The year of the Magic Rat is a set of eight cards that you can only get online

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At the end of last year, the team behind Magic: The Gathering in Wizards of the Coast he tried something new. Called Secret Lair Drop Series, it's a way for fans of the original collectible card game to dress their decks with unique versions of their favorite cards.

To start 2020, Wizards is doing it again.

The next series is called Year of the Rat, and the eight-card game will only be available on January 27. It includes great versions of some of the fan favorite cards for $ 39.99, created in a style that just wouldn't make sense. Part of a complete card game. But it is a gift, in a way, for players looking to express themselves at the local game store and during high-risk competitions.

The print on demand series is open to all. There is no limit to the amount that will be produced, only for the amount of games that each customer can buy. But, the cards will only be available for 24 hours.

Polygon sat down with Wizards of the Coast product architect Mark Heggen, where the inspiration for the Secret Den came from, and to find out how it works.

Doing magic

The creation of a modern Magic The set involves the work of hundreds of people, card designers, world builders and publishers, but some of the most important are the artists who illustrate those cards. Years before the launch of a set, Wizards brings together artists from around the world at its headquarters. There they set the tone for a whole Plane of their multiverse, synchronizing their creative visions to make a single cohesive product.

But artists are individuals, just like Magic Fans of themselves. Much of his best work is set aside in favor of the overview. The Secret Lair Drop series allows these artists to flex their muscles and invites new creative voices to stab old cards. They are not subject to the general ethos of a set, and the art they create is different from everything seen in a Magic card before.

The first batch of Secret Lair cards was launched on December 2, 2019. Before that, it was promoted on the official site. Magic blog, but really accelerated with the hashtag #MTGSecretLair on social networks. At the end of the week, thousands of fans were logging into the website. To stop the tide and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to make their purchases, Wizards devised an intelligent access process that only allowed so many people to enter the website at the same time. It looked a lot like a virtual queue for concert tickets. With few exceptions, says Heggen, everyone who wanted these unique variants could pick them up.

Each set is only available for a certain time. It is then produced on demand and packed by hand inside a collectible box. Heggen and his team call the system "timeout." Fans simply called it what it was: a success. They paid a flat rate, got the physical cards they wanted and were even able to unlock unique card cases at Magic: The Gathering Arena or the cards themselves Magic: online.

Year of the rat

The promotion was so successful that Wizards plans to continue with its time-to-demand model throughout 2020. The first set is called Year of the rat. It brings together four artists, each with new versions of popular rodent-themed cards. The complete set will be available for $ 39.99 and will come with a total of eight aluminum cards. Customers will also get a unique card case for Magic: The Gathering Arena.

The Secret Lair Drop Series Year of the rat It will go on sale on January 27 at 9 a.m. PT and end at 9 a.m. PT the next day. You can see for the first time all the new high resolution art in the gallery below.

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