Gisela, the Broken Blade
8, Jan, 24

Major $50 MTG Price Spike Foretells Worrying Secret Lair Future

Article at a Glance

Within the wide world of MTG, there is no end of reasons why a card can spike in price. From a hit meme, a strong tournament performance, or a new wacky combo, the reasons are practically endless. At the end of the day, however, price spikes always come down to two fundamental principles; supply and demand. This is especially true for Secret Lair MTG cards.

Sold to players in print-to-demand runs, Secret Lair cards are inherently more limited than your typical MTG card. While this can already lead to these cards selling for a significant premium, unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Alongside the standard Secret Lair cards, Wizards also occasionally releases limited run cards which have immense financial potential.

For better or worse, thanks to a recent surge in interest, another card has realized this impressive potential. While this may be great for owners of the card, unfortunately, it’s not all good news. Thanks to major changes coming to Secret Lair, that might become a concerning new normal. 

Angels: They’re Just Like Us but Cooler More Expensive and with Wings

Gisela, the Broken Blade

Announced back in August of 2023, Angels: They’re Just Like Us but Cooler and with Wings is the latest Secret Lair Commander deck. Jam-packed full of value, this deck certainly wasn’t cheap, at $150, but it nonetheless offered compelling value. Containing unique art, a handful of $30+ reprints, and plenty of fun too, this deck had it all.

As if it wasn’t expensive enough already, since its release, the Secret Lair Angels deck has only gotten more expensive. Thanks to being a limited-run product, it was only a matter of time before this happened, as supply was never going to increase. Over the months since the decks’ release, each of the cards with new art has steadily crept up in value.

Once selling for as low as $14 Bruna, the Fading Light the reprint of has been getting consistently more expensive. Climbing over time, this gorgeous Secret Lair card now sells for around $39 on average. While this is definitely an impressive climb, it’s hardly the best that deck has to offer.

One month ago, the Secret Lair copies of Gisela, the Broken Blade sold for around $43. While this is no small amount of money, this already inflated price tag was recently blown out of the water. Thanks to a surge in demand, Gisela saw a brief $100 price spike before mercifully settling down a little.

While a little way short of its $150 peak, copies of Gisela, the Broken Blade are still selling for $100. Or rather, they would be, at least, provided that you could pick up a copy at the moment. Right now, on TCGplayer, the Secret Lair variant of Gisela is completely sold out. Unfortunately, this leaves pricing in a rather vulnerable state, as any seller can dictate the market. 

A Worrying Potential Precedent

Relentless Rats | Secret Lair Showdown Art
Relentless Rats | Secret Lair Showdown Art

Curiously, since the surge in Gisela’s price happened a few days ago, the spike’s source is rather nebulous. Potentially the cause may have been a recent video by Loading Ready Run, however, this was two weeks ago. In this video, the Angels: They’re Just Like Us but Cooler and with Wings deck, piloted by Ben Ulmer utterly crushed the competition.

Considering Angels are one of the most popular Typal archetypes in Commander, it’s no wonder this win caused a stir. Renewing interest in Gisela, the Broken Blade as a card, and a Commander, plenty of copies were snapped up quickly. Since there’s very little supply of this limited-run card, the price exploded as a result.

On its own, this isn’t anything we’ve seen before, as limited supply cards always have rather volatile potential. Unfortunately, however, this trend may become more common than usual, as changes are being made to how Secret Lair operates. Rather than sticking to the print-to-demand model, Wizards is switching to a limited-run strategy.

According to Wizards of the Coast, this move is to help seriously expedite shipping, so players won’t have to wait for their cards anymore. While this seems like a positive change, there’s nonetheless the potential for immense pricing volatility as demand wavers. That will be the case, at least, so long as there’s not enough supply to go around.

In their announcement for the change, Wizards stated they’re “aiming to get as close to overall demand as possible.” While this is definitely good news, scalpers and FOMO may nonetheless cause lightning-fast sales. Should this happen, massive MTG price spikes like Gisela’s may become rather common. 

Feared but Functional

Collected Company | Secret Lair
Collected Company | Secret Lair

Considering that $100 is no small amount of money, the potential for similar price spikes becoming more common is definitely concerning. That being said, so long as this only happens to the Secret Lair variant of MTG cards, it may not be the end of the world. At the end of the day, these cards are designed to be collectible, and their prices usually follow suit.

While the Secret Lair variant of Gisela, the Broken Blade may have shot up to around $100, not every variant is so expensive. The normal variant of the card from Eldrich Moon, for instance, is selling for the comparatively cheap price of $18. Alongside this, the oversized variant with the Secret Lair art is available for around $7.50 on average.

So long as normal variants of Secret Lair MTG cards are readily available and affordable, high collectible prices aren’t the worst thing in the world. That being said, however, the change to Secret Lair availability does affect their usefulness as reprints. While this may be a disappointment to some, this potential shift of Secret Lair’s focus is hardly the end of the world.

At the end of the day, we don’t know how Secret Lair pricing and availability are truly going to change. To find that out, we’re simply going to have to wait and see. Thankfully, we should find out more soon, as the next Secret Lair Superdrop should be with us soon. While Wizards has not yet announced an official date, no Secret Lair is active right now, which usually means a new drop is imminent.

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