What To Do When a Lair Sells Out, and When It Doesn’t

The Secret Lair has sold out the Hatsune Miku drops, but that’s it. The Seedborn Muses and the big bundles are no longer available either. 

What’s that mean for the leftover cards, and what does it mean for the things that sold out? Let’s look at some examples and get into some plans for the sold and the unsold.

The Spring Superdrop still has most of its stock available. The Hatsune Miku portion sold out in under six hours, in both languages and both finishes, but everything else is available. If no one wants it, why should we care? It’s been on sale for days now, so are these relevant at all?

Clearly, that’s a yes. One of the conditions that can lead to a Secret Lair drop becoming expensive is to pick up on the drops that no one else wants. It’s not a guarantee, by any means. We have obvious examples in the Equinox Drop, that contained cards which sold out fast (everything Fallout) and things which did not (Diabolical Dioramas and Phoebe Wahl) and their value is currently directly related to the availability.

Frankly, this is a good sign. I liked these Lairs in the $40 range for foils, and picking up a couple more in the $30 range for foils is worthwhile. The core concept I want to keep in mind is not the immediate price, the reactionary price. Right now, people are selling in a hurry, either because they didn’t have the liquidity to be more patient or because they want to stockpile cash for Modern Horizons 3. 

I’m personally not rebuying more of the sealed Lairs at the moment, as I’ve still got plenty from the bundles I bought, but the singles from those Lairs are looking tasty indeed, with supply near maximum and we know that there’s less of this stuff out there than there is for the Fallout cards or the Rowena Cai drops. All of the drops have dropped in price, as is standard practice right after all of the orders arrive. If you have some (as I do) just be patient. 

The current arrangement of Secret Lairs, where it’s pre-printed to a certain quantity and sold out after that, is an important metric. We don’t know exact numbers, but we know which sell out and which don’t. Therefore we know when some are rarer than others. 

Before, when Lairs were printed to order, we didn’t have any basis for comparison and we also knew that people had a month to decide what they wanted to buy. For many folks, they saw the early return on Lairs and decided to buy in after the early wave of expensive sales. That has led to a larger inventory of people who bought in with visions of profit and who are now stuck.

But these new Lairs, that are pre-printed and available only to a certain quantity, are different. Yes, there’s a long time for people to decide that they want in, but with demonstrably less being bought, I’m more optimistic about prices eventually rising.

To put another way: The old model of print-to-demand has filled many a storage shelf with overstock items, but with pre-printed Lairs not selling out, there will be a lot less of those items on shelves. Barring reprints, or new cards making cards go wild, the stock should run out that sooner and the prices increase sooner.

Now, let’s talk about the Lairs that sell out. First of all, the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is a well-documented phenomenon with humans, and it’s why the assorted Hatsune Miku Lairs are preselling for over double the original $40 if you look on eBay or other platforms. A few overexcited people are buying frantically because they HAVE TO HAVE the Miku cards or they are devoutly hoping that these resell for $140+. 

I remain plenty confident that the Miku drops are going to pay off well, and $100 would be difficult to argue with. That’s a solid $40+ after taxes and fees, a profit margin I’d take every time. I’d probably keep one or two back, though, because now that we know each of the drops will sell out, there will be significant pressure on the earliest drop, as collectors go for the entire set. 

We can also presume that similar things will happen for the next three Hatsune Miku drops. If one of the drops was going to underperform, it would have been this one, that had absolutely one of the weakest batches of cards I’ve ever seen in a drop. The character, though, and the collectability of the cards, put the demand into overdrive and sold everything out before dinnertime.

It’s a pretty safe bet that even a set of Hatsune Miku lands would do equally well, and that’s been the most disliked Drops of all. Once they finished with the Astrology lands (I’m presuming they did, I really don’t care about that) I don’t think they’ve gone back to the basic land drops at all. Thank goodness. 

As we saw with the last drop, there’s some carryover effects from Hatsune Miku selling out so fast. The first thing to sell out was actually the Seedborn Muse, indicating that more large amounts were being purchased than had happened in previous Superdrops. Even that should have been slowed down some because the limit on this Superdrop, for anything, was five units.

So with a stricter limit on purchases, there was a whole lot of increments of $200 being bought. Wizards knows what the previous purchase patterns were, and likely based the number of Seedborns on that data, which proved to be a bit short of the demand.

Hatsune Miku drops were listed as sold out within half an hour of the Seedborns being sold out. (For the U.S. anyway. EU, Asia, Australia had both for a few hours longer but their allocations all got sold too.) This also means that the larger bundles, and the larger discounts, were out of play as well. The discount on the bundles was only about 13-15%, but that’s a better rate than what’s left now. The Outlaws bundles are both less than 10% off right now, making a buy for the dregs that much less appealing.

On the next drop, it’s reasonable to think similar factors will be at play. We might get more of the special addition, and slightly higher quantities of the Miku drop, as they make more money off of us, but the next ones selling out seems like a certainty given current conditions.

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.