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Magic: The Gathering’s Comic Sans-laden Secret Lair misses the humour mark by miles

Fantastic art yoked by cringe-worthy font and flavour text.

Mocking Spongebob meme
Image credit: MobileSyrup/Nickelodeon

Magic: The Gathering’s month-late April Fool’s joke has landed with a dull thud thanks to the poisonous combination of Comic Sans font and the Mocking Spongebob meme’s jeering capitalisation style. Five alternate art card reprints in a new Secret Lair will sport the text and font combination on name, rules and flavour text, resulting in a hard-to-read and hard-to-swallow experience.

The sAnS mERcy Secret Lair was revealed on Magic: The Gathering’s YouTube page on May 1st. It includes new versions of five cards that were seemingly chosen for their capacity to frustrate your fellow players: Black mana sorceries Massacre and Torment of Hailfire, Black instant Doom Blade, Red sorcery Ruination and the multicolour legendary enchantment creature Mogis, God of Slaughter.

Wizards of the Coast employed a similar sense of humour in the flavour text, which contains (scare quotes) gems, such as “oH nO!!uR sOOoo sCaRy! ROFL, IM DYIN!” and “i hOpE X iS 3, hAHahAhA”. The total effect lands somewhere between 2014 memes shared between coworkers in an email chain and the sort of macro images that have found their final home within groups full of ageing Facebook users.

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As plenty of players have pointed out on social media, there’s an odd disconnect between the cards’ artwork and intended joke. Compositions from illustrators such as Joseph Meehan and Maxime Minard are dramatic and full of action - Mogis is sundering a mountain range with his axe; the colonnades of a temple crumble under an aerial assault. The tragedy and destruction don’t pair at all with the salt-wringing taunts and instead feel like two halves of separate projects accidentally slammed together.

Even the card choice feels wrong, as MTG contains plenty of staple fist-clenchers and teeth-grinders. Where is Rhystic Study with a heckling “dO yUo PaY tHe OnE??” underneath? Brash Taunter seems an obvious shoe-in, as does any of Blue’s myriad counterspells which fizzle game-winning plans for a pittance. Even Doom Blade, included here, missed out on slapping a genuinely cute “dIeS tO dOoM bLaDe” as the flavour text.

Wizards leaned into the bit by telling players in the announcement email that “ApRiL FoOLs WaS A moNth AgO!” But self-awareness is not the only ingredient to a successfully executed joke. Nobody seems to like this, and it’s a poor companion to the Hatsune Miku set announced earlier this week - both will be available in Secret Lair’s Spring Super Drop, which will launch later this month.

Magic: The Gathering's Secret Lair 'sAnS MeRcY' drop.
Image credit: Wizards of the Coast

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