Silence | Illustration by Sam Hogg
Confession: As a 30-something I’d never actually seen The Princess Bride. I know there’s a huge cult following for the movie, but up until recently the only thing I knew was that Andre the Giant was in it and people would occasionally come up to me and say: “My name is Inigo Montoya,” yada yada, you know how it goes.
I was taken aback by the announcement of a Princess Bride/MTG crossover. After all, how does this classic love story fit into the fantasy world of Magic? Well, I sat down with my son (he didn’t care), pulled up Disney+ for the first time in forever, and did some cold, hard research. And you know what? I get it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bit of a stretch for MTG, but the fantasy elements and medieval setting kind of work.
That said, my name is Timothy Zaccagnino, you’ve read my articles. It’s time to di…ve into the Princess Pride Secret Lair.
What Is the Princess Bride Secret Lair?
Buttercup, Provincial Princess | Illustration by Marta Nael
Secret Lair x The Princess Bride is a limited-edition Secret Lair Drop included as part of the “Spookydrop 2023,” a superdrop consisting of eight total Secret Lairs, some with a Halloween aesthetic. The Princess Bride drop consists of 10 cards, 9 of which have already been revealed at the time of writing, and one that we’re safe to assume will be the “bonus card” included in every Secret Lair.
This collection of cards consists of all reprints, though some have been reskinned as characters and events from The Princess Bride movie. It’s a Universes Beyond product, though all of the cards have an in-universe Magic equivalent already.
List of the Princess Bride MTG Cards
- Buttercup, Provincial Princess
- Battle of Wits
- Vizzini, Criminal Mastermind
- Rodents of Unusual Size
- Westley, Dread Pirate Roberts
- Fezzik, Rhyming Giant
- Inigo, Avenging Swordsman
- Miracle Max, Unemployed
- Secret “bonus card”, TBA
Are There Any New Cards?
There are no mechanically unique cards in this Secret Lair drop, only reskinned reprints of already-existing cards. Though most of these cards have different names, they’re still treated as having their equivalent in-universe name during deck construction and gameplay. That means a Commander deck can’t have a copy of Fynn, the Fangbearer in it if the commander is Westley, Dread Pirate Roberts.
Are the Princess Bride Cards Legal?
Each Princess Bride card is legal in formats where the in-universe Magic equivalent is already legal. In other words, follow the legality of the Magic version, and note that none of these cards currently appear on any format ban lists.
What Formats is it Legal In?
The reskinned versions of these cards don’t change the format legality, so the individual cards are legal in any format where the Magic equivalent is already legal.
Is The Princess Bride MTG Expensive
At the time of writing, the Princess Bride Secret Lair is fairly affordable and only available through Wizards of the Coast’s official Secret Lair website. There are two versions of this Secret Lair drop, a non-foil version for $29.99 and a fully-foiled version for $39.99, both of which include all 10 cards in the set.
Most (but not all) Secret Lairs either maintain their initial price point or increase in value slightly, though with the card selection chosen for this drop, it’s unlikely a sealed copy or any individual card will skyrocket in price in the future. In fact, I’d bet this is a Secret Lair drop that depreciates in value over time.
Is It Worth It to Buy the Princess Bride for MTG?
I only see one justifiable reason to buy this Secret Lair, and that’s if you value The Princess Bride aesthetic and just enjoy the novelty of playing with/collecting cards from that universe.
You could buy a normal version of every card in this drop (except the bonus card) for less than $20 total, and there’s no “big ticket” card in the set like there is in most Secret Lair drops. Additionally, since there’s no common theme across the cards in this drop, you likely won’t even be able to play all the cards alongside each other. Sure, you could use Buttercup, Provincial Princess as the commander of your Princess Bride Vorthos deck, but whatcha gonna do about that Battle of Wits?
Bottom line: Buy these if the collectability matters to you, or if The Princess Bride is something you get excited about. Otherwise, you can pass on this or buy the individual cards on the secondary market once the set gets shipped.
How Do You Get These Cards on Magic Online?
Not all Secret Lairs have Magic Online versions, but the ones that do usually include codes in the physical sealed product that can be redeemed on MTGO for the same cards. Other Secret Lairs have been purchasable in the Magic Online store, and there’s always the possibility that specific cards get added to Treasure Chests, though that’s unlikely for Universes Beyond cards that aren’t mechanically unique.
Are These Cards Played in Any Competitive Decks?
Depends, do you consider Battle of Wits a competitive deck?
Unfortunately, the actual card quality here is fairly lackluster, with none of these cards being relevant to any highly competitive Constructed decks in any format, save maybe some niche inclusions like Baral, Chief of Compliance in Modern storm combo.
This is mostly a Commander-centric Secret Lair drop (as they often are), but even so it’s more of a rag-tag collection of cards that slot into different decks than anything to get FOMO over. Marchesa, the Black Rose is certainly an excellent card, and Silence has its place in cEDH, but it’s basically a grouping of sub-par/good cards that players either already have, don’t really need, or already had access to for a couple of bucks if they really did want them.
As You Wish
Battle of Wits | Illustration by Anna Pavleeva
See, that’s a pretty half-hearted attempt to throw in another Princess Bride quote. I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed by this Secret Lair. Having sat down to watch this movie everyone seems to love, I understand the cult following, but the quality of this Secret Lair seems to be leaning way too heavily on people’s love of the movie without offering anything that exciting for the actual Magic players purchasing this product. Also, isn’t the “Fire Swamp” an absolutely perfect setting to use for a Blood Crypt reprint or something like that?
I think this Secret Lair is a total strikeout, but I’m curious how others feel. Are you a Princess Bride Stan? Does this Secret Lair excite you? Are there any other moments or characters from the movie you wish made it onto the cards? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
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