I've been hearing some variation of the phrase, "well these new cards don't really look anything like real Magic cards" almost since I started playing the game. Whether it was a change to how the frame looked, a full art promotional card, or something more extreme like the much likened to Yugioh (Amonket Expeditions), it seems players couldn't help but make the comparison to the default standard they had been raised on. In my experience, the player base I interacted with seemed to be torn: they either welcomed changes with open arms or they despised anything outside the norm.
More recently, Wizards has found the opportunity through Secret Lairs to really have fun with card design, pushing the limits of what people considered to be "Magic Cards" and developing some rather interesting pieces of art. When Kaldheim debuted, the Party Hard, Shred Harder Secret Lair announcement dropped jaws all over the Twittersphere with their metal imagery and lack of traditional well... anything really.
With the most recent Secret Lair drop, the Dr. Lair's Secretorium Superdrop, Wizards is continuing their experimentation with card form in several bundles from the drop with a play on full art lands that is just full text and a drop called Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It? in the same vein as the Party Hard drop that contains a handful of cards in bright, band poster-esque treatments that had some people on Twitter wondering who the audience for cards like that really was.
It's me. I'm the audience. That Preordain makes me salivate.
I've always been a huge fan of experimentation with Magic Art, and drops like this really push all my buttons. They're fun, funky, and scratch that "collector" itch something fierce. But, as a MTG Finance-minded person, I have to stop and wonder - is there any value to cards like these? How popular will they be? Is opening up my poor, poor wallet for yet another Secret Lair going to pay off down the line?
Well, you can never know for sure, but today we're going to look at the Party Hard, Shred Harder Secret Lair drop and see where the value of the singles is lying, how they compare to their original printings, and whether we think the Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It? drop will follow a similar pattern.
1. Assassin's Trophy
We're starting with the breakout card of the drop, Assassin's Trophy. A popular removal spell from Guilds of Ravnica, this particular Secret Lair printing is so popular that this alone pays for the whole drop, which originally retailed for $29.99.
The original printing is also managing to hold onto a fairly decent price, with non-foil set printings fetching around $16 in most places. This is a great removal spell in several formats, and the morbid art of the Secret Lair version is proving to be pretty popular with the Golgari players out there. Not every Secret Lair is going to have a banger like this inside, but I'm feeling pretty good about the copies I ordered from that particular batch.
2. Anguished Unmaking
Somehow I had missed how popular of a removal spell Anguished Unmaking had become, and was glad to find I'd kept my copies from that particular Standard season!
There have been several "special" printings of the card, but the non-foil set printing is still fetching around $10 which is pretty decent for a card from that block, especially considering paper Magic is still forbidden in many places due to the Pandemic. The Secret Lair version fetches a premium though, hovering around the $17 dollar mark. I absolutely love the art on this one and can see why people would want it!
We start to see much lower prices when we get to the rest of the cards from the drop, but they're still nothing to scoff at! The Secret Lair Dreadbore for instance, fetches a much higher price than any of its other printings!
Dreadbore was one of my favorite removal spells back in Return to Ravnica days, and its usefulness in Commander still has its original printing fetching around $3. However, I'm swapping out my original copies in my Commander decks for the Secret Lair one because WOW LOOK AT IT. There's a reason the fancy version is around $7 more expensive!
Decimate was definitely the art from this Secret Lair that I desperately wanted on a t-shirt (it's not too late to give any of these a decent shirt printing Wizards! Please!) but also one of the ones I've played the least copies of its older printings.
No earlier version of this card averages over $4 on TCGplayer, but plenty of Gruul Commander players find it to be a useful tool and the Secret Lair printing still commands almost double the price of its original printing!
Thraximundar, a classic commander near and dear to many players' hearts (and the only one to get even a lame t-shirt printing) carries the lowest market price of the bunch.
Even though Thraximundar is a fun commander, none of its older printings fetch much more than a dollar - if that. Which, in context, makes the value of the Secret Lair printing fairly impressive I guess? The art is fantastic, and if I ever put together Thraximundar again I'm definitely going to be reaching for my copy from the Secret Lair I decided to let myself open. (I have to say, the quality of these was super impressive, by the way.)
So, Our Show Is On Friday, Can You Make It?
So, will the dramatic increase in singles value over original printings continue with the latest wild Secret Lair? Well, even though Party Hard ended up being pretty bonkers value, I'm not so sure. I don't think Decree of Pain, Gamble, Nature's Lore, Preordain, or Wrath of God have quite the following that all of the metal removal spells did, but I'd say it's close enough for me to think pretty seriously about picking more than one copy of the Lair up (and I guarantee I'll be trying to assemble at least one playset of the Preordains for my personal collection.) I'd say this is a pretty decent buy (so are the shock lands, but for different reasons) and would be worth taking a look at adding to your Secret Lair stash!
Also, I know I'm ignoring the full-text lands. I just... have no idea how to feel about them and whether or not the ridiculous novelty will attract any value.