Rankle, Master of Pranks | Throne of Eldraine
8, May, 24

Worryingly Textless New Secret Lair Is Utterly Gorgeous

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Article at a Glance

For better or for worse, Secret Lair drops have practically limitless freedom when it comes to design. Over the years, we’ve seen Secret Lairs styled after book covers, baseball cards, pixel art, and even Post Malone-themed cards! As if all that wasn’t enough, Secret Lair has also played host to Universes Beyond crossovers like Street Fighter, Transformers, and Fortnite!

With such as wide range of Secret Lair drops having been released since 2019, it’s hard to be surprised anymore. Nowadays, it seems that the only shock value for a Secret Lair drop comes from its reprint value being a huge success or major flop. That being said, it appears that Secret Lair drops still have their tricks up their sleeves.

In the lead-up to the Spring 2024 Superdrop release, we’ve seen a steady stream of new Secret Lair drops being revealed. Most recently, the Poker Faces drop has been debuted on Twitter. Boasting gorgeous styling and respectable reprints, this Secret Lair drop looks like a slam dunk. Unfortunately, there is one major problem with this drop: these cards don’t have any text.

The Good

Coffin Queen

Before we get into the all-important matter of these cards being practically unreadable, it’s worth going over why everyone is so excited. For starters, the Poker Facer Secret Lair drop is absolutely gorgeous, as you can see above. Evoking the style of classic playing cards, this drop is unique and stunning in equal measure.

On top of being a quintet of stunning face cards, the Poker Faces drop is respectively valuable. While it may not break even, the contents of this drop are still worth around $24 altogether, which isn’t far off the asking price. Within the drop, the big ticket item is Coffin Queen, which sells for around $11 on its own.

Behind Coffin Queen, only two other cards are worth anything of note in this drop. Clocking in at around $8, Professional Face-Breaker is definitely a welcome sight, as is the $5 Goblin King. Sadly, the rest of the drop’s cards, Jaxis, the Troublemaker and Rankle, Master of Pranks are barely worth a dollar, even together.

Professional Face-Breaker

Ultimately, from a value perspective, getting around $24s worth of reprints isn’t bad compared to a lot of recent drops. The only trouble is that Coffin Queen may not keep their price for long. Having only ever been printed in Tempest, this card’s value may completely crash thanks to this new printing.

Even more suspect is the foil value for this drop, which currently sits at around $44. Much of this price is thanks to the foil Goblin King, which is worth a staggering $35! On top of this, Coffin Queen hasn’t had a foil printing yet, so their price is anyone’s guess. As enticing as these prices are, sadly they may not last as they’ll soon be a lot more common.

The Bad

Goblin King

Unfortunately, as much as the Poker Faces Secret Lair drop may tick all the right boxes, there’s still one problem. Since none of these cards have any rules text, it may be rather hard to know what they do. Sadly, the back of the card doesn’t offer a handy description, as this SLD uses the standard MTG back.

In theory, this lack of text isn’t too big of a problem. In the grand scheme of MTG, textless promos are hardly an innovation. For better or worse, Wizards has created textless promos for store championships and tournaments alike. Usually, these promos are for cards like Dauthi Voidwalker or Omnath, Locus of Creation.

Even if these cards aren’t the most straightforward in MTG, they’re nonetheless known staples that players are familiar with. Sadly, the same can’t be said for a card like Coffin Queen. Not only have many players not seen this card in over 20 years, but it’s exactly light on text too. Thanks to this, Coffin Queen seems like a pretty poor choice for a textless MTG card.

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Since they’re more recent and simple, hopefully, the rest of the Poker Faces drop shouldn’t be as problematic. That being said, while you may know what your own cards do, opponents are unlikely to have the same knowledge. As a result, you may be left explaining your fancy new cards over and over again during games.

Despite this implicit problem with textless cards, there’s still a lot of love for the Poker Faces Secret Lair drop. This may ultimately convince many MTG players, like SSJ_Bobby_Hill on Reddit, to drop some cold hard cash on this drop.

“I’m down with special art treatments without rules text but I think they work better on simple cards like lightning bolt and day of judgement.
On the other hand, these are fucking sick idk man I may get these despite them not being worth it.” 

SSJ_Bobby_Hill

The Not So Ugly

Jaxis, the Troublemaker

At the end of the day, as always, this Secret Lair drop is a matter of taste. For some MTG players, these textless cards will be well worth the hassle of explaining what they do. For others, the playing card style might not be what they like, and that’s absolutely okay.

From its creation, part of the joy of Secret Lair drops has been their unique styling that isn’t for everyone by design. Unfortunately, this principle has been compromised somewhat by the shift to a limited-run sales model. Since this change, Secret Lairs appear to have gotten more and more scarce, likely as Wizards adjusts print numbers.

Unfortunately, due to the increased exclusivity of these drops, taking your time to make a decision isn’t always a luxury. Depending on the demand for an SLD’s art or reprints, it’s possible drops can sell out in just hours. Thankfully, since Wizards is now spoiling drops well in advance, there is some time to prepare, but FOMO is a real threat once release day rolls around.

Speaking of release day, the Spring 2024 Superdrop is due to release on May 13th. So far, we’ve only seen four Secret Lair drops from this upcoming release, so more should be revealed soon. If more Secret Lair drops don’t sate your appetite, there will also be a Banned and Restricted announcement on May 13th.

Read More: Bizarre “MTG Style” Yu-Gi-Oh! Art Sparks Community Search!

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