Secret Lair: League of Legends

Spoilers, Rumors, and Speculation forum

Posted on Nov. 17, 2021, 8:11 p.m. by DemonDragonJ

WotC has announced yet another Secret Lair, this one apparently being a crossover with League of Legends.

All of the cards in this set are great, but I am not particularly pleased about Rhystic Study being reprinted in it. For years, I joked with my friends about how it would be a severe troll move for WotC to reprint that card in a Secret Lair, but I never expected that they would actually do it. Any reprint of Rhystic Study is welcome, to be certain, but a reprint in a Secret Lair is highly unlikely to lower its price; I personally think that WotC should have reprinted Mystic Remora, instead, since that card has never been reprinted, and save RS for the next masters set. On the other hand, if WotC chooses to reprint Imperial Seal in a Secret Lair, then I will know for certain that they are trolling the players and do not care about keeping the game affordable for the average people.

All of the other cards are amazing, however, and I shall hope that I can find them on the secondary market, since I refuse to support this greedy business practice by WotC.

What does everyone else say about this product? Do you like it?

Niko9 says... #2

Honestly, the crossover sets have no appeal to me, but it's definitely a, to each their own, feeling. The Stranger Things set really made me look at it because I do like the show, but even then, it's just so uninteresting in magic. If it does for other people, then that's cool and everyone can have fun with the game in their own way, but I do wish that they made the cards with more effort to mesh with the source. Like, a card based on the character Eleven that just uses the number eleven a lot is, to say the least, low hanging fruit. Dustin does science stuff so he...creates mana? Police chief Jim Hopper investigates? Unless they came in with new crossovers that were fresh ideas and interesting takes on both the game and the source, personally, I see no reason to look at them. Because really, without great flavor, they are just cards that can be replaced in any deck. Crossovers were a chance for them to look at the same game with a different perspective, and it feels like they have lost the effort in execution. It's not the worst thing ever. If people enjoy them, then that's great. I just find a new crossover about as exciting as a commercial break.

Ha, yeah, and rystic study getting a reprint in secret lairs is kind of a bummer. There might always be a slow drip philosophy of reprints that they know for a fact will sell, but sometimes it can feel particularly targeted. Rystic will probably be like the fetchlands, an ever floating butterfly that dances at the edge of the affordable player's fingers but never quite lets you get any closer.

November 17, 2021 9:52 p.m.

"Here's some screenshots from the show, that'll be $39.99 lol"

November 18, 2021 4:43 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #4

Another Secret Lair has been announced, so I shall not make a new thread for it, but instead post it, here.

Some of those cards are quite nice, but the reprint of Exquisite Blood bothers me severely; I know that I should be happy for another reprint of that card, but this is in the same bundle as a reprint of Rhystic Study, another popular and expensive card. WotC has stated that they do not care about, or even acknowledge, the secondary market for their cards, but, when they reprint two very expensive cards that are always in high demand in a print-to-order set, rather than in a normal set, it is very clear that they are not interested in making the game affordable to average players, and that severely angers me. How can they claim to be uninterested in the secondary market when they engage in a blatant display of greed, such as this?

November 18, 2021 9:24 p.m.

DemonDragonJ WotC obviously knows well of and cares much about the secondary market--they just can't refer to it in any public statements for legal reasons. Anything they can do to make more money, they will do--that shouldn't be a surprise to you or anyone at this point.

November 18, 2021 9:40 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #6

Omniscience_is_life, the problem is that the high prices of certain cards make it difficult for the majority of players to purchase those cards, which I believe goes against the idea of this game being accessible to everyone, and also means that players with more money can afford better cards, and, thus, shall have an unfair advantage over players who cannot afford those cards. I believe that the outcomes of games should be determined by the skill of the players, not by who has the most money.

November 18, 2021 9:51 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #7

This is not a secret lair that I am interested in--I am not hip enough to know anything about League of Legends other than the fact of its existence. That said, I am glad they are reprinting a Rhystic Study without Terese Nielsen's art--I have a lot of friends who are trying to purge her from their collection on account of her blatant racism and transphobia and they are all rather excited about finally receiving an alternative for this critical card (other than the rather pricy judge foil).

As for the anger over high-value cards being reprinted in SLs, it really does not bother me all that much. The simple fact is these cards were unlikely to be printed in any regular product anytime soon. Any reprint--even one that is a clear cash grab--is going to be better than nothing.

I will also point out that the Arcane Secret Lair is great value. As of the time of posting, the Rhystic Study alone is priced higher than the entire SL ($33 vs $30, or $85 vs $40 for foil). Path is $4, Seize the Day is $7, Thran Dynamo is $3, and then three more cards that are worth a little less than a dollar each (foils for each of these are about a dollar or two more than the regular printing).

You're looking at $45 worth of non-foils for $30 or about $110 worth of foils for $40. Not a bad deal, if you are willing to have League of Legends cards in your Magic deck.

And the Arcane SL is not alone in that regard--the Extra Life Secret Lairs have both had secondary values far exceeding their price point (and gave money to charity). The Dracula SL far outstrips its value, due to the $35 price point of Exquisite Blood ($80 for foil), $19 price point of Phyrexian Tower ($60 foil), and $5 Night's Whisper ($6 foil).

November 18, 2021 11:03 p.m.

DemonDragonJ I'm not advocating for Magic cards to remain this expensive--I hardly buy any product anymore after I realized how insanely expensive this game is--but you really can't blame the for-profit company for making highly popular items that sell for a lot of money.

November 19, 2021 1:55 a.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #9

Omniscience_is_life, the issue is that it costs WotC the same amount of money to print a $0.25 card as it does to print a $100.00 card, so they have no excuse for not reprinting expensive, in-demand cards, in my mind.

November 19, 2021 5:57 a.m.

Niko9 says... #10

Somewhat off topic, but while the discussion is about reprints there is something I've been thinking about for a bit. When new sets come out, does it seem like, to anyone else, that there is a strange effort for a set to either be flavorful or have sought after reprints, but never both? Innistrad looks really awesome and I love how they are going heavy into vampires and werewolfs and everything classic horror, but it looks like it will be a pretty middle-place power level. Compared to something like Zendikar Rising that had fetchlands, ancient tomb, cavern of souls, and a lot of really pushed things in the set, it's kind of interesting. I'd never say that ZR has no flavor, but it's just kind of standard magic lore, you know? These kind of things make me wonder if there is some thought behind sets either need to have a hook in their flavor, or they need to get reprints of popular things to sell.

This might sound conspiracy minded, and I don't really mean it to. I used to play back in the days of Legends and Stronghold and things, then to get back into the game through the sheer awesome flavor that was Ixalan. But then after getting back into it, I'd hear people saying that no body bought Ixalan or whatever and then something like Zendikar Rising absolutely broke it. Similar with adventures in the forgotten realms, which I really love for it's attention and reverence to DnD lore (except the Tarrasque...I have many questions and suggestions on big T) but then it lacked a ton of oomph when it came to reprints.

So, I don't know, long story short, I was just wondering if anyone had that same feeling about how they treat reprints and how the strength of reprints can kind of be a buffer for sets lacking a flavor that might appeal to a more casual audience like me.

Just something I've been wondering. I could be wrong, for sure. What do you all think?

November 19, 2021 8:20 a.m.

Caerwyn says... #11

DemonDragonJ - It does not cost Wizards the same amount to print a $0.25 card as it does a $100.00 card. Yes, it costs them the same in paper, labor, ink, and other direct manufacturing costs, but those are not the only costs that matter when running a business with Wizards' model.

The relevant figure is known as "reprint equity"--how much value that card has to you if reprinted. Valuable cards drive sales--you look at some of the best-selling sets and they have high-cost cards that individuals want to open. A reprint of a known-powerful card will drive sales of the set, but will also diminish the "reprint equity" in that card. After all, if a card like Rhystic Study is reprinted in a typical product, its value is going to drop, which means its effectiveness as a "chase" card is diminished for future sets. That diminishment in its value as a "chase" card is a lowering of its "reprint equity".

This reduction in reprint equity has a real cost to Wizards, though it cannot be measured as easily as ink and printing supplies. Every time they reprint a $100.00 card, they are losing something.

Secret Lairs allow them to bypass this problem to a degree. Most of the folks who buy the card are buying for themselves, so the effect on the secondary market is minimized as compared to folks cracking packs and selling off any cards they do not personally need. Further, the cost and limited availability of the product ensure that, even if reprint equity in the card diminishes, the equity does not fall below a threshold that would render said card useless as a chase card.

November 19, 2021 9:02 a.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #12

Caerwyn, how can you possibly be defending such a business practice? Are you extremely wealthy, and can afford to spend large amount of money frivolously? This game should not be a luxury that only the super-rich can afford; it should be enjoyable by all players, in my mind.

November 19, 2021 6:25 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #13

DemonDragonJ - I would not call the above a defense, but rather a statement of reality. Hasbro, and, as an extension, Wizards, is a publicly traded company and thus has a legal duty to maximise the profits of its shareholders. Your point is a moral one, and when morality and legality come in conflict, the corporation is required to take the legal course of action or risk a lawsuit by its own shareholders.

From a purely legal stance, Secret Lairs allow Wizards to bring morality and legality to greater harmony. By offering a direct alternative to the secondary market, SLs allow shareholders to profit and players to obtain highly sought after cards for far less than the secondary market cost.

Because of their legal obligations, the choice is not between SLs and more reprints, but SLs and the pre-SL status quo, with its much more restrictive use of reprints. Given the true choice, I will take SLs over the alternative—nothing.

November 19, 2021 6:48 p.m.

Niko9 says... #14

Caerwyn You make good points on the business side of things, and I think the only counter argument I'd make is that a publicly traded company does not have a legal duty to maximize profits. Shareholder value is different than profits and a business could present long term plans that grow their market over time the same just as they could present selling a short term product.

I'm no expert on this, but in the end, the theory of reprints is a choice that they make, and they made it a long time ago. SLs as a way to help with reprints is like buying a new dune buggy to help with global's skirting the problem at best.

But there are always proxies :) I don't particularly like Rystic, but if I ever needed one you can be sure that it used to be a goblin token.

November 19, 2021 8:26 p.m.

Caerwyn says... #15

Niko9 - I will confess to over-simplifying the nuance of legal obligations for the sake of a lay person audience.

November 19, 2021 8:32 p.m. Edited.

Niko9 says... #16

Caerwyn Ha, no worries. It's a complicated topic to be sure and it's very true that wizards needs to make money on their end for the whole wheel to turn. I don't know. Maybe a lot of my aversion to SLs is that the reprints in SLs seems like it appeals to addictive tendencies. Like, rather than make something that people want to buy, they make something that players feel like they need to buy. But then again, maybe it really is better than it was before they were available.

November 20, 2021 7:42 a.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #17

One other reason for which I dislike Secret Lairs is that the players purchase them directly from WotC, which means that there is no local game store involved, and I always like to support local game stores, not to mention that fact that each SL is available for only a limited time, after which there is no way to purchase the cards first-hand, again.

November 20, 2021 8:55 a.m.

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