Well, this became controversial again, but we haven't been discussing Secret Lairs here for a while, so I might need to provide some background.
We're on 27 of these so far, counting the April Fools one. I semi-accidentally skipped out on the Thalia one, but purchased all of the others except for the big ripoff "Ultimate Edition." That was back toward the end of May. For those who didn't hear about that one, here's what happened. WotC has been processing orders for Secret Lairs online through a company called "Scalefast." I haven't encountered any issues with Scalefast, but it's WotC that produces the actual products and they've been ridiculously delayed on some of these. They changed the distribution model for the "Ultimate Edition." There's not actually anything ultimate about it: WotC just don't know what that word means and apparently need someone to send them a dictionary. Anyway, most of these have been $30 or $40 and have featured alternate artwork of cards that were already generally available, sometimes for much less than that. This put them in the realm of bling or collector's items. You don't need to use special Eldraine-themed artwork to have access to Snow-Covered lands for your deck, but if you wanted to pay extra and get them from WotC, you could do that (and I did). You don't need to pay for a foil set of Thalia with four different new artworks (I didn't), and could just use the existing matching artwork from Dark Ascension
or Masters 25
. But the "Ultimate Edition" didn't target cards like that and wasn't done through Scalefast. Instead WotC sent small supplies to local game stores. It took the five Zendikar fetchlands, some of the most price-inflated, demanded reprints in the game and charged $400 for them. This was controversial for a few reasons.
- It was $400.
- It was pitched like WotC was doing a favor to local game stores and helping the little guys out during a pandemic, but stores didn't get meaningful supplies.
- They initially announced that the price would be "a little more than Commander Anthology", which was $165. That turned out to be a false statement.
- Although these did have new artwork, they were much more expensive than the other Secret Lairs, which also had new artwork.
- Because this one was supposed to be special, it came in a bigger box. It didn't actually have more cards: just a bigger box.
- Players had been crying for fetchland reprints for years. But the unspoken corollary to this was that fetchlands were too expensive for most players to buy copies. Turns out $400 is also too expensive for most players to buy copies.
- WotC announced that they'd reprint the fetchlands again in another product this year, then that turned out to be Zendikar Rising box toppers. Box toppers. Ouch.
So that was bad. But the other Secret Lairs were still fine. They announced a new one themed around a crossover with the TV show "The Walking Dead" and no one really cared except for probably people who really liked that show. We saw art for a zombie token that looked like it was something from the show, I think? I don't really know. All I can remember about the show was that my roommates were watching it when it was new and I sat down and watched one episode in the first season (Episode 3, I think). I disliked it and avoided it ever since. But that's just me! Some people are fans, presumably. I already got my Godzilla lands Secret Lair, and not everyone who plays Magic likes Godzilla (I love Godzilla and I've aggressively collected every Godzilla Series card). So I disregarded the announcement and just figured this would be another of the Secret Lairs I'd skip. That's what's nice about the Secret Lair series really: there's no pressure. If you like particular "drop" then you can buy that one. If you don't like it, then you don't have to, and you can just use existing versions of those cards.
And then the details came out and WotC dropped the bomb. Unlike previous Secret Lairs, this new one contains brand-new, tournament-legal cards that don't exist in any other form. This has been even more controversial than the fetchland Secret Lair.