Magic: The Gathering Designer Explains Why Secret Lair Products Aren't Sold Through Local Game Stores

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By Jake Vyper | More Articles MTG Writer/Streamer
January 20, 2020  12:05 PM


Last December, Wizards of the Coast sold a new kind of Magic: The Gathering product called the Secret Lair Drop Seriescollectible sets that group familiar MTG cards with fantastic themes and unique new art styles. Unlike most MTG products, the Secret Lairs were only sold online through WotC's online store, and they were not available in local game stores.

Although the Secret Lair Drop series turned out to be a success, some fans are criticizing Wizards' move to only sell the products online.  Last month, a Seattle-based store called Wizards Keep Games closed down, and the Facebook page for the shop said that "Secret Lair was the last straw." 

Now, Magic head designer Mark Rosewater recently addressed why Secret Lair products are not sold through local game stores after a fan asked him a question about it. You can read his full response from his Blogatog below: 


So why don’t we run Secret Lair through local game stores? The short answer is we can’t logistically, at least not without drastically raising the price and taking significantly longer to get the product to you.

Secret Lair is what is known as a “short window print to order” product. It requires having a single uniform ordering point, otherwise there’s no way to monitor the time cut-off. Also, with print to order, you want a single uniform shipping point. In addition, we want the product to get to as many players as possible (and yes, we’re working on the global reach issues) and many players do not have easy access to a local game store.

Local game stores are very important to us and we’re making more products than ever sold through local game stores, but not every product works cleanly through them, Secret Lair being a good example. It’s just logistically and financially unviable.

It's clear that the big point of Secret Lairs is that they are print-to-order, and it's impossible to do print-to-order before you know how many products are going to be ordered, so if they sent them out to local game stores, they'd work like any other MTG products. Any version of Secret Lair that's compatible with local game stores has to be a different version of the product, essentially just From the Vault.

Do you agree with Rosewater's reasons? Feel free to discuss in the comments section below. 

There's a new Secret Lair product coming this month. You can check out the details here

The Secret Lair Drop Series Year of the Rat will be available on January 27 at 9 a.m. PT, and ends at 9 a.m. PT the following day. 

Related: MTG Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Will Have A Story, Not Just A Summary

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Jake Vyper is a Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author, Social Media Manager, and Founder of
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