The much-anticipated October Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair Superdrop is HERE, and wow is it a mixed bag. There are twelve Secret Lairs in total that make up this drop, two of which feature Post Malone and two that tie into Unfinity.
Ranting ad Unfinitum
We rant about Unfinity a lot around the Game Talk Network, and the MTG Rundown guys have made no secret of their dislike of the set. I personally feel like the planetary shocks lands should have been a secret lair, and choosing to put them in Unfinity as box toppers was a huge mistake. Wizards clearly disagrees with me, but they did give us some neat science fiction, spacey goodies in the October Secret Lair drops.
The Space Beyond the Stars features artist Jérémie Solomon with some beautiful celestial, almost tarot-like art. Wizards is also treating us to the new premium galaxy foiling with Totally Spaced Out. It’s a set of Commander-useful lands reimagined with science fiction planetscapes and is only available in its galaxy foil version. While all of the other Secret Lairs in this drop have the usual $29.99/$39.99 price points for normal and foil respectively, Totally Spaced Out will run you a cool $49.99. It will, however, get you some guaranteed galaxy foils for your collection without the headache of having to actually buy Unfinity collector packs.
Post Cards From the Edge
The Post Malone Secret Lairs set a strange precedent for the product line. Normally Secret Lairs showcase a particular artist or art style, and reimagine classic Magic: The Gathering cards with unique new treatments. It can be argued that a Secret Lair featuring Post Malone is no different than the Stranger Things or Walking Dead Lairs, which featured specific non-Magic franchises, but there’s just something different about making a Secret Lair Drop about a person. These are collector pieces by definition. Some cater to fandoms, some are pieces of artwork, but they’re not self-inserts. I acknowledge and appreciate what Post Malone and other celebrity collectors have done to increase Magic’s reach, but using a Lair to pay tribute to someone who is only different from the rest of the playerbase because they have won American Music Awards just seems wrong.
And then there are the basic lands. If I had actual cards in my hand that I took to Post Malone and said “Yo man, could you sign these?” and he was like “Heck yeah, here you go random person” then I would treasure my doodled on basics for the rest of my life. I very much doubt Post Malone is going to painstakingly sign and doodle on a few thousand Magic cards just for a Secret Lair. These are going to be mass-printed copies of some lands a music star doodled on. And Wizards charges $29.99 for a non-foil set of them. At least when we had sloppy doodles in the Extra Life Secret Lair last year, it was for a good charity. And they weren’t basic lands.
Are vanity cards the future of Magic?
Getting your face on a Magic card is supposed to reward something really impressive in the game, like performing well in a world championship or… I don’t know. Inventing the game. Will this lead to a series of Secret Lairs like Mattel’s Barbie As dolls, where they make dolls of famous actors and actresses? Or is it Wizards of the Coast’s variation on Hasbro’s Selfie Series action figures? How long is it going to be until we can pay a boatload of money to have our face put on a Demonic Tutor? When will everyone, and not just Wizards insiders, have their weddings or proposals or child’s birth immortalized on an official Magic card?
Business as Usual
The rest of the October Secret Lairs are pretty standard fare. We got the last of the Games Workshop tie-ins with Orks, Age of Sigmar and Blood Bowl. The art really pops on the Age of Sigmar cards, and I love the flavor of the Orks cards. I got a little confused by the Blood Bowl Secret Lair, but now that I know “Touchdown” is treated as a synonym for “Approach of the Second Sun” even in the rules text, I am less irritated with it.
A lot of folks are excited for the artist features this time around, and while I am not a particular fan of the styles Wizards selected this time around I can at least respect the cards as art pieces. These aren’t Secret Lairs I feel the need to have in my collection, but they are what Secret Lair is and should be about: showing off artists and paying tribute to other fandoms.
So what do you think? Does the Post Malone drop give us a taste of what might be in store for us down the road? Is this maybe finally the last time I will rant about Unfinity? Drop your thoughts in the comments or shoot me a message on Twitter and give me your takes!