Pyrophobia | Modern Horizons | Art by Izzy
9, May, 24

Rising Modern Star Gets Unique Double-Faced Bonus Card!

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Article at a Glance

By this point, we’ve gotten used to the idea of Secret Lair Bonus Cards as fun surprises. Little extras to enjoy when you open your drop, as a thank you for ordering. Lately, Bonus Cards have become more and more prominent, however. We saw this in the Fallout x Secret Lair Bonus Cards, which were announced well in advance, and we’re seeing it now, with a brand-new Norin the Wary Bonus Card.

As revealed by Good Luck High Five on Twitter, everyone’s favorite coward will be the Bonus Card for the Showcase: Outlaws of Thunder Junction drop. Just a few months ago this would’ve been non-news, given that the card has been a bargain bin rare for most of its life. With recent developments in Modern, however, Norin is now a respectable reprint indeed and this Bonus Card takes him to bold new heights.

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The Norin The Wary Bonus Card

Let’s take a look at the Norin the Wary Bonus card itself. As with the rest of the cards in the Showcase: Outlaws of Thunder Junction drop, it comes in the Wanted poster frame. This will do little to assuage those who took issue with the flavor of the drop, specifically that none of the cards chosen were Outlaws or could commit Crimes. Norin isn’t an Outlaw or Crime committer either, but he does have an ability that can react to Crimes at least, so that’s something.

So far so solid, but what really puts the ‘Bonus’ in this Bonus card is its double-faced nature. The card is printed on both sides, with its full text, Wanted Poster frame and all. The only difference is the art: one side shows Norin normally, and the other shows him vanishing into exile, leaving his signature torch to tumble to the ground. The original Norin the Wary is very much not a double-faced card, so this is an unexpected move, to say the least.

While this change doesn’t alter the card mechanically, it does actually contribute meaningfully to gameplay. Norin is a card that flickers in and out of play on a regular basis, which requires constant tracking on the part of its controller. With this version, you can flip Norin over when he goes into exile, and back again when he returns. The new art serves as a visual reminder that you need to phase him in, which should be extremely handy in long games. This is the first time we’ve seen a Secret Lair treatment that really adds to the functionality of a card, rather than just its flair.

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A Real Up-And-Comer

Ordinarily, this would be where this article would end. We’d give this new Norin an appreciative ‘huh’ and go about our days. Thanks to Outlaws of Thunder Junction, however, this is actually a reprint with some financial weight behind it. Satoru the Infiltrator is a card from the set that quickly established itself as a Modern powerhouse upon release. Norin, as it so happens, slots right into many of the decks that he enables.

For the uninitiated, Satoru draws you a card whenever a creature enters play without being cast or paid for. Now throw in Norin’s ability, which blinks him in and out of play pretty much every turn. The result? A draw engine that can fuel all manner of shenanigans. Both cards also share the Human type, which makes a Typal deck an option if you’d like.

Players noticed this synergy quickly, and Norin’s price responded in kind. And that’s despite not actually appearing in any tournament lists as of yet. Over the past month, the card has doubled in price, going from around $5 to around $10. This already makes the card one of the most valuable in the drop as a whole. To say nothing of the extra value that will likely be added by the foil treatment and double-faced design.

This could be an insane 4D Chess move on Wizards’ part, given that Satoru appeared in the set right before this drop. However, the reality is that this is more than likely just a happy coincidence. Either way, it does make the Showcase: Outlaws of Thunder Junction drop a much more appealing prospect.

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Secret Labs

Norin-The-Wary-Bonus-Card-Laboratory-Maniac

Let’s circle back around to the dual-faced nature of this Bonus card. We’ve already discussed how it adds extra functionality to the card, making the experience of playing it smoother as a result. What’s also worth discussing, however, is what this means for future Bonus cards, and Secret Lair cards in general.

Secret Lair has always been an experimental initiative, designed to push the boundaries of Magic art. Most of these experiments have put form firmly over function, resulting in cards that are, at times, barely legible. Heck, just this week we saw the Poker Faces drop, made up entirely of textless cards, revealed. Although they have a negative impact on playability, these unique styles are always great to see.

But what if some Secret Lair cards went in the other direction? What if, like this new Norin, they added features that actually improved the experience of playing with them, in a way that the original printing simply couldn’t? Cards that build up counters could have counter ‘slots’ built into the art. Or the Kamigawa Flip cards could be remade as true double-faced cards, for ease of use.

The possibilities are endless, and this new card could be an encouraging sign of things to come. Even if it isn’t, however, it’s still a fascinating printing and a great value boost for an otherwise middling Secret Lair drop.

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