As we look back on the year 2023, it’s hard to not think about the vast number of different MTG products that were made available for players. One of the types of products that that was clearly a point of emphasis was the various Secret Lair drops. Recently, the various Secretversary 2023 Secret Lair items went on sale. Shortly before that, the Spookydrop 2023 series gave us even more groups of alternate-art cards to purchase.
One of the cool features players can look forward to after receiving their Secret Lairs is the opportunity to open intriguing bonus cards. Many Secret Lairs have a small range of bonus cards that can show up in your package along with the rest of the cards you order. These cards are not known ahead of time, adding a bit of mystery to each item.
Over the past week, a few specific Secret Lair bonus cards were revealed from both the Secretversary and Spookydrop Secret Lair Superdrops. Let’s start by taking a look at the newly discovered bonus cards associated with the two MTG Doctor Who Secret Lairs from the Spookydrop series.
Both the “Dalek Lands” and “Weeping Angels” Secret Lairs from the Spookydrop series showcased specific “check” Lands as the bonus cards of choice. First up, the “Dalek Lands” Secret Lair, which boasts half the cycle of “fast” Lands, shows off a copy of Woodland Cemetery as the bonus card alongside the rest of the Secret Lair.
Woodland Cemetery is often referred to as a “check” Land because it checks to see if you control a Swamp or Forest to determine whether it enters the battlefield tapped or untapped. These Lands are a bit more restrictive than the “fast” Lands that can reliably enter the battlefield untapped during the first few turns, especially in faster Constructed formats. As such, they are generally worth less money across the board. Even still, Woodland Cemetery is a decent bonus card compared to a lot of others.
Woodland Cemetery currently sits at roughly $3 in its cheapest traditional form according to TCGplayer market price. Considering that these bonus cards typically hold more value as alternate-art, foil versions with less available supply overall, this Woodland Cemetery variant will likely go for a bit more.
The art on these bonus Lands is also quite gorgeous. The bonus card for “Weeping Angels” Secret Lair is none other than Isolated Chapel, which is the Orzhov “check” Land. Isolated Chapel is worth a little less, sitting at about $2. Regardless, these Lands still see a reasonable amount of Commander play, making them solid additions as bonus cards.
Moving on to some more bonus cards from the Secretversary Secret Lair Superdrop, we have a staple for Elf decks in Commander and Pauper. Wellwisher is a potential bonus card for the “Showcase: Lost Caverns of Ixalan” Secret Lair. This continues the trend of various common Elves being printed as bonus cards. Unfortunately, none of these Elves are worth much money.
From Jaspera Sentinel to Nettle Sentinel and now to Wellwisher, nearly all of the Elf cards are worth under $1 in their cheapest traditional forms according to TCGplayer market price. That being said, some of the Elf cards are stronger than others.
Nettle Sentinel, for instance, works quite well in conjunction with Heritage Druid in Legacy. Even as a cheap common, the foil extended-art bonus card version is worth nearly $9 according to TCGplayer market price. Secret Lair bonus cards certainly have the potential to go for much more than their traditional counterparts.
In some cases, you will even have rarer versions go for huge sums of money. For example, there are a few different Secret Lair variants of Persistent Petitioners, with an absurd price range from roughly $11 to over $300!
While Wellwisher almost certainly won’t reach close to $300, as a popular Elf card with a unique effect, it could still hold some value. Wellwisher is an awesome inclusion in Elf Commander decks. Alongside ways to untap it, such as Wirewood Symbiote, and a wide battlefield, Wellwisher threatens to gain a ton of life every turn. This card may not be a flashy rare, but it at least is more interesting than Jaspera Sentinel.
A potential bonus card for the “Tales of the Time Stoppers” Secret Lair is yet another common Elf. This time, it’s Elvish Vanguard. Unfortunately, as mentioned, some of the Elves are less powerful than others. Elvish Vanguard is generally quite cheap, unsurprisingly, but unlike Wellwisher, the card isn’t very intriguing. Even though Wellwisher is just a common, it provides a very unique effect in Elf Commander decks.
“I got this one. What a letdown! Same art, nothing to write home about. It’s nice to have an extended art, but considering the set I got it in was only 4 cards and mono-blue, why did I get a mono green elf that sells for less than 0.50?”jeremyworldwide
The reality is, seeing this many mediocre Elves included as bonus cards can make the bonus card slot feel less special. After all, they aren’t on-theme with the rest of the Secret Lairs. Not only that, but despite having extended art, the artwork for these Elves is the same as displayed on previous versions of the cards.
Even some of the better Elves, like Wellwisher and Shaman of the Pack, feel a little out of place, but it stings more to open a bonus card that both doesn’t hold much value and also isn’t super interesting. Compared to the Doctor Who bonus Lands with awesome art, cards like Elvish Vanguard really miss the mark. Hopefully more interesting bonus cards will be revealed over time.