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Magic: The Gathering Reveals New Secret Lair Sets With Wild Art

Next month Wizards of the Coast will bring something totally new to Magic: The Gathering. Starting December 2, a new “sub-brand” called Secret Lair will group existing cards into small collectible sets with strange themes and wild new art styles. This initiative will kick off with the Secret Lair Drop Series: a collection of seven…

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Magic: The Gathering Reveals New Secret Lair Sets With Wild Art

Next month Wizards of the Coast will bring something totally new to Magic: The Gathering. Starting December 2, a new “sub-brand” called Secret Lair will group existing cards into small collectible sets with strange themes and wild new art styles.

This initiative will kick off with the Secret Lair Drop Series: a collection of seven unique set drops that Wizards calls “a love letter for its fans.” IGN is excited to give you the first look at one of those drops – an adorable cat-themed set aptly named “OMG KITTIES!”

Flip through the slideshow below to see all the cards in this drop, and read on for more details about Secret Lair, the next drops, and more:

OMG KITTIES! Cards – Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair Drop Series

Wizards Product Architect Mark Heggen told me they built Secret Lair “from the ground up to be a home for the stranger, more experimental, more unexpected cards that we think some players will love but don’t fit into our sets and other products.”

None of the cards in this first batch of drops are new, drawn instead from previous sets throughout Magic’s history, and they won’t impact the competitive landscape. However, Heggen said they are tournament legal in the usual formats each card would be. “We’d be thrilled for tournament players to sleeve up these versions if they like the art,” he explained, but admitted that they are probably more likely to appeal to Commander decks or more casual play.

“Someone wrote ‘cute cats’ on the whiteboard. The whole room was like, ‘Yep, obviously, ship it.’”

“We have a lot of passionate Magic fans here at Wizards working on the game, so a lot of conversations in the hallway start off with ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if…’ Secret Lair is the result of conversations like that.” That passion and desire to deliver something silly and fun for the heck of it is at the core of Secret Lair.

So how did Wizards decide on the themes for each drop – and why adorable cats? “I remember being in one of the very first brainstorms for the project and someone wrote ‘cute cats’ on the whiteboard,” Heggen recalled. “The whole room was like, ‘Yep, obviously, ship it.’ We started from that core idea and then found cards and artists to support it.”

But not everything was that cat cut and dry. Other drop themes (which you can see all the names of below) grew from a single card or a certain art style Wizards liked, but they are all fundamentally about doing something fun for fans that Wizards otherwise couldn’t. “We can now create these unexpected cards in a way that’s a lot lighter and more flexible than if they were part of a full set.”

Once Wizards had a direction for a drop, the team would pull together “a huge list of options from throughout Magic’s history, and then started narrowing that down.” That’s why, in the example of OMG KITTIES!, you have a card like Leonin Warleader from the 2019 Core Set alongside Regal Caracal from 2017’s Amonkhet – each with their own adorable and unique cat token card.

“Not all of the Secret Lair cards are this cute and cartoony,” Heggen said, “but we wanted to reveal these first to show off how out-there some of these cards would get in terms of visual style.” He explained that they really wanted to push the boundaries and print art you wouldn’t expect to see on a Magic card, saying “some of them get pretty wild.”

“Not all of the Secret Lair cards are this cute and cartoony… some of them get pretty wild.”

To enable that, Wizards is trying to work with artists they usually don’t on Secret Lair. “We’re working with street artists, comic book artists, traditional Magic artists working with very non-traditional art briefs, album cover designers, and on and on and on. It really is a chance to welcome new artists and styles into the game, which is a big part of what makes this all so fun.”

And that’s sort of the point here: this is Wizards having fun, and hoping players enjoy it too. Heggen even admitted that this sort of thing or these particular set themes may not appeal to everyone, and that’s perfectly okay. He said they designed each set to thrill a specific fan that might be out there, aiming to excite someone with each drop even if it’s a niche group.

These seven drops won’t be the end of Secret Lair either. While Wizards isn’t sharing details yet, Heggen says they “have more plans for Secret Lair in 2020,” even saying it will “absolutely continue” beyond this first series. Better yet, things are only going to get “even weirder and more surprising.”

This isn’t the first time Magic has gone cutesy, here’s its recent My Little Pony crossover:

Cards, Sleeves, and Playmats in Magic: The Gathering’s My Little Pony Charity Crossover

Magic: The Gathering Secret Lair Drop Series Details and Dates

The Secret Lair Drop Series will kick off on December 2, and each drop will only be available to purchase for 24 hours on the official Wizards of the Coast site. While a drop won’t be available after its 24-hour period, it also won’t run out of stock during that time – a system Wizards called “timeboxed to demand.”

“Everyone who wants one can have one, as long as they show up during the 24-hour window that the drop is happening,” Heggen said, explaining that this allows the drops to both feel like a limited and special collectible without forcing people who want one to race to order before they are sold out.

Drops will contain between three and seven predetermined cards and tokens in a customized collector box, costing either $29.99 or $39.99 depending on the drop – some of which will use premium foil cards as well. A bundle will also be available for $199.99 that guarantees you all seven drops.

Here is the schedule of when they’ll be available for purchase, as well as the names of each:

  • Secret Lair Bundle (all seven drops) – 12/2, 9am PT, $199.99
  • Bitterblossom Dreams – 12/3, 9am PT
  • Eldraine Wonderland – 12/4, 9am PT
  • Restless in Peace – 12/5, 9am PT
  • Seeing Visions – 12/6, 9am PT
  • – 12/7, 9am PT
  • Kaleidoscope Killers – 12/8, 9am PT
  • OMG KITTIES! – 12/9, 9am PT, $39.99

Additionally, ordering a drop will get you codes for digital goodies in MTG Arena and Magic Online. You’ll get the cards themselves in Magic Online, but Heggen explained that since most of the cards in this series don’t exist in Arena, you’ll instead get sleeves as “expressions of the drop’s theme.”

As for what the other drops in that list will include, Wizards of the Coast said it will be showing off more them today on its official Twitter account, so you can keep your eyes peeled there for further reveals.
Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.

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TikTok owner ByteDance denies it’s exploring selling stake in popular app

ByteDance is not currently exploring selling its stake in TikTok, despite a report from Bloomberg stating that preliminary conversations were held as scrutiny from US officials grows. TikTok head Alex Zhu sent an internal note to staff addressing the report, which was obtained by Reuters. Zhu told employees that “from time to time you may…

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TikTok owner ByteDance denies it’s exploring selling stake in popular app

ByteDance is not currently exploring selling its stake in TikTok, despite a report from Bloomberg stating that preliminary conversations were held as scrutiny from US officials grows.

TikTok head Alex Zhu sent an internal note to staff addressing the report, which was obtained by Reuters. Zhu told employees that “from time to time you may read stories in the media that are not true,” and called Bloomberg’s report inaccurate. Zhu added that executives haven’t hosted any “discussions with potential buyers of TikTok, nor do we have any intention to.” A TikTok representative also told Bloomberg that “these rumors are completely meritless.”

Bloomberg’s report arrives as TikTok continues to recent attention from US officials, with some senators warning the app could be a security threat. Advisors to ByteDance executives recommended “everything from an aggressive legal defense and operational separation for TikTok to sale of a majority stake,” according to Bloomberg. The company could maintain it doesn’t present any security threat when asked by US officials. ByteDance wants to maintain full control of TikTok, Bloomberg also reported, especially as the app continues to surge in popularity.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is looking into ByteDance’s $1 billion purchase of Musical.ly in 2017. An investigation could determine if ByteDance has to divest Musical.ly assets, which helped build the TikTok platform. CFIUS has begun asking questions, and may recommend measures TikTok can take to “avoid divesting the Musical.ly assets it acquired,” according to Reuters. The investigation comes as tensions between the United States and China grow.

“I remain deeply concerned that any platform or application that has Chinese ownership or direct links to China, such as TikTok, can be used as a tool by the Chinese Communist Party to extend its authoritarian censorship of information outside China’s borders and amass data on millions of unsuspecting users,” Senator Marco Rubio stated.

ByteDance has attempted to address concerns through a couple of initiatives. The company has tried to work with more American groups, including hiring an independent American law firm in October to review TikTok’s content moderation practices. Another American firm was hired to review the company’s security practices. The firm found that TikTok could not have transmitted user data from the China within the period they investigated.

Despite the company’s efforts to try and work with American firms, the more pressing issue is whether ByteDance — a company valued at $78 billion — can change people’s perceptions of using a Chinese-owned app. As The Verge’s Casey Newton wrote in November:

As pressure escalates on TikTok, the company may find that it has few levers of support to pull on. Putting its executives forward outside the friendly confines of a press release would be a start. But so long as the Chinese government is looming behind the company’s business practices, TikTok faces a credibility gap — and it’s not clear what, if anything, can close it.

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New Samsung Galaxy Buds appear to be on the way, and they might have better battery life

Filings for what appear to be a new set of Samsung Galaxy Buds have hit the FCC, indicating that a new version of Samsung’s wireless earbuds might be arriving soon — and the filings have a tantalizing piece of information that might indicate improved battery life (via Droid Life). In a diagram of where the…

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New Samsung Galaxy Buds appear to be on the way, and they might have better battery life

Filings for what appear to be a new set of Samsung Galaxy Buds have hit the FCC, indicating that a new version of Samsung’s wireless earbuds might be arriving soon — and the filings have a tantalizing piece of information that might indicate improved battery life (via Droid Life).

In a diagram of where the required FCC labeling may appear on the new Galaxy Buds, you can see that each bud may have a capacity of “300mA,” and that the case may have a capacity of “600mA.” That could theoretically mean up to triple the battery life for each bud over the Galaxy Buds on the market today, and a slight improvement in battery life for the case.

Diagram of FCC label, with my emphasis in red.
Image: FCC

You shouldn’t necessarily trust those numbers, though, because for the original Galaxy Buds, the battery ratings in its FCC filings were higher than the ones on the retail product.

It’s worth noting that the current Galaxy Buds already have good battery life compared to other wireless earbuds. The base AirPods, for example, get about five hours on a single charge, while the Galaxy Buds were advertised at six hours for the buds and seven hours of reserve for the case. In his review, former Verge staffer Vlad Savov found real-world usage to be in line with Samsung’s estimates.

The FCC filings don’t have any other pictures, though, so we don’t know what the buds or case might look like, and we don’t know how much they might cost. The filings also don’t give us much of a clue about when the new Galaxy Buds might come out, as filings often show up weeks or months before products hit the market.

However, Samsung is reportedly planning to unveil the Galaxy S11 and a new vertically folding Galaxy Fold in February, so perhaps Samsung will debut the new Galaxy Buds in February as well.

When emailed for comment about the filings, a Samsung spokesperson said they had nothing to share.

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Axiom Verge 2 Announced

Indie hit Axiom Verge is officially getting a sequel, developer Tom Happ announced Tuesday as part of Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase. The follow-up to the 2015 Metroid-inspired platformer is simply named Axiom Verge 2, and Happ said he’s been quietly working on it for the past four years. The sequel is set to launch in…

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Axiom Verge 2 Announced

Indie hit Axiom Verge is officially getting a sequel, developer Tom Happ announced Tuesday as part of Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase.

The follow-up to the 2015 Metroid-inspired platformer is simply named Axiom Verge 2, and Happ said he’s been quietly working on it for the past four years. The sequel is set to launch in Fall of 2020.

From the looks of its reveal trailer, Axiom Verge 2 will generally follow a similar 2D Metroidvania formula to the original, though its pixel art graphics are potentially a slightly higher resolution and certainly a bit brighter in parts compared to the original. The words “you are not in control, you are not yourself, you belong to us now” could also be seen on screen, hinting at the plot it may follow.

We gave Axiom Verge a 7.9 in our 2015 review, praising its weapons, character progression, and impressive bosses, but saying its world wasn’t as engrossing as the one in Metroid that it was so clearly inspired by.

You can read through every announcement from Tuesday’s Nintendo Indie World Showcase, including the reveal of Golf Story Sequel called Sports Story, and read our full Axiom Verge review here.

Tom Marks is IGN’s Deputy Reviews Editor and resident pie maker. You can follow him on Twitter.

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