Magic: The Gathering continues its trend of partnering with popular media properties for Secret Lairs with League of Legends’ new animated series, Arcane. The four-card drop features artwork and characters from the show, which is currently streaming on Netflix, printed on cards previously introduced in larger past sets and marks the two-year anniversary of the premium collectible initiative.
As first shown by Gamespot, the Arcane crossover Secret Lair combines two instant-speed spells (Path to Exile and Counterflux), an artifact (Thran Dynamo printed as The Hexcore) and an enchantment (Rhystic Study printed as Unstable Harmonics), all adorned with alternate illustrations pulled from the show’s cast and locations. An accompanying Secret Lair drop will contain Basic Lands depicting locations from the show tied to the five mana colours (thanks, PCGamer).
Arcane itself is based on the lore of League of Legends, Riot Games’ massively popular video game. League of Legends (commonly shortened to LoL) has been expanding the world of magic, politics and mystery in recent years via non-competitive games such as the recent Ruined King: A League of Legends Story and the Hearthstone-esque digital trading card game Legends of Runeterra. It's foray into physical tabletop games, though, has been mixed.
“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Riot Games on two Secret Lair drops to celebrate the launch of the League of Legends animated series, Arcane,” said Chris Cocks, President of Wizards of the Coast. “Bringing fan-favorite brands into the Magic Multiverse is an exciting way for us to bring Magic to life in bold new ways for lifelong fans and first-time players.”
Secret Lairs has been Magic: The Gathering’s method of selling time-limited collectible cards to its community without interrupting the regular schedule of publicly available sets. The line began in 2019 with artwork from established MTG illustrators or guest artists applying their distinct styles on thematically linked cards. The Godzilla lands drop was the first to feature a non-MTG character, but it was The Walking Dead Secret Lair that established the mold, for good and for ill.
Since then, Wizards of the Coast has officially outlined how Secret Lair drops will function - being a primary component of its Universes Beyond initiative of tying huge pop culture media to non-core offerings - and attempted to assuage worry among the player base that mechanically unique cards will not be locked behind the premium price points of Secret Lairs. Well, they eventually won’t.
Non-trading card franchises such as Fortnite, Street Fighter and My Little Pony have been released or announced already as Secret Lairs, while Warhammer 40,000 and The Lord of the Rings will comprise a flight of commander preconstructed decks and a fully fledged set, respectively. Seeing Magic: The Gathering and Riot Games collaborate is a bit strange given their digital apps - Magic Arena and Legends of Runeterra - ostensibly compete for the same players, but League of Legend’s strong characterisation and high-fantasy setting make it a thematic fit.
Both Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair x Arcane collections will be available to purchase from November 29th through December 23rd in foil and non-foil versions. As with past drops, the public can buy them separately or as a bundle. More information and images can be seen on the official MTG Secret Lair website, which is currently teasing something new and sinister.