Throughout the past two years, thanks to a particular pesky global pandemic, MTG fans have become no strangers to delays. So much so that ahead of a set’s release, it’s no longer surprising to see a “Product Delays” announcement. Blaming the problems on “ongoing supply chain disruptions,” we’ve seen delays affecting literally every major MTG product released in 2022. Unfortunately, moving into 2023, this issue doesn’t appear to have been fixed just yet. Not only was Dominaira Remastered delayed, starting the year on the wrong foot, but now another delay has been announced. Affecting a much anticipated Secret Lair, unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this MTG product has been delayed…
Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair Delayed… Again
Earlier this month, Wizards of the Coast’s parent company, Hasbro, sent out an email to eager MTG Secret Lair fans. Unfortunately, this email didn’t contain good news, as it informed players that their orders of the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair wouldn’t be arriving on schedule. Instead, this prized Secret Lair, which featured adorable renditions of Planeswalkers such as Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, wouldn’t arrive until February. Thankfully, the new shipping date of February 1st, 2023, wasn’t too far away. However, this did little to appease fans. Kicking up a fuss, MTG players across social media feared the worst, calling Hasbro out on their bad business practices.
As much as MTG players were upset upon hearing about this delay, there wasn’t much reason to fear the worst. While this Secret Lair drop was being sold via the Hasbro Pulse website, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. Subsequently, it would be almost remarkable for this Secret Lair to be a repeat of the Heads I Win, Tails You Lose debacle. Unfortunately for fans of the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair, however, that might be precisely what’s going to happen. In yet another email from Hasbro, players have been informed that the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair has been delayed… again.
Posted to Reddit by u/RatGodFatherDeath, this delay certainly isn’t good news, as it’s an even longer delay than before. Adding another 42 days on top of the initial delay, the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair now isn’t expected to ship until March 15th, 2023. In the email, Hasbro Pulse doesn’t give MTG players any reassurances that this new date will stick. Using the name explanation as in the original email, there’s really no telling what’s going on behind the scenes.
“The product is currently in production and has encountered some unexpected delays in the process. The new approx. ship date for this item is March 15, 2023.Hasbro Pulse
We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.”
Enough Is Enough
As you can imagine, following on from the debacle that was the Heads I Win, Tails You Lose Secret Lair drop, MTG players weren’t too happy about this continued delay. When making their post, for instance, u/RatGodFatherDeath stated, “Here we go again… I expect it to ship in August.” Similarly, in the comments, Reddit user u/yeteee questioned “is that the new ‘heads I win’ product? Feels like it’s going the same route….” Unfortunately, while this concern seemed unfounded before, the continued delay doesn’t inspire hope that it’ll end anytime soon. Hopefully, the fact that the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair is just a five-card drop will prevent a year-long delay, but that doesn’t feel out of the question now.
Thankfully, while news of this delay angered many fans, there is a mild silver lining with this Secret Lair drop. Unlike recent Secret Lair drops, which now charge players upon purchase, initial Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair orders didn’t require pre-payment. While comments indicate this didn’t apply to everyone, it’s nevertheless a positive that players’ money hasn’t already been taken. Despite this, however, paying Hasbro immediately might have actually been the right thing to do. Since implementing this policy for standard Secret Lairs, Wizards of the Coast has substantially improved its Secret Lair shipping practices. Orders from the December 2022 Secret Lair Superdrop, for instance, only took two weeks to ship rather than two months!
Despite the silver lining that is players not having their money held hostage, many were still outraged at this delay. This issue has seemed to have reached its breaking point, as Reddit users such as u/TheDukeofArgyll instructed players to stop purchasing products.
“Stop purchasing this crap, they clearly don’t care about you as a customer”u/TheDukeofArgyll
“Stop giving Hasbro interest-free loans, they do this with every line they offer from figures to cards. Hasbro pulse is a joke, and it pains me that people have fallen so hard for it all.”u/WorldWarTwo
“I mean no offense (truly, I don’t!). But why do you keep purchasing expecting the original shipment dates? Especially when for more than 2 years a majority of products have experienced ‘unexpected delays’? Like someone before me said, this looks like an ‘interest-free loan’. I’m questioning if this modus operandi is even legal at all. There is a clear trend already.”u/ZerglingRushWins
While a product being delayed for several months is obviously alarming enough, the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair is extra egregious. Unlike traditional Secret Lairs, which are printed on demand, the Li’l’er Walkers Secret Lair was marketed as a limited-supply product. When announcing the Secret Lair Drop, Gavin Verhey emphatically explained this to fans to make sure they don’t miss out.
“I want to stress, you can order this starting today, through November 14th, while supplies last. [..] Unlike a lot of other Secret Lairs, when this drop is gone, it’s gone. There’s only a certain amount of it. So go in and get it now while you can because if it runs out and you haven’t gotten your walkers, well, that’s gonna be a sad time.”Gavin Verhey
From this statement, it appeared that, similarly to products such as the much-maligned 30th Anniversary Edition, the print run had already been completed. Subsequently, players expected a speedy shipping process that could begin almost immediately. In reality, however, this initial assessment appears rather wide of the mark, as shipping is obviously still yet to begin. This has already led to widespread criticism of Wizards and Hasbro, as the company seemed to create an artificial sense of FOMO.
For now, MTG players can only hope that this latest release date from Hasbro Pulse will actually stick. If it does, it’s unlikely that MTG players will be given any kind of additional compensation for their wait. The longer the product gets delayed, however, the more the chances of this increase, so there might be a silver lining to a year-long delay after all.