Yesterday afternoon, Wizards of the Coast Revealed two new MTG Secret Lair drops. These will be available online for a limited time from January 30th onwards as part of the 2023 Winter Superdrop. One focuses on snakes, featuring Aztec-inspired artwork drawn by a variety of different artists. The other is focussed on 1990s nostalgia with art drawn by Paul Mafayon.
Snakes In a Game
MTG features just over 100 Snakes and this Secret Lair contains several of them, complete with new Mesoamerican inspired artwork.Hexdrinker is one of only five cards in the game with protection from everything, although it does have to be leveled up to level eight before that protection applies. At $6 it’s the most valuable card in the drop. Lotus Cobra is a landfall card which generates mana. It debuted in Zendikar back in 2009 and then got reprinted in Zendikar Rising in 2020. The cobra has a value ranging from about $2-$3 depending on the version you purchase. Seshiro the Anointed is a lord for Snake tribal decks. The card only currently leads 310 commander decks, according to EDHREC, and costs just under $2. Ice-Fang Coatl is a popular card in Modern snow decks, costing between $3 and $5.
Finally, Stonecoil Serpent is an Artifact Snake that costs $2.10. It debuted in Throne of Eldraine and is a powerful variant of Endless One, as it has several useful abilities.
The total value of the cards in this Secret Lair is only around $18.10. No price has been listed for this product yet, but if it’s offered for the typical price of $29.99 then the cards within do not match the cost.
The lack of value here may be related to the decline in the price of Hexdrinker. Hexdrinker had a massive price spike from March to early June of 2021 reaching a maximum value of $42.84. Players were experimenting with Hexdrinker in a variety of formats. Eventually, however, the bubble burst. It’s perhaps no coincidence that the decline of Hexdrinker’s value in mid-June of 2021 lines up with the release of Modern Horizons 2, which brought a plethora of powerful new cards into Modern, Legacy, and Vintage. If Hexdrinker still retained its value from its prime, it would single handily bring this Secret Lair above the usual asking price. Unfortunately, it no longer does.
Snakes Community Reaction
Largely the Magic community on Reddit seems to enjoy the artwork of this serpentine Secret Lair, but there is some frustration with the lack of financial value…
“Only about $10 worth of cards but the art is pretty cool” Mugiwara_VT
“Cool art but pass on these” Killbejay
Many are curious about the absence of Ohran Frostfang the most financially valuable Snake in the game which was previously reprinted in 2021’s “Math is for Blockers” Secret Lair…
“I’m only sad there is no Ohran Frostfang. Would’ve been a nice chance to get a reprint out there.” Philip Orvis
“No Ohran Frostfang? booo” AbsoluteIridium
A collection of brightly colored homages to 19909s children’s media are gathered together here in what’s being called the “90s Binder drop!”.
The card which immediately jumps out in this Secret Lair is Rin and Siri, Inseparable. The box topper card for Core Set 2021, Rin and Siri, Inseparable is an incredibly unique commander that encourages players to build hybrid cat/dog tribal decks. With a value of $25, this card is a significant inclusion and is easily the most valuable card in the drop.
Crested Sunmare is a powerful life gain payoff card. Crested Sunmare generates indestructible 5/5 horse tokens on any turn where its controller gains life. The Sunmare has a value of, about, $4.00 and is a neat inclusion in life gain themed EDH decks.
Alms Collector is a $9.75 Commander card designed to give White some card draw.
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma is looking adorable, rather than gory or terrifying, with a new teddy bear aesthetic. This fluffy fighter usually costs about $3.00 on TCGPlayer.
Exotic Orchard brings up the rear in terms of value, as a bulk card that’s typically worth less than $1. It is a useful inclusion in 4 or 5 color Commander decks, however.
The cards in this Secret Lair drop offer significantly greater value for money than their serpentine counterparts. Collectively, these cards have a value of approximately $40. The asking price for this drop is not currently known, but it’s likely to be $29.99. If you’re interested in the colorful 1990s art style, then this Secret Lair is certainly something to consider.
1990s Community Reaction
A lot of the discussion on Reddit surrounding the “90s Binder drop!” Secret Lair is based around the user u/Eljefe900. Eljefe900 had been using AI to create cards with a 1990s aesthetic. This AI artwork was based on the designs of Lisa Frank, a corporation known for designing children’s school apparel in the nineties. Eljefe900 started a challenge where they would design and upload one of these cards onto Reddit every day until “Hasbro bought Lisa Frank”.
Hasbro did not end up “buying Lisa Frank” and Lisa Frank Incorporated was not, so far as is known, involved in the design of this Secret Lair, which was conducted by the artist Paul Mafayon. It is unlikely, given that Secret Lairs need to be planned significantly in advance, that Eljefe900’s campaign influenced the creation of this Secret Lair. Nevertheless, due to the brightly colored cartoon animal aesthetic of this Secret Lair drop, in the announcement thread of the product on Reddit, Eljefe900 declared “I WIN!!!” They are continuing to share their Lisa Frank inspired AI artwork on Reddit, now “as a victory lap”.
Beyond this story, the community is broadly reacting positively to the “90s Binder drop!” Secret Lair…
“I will use none of these cards in actual decks and will still absolutely buy this for the nostalgia hit I’m getting.” therealflyingtoastr
“To be fair, I want a whole plane like this” cowardlion24
“Just when I think I won’t get another secret lair they dangle a picture of a dog in a top hat in front of me.” Aeschylus101
Read More: MTG Players Enamored by Anime Art Reprints