Good morning everyone, and welcome back to another Secret Layers of Secret Lair here on Hipsters of the Coast. It’s hard to believe it’s time for another Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair Super Drop, having just had one in August, but my Secret Layers series is ready to once again go behind the scenes of each of these offerings and expound upon what Secret Lair hype train is all about. Today we’ve got a pair from Magic’s newest celebrity star, a pair of Special Guests, three pseudo-Artist Series, a triple threat of Warhammer from Universes Beyond, and finally a galaxy foil showcase that is literally out of this world.

This drop has a lot to offer and we’ve not much time to get through all of it: strap in and let’s explore the Secret Layers of Secret Lair: October Super Drop.

Secret Lair x Post Malone: Backstage Pass & The Lands

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Rapper Post Malone has very much become the celebrity face of Magic: The Gathering, from fan competitions to his recent near million dollar purchase of a Black Lotus, and this super drop plays host to a pair of Secret Lairs featuring the star. Backstage Pass puts the man front and center as the lead singer of some of the color Black’s most powerful cards, and Magic has even reskinned the card names featuring his moniker.

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The Lands each showcase some of Post’s tattoos within the artwork, and are painted by some of Magic’s most legendary landscape painters (and even a real tattoo artist in Fred Fields), with a dash of Posty’s very own doodles in the form of flavor text. The retro frame makes these wholly unique throughout all of Magic; part classic, part contemporary, and completely cool.

Secret Lair x Warhammer 40,000

The MTG and WH40K Universe Beyond crossover continues with the three promised Secret Lair drops: Orks, Age of Sigmar, & BloodBowl!

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The Orks, green skinned humanoids ready for Waaagh (read war, but you gotta yell it), come screaming into this Secret Lair drop. We get to experience a bit of the entire army. From their leader Ghazghkull to the plane he flew in on, this is what playing Orks in Warhammer 40K looks like, and you can bring that to your MTG table for the very first time.

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The Age of Sigmar drop steps out of space and back into the realm of high fantasy; this storyline replaced the long running Warhammer Fantasy Battle in 2015, and as a player myself, is full of incredibly rich lore, characters and creatures. This is a mix of both good and evil and gives a taste of the armies you could encounter in this world. I’d love to see them run this back with the rest of the armies found in AoS someday.

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And finally comes Blood Bowl, a literal spin on Fantasy Football that takes creatures and characters from the Warhammer universe, straps on helmets and pads, and pits them against each other not for war, but for pigskin pomp and circumstance. This is a cheeky group of cards on very playable Magic: The Gathering staples, and someone is going to have a lot of fun weaving these cards into their deck.

If Looks Could Kill by Jack Hughes

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Illustrator Jack Hughes, who we first saw in this spring’s Streets of New Capenna showcase, returns to Magic for his very own four card Secret Lair.  I really enjoyed his Falco Spara, Pactweaver from New Capenna, his portfolio, deeply rooted in the world of fashion, has now reimagined these four humans of the Multiverse with inspiration from the lines of Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Acne Studios and others.

Special Guest: Junji Ito

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Junji Ito is a Japanese manga artist, whose themes trend toward horror and the macabre, and that’s exactly what we find in this black and white ink compilation of his work in Magic for the very first time. These are quite creepy and keep you on your toes as you scan through the artwork to try and get your arms around what’s happening—before they get their arms around you. This drop comes in both foil and non-foil, as well as English and Japanese, so whatever you’re playing, you can find the perfect fit.

Special Guest: Yoji Shinkawa

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Japanese artist Yoji Shinkawa is best known for his contributions to the Metal Gear franchise, and has brought that same energy to Magic: The Gathering, first during Kamigawa Neon: Dynasty with an alternate art Satoru Umezawa and now with his very own Secret Lair. These are absolutely gorgeous additions to the Magic catalog, and are unmistakably by his hand. I’m already trying to figure out what’s going where in my own decks, and again with four different options of foil, non-foil, English and Japanese, the sky’s the limit on collecting these new works.

The Weirdest Pets in the Multiverse by Omar Rayyan

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Omar Rayyan has been illustrating for Magic since 2007; beginning his career as an instrumental part of the concepting of Lorwyn and Shadowmoor, he returned to Magic after a brief hiatus for 2019’s Throne of Eldraine, and has been a seminal regular since. This pseudo-Artist Series is simply Omar being Omar: his subjects, his styles, his colors, unfiltered and as he sees it. He’s a brilliant human being to listen to and watch work, and I’m so excited he’s finally got his own set he was able to run wild with.

Again, the opportunity for an artist to bring their personal work into the game of Magic is the greatest potential of the Secret Lair series, and we see that fully realized, maybe better than any other drop in recent memory, in this set of cards.

The Space Beyond the Stars by Jérémie Solomon

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If this artist’s name seems familiar, it’s because you’ve seen their work in Magic before, both on and off the cards themselves. Solomon, a Paris-based graphic artist, was the hand behind the key art for both Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow, as well as the alternate art Charms for Streets of New Capenna, and now has his own four card Secret Lair to add to his oeuvre as well. These artworks are simple, and yet their symbolism lends themselves to conveying the card as well as (or in some cases, better than) any work before them, all while staying true to the artist’s style. I’ve said it once, twice, and now thrice: this sort of thing is what Secret Lair is all about.

Totally Spaced Out

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The galaxy foil treatment that debuted in the recently released Unfinity expansion makes its Secret Lair debut with these lands that are literally, pun intended, out of this world. We find these notable Magic landscapes now tossed amongst the stars, replete with spaceships and craters and a bit of science fiction that is hard to incorporate otherwise. These will make some fun deck building choices (I’ve already go an idea for that Fabled Passage), and add just a bit more fun and flavor no matter where they end up in your collection.

Wrapping Up

This October Superdrop is one of the largest in recent memory, and is overflowing with unique art and artists that allows each individual to do what they do best, and be framed within a Magic card at the same time. Since the very beginning this has been the goal of Secret Lair, and while it may not work every single time, this collection is a high note of what this product line can do, both for the game and the larger genre of fantasy art and illustration. It’s by far the most drops ever offered at once (and as such, the most expensive), but whether you’re going in for everything or picking and choosing only what you need, there has never been a better time to join the magic that is the Secret Lair drop series.

As this article comes out, the fifteenth edition of IX has begun in Reading, PA. I’ll be at the show all week and weekend, so if you happen to be in town, make sure to come say hi! The following week will be full of Magic30 artist-related articles, and I touch down in Vegas late Thursday evening to cover all corners of the show. I’m very much looking forward to seeing everyone at both places, and as always am always happy to sit down and talk art.

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 (he/him) is a Senior Writer at Hipsters of Coast writing about all things related to the art of Magic: The Gathering and the larger imaginative realism genre. 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. When he’s not writing for Hipsters, you can find him traveling with his wife, petting his two cats, and watching the Baltimore Orioles.

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