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Magic: The Gathering announces a Stranger Things Secret Lair using new design model

Don't play these upside down.

Magic: The Gathering is planning a Secret Lair drop featuring new cards styled after the popular Netflix series Strangers Things. The premium release, which does not yet have a date, will be the first to use a new design model that publisher Wizards of the Coast hopes will garner more support from the trading card game’s playerbase.

Announced in a news post, Secret Lair: Stranger Things will be the first drop officially printed under Magic: The Gathering’s new Universes Beyond label, an umbrella term for sets, decks and special offers that feature characters and worlds beyond the normal multiplanar universe. The company previously announced that both Warhammer 40,000 and Lord of the Rings would show up on cards, and now the nostalgia-fueled action drama from director-brother duo Matt and Ross Duffer joins the roster.

Wizards of the Coast senior designer Gavin Verhey offered more details during an episode of his Good Morning Magic Youtube channel by saying that Secret Lair: Stranger Things will follow the recently announced changes to Magic: The Gathering’s premium line of releases: any “mechanically unique” cards released in a Secret Lair will later be available to the public through other means but without the special Universes Beyond treatment

Cover image for YouTube videoWheels Vs. The World in Magic: The Gathering - Arena!

Secret Lairs’ limited-print sets feature alternate artwork, sometimes from guest illustrators, of previously printed cards. One notable exception is The Walking Dead Secret Lair, which sold several newly designed cards and caused plenty of criticism from players who felt Wizards of the Coast would soon be channeling interesting and fun cards through a prohibitive channel rather than regular set releases or commercially available constructed decks.

Instead, this new model hews closer to how the company handled the Godzilla-themed alternate card art for a number of creatures in the Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths set from 2020. Verhey even said as much in his video, claiming Wizards of the Coast had been listening to community feedback. Secret Lair: Stranger Things will be full of mechanically unique cards in black borders, but “Magic flavoured” versions will be added to The List roughly six months later, giving players the chance to pull them from among the curated selection added to about 25% of all set boosters sold commercially.

Wizards of the Coast isn’t ready to reveal the cards from Secret Lair: Stranger Things just yet, but Verhey did say they had been designed specifically for the Commander format instead of competitive constructed play. Glenn Jones, who has worked on several Commander-specific sets for Wizards of the Coast in the past, designed the series, and all of the cards were reportedly sent to the Commander Rules Committee - an independent body that maintains the format’s structure - for review.

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Chase Carter avatar

Chase Carter


Chase is a freelance journalist and media critic. He enjoys the company of his two cats and always wants to hear more about that thing you love. Follow him on Twitter for photos of said cats and retweeted opinions from smarter folks.