very little reprint value to potential customers, players don’t really know what to make of this – except that they don’t want it.
“The Middle Earth SL has 3 commons, 1 uncommon from the current set. They are charging $30 for basically new LOTR art.
Edit: it is 2 common, 2 uncommon but all basically have no value.”strongsauce
“Easily the worst SL card selection of a non-Basics drop ever. And only 4 cards to boot. Completely inexplicable.”Killericon
“Am I missing something, or is this card selection total garbage?”plainswalker75
“Even with basic lands, this is the worst.”Ahellina
The negative commentary goes on for quite some time but, at this moment, in the opinion of many MTG players, this is a contender for the worst Secret Lair ever. Some even go as far as to say that the basic land Secret Lairs are completely superior. That said, with a Secret Lair this bad, there could actually be some hidden value.
So Bad, It’s Good?
At the end of the day, it’s clear that the value of this Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth Secret Lair is meant to be portrayed in its unique artwork. Since there’s no financial value here, the only remaining value to be had is the potential exclusivity of these cards and the Bonus Slot.
We have absolutely no idea what the Bonus Slot card to this Secret Lair could be. It could just be a random full-art card, as we’ve seen in past Secret Lairs, or it could be a secret fifth alternate art card available nowhere else. We have no way of knowing this until someone opens this Secret Lair up and posts about it. Whether players want to spend $30 to figure out what the Bonus Slot entails is up to them.
Otherwise, there is a chance that these Secret Lairs are so underpurchased that they actually end up being worth something. Besides a few speculators and diehard fans who are in love with this artwork, there may not be many players buying this Secret Lair, which could unintendedly make these cards very rare in the future. Should this be the case, these cards could hold quite the premium over their original iterations.
That said, the first impression of this product is undeniably a flop. Players find it tough to pay $30-40 for a collection of cards that, arguably, does not even amass to a dollar in their original variants. These could end up being very collectible thanks to the unique artwork from a massive fantasy crossover, but it will take quite some time to discover how that shakes out.