The 10 Best Secret Lair Drops Of 2023

Since 2019, the Secret Lair series has provided exciting, subversive new takes on classic Magic: The Gathering cards for players to gaze at, slack-jawed, during play. From crossovers with other properties to guest appearances by offbeat non-Magic artists, each new Drop has managed to delight, and divide, the community without fail.

THEGAMER VIDEO OF THE DAY

SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT

Related

Magic: The Gathering – Every Drop In The Spookydrop 2023 Secret Lair Superdrop, Ranked By Value

Check out MTG’s best and most valuable Secret Lair drops from its Spookydrop 2023 event!

This remained true in 2023, where some of the boldest, most experimental Secret Lair Drops yet were gleefully unleashed from the Magic labs. All of these Drops have something unique to offer, but some are just so striking, so out there, that they stand above the rest. Prepare for a voyage into the wildest reaches of the Multiverse.

10 Secret Lair X The Princess Bride

A Fun, Flavorful Secret Lair Drop? As You Wish

Four different cards from Magic: The Gathering's Secret Lair x The Princess Bride Secret Lair Drop

Secret Lair x The Princess Bride

Miracle Max, Unemployed (Marchesa, the Black Rose)

Inigo, Avenging Swordsman (Samut, Voice of Dissent)

Fezzik, Rhyming Giant (Brion Stoutarm)

Westley, Dread Pirate Roberts (Fynn, the Fangbearer)

Rodents of Unusual Size (Pack Rat)

Vizzini, Criminal Mastermind (Baral, Chief of Compliance)

Battle of Wits

Silence

Buttercup, Provincial Princess (Sisay, Weatherlight Captain)

Some crossovers in Magic work better than others. Lord of the Rings, for example, was a natural fit, while Transformers was a bit more of a stretch. The Princess Bride, a story soaked in the trappings of classic fantasy itself, slips onto Magic as easily as a supple leather glove.

The art style used for this Drop is exquisite, utilizing the iconic depictions of the characters made famous by the 1987 film alongside a recurring motif of circles that add extra detail to each scene. The cards included, while certainly an eclectic mix, are all useful in one format or another, and excellent flavor fits to boot.

9 Secret Lair X Creepshow

Roll Up, Roll Up!

The front and back faces of two cards from Magic: The Gathering's Secret Lair x Creepshow Secret Lair Drop

Secret Lair x Creepshow

Unholy Grotto

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born

Zombie Master

Noxious Ghoul

Death Baron

Past Secret Lair Drops, such as Thrilling Tales of the Undead, have dipped their toes into a schlocky B-movie aesthetic, but Secret Lair x Creepshow dives in head-first. Calling back to the comics based on the 1982 classic helmed by horror titans George A. Romero and Stephen King, this Drop brings key Zombie staples back to life like never before.

The dual-faced design, which captures the style of 80s horror comics beautifully, is complemented further by the wearing detail on the front faces, and the innovative ability distribution on the backs. To top it off, the five cards included are all playable in Zombie decks to this day.

8 Goblin & Squabblin’

If You Wanna Be In My Gang, My Gang

Four cards from Magic: The Gathering's Goblin & Squabblin' Secret Lair Drop

Goblin & Squabblin’

Goblin Lackey

Goblin Matron

Goblin Recruiter

Muxus, Goblin Grandee

Shattergang Brothers

Wizard of Barge is a regular contributor to the Secret Lair series, having lent his pen to the Prime Slime Drop as well as some standalone promos. Goblin & Squabblin’ is his latest creation, and certainly his best yet, bringing together five powerful Goblin cards in his searing signature style.

Related

Magic: The Gathering – The Best Art From The Spring 2023 Secret Lair Superdrop

An emotional set from powerful artists.

Highlights include the fishnet-sporting Goblin Lackey and the prune-faced Shattergang Brothers, but all five cards here are crammed with enough personality to fill an entire entry on this list alone. They’re also excellent picks from a value standpoint, with all five being viable options in Goblin decks in one format or another.

7 Phyrexian Faves

Cards So Iconic You Don’t Need Their Text

Five cards from Magic: The Gathering's Phyrexian Faves Secret Lair Drop

Phyrexian Faves

Blighted Agent

K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth

Glistener Elf

Batterskull

Inkmoth Nexus

Cards with Phyrexian text have grown more common over time, with a large number arriving alongside the Phyrexia: All Will Be One and March of the Machine expansions, but Phyrexian Faves applies the style to perhaps the most powerful crop of cards it’s seen so far.

While mostly drawn from Mirrodin Besieged and New Phyrexia, this Drop also takes a detour into Commander 2019 to pick up K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth. All five cards here are immensely powerful, be it in infect decks or Commander in general, and seeing them appear in their native language really compleats the package.

6 The ‘90s Binder Experience

Dig Out Your Rose-Tinted Glasses

Five cards from Magic: The Gathering's The '90s Binder Experience Secret Lair Drop

The ’90s Binder Experience

Alms Collector

Crested Sunmare

Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma

Rin and Seri, Inseparable

Exotic Orchard

A heartfelt tribute to the joy and excess of childhood, The ‘90s Binder Experience cemented itself as a Secret Lair classic as soon as it was unveiled. The included cards aren’t anything special, even in Commander, but playability barely matters in the face of the hyper-luminous artistic majesty this Drop brings to the table.

All five cards burst with color and detail, crafting entire joyous worlds for your mind to wander in as your opponents take their turns. They also call back to specific ‘90s trends, such as CatDog and the Care Bears, in a subtler way than the Secret Lairs that simply include characters from other properties wholesale.

5 Now On VHS!

A Drop So Good You’ll Want To Buy, Not Rent

Four cards from Magic: The Gathering's Now on VHS! Secret Lair Drop

Now on VHS!

Rewind

Food Chain

Rampant Growth

The Last Sliver

Another retro throwback Drop, Now on VHS takes us back to the days of video rental and cheesy movie night monster flicks, reimagining four cards as cardboard sleeves for classic tapes. While the visuals definitely take center stage here, the four cards chosen are actually fairly solid in terms of playability too.

Rewind is more of a cheeky nod to the VHS concept itself than anything, while Food Chain, Rampant Growth, and The First Sliver all play into the B-movie monster theme. The use of scuffed edges and worn stickers in the artwork are masterstrokes, evoking the period these cards call back to and showing key information at the same time.

4 Secret Lair X Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Famous Faces And A Format Staple

Four cards from Magic: The Gathering's Secret Lair x Dungeons & Dragons Honor Among Thieves Secret Lair Drop

Secret Lair x Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Edgar, Larcenous Lutenist

Doric, Nature’s Warden//Doric, Owlbear Avenger

Holga, Relentless Rager

Forge, Neverwinter Charlatan

Simon, Wild Magic Sorcerer

Xenk, Paladin Unbroken

Themberchaud

Following Magic’s full-on Dungeons & Dragons expansion, Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, a smaller set based on the 2023 film Honor Among Thieves made perfect sense, leading to this stellar Secret Lair Drop. Like the Walking Dead Drop before it, this Drop added brand-new, Secret Lair-exclusive cards to the game.

Related

Magic: The Gathering – D&D: Honor Among Thieves Secret Lair Cards, Ranked

Here are the best D&D: Honor Among Thieves Secret Lair cards in Magic: The Gathering!

Also like the Walking Dead Drop, this one also introduced an extremely powerful card in Doric, a potent option for go-wide green decks in Commander. The other legendary creatures included here are more balanced but no less flavorfully designed, helping to assuage the uncanny feeling of seeing Sophia Lillis and Hugh Grant on Magic cards somewhat.

3 The Stars Gaze Back

An Art Style With The Element Of Surprise

Four cards from Magic: The Gathering's The Stars Gaze Back Secret Lair Drop

The Stars Gaze Back

Flamekin Harbinger

Omnath, Locus of Rage

Risen Reef

Voice of Resurgence

Like nature herself, Magic’s Elementals have been slowly reclaiming their place in the world, putting up strong results in Modern and beyond. This Drop is a full-on celebration of the creature type, featuring four of its best cards with an incredible new look by Yu Maeda.

From the vibrant Voice of Resurgence to the almost-hypnotic Omnath, Locus of Rage, every card here shines both in terms of art and playability. The stars won’t be the only ones gazing back if you rock up to your LGS with these beauties.

2 Featuring: The Mountain Goats

A Journey That’s Anything But Basic

Four cards from Magic: The Gathering's Featuring The Mountain Goats Secret Lair Drop

Featuring: The Mountain Goats

Mountain x10

Some Secret Lair Drops function more as concept pieces than meaningful sources of reprints, and Featuring: The Mountain Goats is certainly one of them. On the surface it’s just a set of ten basic Mountains, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a Drop that’s as creatively rich as the best of them.

Created in collaboration with John Darnielle, frontman of the titular Mountain Goats, these Mountains feature stunning art alongside even more stunning flavor text, which renowned lyricist Darnielle wrote himself. It’s a simple Drop to be sure, but for fans of the band, or fans of great art and writing, it’s one not to be missed.

1 Magic: The Baseballing

No Way! A 2023 Jace Beleren?

The front and back faces of two cards from Magic: The Gathering's Magic: The Baseballing Secret Lair Drop

Magic: The Baseballing

Chandra Nalaar

Liliana Vess

Jace Beleren

Ajani Goldmane

Garruk Wildspeaker

Magic: The Baseballing is simultaneously an incredibly exciting Drop, and an incredibly obvious one. Of course recasting the Gatewatch as baseball players and tapping into the primordial roots of the trading card market by emulating the style of baseball cards is a great idea! Like all great ideas, though, this one was only truly proven in the execution.

And what an execution it is. The typefaces, muted palettes, and classic layouts combine to make these cards feel like authentic artifacts from a collectors series that never existed, while the bios and fun facts about each ‘walker add an extra layer of tongue-in-cheek humor. The cards may not be too powerful mechanically but, like their inspirations, they’ll likely hold a lot of value regardless.

Next

Magic: The Gathering – The 10 Best Lands From Secret Lair

Lands are the fuel your Magic: The Gathering deck runs on, so why not make them look extra fancy with Secret Lair?

Leave a Comment