Slated for an initial release exclusively in game stores on 29 May 2020, Secret Lair: Ultimate Edition brings us new versions of the enemy-color-pair fetch lands that first debuted in Zenidkar in 2009. Each box contains one copy of each of the five cards and doubles as a commemorative showcase display. Each card also features brand new art from one of five planes across the multiverse.
Alayna Danner's interpretation of Marsh Flats takes us back to the picturesque world of Lorwyn. The upper half of the illustration is all bright and sunny, a typical Plains. There's even a little stream meandering through it. However, it soon ends in the stagnant pool. Banked by reeds and covered in water lilies, it's still beautiful to look at, much like Lorwyn's Swamps, but the art has taken a darker turn. This makes for the perfect choice of location, as the plane is famous too as a happy place with a sinister twist.
Scalding Tarn, by Adam Paquette, is more dynamic than any other of the artworks, no small feat for a landscape painting. Somewhere on Dominaria, fire and water clash. Through the steam, we see a lake beset by molten lava rolling in from the hills that surround it. While the scene could take place anywhere, and Magic: The Gathering illustrations have in fact repeated over and over, it makes for the optimal representation of a land whose fate is yet to be decided, sacrificed in time to become either an Island or a Mountain.
Sam Burley's Verdant Catacombs, by contrast, is a calm, somber, even eerie piece. The abandoned tomb's "grafstone" showing Avacyn's Collar places the scene on Innistrad. On this world, a proper burial of course doubles as a way to prevent an unwanted Zombie return, but the memorial itself has long slipped from the memory of the living. Vegetation has reclaimed the spot, a different take on the cycle of death and rebirth.
What better location for an Arid Mesa than the desert plane of Amonkhet. John Avon delivers his usual quality with another work strong on the play of light, this time coming from one of Amonkhet's two suns setting.
Another fan favorite, Seb McKinnon, got to paint the lush jungles of Ixalan. His Misty Rainforest again features the artist's signature style, particularly with regard to texture. You can almost feel the spray of water on your skin.
Stores will typically receive no more than ten copies of Secret Lair: Ultimate Edition, making these cards very rare collector's items. Get yours while supplies last!