You always know what you’re getting when you purchase a Secret Lair Drop. Before you hit buy, you can clearly see what cards are included and what they look like. This allows players to purchase exactly what they want, supporting the print-to-demand business model. Within this successful strategy, however, there is one catch. Each Secret Lair also contains a bonus card.
Unlike the main drop, bonus cards are almost always a mystery to players. Sometimes, players will get a flavorful continuation of the main Secret Lair drop. Other times, players could be lucky and find an incredibly rare playtest card. Alternatively, Secret Lair bonus cards could just be an extended art reprint.
Previously, if you found an extended art bonus card, chances are it would be a Sliver. For literal years now these cards have been popping up from time to time, slowly expanding the collection. In 2023, however, Wizards of the Coast finally finished what they started by printing 52 extended art Secret Lair Slivers. Now this set has been completed, Wizards is moving onto another typal archetype to fill the void.
The Elves Are Here
Following the end of the Secret Lair Spookydrop back in November, MTG players are finally getting their cards. As usual, this has seen social media inundated with a slew of new and exciting bonus cards. For the most part, these were fairly typical, with a few Secret Lair continuations and Commander favorite reprints.
Alongside these, somewhat expected finds, MTG players also discovered a new trend among bonus cards. Rather than finding the usual assortment of Slivers, players were instead opening extended art Elves for a change! So far, three of these extended art Elves have been discovered, seemingly signifying Secret Lair’s new trend.
Currently, the new Secret Lair Elves that have been revealed are Jaspera Sentinel, Nettle Sentinel, and Shaman of the Pack. All of these cards see play outside of Commander, but not very much of it. As a result of this low demand, none of these elves are particularly expensive.
Finding their home within the tier-2 Elves deck, Jaspera Sentinel and Nettle Sentinel are both played in Pauper. Similarly, Shaman of the Pack sees fringe play within Pioneer’s middling Elves deck. Despite this niche appeal, however, each of the three reprinted elves is worth under $0.30. Ultimately, this is thanks to the sheer amount these cards have been printed and reprinted over the years.
For better or worse, while normal versions of our elven trio are pitifully cheap, the Secret Lair variants shouldn’t be. Looking back at the Secret Lair Slivers, even cheap cards like Gemhide Sliver can become seriously expensive. Currently, on TCGplayer, the extended art variant of this card sells for $89!
Unfortunately, while Gemhide Sliver is certainly impressive, it is somewhat of a pricing outlier. For every Gemhide Sliver, there are five cards like Tempered Sliver that are barely worth a dollar.
How Much Are These Reprints Worth?
Across social media, after seeing the latest Secret Lair bonus cards, many MTG players weren’t happy. With calls of “Damn, what a disappointment,” ringing loud across Reddit, it’s clear players weren’t too interested in the new Elven typal trend. Compared to Slivers, however, Elves aren’t all too bad. After all, many of the Sliver cards only cost a few cents to begin with.
Ultimately, the initial price of the reprinted card doesn’t matter all too much. Instead, what really matters is the rarity of the new extended art variant. Unfortunately for bonus card fans, this is a very hard detail to nail down as it varies from card to card. For instance, the prices of Persistent Petitioners variants vary from $11 to $342.
With this in mind, unfortunately, it’s practically impossible to predict how expensive each of the extended art Elves will be. At the end of the day, since Elves are the second most popular typal archetype in Commander, there’s always going to be demand. For as long as Commander players are looking to bling out their decks, these elves will always be expensive.
While the rarity of the extended art variant will be the real determiner of price, the base card does have an impact. Beloved staples like Deathrite Shaman would undoubtedly garner additional demand. Similarly, there are many Elves that are already rather expensive, like Maralen of the Mornsong.
For better or worse, unlike Slivers, Wizards of the Coast has a lot of options for which Elves to reprint. As a result of this, there’s no guarantee that the highly-priced and Commander favorite cards will be reprinted. That being said, however, it’d be a crying shame if Llanowar Elves didn’t get an extended art variant. Somehow, this card has gone 30 years without one.
We’ll Have to Wait and See
As we mentioned earlier, right now, only three of the new extended art Elves have been revealed. Considering the past precedent of Slivers, this is only the beginning, as they could easily be another 49 reprinted Elves. For better or worse, right now, there’s no telling what these bonus cards will be or when MTG players will stumble upon them. Ultimately, we’re just going to have to wait and see.