Scourge of Valkas
2, Feb, 24

2024’s Prettiest Secret Lair Has Awful Value

Article at a Glance

At long last, Murders at Karlov Manor has finally launched today! In prerelease events, players are getting their hands on countless incredible cards and new ARG mysteries too! Miraculously, despite this exciting occasion, Murders at Karlov Manor has been overshadowed this past week thanks to new Secret Lair drops.

Releasing altogether on the 5th of February, 2024, the Secret Lair Winter 2024 Superdrop is just around the corner. From what we’ve seen so far, this newfangled Secret Lair release is loaded with plenty of gorgeous art and beloved reprints. For better or worse, while all the cards look nice, the value has been somewhat lacking.

Disappointingly, this trend has continued for The Beauty of the Beasts Secret Lair. Created by Rowynn Ellis, this Secret Lair is already utterly beloved for its incredible art. Unfortunately, however, from a value perspective, this Secret Lair drop is the latest in a long line of underwhelming releases.

Living up to the Name

Felidar Guardian

Taking the concept to the extreme, recently, artist Rowynn Ellis has created a spoiler season within a spoiler season. Rather than revealing the new Secret Lair drop all at once, Ellis has been steadily showcasing to slowly build hype. Revealing a new, and utterly gorgeous, reprint each day, players have eagerly been waiting for every reveal.

From the moment this mini-spoiler season started, one thing was clear about Ellis’ art; it’s absolutely fantastic. Each time a new reprint and piece of artwork has been revealed, players have been blown away. Commending Ellis for the gorgeous art, it’s clear that many MTG players can’t wait to buy this Secret Lair.

At the end of the day, this is kind of the point of Secret Lair drops. While the art isn’t always to everyone’s tastes, it’s nonetheless the focus players should be interested in. It is nice, of course, to get your money’s worth in MTG, but buying art is hardly a foreign concept. Ultimately, Secret Lairs are just WotC-sanctioned alters.

With the focus on art in mind, The Beauty of the Beasts Secret Lair may fly off the digital shelves. If people are true to their word, there’s a huge amount of interest in this Secret Lair from the art alone. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only way this Secret Lair is going to sell.

Disappointingly Dubious Value

The Beauty of the Beasts

From a financial perspective, The Beauty of the Beasts Secret Lair really isn’t all that. In total, the cards in this Secret Lair are worth around $16, far less than the $29.99 asking price. Within this meager assortment of reprints, Serpent of Yawning Depths is by far the most expensive.

Being fairly popular in Commander, copies of Serpent of Yawning Depths currently cost around $9. While this is rather enticing, much of this price is likely due to the lack of supply. Having only been printed in Theros Beyond Death, this card isn’t the most accessible.

Following on from this, the next card’s value is quite a step down at just $4. Appearing primarily in Commander, alongside a few Pioneer lists, Voracious Hydra is hardly an all-star gem. The same is true of Felidar Guardian which sees a little Modern play but is mainly used in Commander.

With copies available for just $1.50, Felidar Guardian is hardly an enticing prospect for value fans. That being said, this card is somewhat beloved thanks to its history, so this collectible artwork may command a premium. It’s likely the same may happen for every card in this Secret Lair, as each one is a niche Commander favorite.

As we’ve seen time and time again, niche Typal archetypes in Commander can drive huge demand. For example, special variants of Cats and Dogs typically always sell for a higher price than normal. In theory, this trend should continue and extend to Dragons, sea creatures, Hydras, and Drakes. Whether or not this will happen, however, remains to be seen.

The New Normal?

The Beauty of the Beasts

At the end of the day, the Winter 2024 Superdrop is expected to be led by demand, rather than supply. Being the first limited-run Superdrop, it’s unclear how much influence scalpers will have on proceedings. If there’s not enough supply, secondary market values may be seriously high, especially for beloved cards with stunning new art.

In an ideal world, the MTG players who are genuinely interested in these cards will get their fill before they sell out. Theoretically, this would crash secondary market values since there’s no one left to buy the new variants. Since this didn’t happen with unrestricted sales, however, it’s very unlikely to happen this time.

Beyond higher secondary market values and scalpers potentially being the new normal it seems lower value may be a trend too. Within the Winter Superdrop 2024, the majority of Secret Lairs really aren’t that impressive. Only notable for their artwork on cult cards, there’s not a huge amount of ultra-expensive reprints.

To put on our fearmongering hat for a moment, there’s a chance this disappointing value could become a new trend for Secret Lair drops. By lacking value, scalpers should be less incentivized to buy out everything, letting actual players buy what they want. While this could be a tactic from Wizards, there’s zero evidence this is actually happening.

Ultimately, we’re just going to have to wait and see what happens once the Winder 2024 Superdrop rolls around. As the first of its kind, this sale is undoubtedly going to have big implications for Secret Lair going forward.

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