Wizards of the Coast has done a lot to make the Secret Lair line more appealing to players. The product line has had many issues, but many of those have been done away with as time went on. With damaged deliveries, exorbitant shipping rates, and extreme delay times being the king of these, it’s not precisely a head-scratcher why these products have become controversial. Delay times, in general, have been so bad that one product was delayed for an entire year. Since that was the only other full Commander deck that the Secret Lair product line has ever attempted, players were anxious that, during the reveal of the line’s second Commander deck, this folly would repeat itself.
Fast forward a bit, and not even a week after the reveal of the Cute to Brute Secret Lair Commander deck, players are already receiving their shipments! With the biggest issue worrying players out of the way, they get to focus on the deck itself! Among some middling reviews in terms of playability, MTG players are pretty excited about the new Bonus Card available with the deck!
A Way Better Bonus Slot!
Does anyone remember the bonus slot card for the controversial Heads, I Win! Tails, You Lose! Secret Lair Commander deck?
I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t because it wasn’t very memorable. Don’t get me wrong, this witty full-art Mountain from Daniel Warren Johnson is absolutely beautiful and fits the theme of the deck perfectly, but after more than a year of waiting for this overdue Secret Lair, one of the most pressing questions of the time in all of MTG was what that mysterious Bonus Slot card would be. To wait a year and finally get this prestigious Secret Lair only to have the Secret Bonus Card be a Mountain is… disappointing, especially when the Commander super-staple Mana Crypt slotted perfectly into a deck like this.
Interestingly, in the value department, this card is anything but a disappointment, going for $25 on TCGplayer.
Just like any true coin flip, players who received eventually received their delayed Commander decks actually had a chance of receiving one of two different Basic Lands from Johnson in their Bonus Slot. Both of these feature absolutely stunning artworks that play into the deck’s theme, but the magical feeling of finding out what’s the final secret card of a year-long delayed product was, for many players, met with disappointment.
Fortunately, the same mistakes aren’t being made twice! As we’ve already stated, players are already getting their Cute to Brute Secret Lair decks, thanks to Wizards of the Coast printing a limited amount of these ahead of time. Additionally, it appears that there is no extra coin-like product, which should help with avoiding a year-long delay.
Finally, the Bonus Card to the Cute to Brute Secret Lair isn’t a Basic Land this time! It’s instead a card with quite a vast history that has been an iconic card in countless MTG formats.
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Delver of Secrets
After less than a week of waiting, players who have received their Secret Lairs early have revealed the Bonus Slot of the Cute to Brute Secret Lair to be a Delver of Secrets! Legacy’s staple archetype is named after this card, and for good reason. Delver of Secrets offers an extremely aggressive clock, capable of transforming into a 3/2 flier should you reveal an instant or sorcery on the top of your deck on your upkeep. This can start swinging in for three as early as turn two and is difficult to block, thanks to its evasion.
As mentioned previously, this card truly excels in Legacy. This is thanks to its cheap mana value in combination with powerful cantrip effects that can manipulate the top of your deck. Delver becomes much easier to flip when used in conjunction with Ponder and Brainstorm since you can stack your deck to let Delver see what it needs to on your upkeep. Delver of Secrets is currently legal in Standard, Pioneer, Modern, Commander, Legacy, and Vintage, so the card could theoretically see play in other places as well. For now, the card does its best work in Legacy.
As seen with the incredible $25 value of the full-art lands from the last Secret Lair Commander deck, this Delver of Secrets could secretly be very expensive, especially if there’s some Legacy demand from Delver players trying to bling out their decks.
A Playable Foil?
While foils are typically favored at the Commander table, that’s not quite the same for competitive formats. Because foil cards are easily susceptible to curling, they can easily become ‘marked’ in a competitive setting. An excellent example of this is a Regional Championship player who got burned for including Secret Lair foils in their competitive deck. They were so curled that the card physically popped up a bit in the deck, giving a player out to gain an unfair advantage a way to identify unknown factors. That’s not to say this particular player was attempting to cheat, but the easily accessible way to do so was a problem, leading to a disqualification.
For those who are unaware, the theme for the Cute to Brute Secret Lair deck is double-sided cards. Themed around the idea of a cute critter transforming into something imposing, a majority of the deck features double-sided cards.
For foils, this is a great thing. The biggest reason a foil MTG card suffers from curling is the different materials used on both sides of the card. Well, it’s actually due to the card absorbing moisture, but the curling itself is due to the different materials.
Basically, while the foil side of the card won’t contract or expand thanks to moisture, the cardboard on the back of the card will. This creates the curling effect that players dread. This script changes a bit for double-sided Foil cards like this Delver of Secrets. Because both sides of the card are foil, the contraction, and expansion should be mitigated somewhat, making the card – well, straight. This has been seen in past double-sided foil cards. For example, I have a playset of foil Riverglide Pathways that are perfectly tournament legal. I would still choose not to use them unless absolutely necessary, but they are the only playset of this card that I own.
Will People Play it?
Just because this Delver of Secrets should perform better than most in the curling department doesn’t mean that many MTG players will try to use them at sanctioned events. Foils have, more or less, become a taboo for many competitive MTG players thanks to their ability to hand off game losses. You will find the odd player who foils out their entire deck and brings that to a tournament, but, for the most part, a lot of competitive players probably won’t even try.
I, for one, avoid foils in my competitive decks unless I cannot find another copy of the card I need, which has occasionally happened. I can speak from experience, however, when I say that curled cards will hand out game losses if you don’t check in with a Judge prior to the event. Luckily, I haven’t been down that rabbit hole yet, but friends and opponents alike have.