Nicol Bolas, the Ravager | From Cute to Brute Secret Lair
15, Dec, 23

Unplayable Secret Lair Commander Cards Bizarrely Spike in Price!

Article at a Glance

Over the years, players have received an extra trinket in their Commander preconstructed deck representing the face Commander of the product. For a while, these were oversized cards. For Commanders that have traditionally been very expensive, like Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice before its reprint in March of the Machine, you can occasionally find players using the oversized version instead to save some money. These take up a ton of game space though, and otherwise look very misplaced.

Later on, instead of offering oversized Commander cads, Wizards of the Coast started offering players two correctly sized copies of their face Commanders. One of these will be a genuine MTG card and the other will be a lot thicker and harder than a normal one. Many players end up using this as a replacement for their Commander, freeing up the actual card to be used in other places. Of course, if you’re playing in a sanctioned tournament, you need to be using real cards.

It’s not uncommon to find newer players confused with what to do with these thicker stock cards as well. I’ve found the thick stock card in the Commander slot and the actual MTG card of the Commander in the main deck too many times to count. Commander is a singleton format, meaning that this is a deckbuilding violation.

Regardless, many MTG players are really beginning to shine to the Thick Stock variants of these Commander cards. They are plenty noticeable in a deck of cards, but they do a great role of filling in the Commander slot for casual games. As such, some of these thick stock MTG cards are getting surprisingly pricy.

Nicol Bolas, the Ravager

The Thick Stock cards present in the few premium, but very valuable Secret Lair Commander decks are the ones getting the most attention. This Nicol Bolas, the Ravager was an instant hit in the MTG community. How can you blame them!? Look at that art!

While the artwork for this adorable tyrant is unparalleled, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is an expensive card, too. The card came down quite a bit after its reprint in From Cute to Brute, but Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, in its normal variant from M19, still has a secondary market value of $17.70. Foils for this variant have a market value of $42.67!

The real version of this Commander is even more expensive! Only available in foil, the Secret Lair Nicol Bolas commonly goes for over $50.

In comparison, $12 for the thick stock Nicol Bolas, the Ravager may seem like a bargain. That’s what the market value for this not-so-real card currently is, gradually increasing consistently from just a bit over a dollar when it released in May. $12 may be comparatively cheap for a Nicol Bolas, the Ravager as a Commander, but it still isn’t really a tournament legal card.

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Gisela, the Broken Blade/Bruna, The Fading Light

This particular iteration of Gisela, the Broken Blade came to us through the most recent Secret Lair Commander deck “Angels, they’re Just Like Us but Cooler and With Wings,” which we shall henceforth just call ‘Angels’ for short.

Gisela is best known for its Meld ability with Brisela, the Fading Light who also got a unique artwork in the Secret Lair ‘Angels’ deck. These cards have a similar issue to Nicol Bolas, the Ravager, but their thick stock versions have been spiking in price heavily these past few weeks.

Gisela only has four printings: one from its original set Eldritch Moon, one from a Secret Lair Commander deck, and the Thick Stock version from the same deck. The last version is from From the Vault: Transform.

The original variant of Gisela goes for about $15.50, while foils go for $55 and up. The Secret Lair version of Gisela, only available in foil, has a market average of $43. The From the Vault Gisela, only available in foil, goes for a little under $19 on average.

The Thick Stock Gisela currently has a rather unstable secondary market value, since it is currently spiking, but the card has been selling for anywhere between $3.50 and $23.50. The current market value for Gisela is $6.68, up from $4 in mid-November. This is a pretty good price for Gisela at the moment.

Bruna, the Fading Light is a bit of a different ball game. The Thick Stock Commander version of this card is worth more than real copies of it with different artwork. A nonfoil Eldritch Moon copy of this card only goes for about $2.40, while foils go for $11.95 on average. This is likely partially due to the rarity difference between the two Meld cards in Eldritch Moon. Gisela was a Mythic and Bruna was a Rare.

Bruna’s From the Vault: Tranform variant doesn’t go for much more, retailing about $5.68. The Secret Lair version of Bruna, however, still demands a rather high market value of $33.69.

The Thick Stock of Bruna, likely due to the preferred artwork, is a bit more than nonfoil variants of Bruna from Eldritch Moon. This card started spiking about ten days after Gisela did, but the market value of the not-so-real MTG card spiked from $3.50 to $5. Unlike Gisela, which has a much larger range of sold prices, Bruna’s secondary market average is a better indicator for what its truly worth at the moment.

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Price Spikes Apply to Secret Lair Only

Some of the other Thick Stock cards available as part of the Secret Lair Commander decks also have some startling prices, especially considering they aren’t really playable outside of a casual game, but this odd price spike seems to end with the Secret Lair decks. There are quite a few Thick Stock Commanders available otherwise, but most of these are worth less than a dollar, as they likely should be.

To give an example, we have Adrix and Nev, Twincasters. This Commander from the Strixhaven Quandrix Quandry deck has a rather valuable ability that makes it maindeckable in a ton of different casual Commander strategies. Doubling tokens is definitely a Commander favorite.

Adrix and Nev only has printings available in the actual named Commander deck and Collector Boosters from Strixhaven. As such, it has a price of about $17.77 according to the last few sales it had as of the writing of this article.

If players want to play Adrix and Nev, but don’t want to buy the Commander pre-con itself, you can find a Thick Stock version of the card for just 25 cents. Do keep in mind, however, that this iteration of the card is not really maindeckable. If that’s what a majority of players are interested in doing with Adrix and Nev, this price disparity makes a lot more sense. Either way, this is meant to be an example of how the price of the Commander isn’t quite enough to raise the price of the cheaper alternative.

We Wouldn’t Recommend Buying These

Thick Stock MTG cards are not legal for sanctioned play, but there is a time and place for them. If you’re absolutely sure you want to wield the adorable version of Nicol Bolas as a Commander, for example, but don’t want to spend $50 on the real deal, this could be an alternative that works for you.

Alternatively, if you want to buy proxies, there are likely more affordable options out there.

That said, since these are not legal for sanctioned play, and can hardly be maindecked even in a casual setting, we cannot recommend these purchases to you. That said, players definitely seem interested in these thick stock cards anyway, which is raising the price bit by bit.

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