The December Secret Lair Superdrop is on sale from December 5th to January 6th! I did an MTG finance review of the October Secret Lair Supcollerdrop and the two-part article was a hit for Conviction Gaming readers, so I plan to make these a more regular aspect of our content. We always strive to help you think like a brewer and buy like a financier, and like all of our content, this breakdown will help to ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck on Magic card purchases.
During any economic downturn, it becomes even more important to make sure your money stretches farther. Things like couponing, waiting for deals, and finding a cheaper alternative are all ways to stretch the dollar, and I subscribe to this whether the economy is doing well or not because I want to find ways to save money and be in a more comfortable financial position as I get older.
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DECEMBER SUPERDROP BREAKDOWN
I have broken all of the individual Drops down with a financial review in this article, and I’ve offered some perspective on their value from a resale and collectability standpoint. The summary of what I’ll be buying is at the very end (search: Wrap Up) if you’d like to skip ahead. You can always search the name of an individual Drop if you want to find a specific breakdown quickly. Also, you can click the headers to link directly into that Drop on the Secret Lair website for easy reference if you want to make your purchase after reading (not sponsored).
Transformers: One Shall Stand, One Shall Fall
Basic land bundles from Secret Lair have been so frequent that I don’t really cover them for MTG finance purposes anymore. If you are a big fan of Transformers, though, these basics are top tier. It is harder and harder to justify buying basic lands for value because there are just so many options to bling decks out now. Notably, basic lands are also becoming increasingly irrelevant in Commander as more non-basic utility lands get printed. I see people running 1-2 color decks now with only 10-15 basics whereas a decade ago you’d see 25-30 of the 35-38 lands being basics.
All told, my recommendation on any Secret Lair basic land bundle is to buy it if you want to use them personally or possess a set for your collection. It is too difficult to know for sure which basic land bundles will appreciate well, so if you’re only evaluating on the prospect of profit, I suggest avoiding them and saving your cash for specs that have higher conviction.
Transformers: Optimus Prime vs Megatron
This Drop is pretty stacked despite only having three cards in it. I generally like to buy Secret Lairs for resale whenever they have a highly playable Commander staple in them or when they have a first or second time foil with limited existing supply. This one hits on two of these three characteristics with Blightsteel Colossus and Doubling Cube. Darksteel Colossus just got a Secret Lair last year alongside Walking Ballista, so the Transformers crossover’s value will be tied more closely to preference of art.
One final characteristic I do always consider with Magic crossovers is whether the brand is popular enough to hold long-term value in the community. Transformers, in my best estimation, will indeed command a premium long-term. It’s a popular brand that has been revisited on a few separate occasions, and that’s likely to continue with Hasbro owning trademark rights to a wide-array of Transformers names and brand extensions. This would bode well for future crossovers using Transformers, and also means the art from these versions might mesh well in the future.
I’m assigning the following estimated values for this Drop at the time of release:
- Blightsteel Colossus // Megatron: $22-25 non-foil // $24-27 foil
- Darksteel Colossus // Optimus Prime: $5-6 non-foil // $6-7 foil
- Doubling Cube // The AllSpark: $8-10 non-foil // $15-18 foil
Overall, I’d say this is a slam dunk value play long-term because of the Transformers crossover and the value found from Blightsteel and Doubling Cube. If you’re a player and have always been in need of a copy of Blightsteel, this is your chance. I don’t hate the “buy singles” option to just pickup your Blightsteel, but I think for the extra few bucks it is worth buying the entire Drop instead.
Transformers: Roll Out or Rise Up
Despite having the most cards of any of the individual Drops, the Transformers: Roll Out or Rise Up Drop is a bit light on value. The foil version is slightly more appealing because Dramatic Reversal sees quite a bit of play as a wincon in Commander and Collective Brutality is a solid modal card that sees a variety of fringe play, including out of sideboards in Constructed formats like Pioneer and Modern.
My estimated prices on the secondary market at release are as follows:
- True Conviction: $3 non-foil // $4 foil
- Dramatic Reversal: $5 non-foil // $15 foil
- Fabricate – $4 non-foil // $6 foil
- Collective Brutality – $4 non-foil // $8 foil
- By Force – $2 non-foil // $4 foil
- Greater Good – $3 non-foil // $4 foil
My take on this Drop is to buy singles and don’t think twice about it. The only upside you might find in this one from a value standpoint would be the secret card, and that’s too much of a gamble in my opinion. If you are a Transformers fan, it might still be worth it to just grab one for your collection, especially if you want to also hit the “spend $200” Secret Lair promotion which is covered at the end of this article.
Transformer Bundle: Is It Worth It?
I would not recommend buying the Transformers bundle mainly because there’s no real discount in doing so, and you’d end up with a pack of the lands which I don’t put a whole lot of value on personally. If you’re a big fan of the crossover and want this for your collection, I’d suggest going foil over non-foil to maximize value since Blightsteel, Doubling Cube, and Dramatic Reversal should all do decently well long-term. I’m personally not going to buy any of these three Drops individually, either, however if I were for value I’d go for the Optimus Prime vs. Megatron one (Blightsteel is just too good of a value to pass on if I needed a copy for my collection).
Before I dive into the value breakdown, you have to watch the marketing ad WotC put out for the December Superdrop. It’s sooo good, and we could definitely use more of this type of production moving forward.
This is one of the coolest ideas WotC has put out through Secret Lair to date, up there with the tattoos and movie posters in my opinion. These type of Drops feel like they embrace the original expectation WotC set with regard to Secret Lairs: that they use art we’d rarely see printed in normal sets. I think the uniqueness of this Drop alone will lead to tremendous demand, and that’s before we talk about Ulamog.
All of the financial value in the Just Add Milk Drop is tied up in one card: Ulamog. Without a reprint, the card has crept up to $50 in non-foil and $125 in foil. It’s highly likely this Drop gets sold a lot which means the value of the two dinosaurs, Etali and Ghalta, could be powderized. But that’s irrelevant when you can get a card that would normally cost $50 for $30, or a foil for $40 instead of $125 (hint: this is the obvious value play).
My projection for prices on the secondary market at release are as follows:
- Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger: $33 non-foil // $44 foil
- Etali, Primal Storm: $1-2 non-foil // $1-2 foil
- Ghalta, Primal Hunger: $2-3 non-foil // $2-3 foil
Notice I am projecting both foil versions of the dinosaurs will be equal or lesser value because the foil version of this Drop is likely to outsell the non-foil. I personally plan on buying five of this Drop in foil. One is for my personal use and four will go to the secondary market as part of my Chicago Style Gaming online inventory.
This Eldrazi Drop is really cool, but the value is about six and a half years too late. Eye of Ugin was banned in April 2016 after a reign of terror that more or less ruined three formats (Eldrazi Winter was crazy). Thought-Knot Seer, Reality Smasher, and Eldrazi Temple were all 4x includes in the Eldrazi Stompy lists that terrorized Modern, Legacy, and even Vintage for the better part of a year. Their value still holds some weight today, especially in foil, but nothing like it did during that mini-stretch before the ban announcement came in hotter than the Gatewatch to shut Eldrazi down.
Here’s my predicted prices at release:
- Thought-Knot Seer: $4-5 non-foil // $11 foil
- Inquisition of Kozilek: $1-2 non-foil // $2 foil
- Reality Smasher: $3-4 non-foil // $8 foil
- Eldrazi Temple: $5 non-foil // $13 Foil
I love this Drop as an Eldrazi fan personally, but I am not planning on buying it because I already have my foil copies of each of these cards (Inquisition aside). The value in this Drop is lackluster as well. I do like buying these as singles since I believe they will resell cheaper on the secondary market than if you buy the Drop itself. Long-term, I think these could appreciate nicely since they’ll be harder to find than some of the other more in-demand cards from the December Superdrop.
Wizards of the Street is a pretty solid value Drop in foil because of Spellseeker, a card that only has one print from Battlebond previously, and which sees a ton of play across multiple Eternal formats, including cEDH. The art is stunning on these as well which bodes well for demand. The rest of the Drop is nothing to scoff at, either, especially Baral and Kess, two well-known control/spellslinger-oriented cards in Commander.
Here are my estimated prices at release:
- Baral, Chief of Compliance: $4 non-foil // $5 foil
- Spellseeker: $27 non-foil // $35 foil
- Magus of the Wheel: $2 non-foil // $4 foil
- Kess, Dissident Mage: $7 non-foil // $10 foil
Based on my estimates, you can’t really go wrong in buying this one in foil or non-foil. I am putting a premium on the art here, especially as it relates to Kess players wanting to finally bling their command zone out (and not deal with as much curling hopefully). I will be picking up somewhere between 5-8 sets of this Drop, and I expect to split that between foil and non-foil because the value is strong in both cases. I’d suggest grabbing this Drop regardless of being a reseller or player. These are highly playable cards that will outpace their MSRP in the long-run.
The Time Trouble Two Drop has misleading value associated with it because Narset and Nissa were uncommon and rares from a heavily opened set (War of the Spark). The regular pack non-foils are extremely cheap as a result, but don’t let that fool you. These are both in-demand Planeswalkers, and I think we can see that by looking at the market for Narset’s Borderless Chibi Secret Lair instead. It is currently preordering around $25, and even if that drops to $15 after that Lair ships, it’s still a farcry from the $0.50 price tag of the pack non-foil.
Here’s my price estimates at release:
- Narset, Parter of Veils: $13 non-foil // $20 foil
- Nissa, Who Shakes the World: – $8 non-foil // $11 foil
- Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas – $8 non-foil // $13 foil
I expect this Drop to better than we expect over the long-run, especially in foil, but not fast enough to be worth speculating on as a reseller. From a player perspective, I’d advise buying singles over the Drop, but if you use at least two of these walkers and like this aesthetic, then just grab the Drop and see if you can pull a solid “secret card” to sweeten the deal.
WotC could have named this Drop “Love Letter to Vintage” because they are finally giving us a foil reprint for Mental Misstep, one of the most expensive foil uncommons of all-time. There’s more value in this Drop tied closely to the currently-low-supply foils of Forced Fruition and Mind’s Dilation as well. I’m a buyer of this one, but I know many others who are paying attention to the value this one includes will be as well.
See below for my price predictions at release:
- Forced Fruition: $6 non-foil // $10 foil
- Future Sight: $0.50 non-foil // $1 foil
- Mental Misstep: $15-20 non-foil // $25-30 foil
- Mind’s Dilation: $10 non-foil // $13 foil
- Well of Lost Dreams: $0.50 non-foil // $1 foil
Frank Frazetta was as influential of a sci-fi artist as any in history, and WotC was able to partner with his family estate to choose five pieces of art to match up with cards. Our generation may not know Frazetta’s work too well since it was done over a 30 year stretch from 1964-1996. But digging through his history reveals just how important his contributions were at defining sci-fi aesthetics in the 20th century. Frazetta passed away in May 2010, but his legacy and influence carries on. This is a pretty special Secret Lair in that regard.
Here’s my predictions for the prices at release:
- Field Marshal: $6 non-foil // $10 foil
- Seize the Day: $3 non-foil // $4 foil
- Temporal Manipulation: $20 non-foil // $23 foil
- Dark Ritual: $3 non-foil // $5 foil
- Midnight Reaper: $1 non-foil // $2 foil
The value in this Lair is mostly tied up in Temporal Manipulation from a utility standpoint, however I suspect the art and Frazetta’s name may command a small premium as well. Soldier tribal got a big boost from the recent Brothers’ War set release, and the price of Field Marshal has doubled as a result. I wouldn’t be surprised if this pushes that price back down some once the Drop hits the secondary market, so I was conservative with my price estimate on that front.
This is the toughest Drop for me to evaluate. What I am mostly struggling with is how much value Dark Ritual will carry. It has a ton of prints, but this art is fantastic, and I could see it being desirable. I am undecided, but may buy one of these for my own collection since I do run Field Marshal, Temporal Manipulation, Seize the Day, and Dark Ritual already. The alternative is I may just defer to buying a copy of Field Marshal once it hits the secondary market and sell my current Coldsnap copy into the Soldier hype (this can be a really good tactic for maximizing your collection’s value, by the way).
Welcome to the Fungal because the value is easily the worst of the Superdrops from a value standpoint. I absolutely love the name and art, and frankly if I was a Saproling tribal fan, this would speak to me greatly. Abundant Growth is solid, and Mycoloth is a token-strategy staple. The contrarian in me believes the Saproling token itself is probably the chase card in this Drop.
- Abundant Growth: $4 non-foil // $8 foil
- Mycoloth: $10 non-foil // $13 foil
- Ghave, Guru of Spores: $3 non-foil // $4 foil
- Slimefoot, the Stowaway: $3 non-foil // $4 foil
- Saproling Token: $10 non-foil // $12 foil
I do not plan on acquiring this Drop nor singles from it, but that’s largely personal preference. It feels too niche for my tastes, and I don’t have any desire to build a Fungus/Saproling tribal deck in the future. I imagine this Drop will be all or nothing since every card in it would make the cut in the same deck. Keep an eye out for the token which could be quite valuable long-term.
Special Guest: Kozyndan, The Lands
See my mention of basic land Drops above for detail. These are beautiful basics, but in general I won’t be sharing a finance analysis on basic land Drops because they are simply too frequent to predict which (if any) make for a good value play. I will mention I may pick up this one for personal use simply because the art is tremendous.
Special Guest: Kozyndan, Another Story
Last but not least, we have the Kozyndan special guest series, and it has both stunning art and stunning value included. This is a must-buy out of the Superdrop if you’re a speculator or player wanting to capitalize on value while also upgrading the heck out of your collection. Have a look at the amount of value packed into this Drop, especially in foil!
Here’s my rough estimates for the prices at release:
- Serra Ascendant: $12 non-foil // $15 foil
- Rapid Hybridization: $5 non-foil // $12 foil
- Demonic Consultation: $18 non-foil // $30 foil
- Winds of Change: $12 non-foil // $25 foil
- Llanowar Elves: $1-2 non-foil // $1-2 foil
Note that this is the first time foil printing of Winds of Change and Demonic Consultation, two high demand cards in Commander (especially Demonic Consultation which is a pillar of the cEDH format). It is also the first black border printing of Winds of Change which bodes well for the non-foil as well. This is also the first reprint of Serra Ascendant which has forever-demand from Commander since it is so easy to turn it into a 6/6 for one mana.
Finally, Llanowar Elves is similar to Serra Ascendant in that it always has a tremendous amount of demand, and this represents a nice bling option for players looking to customize their Elf deck.
I will be loading up on this Drop in a big way, likely buying as many of the foil variant as I can afford (TBD how much that is, but hoping to get at least 10 of these minimally). I would contend that this is among the best single Drops ever made so far, and it should end up being one of the more lucrative ones as a result. If you do buy this, be prepared for a lot of supply, especially the foils, to hit the secondary market. I’m not the only finance writer who sees dollar signs when looking at the value in this loaded Secret Lair.
If you’re a player, absolutely buy one of these even if you don’t use any of the cards currently. You’ll be in a great position having these as trade assets in your binder down the road.
Secret Lair Finally Adds “Spend X for a Bonus” Promotion
This promo is a little predatory in my opinion: ordering five of the foil drops will bring you $0.05 short of $200 in your cart which feels really egregious. The promo itself is likely to carry a decent premium given the unique art style and that Scarab God is a highly playable commander card, so it still might be worth just pumping to a sixth Drop if you’re right at the cusp.
I just feel this promotes buying the bundle, and I’m not thrilled by WotC’s sales tactics here. I do expect the promo to command a $30 price tag at release which adds a really nice piece of value on top of some of these already-loaded Drops, and it has the upside to go higher since I don’t expect too many of these to be made.
This is a pretty great Superdrop overall. There’s a little something for everyone in it, and the mix of uniqueness (Just Add Milk) plus historic artistic talent makes this a fantastic representation of what Secret Lairs are meant to do.
I am a buyer of several of these Drops, mostly for personal use, however at least two are for resale due to the fantastic value included. Here’s a summary and recap for your reference.
What I am Buying, How Many, and Why:
- Just Add Milk: buying five (5) foil, four for resale and one for personal use
- Wizards of the Street: buying four (4) foil, all for resale
- Meaning of Life, Maybe: buying eight (8) foil, all for resale
- The Art of Frank Frazetta: buying a single copy of Field Marshal on the secondary market and selling my existing Coldsnap copy now
- Kozyndan, Another Story: buying 10+ of this Drop in foil for resale
I hope you enjoyed the article! I’ll be back with more content and spoiler coverage in coming weeks. I have a few days off of work coming up for the holidays, so I’m excited to spend some of that embracing my love for Magic and generating a burst of content for Conviction Gaming.
Chris Martin is the co-founder of Conviction Gaming and co-host of the Brewin’ With Conviction podcast. He has been playing Magic since 1998 and is an avid EDH player with a knack for MTG finance.
You can reach Chris and find more of his daily MTG content by following on Twitter @ChiStyleGaming.