We got a new Secret Lair announced this week, and the timing is rather exact: Dr. Lair's Secretorium Superdrop should be shipping this week as well, and that’s the one with the set of shocklands and all the full-text lands. Cassie Labelle wrote a great review of all the Secret Lair sets so far back in June, and I don’t need to rehash everything of hers here.

I’ve come to believe that most SL sets are worth purchasing, because the majority of Magic players simply don’t bother making the purchase at the time. Because the SL drops are printed to demand, there’s a time gap that is difficult to deal with. I ordered these lands back in late May, and three months later, they are (hopefully) going to be shipped out soon. While you have the option to pay right away or pay when it ships, that’s a stack of money which is tied up for a while, with no hope of using it for other things in the meantime.

Almost all of the SL sets have been worth it, and offer a good turnover when they arrive. Looking at the past sets, we can rank the new drop and decide where we’d like to put money before the offerings end on Sept 14.

Please note that all the nonfoil sets are $30, and the four foil ones $40.

Teferi’s Time Trouble (nonfoil only)

Card in Drop Cheapest Copy Available Most Expensive Copy Available
Retro Frame Dack Fayden Conspiracy @ $24 Conspiracy @ $125
Retro Frame Teferi, Time Raveler War of the Spark @ $17 Foil JP Alt Art from WotS @ $200
Retro Frame Karn, the Great Creator War of the Spark @ $14 Foil JP Alt Art from WotS @ $139

One of the things I’ve noticed about Secret Lair drops is that things with a different frame, a different look, tend to be more popular over time. This set of three nonfoils is easily worth the average of $10 each for nonfoils, and is likely to be what I want to be most invested in. Yes, they are overly wordy and kind of hard to look at when in print, but this is easy money. Teferi is a multi-format player, Karn is too, and Dack is a Cube staple. I suspect these are nonfoil only because the foils would outsell just about everything else handily.

Kamigawa Ink (foil and nonfoil)

Notably, all of these are from the second and third Kamigawa sets, which are markedly rarer than cards from Champions of Kamigawa. (Betrayers rares are 3x as rare, Saviors are 6x rarer!) Very few reprints here, but also note that the reprinted ones have a MUCH weaker price. Tiny supply, printed eighteen years ago, that’s a formula for having a high price and a real weakness to reprints.

Card in Drop Cheapest Copy Available Most Expensive Copy Available
Borderless Heartless Hidetsugu Conspiracy @ $4 Foil Betrayers of Kamigawa @ $65
Borderless Kami of the Crescent Moon Conspiracy 2 @ $5 Foil Saviors of Kamigawa @ $28
Borderless Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker Saviors of Kamigawa @ $34 Foil Saviors of Kamigawa @ $100
Borderless Reki, the History of Kamigawa Mystery Booster (retail edition foil) @ $4 Foil Saviors of Kamigawa @ $30
Borderless Toshiro Umezawa Betrayers of Kamigawa @ $14 Foil Betrayers of Kamigawa @ $150

That said...these are GORGEOUS. I love the art style, I love the borderless frame. None of these are in more than 5k decks on EDHREC and some are way lower than that. You’re looking at an average of $6 or $8 for these, and that’s probably in line with the eventual prices.

Artist Spotlight: Johannes Voss (foil and nonfoil)

It’s a crying shame that these are in the usual Magic frame. They deserve to be in something more glorious, especially given that the artist wrote the haiku in the flavor text. Voss is a breathtaking artist, and gets to highlight angel-human interaction in these cards, something demonstrated in lots of other cards.

Card in Drop Cheapest Copy Available Most Expensive Copy Available
Sanctum Prelate MH2 buy-a-box foil @ $10 Foil COnspiracy 2 @ $100
Carpet of Flowers Mystery Booster @ $29 Urza's Saga @ $32
Sphere of Safety Return to Ravnica @ $4 Foil Return to ravnica @ $15
Karmic Guide Modern Horizons 2 @ $0.50 Foil Urza's Legacy @ $250

Value-wise, it’s clear that Sphere and Karmic aren’t going to carry much value, but and I don’t think Prelate can do much better than the $10 of the buy-a-box. That leaves Carpet of Flowers, a first-time foil in nearly 26,000 Commander decks online. Buying this drop in foil means you’re spending $30ish on that card and getting the other three for about $3 each. That’s pretty reasonable to me, given the situation and the likely demand.

Artist Spotlight: Thomas Baxa (foil and nonfoil)

Card in Drop Cheapest Copy Available Most Expensive Copy Available
Sliver Hivelord Mystery Booster @ $22 Foil Magic 2015 @ $120
Sire of Insanity Dragon's Maze @ $1 Foil Dragon's Maze @ $17
Spellskite Double Masters @ $4 Foil Judge Promo @ $30
Ob Nixilis Reignited Multiple @ $1 Foil Prerelease @ $6

Neat art, regular frame, but we’ve got one biggie and three fillers. Sliver decks love a Hivelord, but the graph of the Hivelord shows that the MYB reprint caused a downward trend that the Sliver burst from Time Spiral Remastered couldn’t sustain.

Given the difficulty that the Hivelord will have in keeping its price, this is the drop I’m least excited about.

Math is for Blockers (foil and nonfoil)

This drop poses some interesting questions. Brazen Borrower is about to rotate, was on The List in nonfoil showcase, but is only in 4000 Commander decks online. Is there enough demand to keep a new foil version at even $15?

Card in Drop Cheapest Copy Available Most Expensive Copy Available
Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft Throne of Eldraine @ $20 Foil Showcase Throne of Eldraine @ $90
Vindictive Lich Commander 2017 @ $9 Commander 2017 @ $9
Meandering Towershell Mystery Booster @ $0.25 Foil Khans of Tarkir @ $0.50
Ohran Frostfang Commander 2019 @ $13 The List @ $20
Thragtusk Jumpstart @ $0.50 Foil Retro Frame Time Spiral Remastered @ $32

We also get a new Thragtusk foil, when most of those are solidly in the $3 range, a bulk rare in the Towershell, and two first-time foils. The Lich is in 3800 decks and the Frostfang checks in above 15k, numbers that line up with their prices. Being in The List has been shown to do very little for a card’s price, so this is basically the first reprint for both cards. Being in foil for the first time doesn’t mean much if you’re barely at 4000 decks, and the Frostfang can’t carry the whole thing. A bit overpriced for my taste.


Drop Current Cheapest Value Estimated Value
Math is for Blockers $43 $25
Foil Math is for Blockers $50 $40
Artist Spotlight: Thomas Baxa $28 $15
Foil Artist Spotlight: Thomas Baxa $150 $50
Artist Spotlight: Johannes Voss $44 $30
Foil Artist Spotlight: Johannes Voss $60 $65
Kamigawa Ink $61 $40
Foil Kamigawa Ink $275 $60
Teferi's Time Troubles $55 $45
Total estimated for nonfoils $155 Total estimated for foils $215

Now, though, we’re getting into some true questions. I’ve estimated what I think each of the individual drops are worth. I respect if you don’t like my estimates, and feel free to plug in your own.

The bundle price for nonfoils is basically buy four, get the fifth for free, and for the foils, it’s buy three, get the fourth free. That’s a great deal, even if you think my numbers are too low, then the deals are that much better! Buying the Bundliest Bundle even gets you an extra $10 off!

I haven’t even addressed the throw-ins that have come with the Secret Lairs. The stained-glass planeswalkers had a wide range of values, and it looks like we’re getting foil versions of the Jumpstart lands and other on-theme cards. I don’t know what will be in what, but I do know that everything you get as a bonus is just that: icing on the cake. Easily worth an extra buck or two, with the potential to be a lot higher.

I think that even though there are clearly some highs and lows in these bundles, it’s going to be difficult to lose money if you get any of the bundles. There’s enough value to go with the higher-end things that you should be able to turn a profit, depending on your shipping and sales tax. Please remember that this isn’t scheduled to be shipped until December 13, and that’s if everything stays on schedule.