Elspeth, Sun's Champion - Illustration by Uta Natsume

Elspeth, Sun's Champion | Illustration by Uta Natsume

Maybe I’m old, but I remember a time when cards from Magic sets were just Magic cards. No Universes Beyond. No alternate art. Just regular cards, maybe some foil cards, and that was it.

Now, it seems that there’s always some new way to showcase Magic’s most iconic cards, especially in Secret Lairs. Maybe you want cards that look like pulp movie posters. Maybe you want pixelated lands. Maybe, like me, you sprang for that Magic: The Baseballing Secret Lair, because who doesn’t want to see the original planeswalkers as baseball cards? (By the way, it’s confirmed: Jace pitches, and Ajani catches)

That’s neat and all, but sometimes you want the cutest cards on the table. Enter chibi planeswalkers!

Are you ready to get small?

What Are Chibi Planeswalkers?

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes - Illustration by Uta Natsume

Ajani, Mentor of Heroes | Illustration by Uta Natsume

Chibi is an art style that originated in Japan, often used as a form of caricature. The term comes from chibi kyara, which translates as “tiny character.” Chibi art is also referred to as “super deformation” or “S.D.”

Chibi planeswalkers are a series of Secret Lair reprints of some of the most iconic planeswalkers in Magic history, all borderless and depicted in a chibi art style. All chibi planeswalkers are drawn by the same artist, Uta Natsume.

There have been three Secret Lairs each containing five chibi planeswalkers, while another appeared in the 30th Anniversary Countdown Kit.

A pair of other chibi cards show up in the From Cute to Brute Secret Lair Commander Deck. Unlike the others, the chibi art on these cards was drawn by Nana Qi.

Where Can You Get Chibi Planeswalkers?

There are two main sources to get your hands on some chibi planeswalkers. You can either track down the Secret Lairs that contain them, or you can go on the hunt for singles.

Sealed Secret Lairs

Amazon is one of the places where you might be able to find these Secret Lairs, but that’s no guarantee. Some local game stores also buy Secret Lairs, so you may be able to find them there (mine has them at the front cash, along with their Commander precons and older prerelease kits). You may be hard-pressed to find them though, since many of these had a limited print run.

Li’l Walkers

Li’l Walkers

Li’l Walkers was a Secret Lair Drop released on February 17, 2022. It was available in foil and non-foil versions, and was the first product to contain chibi planeswalkers. The five planeswalkers in this drop were Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, Angrath, the Flame-Chained, Ashiok, Dream Render, and Sorin, Grim Nemesis.

Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair: Lil' Walkers (Foil Edition)
  • These chibi cuties are here to prove their loyalty. Look at ’em! Big heads, big eyes, tiny bodies—that’s the epitome of cute, people.
  • Artist UTA NATSUME sure knows how to make ’em real adorable. Each drop contains five li’l walkers, each ready to cuteify your deck or collection.  
  • Contents: 1x Foil Borderless Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, 1x Foil Borderless Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, 1x Foil Borderless Angrath, the Flame-Chained, 1x Foil Borderless Ashiok, Dream Render, 1x Foil Borderless Sorin, Grim Nemesis 

Li’l’er Walkers

Li’l’er Walkers followed on October 1, 2022, and was a Secret Lair Drop with a limited print run. It was available both in foil and non-foil, and contained chibi versions of Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Narset, Parter of Veils, Garruk Wildspeaker, Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, and Sarkhan Vol. Unlike many other Secret Lairs, Li’l’er Walkers was only available on the Hasbro Pulse website, not the Secret Lair website.

Li’l’est Walkers

Li’l’est Walkers released on September 22, 2023, also on the Hasbro Pulse website. Available in foil and non-foil, this drop featured another five planeswalkers: Karn, Scion of Urza, Chandra, Flame's Catalyst, Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast, and Venser, the Sojourner.

30th Anniversary Countdown Kit

Chibi Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
MTG: Secret Lair - 30th Anniversary Countdown Kit

The 30th Anniversary Countdown Kit was released on November 1, 2022. Designed to celebrate Magic’s 30th anniversary, it features 30 cards each from a different year of Magic’s history. Each card in the kit had a chance of being a foil treatment of the card. Uta Natsume contributed Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh in the chibi style, representing 2017 in this product.

MTG: Secret Lair - 30th Anniversary Countdown Kit
  • Shivan Dragon (1993), Mishra’s Factory (1994), and Necropotence (1995). Lim-Dul’s Vault (1996), Tradewind Rider (1997), and Smokestack (1998).
  • Squee, Goblin Nabob (1999), Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero (2000), and Wild Mongrel (2001). Genesis (2002), Chrome Mox (2003), and Glimpse of Nature (2004).
  • Lightning Helix (2005), Bogardan Hellkite (2006), and Ponder (2007). Heritage Druid (2008), Bloodbraid Elf (2009), and Sun Titan (2010).
  • Birthing Pod (2011), Deathrite Shaman (2012), and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion (2013). Siege Rhino (2014), Dragonlord Ojutai (2015), and Thalia, Heretic Cathar (2016).
  • Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh (2017), Arclight Phoenix (2018), and Emry, Lurker of the Loch (2019). Shark Typhoon (2020), Elite Spellbinder (2021), and Nashi, Moon Sage’s Scion (2022).

Secret Lair Commander Deck: From Cute to Brute

It’s a little bit of a stretch to include these, but I’m a completist at heart, and they come up when you search Scryfall for chibi art. From Cute to Brute is a Secret Lair Commander deck that was released on May 8, 2023. The deck features many double-sided cards, and five of them have cute new art on the front face by Nana Qi, and brutish art on the reverse side that was drawn by GODMACHINE. I’ve got to say, Nicol Bolas, the Ravager is heckin’ adorable in this form.


Since these are all older Secret Lair products, you can’t buy them from Wizards directly, and you may not be able to track them down as a sealed product. I’ll always stump for local game stores, but that’s not always accessible to you, whether because of geography or personal mobility reasons.

For that reason, you can always rely on your favorite sources for Magic singles online, including TCGplayer and CardKingdom.

Are Chibi Planeswalkers Valuable?

It depends, both on the individual card and on what you consider valuable. Looking just at TCGplayer, you can pick up each individual chibi planeswalker for anywhere between $2-$30, depending on the planeswalker.

Many of the chibi prints of these planeswalkers are worth a few, and sometimes many dollars more than their original print. That said, the chibi Sarkhan Vol is worth a few dollars less than its Shards of Alara and Modern Masters printings, and the chibi Ajani, Mentor of Heroes is worth about a dollar less than its Journey into Nyx printing. So is Angrath, the Flame-Chained, compared to its Rivals of Ixalan printing.

Are Chibi Planeswalkers Legal?

Yes! As with all Secret Lair cards, chibi planeswalkers are legal for tournament play in the formats where their respective cards are legal. You can play your chibi Ashiok, Dream Render in Pioneer, Modern, Legacy, Commander, and wherever you could play a non-chibi one.

Chibi Planeswalkers vs. Anime Cards

Chibi planeswalkers are specific to Secret Lair products, while anime MTG cards are generally special alternate art cards found in regular MTG products, although some are also found in other Secret Lairs. Some examples of anime cards include some of the 20 Anime Enchanting Tales from Wilds of Eldraine, some of the reprinted cards in Ravnica Remastered, alternate art cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and some of the art in Jumpstart 2022. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but you can find these alternate art anime cards in English language products.

Chibi Planeswalkers vs. Japanese-Exclusive Arts

Chibi planeswalkers are Secret Lair reprints, while Japanese-exclusive alternate art cards are only found in Japanese-language Magic products. For example, some of the cards in the Strixhaven Mystical Archive bonus sheet from Strixhaven have Japanese-exclusive art, while Japanese War of the Spark boosters can have exclusive alternate art.

Wrap Up

Angrath, the Flame-Chained - Illustration by Uta Natsume

Angrath, the Flame-Chained | Illustration by Uta Natsume

And that’s our li’l write-up on li’l planeswalkers! While I’m usually drawn to Ashiok and I’ve got a soft spot for moody boys like Sorin, I think my favorites are Saheeli, Elspeth, and Ajani. It’s so tough to pick just one!

Which of these li’l walkers is your favorite? Which planeswalker characters or cards would you want to see in a chibi style? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Discord.

Until next time, stay smol and kick butt!

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