If you are feeling burned out on Secret Lair purchases, that’s valid. It’s been a never-ending stream of cards from the fire hose, with Universes Beyond and Post Malone and 30th Anniversary Countdown, plus everything else that’s come along in the six months before that.
We had something interesting happen, though. A Festival-In-A-Box (hereafter known as FIAB) was released for the Magic event in Philadelphia in March. The last time a FIAB went on sale, it was gone in hours. This time…it’s still available days later, and I want to get into why. What’s changed? Is there still value to be had? Was there ever value? Let’s get into it.
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First of all, let’s do the direct comparison. Here’s what you got from the Vegas FIAB last time:
This time, still available for Philadelphia and not shipping till March:
Handily, both were the same price of $270, so we can extrapolate from there.
The Mystery Booster: Convention Edition is clearly the big draw here. The price went down about $40 as people got their Vegas FIAB and sold the box. These went for around $260 before August; now they are down to $220 or so. That box represents a huge chunk of the value that can be gained from the whole package, and while I respect anyone who wants to resell it, the Mystery draft experience is a great one.
I doubt that the box prices will have recovered much by March, and frankly, I’d expect the value to take another tumble. Remember that while there are 23 cards in that set currently retailing for $10+, there’s nearly 1700 cards in the set. Lots of people buying, lots of opening, lots of reselling. I wouldn’t be shocked if boxes of MYB were down to $175.
One other thing: they made minor alterations to the set, taking out Rhystic Study but adding in a second Sakashima the Impostor and some others. The full list of changes is near the end here, and the changes were done mainly to distance themselves from artists Wizards has deemed problematic.
Amazingly, they seem to be out of the promo Sol Ring to give out. This was a giveaway for so many things for so long, and now it’s the Gauntlet Arcane Signet that’s going for just over $20 right now. It’s a cool one, but there’s competition in the Secret Lair (old border!) and the Foil Extended Art and the Warhammer versions and the other Secret Lair…you see what I mean. I’m glad it’s getting traction, but I’m doubtful that it’ll hold $20 for much longer, especially when the FIAB arrive in March.
I’m also going to call the Commander decks a wash. They chose what they had extras of, and those are the ones that didn’t have a lot of valuable reprints. The decks aren’t bad, they just don’t come with a Black Market Connections or anything like that.
I think Look At The Kitties is a defensible set of choices, with some really cute art. The first cat-themed Secret Lair is reselling for a pretty penny indeed, and we are getting a decent selection of cards. None are super-pricey, but solid choices and good art mean that it should appreciate over time like all of the non-land Secret Lairs have.
Atraxa Sleeves and a matching playmat, when that’s the most popular commander of the last few years…it’s really an inspired choice. There’s a boatload of those players out there, and it’s just going to take a few hundred who are willing to pay a premium to have the sleeves and the playmat match up. I think this will be a surprisingly profitable item, topping off a valuable package and worth the buy, especially if you’ve got someone you can gift the Commander decks to.
The biggest thing is the quantity out there. I fully expect that Wizards is selling a lot more of these FIAB than they did for Vegas. It’s unlikely that they are going to sell too many at this price and without the cache of the big return to gathering, but there’s no doubt that there will not be scarce quantities of this package out there.
I’m not going to be buying a bunch of these for spec purposes, but if I had an Atraxa deck, I’d 100% be buying one for my personal use and selling off the other pieces.
Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.