Gen Con revealed to the Magic community what the next three years of Magic will look like. Of course, the further out we got, the blurrier the details became, but the fact still remains that the next three years look like an absolutely wild ride.
That said, the earliest item previewed at Magic’s Gen Con panel is actually available in a few days. That is the third Secret Lair Commander deck bizarrely titled “Angels: They’re Just Like Us but Cooler and with Wings.” We will simply shorten this to Secret Lair: Angels for the sake of the article.
These Secret Lair Commander decks are quite pricy, this one costing $150, making them even more expensive than the controversial Commander Masters preconstructed decks. As a result, it stands that these decks should offer a strong amount in the reprint value department, and it seems to be teetering on that line. Considering that the new artwork should fetch a premium, chances are that this Commander deck will hover around the 2x value margin that players like, but at cheapest reprint value, it does miss the mark.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t some serious valuable reprints coming in Secret Lair: Angels. Here’s some of the initial details!
Secret Lair: Angels
Secret Lair: Angels is a mono white Angel Typal Commander deck that offers a bunch of reprints – five of which feature new artworks as seen above.
According to various sources, the intended Commander for the deck appears to be Bruna, the Fading Light. Considering that this card is one of the few with a new art treatment, this makes sense. That said, I would personally try this deck with Giada, Font of Hope (who is in the 99) as the Commander. Giada is considered the most popular Angel Typal Commander according to EDHREC.
Secret Lair Angels: Most Valuable Reprints
Starting our list off is Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. Many Pioneer players were really hoping for a ban to shake up the format, and Nykthos is a big part of the conversation. Mono Green Devotion has been the best deck in the format for quite some time and its seriously causing some deckbuilding restrictions in the format. That said, the deck’s win rate is not an issue, so Wizards of the Coast elected for no bans to the format. While not everyone is happy with the decision, from a strictly win rate standpoint, it is likely the correct one.
Outside of Pioneer, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx also sees a healthy amount of Commander play. This card is fantastic in monocolored decks thanks to the amount of mana it can generate – which is exactly the reason why Nykthos is in Secret Lair: Angels.
Nykthos: Shrine to Nyx currently retails for about $30, and has very few reprints – all of which are relatively scarce. For that reason, this is a fantastic reprint.
Commander Plate, one of the cards getting a new artwork as a part of Secret Lair: Angels, is also one of the most expensive reprints in the entire deck. That said, this is because of a major price spike that has been occurring over the past few weeks.
Back in mid July, Commander’s Plate was only worth about $19. The card has since jumped to $30.
Its not difficult to see why. Commander’s Plate is another incredible card in mono colored Commander decks. Capable of granting your Commander protection from every color outside of its color identity, Commander’s Plate can also turn Bruna, the intended Commander, into something that is seriously threatening a win through Commander damage. Regardless, Commander’s Plate is an elite option to protect your monocolored Commander that can be reused in the situation where its protection gets bypassed. Additionally, because Commander’s Plate is getting new artwork, this reprint is unlikely to affect the overall value of the card much, and could even go for a small premium.
Archangel of Thune
Another card getting new artwork, Archangel of Thune has likely been getting pricey thanks to the lack of a recent reprint. This card’s $30 value is likely only as a result of Angel Typal in Commander alongside other Lifegain strategies since the card doesn’t really see competitive play.
Regardless, the card fits like a glove in most Angel and life gain strategies. All you need is a few instances of Lifegain and your board becomes something that opponents must deal with. There is tons of life gain effects in Secret Lair: Angels, so the Archangel of Thune will do some serious damage.
Serra’s Ascendant was one of the best cards in the entire Commander format in its early days. The card is still absolutely fantastic thanks to the rules of Commander basically turning this into a 6/6 for one white mana. Since you start with 40 life in Commander, Serra Ascendant’s condition is satisfied a majority of the time. Getting this out early can gain you a ton of life, making it very difficult to turn this creature off. Of course, it can always be removed.
Thanks to the card’s incredible potential in the early game, Serra Ascendant currently goes for $20.
Gisela, the Broken Blade
Gisela, the Broken Blade, the Meld partner for this deck’s intended Commander, is a four mana angel with a ton of keywords that doesn’t really do much else. Besides Melding with Bruna, Gisela is just a decent beater that is very good against opposing creature decks. Regardless, the card has a $18 asking price currently, and that is unlikely to be affected much by this reprint. That said, the card does seem to be trending towards $15 at the moment.
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Another card that is absolutely fantastic in Plains-heavy decks, Emeria turns into a massive reanimation engine in the lategame. Considering that Emeria just replaces a Plains, if you’re already running a monocolored deck, there’s not a big cost in running this card. As a result, the card retails for about $15 on the secondary market. If you have a monowhite Commander deck and this is not in it, consider treating yourself.
Until recently, Urza’s Incubator had a nasty $50 price tag. The card is nuts in Typal decks, offering all of your creatures with a certain type a two mana reduction. Note that this cannot reduce colored mana but, as long as you have a method to keep up the amount of Angels you have in hand, Urza’s Incubator can deploy them very efficiently.
Thanks to a much-needed reprint in Dominaria Remastered, Urza’s Incubator is a lot easier to access. Before that reprint, this card was only available in Commander preconstructed decks, which historically do not have the biggest print runs. That said, this card still costs about $18 to obtain.
These are all the reprints in the Secret Lair: Angels deck above $15, with Archangel of Tithes being very close to that bar. There are some other $10+ reprints in the deck like Pearl Medallion. Awkwardly, this card did also get reprinted in Commander Masters.
A new Angel?
The last noteworthy thing about this new Secret Lair deck is that there is kind of a new card being included. To be more specific, this is the first time that Arden Angel is getting a paper printing. As a result, there is no reprint value associated with this card, so keep in mind that this exists as a wild card in the value department.
While Arden Angel has never gotten a paper printing before, it originated in an old Sega game that only saw Japanese publication. This is an incredibly cool throwback to an MTG relic, and its great to see this card finally see a printing!
Is it worth it (Financially)?
Answering this question depends on your expectations. According to mtggoldfish.com, the secondary market value of the contents of Secret Lair Angels: They’re Just Like Us but Cooler and with Wings is about $274. If we take all the cards under $2 off this total, we’re left with about $240.
You are saving a good chunk of change in comparison to buying this deck as singles, so if you were looking to build an Angel Typal deck anyway, you may as well buy this product and make the adjustments you want past that point.
In terms of what an $150 Commander deck should offer, if players are expecting a Commander deck to offer about twice the reprint value of what it costs, this deck does fail that check. The deck does, regardless offer an additional $125 in value, or $90 discounting the $2 and under cards. This is a pass in my book, but there is one metric that we haven’t reviewed yet: playability.
I’m a sucker for these Secret Lair Commander decks so, like the past one, there is a chance that we’ll review how this deck feels to play. Just glancing over the decklist, which can be found here, I worry that this deck will have a difficult time rebuilding from a board wipe, but I could be completely wrong about that.