Lost Caverns of Ixalan isn’t even officially released, but that won’t stop Magic: The Gathering from dropping a surprise crossover with a major video game franchise, such as Tomb Raider. IGN revealed a seven-card Secret Lair drop that includes a mechanically unique Lara Croft creature that’s sure to delight commander players.
The Secret Lair Secretversary Superdrop launching next week will include five cards reprinted with new art and names pertaining to locations and items from the popular action-RPG video game series that most recently rebooted in 2013 and has been ongoing since then. These include Seach for Azcanta as Heart of the Explorer (Azcanta, the Sunken city becomes The Lost Valley on the reverse side), Anger of the Gods as Storms of Yamatai, Bow of Nylea as The Grim Whisper, Shadowspear as Totec's Spear and Academy Ruins as Kitezh, Sunken City.
Rounding out the drop is a unique Treasure token that will pair perfectly with Lara Croft, Tomb Raider - a mechanically unique card that will only be available as part of the Secret Lair drop. A 3/4 legendary creature in Temur's Red, Green and Blue Mana colours, she can exile a legendary artefact or land from the controlling player's graveyard when she attacks and slap a discovery counter on it. That player can play cards from exile as long as they have discovery counters on them, evoking Lara's preternatural ability to dig up treasures often thought lost to time. Just to round out the kit, she also carries a tongue-in-cheek Raid ability.
MTG’s line of limited availability, collectible-focused reprints have been home to video game crossovers for years, hosting both Fortnite and Street Fighter cards replete with easter eggs and references. These cards are eventually reprinted with in-universe versions, but the Universes Beyond mixing of intellectual properties with MTG’s excellent gameplay design has proven a massive hit, extending to films, television series and massive franchises such as Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who and The Walking Dead.
Wizards of the Coast Senior Product Designer Daniel Nguyen told IGN that the Tomb Raider Secret Lairs are “a delicate balance to strike” to appease collectible-minded players, those who would rather wait for the MTG-specific reprint and fans of the property hopping over onto cardboard. That said, the whole enterprise has helped create a narrative that Wizards of the Coast values collectibility over playability and is pushing MTG towards an overload of special crossovers, product fatigue and high-price special releases.
Lost Caverns of Ixalan will accompany a Jurassic Park Universes Beyond collection that slaps characters from the dinosaur-centric film franchise onto their own reprints and uniquely designed cards, including Chris Pratt’s raptor wrangler and the internet-famous Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum’s character who immortalised the line, “Life, ah, finds a way.”
Tomb Raider is gearing up to release a remastered trilogy of the last three mainline video games - Tomb Raider, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. It’s no surprise that the iconic heroine portrayed on the cards isn’t the original polygonal adventurer or even her edgy 2000s era incarnation, but instead the rugged, Nathan Drake-esque version from the most recent instalment. Sure, those entries have been popular in their own right and helped relaunch her relevance to modern audiences, but it’s also pretty naked advertisement printed on high-price paper.
See full images of the cards previewed by IGN in the gallery below: