Last year Wizards of the Coast announced a Magic: The Gathering crossover with Street Fighter, and today we’ve got the first official look at the eight cards that will be part of that Secret Lair drop – as well all 33 cards included in the other drops that will be part of the upcoming February Superdrop.
The Street Fighter Secret Lair will include eight legendary creature cards (as well as one more secret card that will be revealed during the Capcom Cup Pro Tour this weekend), each of which depicts one of the fighters from Street Fighter 2’s original roster.
You can flip through the gallery below to see all eight cards, and read on for the rest of the Superdrop reveals and details:
WOTC’s Mark Heggen tells me they began conversations with Capcom for this crossover about two years ago, and that they tried a bunch of different character lineups and creative angles, but that it ultimately made the most sense to focus on the these eight classic fighters. The team even considered making cards based on specific moves or iconic things that weren’t characters themselves (for example, something like a “Round One” or “Perfect” card), but that they instead decided to represent moves as abilities on each creature.
Those abilities are surprisingly wide-ranging mechanically too, featuring everything from Multikicker on Chun-Li to the equivalent of Skulk on Dhalsim to the Untap symbol on Ryu. That last one is a particularly odd choice given it’s only shown up on a single card since its introduction in 2008, but Heggen says it was explicitly used as a visual joke here: the symbol looks like the quarter-circle joystick motion required to do Ryu’s Hadoken ability in the video games.
“We’re not trying to accidentally ruin [Legacy and Vintage] by casually printing hyper-powerful cards into them.”
“What happened is the team, for all of these, they sat down at the very beginning and just started going through everything Magic’s done and saying ‘is there a fit?’” Heggen explains. “When we’re doing the Secret Lair executions of this, it really does unlock the team to go wherever they want to go with it. You would not put all these abilities in a set, we would probably think real hard about putting Untap or Multikicker. You can’t just weave these into any of our products, but when you’re doing these one-off cards and you’re trying to build a Chun-Li that’s gonna go on to live a wonderful life in Commander decks where people are pulling through all of Magic, it just unlocks all of that.”
Heggen says that Commander is “the primary lens through which [we’re] viewing these,” but that there’s no “arbitrary threshold” they have to hit in terms of viability or popularity in the format. Commander is unique in that it’s one of the few formats where building the strongest deck you possibly can isn’t necessarily the goal, so Heggen says that “if we make a card that leads to a certain kind of deck with a certain kind of attitude, it will find an audience and that audience will play that deck and enjoy that deck and have fun with that deck, and not simply because it’s the right power move.”
Flip through the gallery below to see all the cards in the February Superdrop.
Of course, these cards are legal to play in other Eternal formats like Legacy and Vintage as well, which WOTC also considers from a balancing perspective. Heggen reassures me that they are “thoughtful” about what new Secret Lair cards are doing to strategies outside of Commander, saying “we’re not trying to accidentally ruin those formats by casually printing hyper-powerful cards into them.”
That said, the concept of mechanically unique Secret Lair cards existing at all has been a hot topic in the community regardless of power level. Last year I spoke to dozens of players and found a variety of mixed opinions on the matter, but since then some of the displeasure with the idea has softened after WOTC revealed that in-universe reprints of these licensed crossover cards would be available in certain booster packs at a higher rate than many people had assumed they might be – a move Heggen says has “always been the goal” since they decided to make them.
“Now that we’re making these in-world equivalents for these cards, we want those to be around and we want people to be able to get their hands on them.”
“Before we showed them the numbers, so to speak, with Stranger Things, we weren’t surprised that people were a little bit skeptical,” Heggen admits. “Now that we’re making these in-world equivalents for these cards, we want those to be around and we want people to be able to get their hands on them. They are not meant to be the ‘chase objects’ – 10 years from now, we want these Street Fighter ones to be the cool ones that have a little bit more caché and are a bit more interesting to see. We want their in-world equivalents to be the ones that are there for people who are just looking for the gameplay.”
The Street Fighter Secret Lair is part of the February Superdrop alongside seven other drops as well, most of which are themed around the recent cyberpunk-themed set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. We have the pleasure of revealing the cards from those drops too, which you can see in the gallery above. Here are the names and official descriptions of each.
Secret Lair February Superdrop:
Introducing: Kaito Shizuki — Artist Rorubei brings alternative art treatments for Magic: The Gathering’s newest high-tech ninja planeswalker, Kaito Shizuki.Kamigawa: The Manga: The Cards — Artist RIYOU KAMEI created cards using art from the official Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty manga.Li’l Walkers — Artist UTA NATSUME presents planeswalkers in an adorable Chibi style.Pictures of the Floating World — Artists AMAYAGIDO, AOJI MAIKO, Nagano, SHIE NANAHARA, and TOMOHITO created beautiful lands in the style of Ukiyo-e, an iconic style of Japanese art traditionally found in wood block prints and paintings.Shades Not Included — Artist Ben Schnuck gives lands the ‘80s-inspired synthwave treatment.Showcase: Neon Dynasty — These cards display neon ink foils that sport a fluorescent ink that pops right off the card and features art from artists AI NANAHIRA, ESUTHIO, SENNSU, and ZOUNOSE.Special Guest: Yuko Shimizu — Artist Yuko Shimizu is an award-winning Japanese illustrator based out of New York City. She brings her unique mashup of traditional Japanese art and modern concepts.
These are more standard Secret Lairs featuring reprints with brand new art, some of which are sought after cards that would cost more than the price of the drop on the secondary market if bought together. For example, Bribery in the “Introducing: Kaito Shizuki” drop has a market value of about $30, the same price as the drop itself. This isn’t a first for a Secret Lair or anything, but I asked Heggen if that sort of thing is something they actively think about when choosing the cards for each new drop – and while he didn’t address the prices of cards specifically, he did say picking the right ones is more of an art than a science.
“Every Secret Lair starts with its concept,” Heggen explains, “and from there we then look to the cards. We want cards that make sense.” While that’s the starting point, he also says they “don’t want to spend a lot of time and energy putting gorgeous, amazing art on cards that we don’t think anyone would ever want to do anything with,” meaning playability is also a factor to some degree. “These are not just small paintings, right? These are game objects.”
Heggen also tells me they are still looking to experiment with Secret Lairs in the future, the latest example of which is a recurring collection of basic land drops based on astrological signs. “We’re just trying different things to see what works for people, what connects with people, and what is the best experience for people following along at home,” pointing to the fact that the astrological lands will be on a cycle separate from the regular Superdrops and will be available to order any time during the year.
That experimentation goes for the licensed crossovers as well, as collaborations with Warhammer 40,000, Fortnite, and Lord of the Rings have all already been announced. “We’re still in that phase with these where these go back to our very first brainstorms,” Heggen tells me, saying they are still working through the top of the list of ideas they initially came up with years ago – while continuing to add to that list too. “We just can’t stop thinking of cards we wanna print and artists we wanna work with and hilarious gags that make us smile. We have a ton of fun stuff in the pipeline and and we’ll try different things until we get it right.”
The Street Fighter Secret Lair will be available alongside all of the February drops until March 18 on the Secret Lair website, with the final secret card being revealed on February 19 during the Capcom Pro Tour 2021 Season Final.