Secret Lair: The Walking Dead – Financial Analysis

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The Walking Dead Secret Lair is now released. This product has been a point of contention in the Magic community. There are many who are unhappy with how Wizards’ handled the crossover. For this article, I’ll be focusing on the financial side of this release. I will note the social implication where they impact the financial analysis.

The Context

When looking at this product I wanted to establish a baseline. Are Secret Lairs in general a safe place to put money? I went back and looked at the profitability of each past Secret Lair. These were calculated by adding up the singles based on the TCG Low price. I then subtracted 18% for fees and shipping. Here’s where we ended up.

Lair NameSealedProfitHighest CardPrice
OMG KITTIES!161.0165.42Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist33.45
Prime Slime82.9948.78Scavenging Ooze22.85
April Fools15938.27Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded (WB)47
Showcase: Zendikar Revisited – Regular69.9933.25Avenger of Zendikar19.9
Eldraine Wonderland74.9933.16Snow-Covered Island22.48
Showcase: Zendikar Revisited – Foil79.9931.76Avenger of Zendikar23.5
Ultimate Edition22529.83Scalding Tarn63.22
Every Dog Has Its Day – Regular59.9729.35Lightning Greaves24.99
Happy Yargle Day! – Regular49.9925.67Swords to Plowshares15.58
Every Dog Has Its Day – Foil112.9521.49Lightning Greaves24.98
Happy Yargle Day! – Foil71.7521.3Swords to Plowshares16.75
Year of the Rat62.9914.05Pack Rat12.09
Bitterblossom Dreams64.9913.93Bitterblossom38
The Godzilla Lands5310.1Mountain (Godzilla Lands)12.19
International Women’s Day 202069.729.14Meren of Clan Nel Toth25.95
Explosion Sounds484.74Goblin Lackey16.17
Restless in Peace39.971.97Life from the Loam20.79
Thalia: Beyond the Helvault35.99-0.69Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (040)11.29
Theros Stargazing: Vol. IV (Purphoros)43.26-5.74Purphoros, God of the Forge24.99
Full Sleeves: the Tattoo Pack33.86-7.19Inkmoth Nexus12.54
Theros Stargazing: Vol. III (Erebos)51.26-7.23Athreos, God of Passage15.89
Theros Stargazing: Vol. V (Nylea)41.96-8.28Xenagos, God of Revels22.94
Ornithological Studies28.6-10.41Birds of Paradise11.25
Mountain, Go29.04-10.51Lightning Bolt (086)7.69
Theros Stargazing: Vol. II (Thassa)43.76-11.06Thassa, God of the Sea16.69
Seeing Visions39.8-13.93Serum Visions (030)5.99
Kaleidoscope Killers54.45-14.02Sliver Overlord15.67
Can You Feel With A Heart of Steel?35.94-14.8Walking Ballista20.64
Theros Stargazing: Vol. I (Heliod)41.51-15.17Karametra, God of Harvests12.48
The Path Not Traveled28.97-27.95Ajani Steadfast5.45

The “OMG KITTIES!” leads the pack with a $65 profit! That makes sense, who doesn’t love cats? It was interesting to see that many of the Secret Lairs were profitable. More of them were profitable than were not, 17 vs 13. If over half of the traditional Secret Lairs were profitable that’s a good sign for this new breed.

The Walking Dead Secret Lair

This Lair is the first of its kind. It breaks a rule that Wizards set for Secret Lairs when introducing them. Instead of reprints with new art treatments, these cards are mechanically unique. This means the only way to get them is via the drop that’s running right now through to October 12th. It seems that Wizards is attempting to curb supply problems by making these available for a week. Also, it looks like you can order 30 copies. This will encourage resellers to stock the singles. Will these measures be enough to satisfy the latent demand for the product?

I don’t think so. This is a Commander product with mechanically unique cards, that is a limited time run. I expect this to sell very well, but not well enough to make the cards cheap. The Commander demand will be large. To add to the complexity. There are some players declining to buy this based on principles. This will factor into the supply. I’m not sure how this will pan out, but my bet is that will rank highly on the chart above. From a financial perspective it is an easy buy.

Singles

If we look at current pricing of the singles, it doesn’t give us much information. Many of the prices seem like placeholders. To help with the analysis I wanted to rank and price the cards. Currently, the cards are not ranked on EDHRec, so I resorted to a Twitter poll.

I excluded Rick since this card seems to have some viability in Legacy as well as Commander. Because of this added demand I’ll rank him at the top. Before we move onto the ranks and prices, here’s a bonus card that sits in the Stainglassed Planeswalker slot.

I’ll add this to the pricing, but it will have no rank like the tokens. Here are the ranking and estimated pricing.

CardRankingCurrent PriceProjected Price
Rick, Steadfast Leader144.9534.99
Negan, the Cold-Blooded239.9429.99
Glenn, the Voice of Calm339.9529.99
Daryl, Hunter of Walkers439.9419.99
Michonne, Ruthless Survivor539.9414.99
Lucille0?14.99
Walker (Bicycle Girl) Token014.995.99
Walker (Blade Walker) Token014.995.99
Walker (Well Walker) Token014.995.99
Treasure Token014.995.99

First, you’ll notice that the highest card in the set is $34.99, I used the highest card in “OMG KITTIES!” as an analog (Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist at $33.45). In some ways, this analog breaks down. Remember the Walking Dead cards are mechanically unique, but it’s what we have to work with. Also, Mirri was only printed in a Commander deck, so it may look similar in terms of supply. I also used analogs for the tokens. There have been many cool Zombie tokens printed. These are not special enough to command more than the Faerie Rogue tokens from Bitterblossom Dreams ($2-$6).

Pricing the rest of the characters was hard. I knew that they had to be less than $35 and in proportion to their rank. Lucille (the equipment is that was spoiled) could have some demand from the Cube community. A $15 starting price seems warranted.

Lucille may not be the only equipment in this set. There may be other equipment. Michonne hints at that, since I can imagine here holding Lucille. If that’s the case, I’ll have to reevaluate based on what other equipment’s are available. Not only will I need to rank them, but we have to consider that they would be rarer than the other cards in the drop.

Wrap Up

Based on my analysis this Secret Lair is a good buy. If my numbers bare out, it will be the most profitable Secret Lair at $73.51 (not including the equipment). These may be some bold predictions, but this is an unprecedented product. How close am I? Time will tell. For now, I’m making an investment in these. I will be selling singles on Alchemists Refuge for the prices posted here. I’ll be adjusting based on new data as it becomes available. I hope this article prepared you to make a purchasing decision. Thank you for reading.

<3 JM

(All the data used in this article can be found here.)

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