Snapcaster Mage | Modern Masters 2017 | Art by Ryan Alexander Lee
5, Jun, 24

Mega-Popular Secret Lair Gets Iconic Extra Bonus Card!

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The story of the Hatsune Miku Secret Lair is turning into one hell of a saga. To begin with, the drop completely sold out within 24 hours of going on sale. After that, once players started to get their hands on it, they expressed disappointment about the included Elvish Mystic Bonus card. As playable as it is, this card was critiqued for visual and financial reasons.

For better or worse, this dramatic story doesn’t even end there. Earlier today, players on Reddit began sharing images of another Bonus Card for the drop; this time, the much-beloved Snapcaster Mage. What’s going on here? Is this a rare alternate Bonus Card in the vein of Fallout’s Mana Vault? Just how much could a card like this be worth? Let’s dive in and find out.

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The Hatsune Mike Snapcaster Mage Bonus Card

Snapcaster Mage Bonus Card

First, let’s check out the Snapcaster Mage Bonus Card itself. The iconic blue Wizard has undergone a thematic name change, becoming Encore Electromancer instead. Hopefully, this won’t get too confusing, given the popularity of Goblin Electromancer. Other than this, the text on the card is exactly how it’s always been. Good ol’ fashioned Snapcaster Mage.

Obviously, the same can’t be said for the art. Like the rest of the Hatsune Miku Secret Lair drop, this card has received the full borderless treatment. The art comes courtesy of Raita Kazama, who has provided alternate art for Satoru Umezawa and Domri, Anarch of Bolas in the past. Despite seemingly being one of the artist’s first forays into the anime style, the artwork here has been quite well-received so far. Some on Reddit are even calling it the best-looking card of the drop.

In a surprising flourish, the flavor of this Bonus Card is great as well. The ‘Encore’ in the title fits with the musical theme of the drop, but also with the idea of a Bonus card in general. These cards are little extras included in larger drops, much like real encores are extra songs performed at the end of larger gigs.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this card is the fact that we haven’t seen it until now. As mentioned above, players were sharing the Elvish Mystic Bonus Card a few days ago. This disparity may indicate that this is a rare alternate Bonus Card from the drop. If this is the case, then it could end up being outlandishly expensive.

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Fame And Fortune

A big part of that is the sheer power level of Snapcaster Mage as a card. Anyone who’s played Magic for a while will know this card’s name, and for good reason. It was a major player in Innistrad Standard, and an even bigger player in Modern, for years after its original 2011 printing.

The ability to grant any instant or sorcery in your graveyard Flashback proved to be a major deal. Paired with one mana cantrips and interaction, it turned Snapcaster into a flexible, powerful threat. Flash allowed it to come in on your opponent’s turn to disrupt their plays, too. Recasting countermagic with Snapcaster was as good as it sounds, especially Spell Snare or classic Counterspell.

Thanks to the huge spikes in power creep in recent sets, Modern Horizons 1 and 2 in particular, Snapcaster isn’t quite the dominant force in Modern it once was. That said, it hasn’t fallen off as hard as fellow iconic two drops Tarmogoyf and Dark Confidant. Snapcaster still sees play in a wide range of top Modern decks, including Murktide Regent, Domain Zoo, and Azorius Control.

As a result, the card has managed to maintain a very solid price tag to this day. You’re looking at around $15 for a regular copy of Snapcaster right now, which is not bad at all.

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Even Secreter Lair?

This baseline price is very relevant, because, if this card does indeed turn out to be a rare alternate Bonus Card, it will be multiplied many, many times over. We’ve seen this happen before, with other rare Bonus Cards like Persistent Petitioners and Shadowborn Apostle. Although the base cards only cost around $2, the Bonus Card variants can go for hundreds.

Of course, the poster child for this phenomenon is Mana Vault. A regular copy of this classic artifact will set you back around $50. A copy of the Bonus Card version from the Fallout Secret Lair drop, on the other hand, will cost you around $1500. This absurd price is due to a nexus of factors: its scarcity, the limited nature of Secret Lair drops as a whole, its playability in older formats, and how important the card is to Magic history. Notably, these are all boxes that this new Snapcaster Mage ticks too.

Does this mean we’ll start seeing $1500 Snapcasters on TCGplayer soon? Probably not. As good as the card is, Mana Vault outpaces it in notoriety by a fair margin. That said, I could easily see this up in the $500-800 range, depending on just how rare it turns out to be. It’s a classic card, and the art style and character, as proven by the lightning-fast sell-out time of the drop, are both big draws as well.

Overall, this new Bonus Card is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a great reprint, with some stunning art to boot. On the other, it’s a further step towards the ‘Booster pack-ification’ of Secret Lair drops, which we’ve seen a lot of recently with pricey Bonus Cards swinging the value of certain drops wildly.

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