Evolution Sage
7, Jun, 24

Borderless Bonus Card Theme Is Beginning To Wear Thin

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New Secret Lair Bonus Cards have been popping up everywhere recently. Now that Wizards has dramatically improved shipping times, at the cost of accessibility, these Bonus Cards appear remarkably quickly. In theory, this can be a great way to guarantee additional value if the stars align, but sadly that’s rarely the case.

Recently, by the time Bonus Cards start appearing, either the Secret Lair has sold out, or the sale itself has ended. Technically, this means that Bonus Cards are a lucky dip, a bonus if you will. That being said, even before they’re revealed, there’s one thing you can expect once Bonus Cards start being revealed; Elves.

Since 2023, borderless Elves have been appearing rather routinely as Bonus Cards for a variety of Secret Lair drops. Picking up the mantle from Slivers, we’ve seen countless borderless Elves appearing throughout this past week. Unsurprisingly, as more Secret Lair drops arrive in players’ hands, even more brand-new borderless elves have been revealed.

Brand New Bonus Elves

Evolution Sage | Ivy Lane Denizen

Since our last time talking about Secret Lair Bonus Cards, two new borderless Elves have been revealed. These cards are Evolution Sage and Ivy Lane Denizen. Respectively, these cards were found in the Poker Faces and the Outlaw Anthology Vol 2: Sinister Scoundrels.

Like many past Bonus Card Elves, it appears these new cards are not confined to those specific drops. Some players on social media are reporting finding these cards in different places so it’s a true lucky dip. Unfortunately, much like a real lucky dip from the days of yore, the prizes of offer are pretty disappointing.

While they do see play in Commander, neither Evolution Sage nor Ivy Lane Denizen are that expensive. Out of these two cards, Evolution Sage stands tall with an utterly immense value of $1.40. Meanwhile, Ivy Lane Denizen is worth a measly, pitiful, paltry $0.09.

Despite being pretty darn worthless as reprints, in theory, these new Bonus Cards could still be expensive. This especially goes for Evolution Sage, as it sees play in a fair few archetypes in Commander. Thanks to this, it’s not unrealistic to think Evolution Sage could go for a pretty penny, but that remains to be seen.

Unfortunately, predicting the prices for the Bonus Card Elves is basically impossible. As we saw with the borderless Slivers, some of these cards can be incredibly expensive due to being remarkably scarce. Should this be the case for any one of these new Elves, its price is bound to skyrocket, even if it’s not hugely playable.

Bored of Bonus Cards

Curiously, as more and more borderless Elves have been revealed, there has been less and less interest in them. This bucks the trend set by Slivers, where the vast majority were considered a welcome treat. Even if they wouldn’t end up selling for much, Slivers had an air of excitement that Elves just don’t.

On the surface, there should be little reason behind this as both Elves and Slivers are hugely popular Typal archetypes in Commander. Hell, according to EDHREC, Elves are over twice as popular as Slivers, so what gives?! For better or worse, the simple answer may be that there are simply far too many Elves in MTG.

While Wizards has made 115 Slivers to date, the vast majority of them are Commander playable. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for the vast majority of Elves that have been printed. With over 620 Elves to pick between, there are significantly more duds than there are bombs.

Disappointingly, when picking Bonus Cards, Wizards of the Coast doesn’t go for a greatest hits album of a creature type. Instead, as we’ve seen recently, Bonus Cards are mostly a mixed bag of cars that are occasionally iconic, but mostly just meh. Hopefully, as more borderless Elves get revealed as time goes on, we’ll see all stars like Allosaurus Shepherd getting reprinted.

Sadly, as much as we may like to see improved value out of Bonus Cards, cheap reprints are definitely the norm. Thanks to this, MTG players may just be destined to be disappointed by their Bonus Cards. That is the case, at least, unless you strike it big with one of the heavy hitters.

A New Form of FOMO

Fallout-Mana-Vault-Card

On top of the new borderless Elves theme for Bonus Cards, more recently, Wizards has created multiple ultra chase variants. Technically, these have long existed thanks to variants of cards like Relentless Rats but they’ve been unturned up to 11 recently. The recent Fallout variant of Mana Crypt is the latest and greatest example of this.

Even before the 2024 Equinox Superdrop was available for sale, Bethesda teased the ultra-rare new variant of Mana Vault. Worryingly, the announcement of this card turned each of the Fallout-themed Secret Lairs into a lottery ticket worth upwards of $1000. For better or worse, the same has happened again with the Hatsune Miku: Sakura Superstar drop.

While this drop had no trouble selling out, it was recently discovered that a Snapcaster Mage Bonus Card exists. As an ultra-rare, and highly prized, potential inclusion, this card similarly turned each unopened drop into a lottery ticket. While Wizards of the Coast did not preemptively announce this ultra-rare Bonus Card, it’s nonetheless setting a trend.

Should this trend continue, there’s a real chance that each Secret Lair Superdrop could have its own ultra-rare prized card. Technically, this would be no different from the Relentless Rats of yore, but it’s nonetheless problematic. If Bonus Cards aren’t kept a Secret, FOMO may sway players into a purchase they wouldn’t otherwise make.

Ultimately, MTG players should remember that Bonus Cards are exactly that, bonuses. When you buy a Secret Lair, there’s no guarantee you’ll get anything good, so it shouldn’t sway your purchase. Instead, you should just buy the cards you want for the art, or value, that they offer.

Read More: Sold Out Secret Lair Crossover Creates 6900% Reprint Premium!

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