Soul Warden
11, Jun, 24

New MTG Secret Lair Makes Disappointing Cards Look Amazing

Article at a Glance

It’s not even been two weeks since Modern Horizons 3 was fully revealed and spoiled. Despite this, MTG players are now in the midst of another spoiler season, with new cards being revealed daily. This time around, it’s the upcoming Secret Lair Summer Superdrop 2024 vying for the attention, and wallets, of MTG players.

As much as the relentless spoiler season for MTG is undoubtedly problematic, it’s hard not to be excited about Secret Lair drops. Whether they’re offering lucrative crossovers, unique art, or fantastic reprints, Secret Lair drops always have charm. This is especially true for the new Artist Series: Julie Bell Secret Lair drop.

Artist Series: Julie Bell

Shivan Dragon

Recently revealed via their Instagram, the Artist Series: Julie Bell Secret Lair drop looks utterly spectacular. Each one of the drop’s five reprints features a stunning vista that’s rich with painted detail and technique. While they look fantastic as MTG cards, Julie Bell’s artwork for this drop easily belongs in a gallery.

For better or worse, the quality of the artwork is definitely going to be the selling point for this drop. Not only is it amazing, but it’s also the only standout feature, as the card choices really aren’t all that great. Outside of one pricy pick, no other card breaks the $2 mark. Unsurprisingly, due to this, the Artist Series: Julie Bell does not even come close to breaking even.

The five MTG cards in the Artist Series: Julie Bell Secret Lair drop are as follows:

  • Coat of Arms
  • Elves of DeepShadow
  • Good-Fortune Unicorn
  • Shivan Dragon
  • Soul Warden

Dubiously Dismal Value

Coat of Arms

Within the Artist Series: Julie Bell drop, only one card is of note from a value perspective. Costing around $13.50 for the cheapest variant, Coat of Arms is a fantastic Secret Lair reprint. Seeing play in a great many Typal Commander decks, this card has proven surprisingly resilient to reprints over the years.

Sadly, outside of Coat of Arms, the rest of this Secret Lair drop is utterly dire in terms of financial value. Starting from the bottom, Shivan Dragon is worth as little as $0.08 as a raw reprint. While iconic, this card simply isn’t played anywhere, so it has no value beyond being a collectible. Thankfully, since that’s exactly what this Secret Lair is, there could still be some demand.

Moving slightly up the order, Good-Fortune Unicorn is worth a whopping $0.26. Much like Shivan Dragon, this card sees very little play and is far too common to be valuable. Technically, Good-Fortune Unicorn can pop off in a go-wide deck, but they’re hardly a true Commander staple.

To take another step up, Elves of Deep Shadow can be yours for around $1 on a good day. Technically seeing play in over 100,000 Commander decks, this card theoretically should be more exciting. Sadly, this card has been reprinted enough to the point that it’s not worth much of anything.

Last but not totally least, Soul Warden tends to sell for around $1.45 on average. While this is hardly the most exciting price tag, Soul Warden is at least fairly popular, and important, in Commander. Thanks to Guide of Souls, they may even see a surge in demand fairly soon. Ultimately, this may cause this price to be better than expected once released.

Fantastic Foils

Elves of Deep Shadow

While the theoretically lowest possible prices for the Artist Series: Julie Bell drop don’t look great, there is a saving grace. In theory, this drop’s foils are significantly more expensive, allowing this drop to finally break even. This is largely thanks to the otherwise disappointing Elves of Deep Shadow.

Thanks to only having two foil printings, Elves of Deep Shadow is a $24 foil card. Similarly, Call to Arms is $19 as a foil. Even the flop that is Good-Fortune Unicorn is remarkably pricy as a foil, costing around $8. From these three cards alone, the foil version of Artist Series: Julie Bell seems like a sure thing.

Unfortunately, while the optics may look good, foil Secret Lair cards are hardly a sure thing. Even since switching to the limited-run print model, foil prices rarely match the theoretical minimum. Instead, since they’re so accessible, Secret Lair cards can often dramatically bring the price of foil cards down.

To see this in action, we can look at the reprint of Black Market from the Winter Superdrop 2024. Prior to being reprinted, the cheapest foil variant of this card would set you back $116. Now, however, the new Secret Lair variant only sells for around $8, much like the non-foil variant.

Unfortunately, banking on foil prices can be a huge gamble thanks to pricing discrepancies like these. As a result, the seemingly great foil prices of the Artist Series: Julie Bell drop may be too good to be true.

The Not-Quite Age Old Question

Soul Warden

Since the change to a limited-run print model, each Secret Lair has been plagued by the same question; will this sell out? Sadly, without an orb to ponder, correctly divining the answer to this all-important question is practically impossible. Outside of slam dunk value drops and Universes Beyond crossovers, there’s simply no telling what will sell.

Ultimately, we just have to wait and see whether the Artist Series: Julie Bell will sell out. Given the quality of the artwork,  there’s a real chance this drop could sell out incredibly quickly. Equally, due to the rather disappointing value, this drop may never sell out before the Summer Superdrop 2024 ends.

Should this happen, Wizards of the Coast may have shot themselves in the foot through card selection. After all, if a Secret Lair drop doesn’t sell out, surely Wizards is now left with a bunch of pre-printed drops sitting around. While these could be given out to stores, employees, or players at events, selling them was obviously the initial goal.

Good-Fortune Unicorn

With this in mind, many MTG players are becoming surprised by the trend of disappointing Secret Lair value. If Wizards wanted every drop to sell out, increasing the value of reprints would increase the odds of that happening. Despite this seeming like a sound strategy, Wizards hasn’t made such a change yet and likely won’t anytime soon.

Ultimately, while the value of many Secret Lair drops may be somewhat suspect, we’ve still seen many selling out quickly. Thanks to the gorgeous art it offers, we may well see Artist Series: Julie Bell selling out too very soon. With the Summer Superdrop 2024 going on sale on June 24th, it’s only a matter of time before we know for sure.

Read More: New MTG Premium Eldrazi Demand Sky-High $1000+ Prices!

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