While it's had its fair share of controversy, Secret Lair is one of the most popular aspects of Magic the Gathering. Thanks to its unique art and impressive crossovers, Secret Lair is a way to celebrate the game with valuable reprints for veterans while also enticing new players to the game.
The cards it offers are flashy, but Secret Lair can also be intimidating for a first-time buyer. Here is everything you need to know about Secret Lair.
What Is Secret Lair?
Secret Lair is a storefront Wizards of the Coast uses to sell exclusive, limited-time versions of cards. These cards aren't available through any other store, and once they're taken off dale they are never sold again. This makes Secret Lair cards among the most collectible and sought-after outside of the Reserved List.
Secret Lair sells cards in "Drops", which are bundles of cards with a similar art style, overarching theme, or mechanical significance. For example, the Teferi's Time Trouble drop featured three Planeswalker cards, re-written to imagine how they might have looked had they debuted earlier in Magic's history.
There are also semi-regular 'Artist Series', which allow prominent Magic artists to release their own interpretations of cards they may not have previously had the chance to illustrate. There was even a Secret Lair that used art by the late painter Bob Ross.
Though you do get the odd Secret Lair drop landing on its own, they're mostly part of a wider "Superdrop" that will include other Drops at the same time. Sometimes they could all share a wider theme, like the Halloween-themed October Superdrop, but more often they're just bundled together for convenience.
There are also charity Secret Lair drops, such as Black Is Magic – the Black History Month Secret Lair – donating proceeds to Black Girls CODE, a charity that supports black girls get into tech and game industries. These ones tend to be single Drops not part of a wider Superdrop, and may be available for a much shorter time.
In general, a Secret Lair sale will last between a few weeks to just over a month, with a new one coming around the end of each month.
Buying A Secret Lair
When a Secret Lair is available for sale, you're not going to receive the cards straight away. Each sale is a preorder, with the cards not even being printed until the final number sold is determined.
While this means a Secret Lair won't ever run out of stock, it does mean the wait for your cards can be long. The Secretversary Superdrop in November/December 2021, for instance, won't start shipping until least April 2022.
Fortunately, you do have the option of when you pay. The default means you'll be charged just before the card ships, or you can go into your Wizards of the Coast account and pay for it in advance for peace of mind.
Depending on the Drop, you'll have the choice of buying non-foil, foil, and etched-foil versions. Foil and etched-foil versions are more expensive, but most drops will only be available in either one or the other.
Secret Lairs usually come with a few extras too. Some include codes to redeem that card's art as a sleeve on Magic the Gathering Arena, and each drop will also come with a random bonus card. Sometimes these might be as simple as a foil basic land, or could be an incredibly valuable and limited one, such as the numbered, horizontally mirrored Viscera Seer that only had 100 copies of it printed.
Universes Beyond Secret Lairs
Universes Beyond is Magic the Gathering's crossover program, allowing other properties to have their own cards within the game. This has been met with controversy by Magic players, but have also regularly been among the most popular Secret Lairs ever released.
Universes Beyond Secret Lairs come in two flavours:
- Reprints of existing Magic cards with art and maybe new names based on the guest property. A good example of this is the Arcane x Secret Lair, which took characters and art from the Netflix show Arcane: League of Legends and made new versions of staples like Rhystic Study and Path to Exile.
- Mechanically unique cards debuting in the game for the first time. These are much more controversial, as these cards are brand new. The Walking Dead x Secret Lair and Stranger Things x Secret Lair both featured mechanically unique cards based on major characters from each show.
However, months after the release of The Walking Dead x Secret Lair, Wizards of the Coast announced that mechanically unique cards released through Secret Lair will be printed in set booster packs with in-Magic-setting art about six months later.
So far, every previous and announced Universes Beyond Secret Lair is:
- The Walking Dead x Secret Lair (Mechanically unique, no longer for sale)
- Stranger Thing x Secret Lair (Mechanically unique, no longer for sale)
- Arcane x Secret Lair (Reprints, currently on sale)
- Warhammer 40,000 x Secret Lair (coming in 2022)
- Fortnite x Secret Lair (Reprints, coming in 2022)
- Street Fighter x Secret Lair (Mechanically unique, coming in 2022)
- The Lord of the Rings x Secret Lair (Unconfirmed, coming in 2023)
Where Can I Buy Secret Lair?
Secret Lair drops are only available through the official Secret Lair website, and only for the limited time they are on sale.
Secret Lair ships to most countries, including North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and all of Europe (including the UK). For a full list of regions, check the Secret Lair website's FAQ.
NEXT: Magic: The Gathering: Everything You Need To Know About Universes Beyond
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