MTG Head Designer Explains Why The Walking Dead Secret Lair Cards Don't Use The 'Alternate Skin' Technology

Magic: The Gathering Head Designer Mark Rosewater has been receiving a lot of complaints and questions about the upcoming crossover MTG product Secret Lair x The Walking Dead, and today he took it to his Blogatog to explain why The Walking Dead cards don't use the "alternate skin" technology the Godzilla cards used in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, and why they are not silver-bordered.

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On why The Walking Dead cards don't use the "alternate skin" technology in Ikoria: "They kind of do, but not in the way we did them in Ikoria," Rosewater said. "That exact execution wasn't a good fit for the product. Unlike the Godzilla cards that were distributed inside of booster packs along with the rest of Ikoria, The Walking Dead cards are sold by themselves. That meant we wanted them to maximize their appeal as a box set. Putting extra names on them was aesthetically unattractive. That said, we did build in a way to do backwards version of the Godzilla skins. If needed, we can print a Magic IP version of these cards with a Magic name and creative concept/art. We wanted to make sure that these cards were reprintable if needed."

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths featured monsters from Toho's Godzilla franchise, but they were considered alternate versions of creatures from the MTG lore, so it was more widely acceptable. The new The Walking Dead cards from the upcoming Secret Lair don't have Magic versions yet, so that means that if players want to use these cards in a Commander deck, they will need to get the new Secret Lair.

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Credit: WOTC

When asked about why they are not silver-bordered, Rosewater said: "Silver border means two things. 1) It's non-tournament legal, and 2) It doesn't do things we can do in black border (at least at the time of us printing the cards – Magic evolves over time, so silver bordered things can later get promoted into black border). We wanted these cards to be top-down designs of The Walking Dead characters that functioned like more normal black-bordered cards. In addition, there's one other issue (one that really bothers me to be honest). Silver-bordered cards are treated by some Magic players as being less than black bordered cards and thus have a stigma to them. Some players refuse to play with players that have silver-bordered cards in their deck. We didn't want players thinking these cards were something they couldn't play with."

What do you think about Rosewater's explanations? Do you think it's okay for Wizards of the Coast to print cards featuring characters from another IP with black border? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Secret Lair x The Walking Dead will be available for preorder on October 4-12 on for $49.99/£49.99/€54.99.

Related: MTG Commander Legends Global Launch Date Delayed

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