Good morning everyone, and welcome back to another art-filled art-icle here on Hipsters of the Coast. We may be right in the thick of preview season for Dominaria United, but that’s never stopped the Secret Lair train from chugging down the tracks. As we do, it’s time to peel through the layers that might be hiding beyond the frame and at larger resolutions from this newest offering. This time, we’ve got another Showcase from the yet-to-be-released Dominaria United, a pair of artist series, a few other surprises, and finish up with none other than Magic legend Dan Frazier’s return Return!

There is some seriously stellar art right behind these doors; this is Secret Layers of Secret Lair: August Super Drop!

Showcase: Dominaria United Textured Foil Edition

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Similar to the first Dominaria set in 2018, the stained glass of Benalia has become the showcase of this latest return to the plane in the main expansion. As such, this Secret Lair reimagines the world’s oldest and most powerful dragons in this same style. It’s the much anticipated arrival of Eshpur, a full flex from Benjamin Ee, a second card for Ivan Shavrin, and the very first cards for Lisa Heidhoff and Nino Vecia.

These are just stunning, and should look absolutely jaw dropping in textured foils. Whether it’s your first look at these legends or a full-on nostalgia trip from your early days with the game, these five make a statement.

In Memoriam: Jaya Ballard

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The death of Jaya, though seemingly killed off-screen and outside the story, has become a major piece of this Dominaria United preview season, with Wizards even creating an In Memoriam website and taking out an obituary in the Seattle Times. This Secret Lair commemorates her time in Magic, from her Planeswalker card to the many showcases of raw pyromancer power to the passing of her goggles.

Five different of Magic’s regular artists were brought to the occasion, and they’ve done Jaya proud. It’s never easy to lose a Planeswalker, especially one that has been around for so very long, but the good ones are always taken too soon. Rest in Peace.

Artist Series: Nils Hamm

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Nils Hamm has been working for Magic since 2007, and is very close to the 200 card mark. He now joins the handful of other Magic artists who have released their own artist series, and what a unique little compilation he’s created. What we see is his Bairn (from the likes of Gilder Bairn and Glimmer Bairn) enraptured in classic stories, as real world texts return to Magic’s flavor text. Our little friend is traveling the multiverse of literature and has found himself in some curious and inspiring situations!

Nils’ touch for whimsy and wonder that’s especially seen in his personal work rings through and true here, perhaps more than ever. I love these Artist series, both for what they give to artists and the final, Magic-enriching product they become.

Artist Series: Victor Adame Minguez

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I first met Victor at his very first Grand Prix in Washington, DC in 2016. I’ve watched his art grow and blossom over these last six years, and this artist series is a crescendo of what his technical prowess and creativity has become. These Artist Series Secret Lairs give folks an opportunity for full-flex, and here we even see him leaning into his sci-fi inspired personal work right along with the high fantasy we know and love.

Sometimes when an AD lets an artist run wild, the result is more amazing than ever intended, and that’s what we see here, four brilliant works from a brilliant artist. Victor Adame Minguez is an artist I’ll be talking about for a very long time, and he’s just getting started.

Imaginary Friends by Jeannie L Paske

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Jeannie Lynn Paske works under the title Obsolete World, and creates wonderfully light, often humorous, and completely unique illustrations of the world as she sees it. She’s brought this traditional style to Magic to reimagine some of it’s strangest monsters and the King of Imagination himself in Pir and his ever-loyal companion, Toothy. These are as if straight from a storybook, and a beautiful simplicity that just works. The card selection couldn’t be more catered to her specific style, and I do hope we see her return again.

Dan Frazier is Back Again: Talismans!

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Dan Frazier first came back to Magic in June of last year for Secret Lair’s All Natural, Totally Refreshing Super Drop, reimagining the ten Ravnica signets in a style similar to his signature Moxen from thirty years ago. They proved to be incredibly popular with players and art collectors alike, and he’s now coming back again to give the same artistic treatment to the Talisman cycle!

All ten Talismans from across Mirrodin (and Modern Horizons) have been given the same treatment in traditional media, and turned into fantastical baubles before a bevy of backgrounds. All suited in the retro frame, these should prove to be an equal smash; welcome back again, Dan!

Wrapping Up

This August Super Drop has just gone live as of a few days ago, so you’ve got some time to get your order in. This is also the first time there has been an available discount for larger purchases, so make sure you take advantage if there is anything that tickles your fancy. Between reprint value and straight up art quality, this is one drop where you literally can do no wrong, from stained glass gorgeousness to one of Magic’s very first artists.

Next time in the Mirror Gallery it will be Grand Art Tour time for Dominaria United, and boy do I have some whittling down to do to get to my usual ten or twelve. There are some seriously spectacular inclusions so far, and as I’m writing this we’ve still got a few days to go!

Remember, to see original #mtgart and other #vorthos related things, follow me on Twitter. Feel free to ask questions or retweet to continue the conversation. Thanks and see you next time!

Donny Caltrider has been playing Magic since 2002 and collecting original Magic art since 2017. He has an M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and enjoys telling stories about art, objects, and the intersection of fantasy with real-life. You can find him on Twitter talking about #mtgart, museums, and other #vorthos related goodness. Follow along and continue the conversation!

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