30, Jan, 24

MTG Players Disappointed by Dismal Karlov Manor Secret Lair

Article at a Glance

Over the years, Secret Lairs have become an increasingly popular group of MTG products. In a similar vein, more and more Secret Lairs continue to be released, giving players the opportunity to get their hands on unique, alternate art versions of other cards. Today, we have yet another Secret Lair product that has been revealed, this time with a Murders at Karlov Manor theme.

This Secret Lair contains four interesting legends, each with the Showcase Dossier style associated with Karlov Manor. Unfortunately, though, this Secret Lair in particular doesn’t contain much value. In fact, only one of these four cards even cracks the $2 mark in its cheapest traditional form, according to TCGplayer market price. Of course, these cards may go for a bit more in their Secret Lair style, but that may not be enough to save the product from feeling underwhelming overall.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

First up, we have Gonti, which is a nice Commander card. Getting to steal a potential bomb from the opponent’s deck and cast it later in the game is strong. The way Gonti is worded, you will have this luxury for as long as the card remains exiled, even if Gonti is removed from the battlefield. Back in the day, this was strong enough to sometimes see play in Standard in decks focused on attrition.

Even still, though, the card has simply been outclassed over the years. As cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse help showcase, there are bigger, better things to be doing for four mana nowadays. Gonti even got downshifted to uncommon in Commander Masters, further dropping its value. As such, the card is worth under 25 cents both in non-foil and foil in its cheapest form, giving it little reprint value in both the non-foil and foil versions of the upcoming Secret Lair.

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Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden is in a similar situation as Gonti. Back when Grenzo was spoiled in Conspiracy nearly a decade ago, the card saw a lot of hype. After all, it has a powerful, repeatable effect that can take over the game if you build your deck with a lot of small Creatures or ways to pump Grenzo.

The issue is that, once again, Grenzo has been reprinted multiple times, and the card simply isn’t as powerful as it used to be. The only major difference here is that, while non-foil copies of Grenzo go for under 50 cents, foils go for nearly $4 at the cheapest, though it’s unclear exactly what the difference will be with the Secret Lair variants.

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Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, the Ruin Thief

Anowon, yet another black Rogue to appear in the Showcase: Murders at Karlov Manor Secret Lair, is worth very little once again. Despite being a neat, mythic rare legend to build around in Commander that also lacks reprints, the card doesn’t crack the $2 mark in non-foil or foil.

As a result, there are definitely some more intriguing cards that could have been chosen from a value perspective. The only good news at least, though, is that the last card on the list is a nice one.

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Vilis, Broker of Blood

Vilis, Broker of Blood

Last but certainly not least, we have Vilis, Broker of Blood. Vilis is an extremely powerful Commander card. While it is expensive to cast at eight mana, the card advantage that can be gained is quite impressive. All you have to do is build around ways to make yourself lose life, which is very easy. You even have the ability to pay a mana and two life to give a Creature -1/-1, helping you draw cards and pick off small Creatures in the process.

Vilis is worth roughly $8 in its cheapest, non-foil form and $14 in foil according to TCGplayer market price. It has only been printed in Core Set 2020 and as a Game Night promo, making it a solid card to see a reprint in a Secret Lair.

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Player Reaction

byu/mweepinc from discussion

Unsurprisingly, players seem pretty disappointed with this Secret Lair overall. Value-wise, this Secret Lair is a complete dud. The combined reprint value of the cards barely cracks $10 in non-foil and $20 in foil. Considering that Secret Lair products usually go for $29.99 in non-foil and $39.99 in foil, this one definitely seems like a whiff.

However, even beyond just the financial aspect of the Secret Lair, players don’t seem too thrilled about the designs of the cards themselves. Many players are not fans of the frame and border for Showcase Dossier cards in general.

Not to mention, because of the heavy white backgrounds where the text of the cards lies, the cards look quite similar and can be easily mistaken for white cards. It might have been a better choice to make the card selections white in the first place, but instead, the Secret Lair cards are all black, creating maximum contrast.

With the 2024 Secret Lair Winter Superdrop going live on February 5, hopefully we will see some more enticing Secret Lair products. This comes in the midst of a Secret Lair release with significantly higher reprint value, which only makes this particular product feel more disappointing. I guess we will just have to wait and see…

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