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Ranking the Secret Lair All-Natural, Totally Refreshing Superdrop

Wizards recently announced the second in what seems to be an annual summer Secret Lair Superdrop series containing a massive eight different Secret Lair drops. Buying all eight drops will set you back $269.99 for foil and $199.99 for non-foil, while each individual drop is $39.99 for foil and $29.99 non-foil. However, not all Secret Lair drops are equal. Some offer more value than others, and while splurging on the full bundle is a fine option for whales, not everyone has hundred of dollar to spend on Secret Lairs. So today, we're going to rank all individual drops in the Secret Lair All-Natural, Totally Refreshing Superdrop.

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Part of the value of Secret Lair drops is that they offer unique art, and since art is very subjective, we can't really account for this in the ranking. Buying a low-ranked drop simply because you personally love the art it offers is a perfectly legitimate option. Our ranking today will mostly focus on the value and playability of the cards in the drop. I should also say that our focus will be on normal, non-foil drops. We've seen time and time again that Secret Lair foils don't command the same prices as other foils. The fact that a foil Eventide Bloom Tender costs over $400 doesn't mean that we should value the Secret Lair foil Bloom Tender as a $400 card. In general, Secret Lair foils tend to be valued at just a slight premium over their non-foil versions, which makes the value of their original printings fairly irrelevant to the discussion. Without further ado, here are the rankings!

#8: Mother's Day 2021

Mother's Day 2021 offers four copies of Mother of Runes, all with different art. Currently, the cheapest version of Mother of Runes costs $6.21, which means four copies would set you back just under $25 while the Lair Drop will cost $30 plus shipping. From a value perspective, this makes Modern's Day 2021 the weakest drop in the series. The other issue with the drop is that I'm not sure how many people need a playset of Mother of Runes. The one-drop isn't legal in Modern, and while it does see play in Legacy, there just aren't that many paper Legacy players left in the multiverse. Mom shows up in a lot of Commander decks (being the 4th most-played white creature according to EDHRec), although I'm not sure Commander players really need four copies of Mother of Runes; one might be enough. While the return of Rebecca Guay to the Magic art scene is exciting, the drop itself isn't, bringing it in at the very bottom of our list.

#7 & 6: Signets

Technically the Signets come in two drops, one featuring enemy colors and the other ally colors, but they are so similar that we're ranking them together. Personally, the signets are one of my favorite drops because I love old border cards and Dan Frazier art, although since we're trying to be objective with our rankings, my taste in borders and art isn't especially relevant. So why do the Signets drops come in low in our rankings? The main reason is that signets are super cheap. If you were to buy one copy of the cheapest version of each signet, it would cost you just $9.19 (making an individual signet $0.92). Meanwhile, the Secret Lair drop is selling signets for $6 each since you'll have to buy two $30 drops to get all ten. 

In many ways the Signet drop reminds me of some of the basic land Secret Lair drops we've seen in the past: you're getting unique versions of inexpensive but very playable cards. It wouldn't surprise me to see that the old border Dan Frazier signets end up having decent value over the long term. For some reason, Signets don't really have cool promo printings even though they have long been Commander staples, which might make the Secret Lair versions the most in-demand versions of the cards. The signet Secret Lair drop is something you buy because you're willing to pay a premium for the special art and border, not because it offers a savings over picking up the cards on the secondary market.

#5: Special Guest: Jen Bartel

Special Guest: Jen Bartel features four cards - Archaeomancer, Mesa Enchantress, Meteor Golem, and Bloom Tender - with art by comic book artist Jen Bartel. From a value perspective, this is really a one-card drop. Mesa Enchantress, Archaeomancer and Meteor Golem are basically worthless valueless (although they do see a bit of Commander play), while Bloom Tender costs a massive $46. The problem is that the main reason Bloom Tender is so expensive is that it was printed all the way back in Eventide and, outside of a Mystery Booster pseudo-reprint, has never been reprinted. Bloom Tender is the exact kind of card that ends up being worth a few dollars once it is finally reprinted, which will surely happen at some point. While it does see some play in Commander (coming in just outside the Top 25 for Green creatures on EDHRec), it's not an ultra-staple by any means. If you need a copy of Bloom Tender, the drop does offer a reasonable amount of savings. Just keep in mind that once Bloom Tender gets a real reprinting, it will probably be a $10 card. Basically, the drop offers short0term value, but my guess is that it will look a lot worse in the long haul.

#4: Saturday Morning D&D

Saturday Morning D&D is actually surprisingly similar to our last drop. You get six cards in total, with a retail value of about $50, but in reality, you're buying it for the $40 Primal Vigor. Much like Bloom Tender, Primal Vigor is a card that sees some Commander play but isn't really a staple (showing up in just 2% of decks according to EDHRec, which is significantly less than Bloom Tender's 7%), but still maintains a high retail price because apart from The List (which doesn't count as a real reprinting), it has only been printed once in Commander 2013. Much like Bloom Tender, sooner or later Wizards will give it a real reprinting in a Commander product or a Master set, and rather than being $40, it will likely drop down under $10. So why does Saturday Morning D&D rank ahead of Special Guest: Jen Bartel? Mostly because its secondary cards are slightly better. Commander's Sphere is an ultra-staple in Commander, Unbreakable Formation shows up in a lot of white decks, Impact Tremors is a $2.50 common payoff for infinite enters the battlefield combos and Whir of Invention has proven itself to be playable in Modern alongside Commander. Regardless, everything I said about the Jen Bartel drop remains true here: if you need a Primal Vigor, the drop offers a good deal over the short term because the drop is $30 while a single Primal Vigor will set you back $40, but I can't shake the feeling that Primal Vigor (much like Bloom Tender) will end up a $10 in the near future.

#3: Special Guest: Fiona Staples

Special Guest: Fiona Staples offers the most consistent value out of any individual drop in the superdrop. Rather than relying on one high-value card backed by a bunch of bulk, the drop is built around a $17 card (Dryad of the Ilysian Grove), two $10 cards (Soul-Scar Mage and Metallic Mimic), an $8 card (Spell Queller), and one bulkish but heavily played Commander card (Sakura-Tribe Elder). Just as important, most of these cards are valuable because they see play in multiple formats rather than because they have low supply from not being reprinted. Soul-Scar Mage and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove are among the 20 most-played creatures in Modern, while Spell Queller is in the top 20 in Pioneer. Meanwhile, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove is also a true Commander staple (showing up in 11% of decks). Unlike the last two drops we talked about, it will be hard for a single reprinting to crush the value of the cards in the drop. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove already has a ton of supply since it was printed relatively recently, but it manages to maintain a high price because of demand. The only problem with the drop is that is it's pretty scattered. If all you want is Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and don't have any use for Metallic Mimic or Soul-Scar Mage, you're paying a premium for the Dryad, unless you can sell or trade away the extras. Still, if you add everything together, you're getting $46 of cards for $30, making the set a decent deal over the short term, while the cross-format playability offers some long-term protection.

#2: Artist Series: Mark Pool

Coming in at #2 on our list we have Artist Series: Mark Pool, with the drop headlined by the $33 Wasteland, and backed up by $11 Birds of Paradise and a $6 Howling Mine. All in all, the six cards in the drop have a retail value of $53, making the $30 cost a significant savings. The way I look at the drop is that you buy it because you need the Wasteland (either for Commander or Legacy/Vintage) and then you get the rest of the cards for free as a bonus. It's also worth mentioning that even the low-value cards in the drop (Counterspell and Brainstorm) are playable across formats. Even though you can pick them up cheaply on the secondary market, I'd much rather get Counterspell and Brainstorm as my low-value throw-in cards than things like Archaeomancer and Meteor Golem which have more limited uses. While not an all-time value home run like the #1 drop on our list, Artist Series: Mark Pool is still a solid hit, especially if you can make use of the Wasteland.

#1: Phyrexian Praetors: Compleat Edition

Phyrexian Praetors - offering Urabrask the Hidden, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite]], Sheoldred, Whispering One, Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger and Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur in the Phyrexian language - isn't just the best drop from the summer superdrop, it's the best Secret Lair drop of all time. My expectation was that Wizards would sell the drop for around $100 since the combined value of the five Praetors in the drop is almost $140, but it's priced just like all the other drops at $30. This means that buying the drop of all five Praetors costs you less than buying a single copy of Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur (retail price: $35.99), Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger (retail price: $45.15) and about the same as Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite (retail price: $29:34). Wizards has been making Secret Lair drops for a year and a half now, and we've never, in the entire history of the series, had a drop with so much surplus value. In general, Wizards seems to be very careful about making sure that the value of the cards in a drop is about the same as the cost of the drop, or maybe slightly over. With the Praetors, Wizards pulled out all of the stops and are offering players a $100 of "free value." If you need any of these cards to play with in Commander, the drop isn't just the cheapest way to get them, but the cheapest by a huge margin. If you're only getting a single drop, Phyrexian Praetors is the way to go. It's an amazing deal for cool versions of five iconic cards that see a decent amount of play in Commander and a little bit of fringe play in other formats as well.

Wrap Up

The other big question is whether it is worth it to pick up a bundle of all of the drops at a discount. A non-foil bundle of all eight drops costs $199.99; essentially dropping the cost of each individual drop from $30 to $25. Considering that the total retail value of all of the cards in all eight drops is $365, this might sound like an absurdly good deal, but it's a bit more complicated because of how much the Phyreixan Praetor drop affects the value.

Let's exclude the Phyrexian Praetors drop for a minute. The value of the cards in the other seven drops is $227. At $25/each, the seven drops would cost $175, leaving us $52 of surplus value. Meanwhile, as we just saw a moment ago, the Phyrexian Praetor drop (even at the full $30) offers $108 in surplus value all by itself. So yes, getting $365 in card value for $200 is a good deal, but most of this extra value comes from the Phyrexian Praetor drop, which you can get for just $30 by itself. 

All in all my advice is that unless you are someone who doesn't do Secret Lairs at all, you should at least pick up the Phyrexian Praetors drop. It offers too much value to pass up. The other drops are fairly average. Like most Secret Lairs they offer good enough value if you need the specific cards in the drop (like Wasteland, Bloom Tender, or Primal Vigor), but not a huge enough discount that you should buy them even if you don't have any use for the cards. On the other hand, if you want several of the drops, you might as well snag one of the bundles and save a few dollars. Outside of the signets, all of the drops offer good enough value that they are fine pickups.


Anyway, that's all for today. Are you buying any of the drops from the All-Natural, Totally Refreshing Superdrop? If so, which ones? Let us know in the comments! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at

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