WOTC Uses Unfinished Art For Alayna Danner Secret Lair - Refuses To Fix Problem
The artist-specific Secret Lair drops are about appreciating the art of the given artist. So, it's essential that the art makes it into the drop in its finished form. That said, there's a very unfortunate issue with the Alayna Danner Secret Lair. Apparently, they used an "in-progress" version of the art instead of the finished product. What's worse is how Wizards of the Coast handles the problem.
Instead of sending players who order the drop a card with the finished art, they're sending out the unfinished version - Then printing the correct version and adding it to another, completely unrelated Secret Lair drop sometime in the future. If that doesn't make sense to you, it's because it's an entirely ludicrous "solution." Why? Because the cards are printed to order... Which means it's not too late to send out the correct version. So, why would WOTC not include them? Let's find out.
Let's start with exactly what happened. WOTC announced an Alayna Danner Secret Lair drop featuring four cards - Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Sunblast Angel, Emeria, the Sky Ruin, and Seraph Sanctuary. Then, they made a follow-up announcement addressing a problem with the art of Seraph Sanctuary. Here is a look:
Here's a picture of the art as it will appear in the drop when you buy it:
Here's a look at the correct art:
You may not notice many differences at first, but the longer you look, the more you'll see, and the top one is clearly not the finished product. You can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for Alayna, having unfinished work shipped out to her fans for her Secret Lair, which is specifically to showcase her work as an artist.
Let me pause here to say that she has done art for 78 cards, which are all fantastic. Check out her work here. Furthermore, she's going above and beyond to personally make the situation right when Wizards isn't - More on this later.
As I mentioned above, Wizards of the Coast is essentially not correcting the issue at all. Instead, they're shipping out the cards with the unfinished art. Furthermore, they're not retroactively making things right by sending the correct card (or some sort of compensation) to people who order the drop, as they have in the past. Here's their official statement:
There are several examples in the past of them making situations like this right. In the case of the Valentine's Day 2021 Secret Lair, which was missing Heliod, Sun Crowned, they sent out the missing card to customers after the fact, along with some extra Goblin tokens. Another instance was when the Heads I Win, Tails You Lose was delayed repeatedly. Here Wizards sent two Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty collector boosters to customers while they waited. So, it is possible.
Even more bothersome is that the drops are printed to order, which means it's not too late to simply include the correct art. In fact, they've also done that exact thing in the past. The original art used for Stonecoil Serpent in the Ssssssnakessssss Secret Lair was a bit too revealing. So, they updated the artwork, printed it as they were ordered, and shipped drops with the new art. You can see that here:
Correct me in the comments if I'm wrong, but these situations are very similar. If they can update the art for Stonecoil Serpent, they can also update it for Seraph Sanctuary. Again, these cards haven't been printed yet. And even if they had, why would you print the correct version and add it to a random Secret Lair as a secret card in the future? They're saying that the correct version will be printed and not sent out to people who bought the Secret Lair that it was supposed to be in.
Not only does this screw over everyone who buys this in a big way, but it will also make for a bizarre secret card wherever they decide to place it. The only reason they wouldn't send the card directly to those who deserve it is to squeeze more money out of players down the road. Their current solution sounds like they're selling you the same card twice, which is precisely what they're doing. If you have another reason, comment and let me know.
Another thing that's really bothersome is how little Wizards of the Coast is doing to make the problem known on the page where you actually buy these. They made the post I featured above, but it was in a completely different article on a completely different site. If you head over to the Secret Lair purchase page, you'll see this:
There's nothing mentioning these issues within sight as you first enter the page, which I think is pretty dirty. You could very easily buy this drop and not know anything was wrong until it was too late. Instead of putting the information somewhere toward the top for potential buyers to see before spending money, they hid it in small print as the very last thing on the page. Furthermore, it's more or less just a link to the secondary article instead of a full explanation.
Call me cynical, but there's no way this convenient placement wasn't intentional - WOTC know what they're doing, and it took them over 24 hours to even do that. Perhaps this wouldn't be as big of a deal in circumstances where the entire drop was not focused on Alayna's artwork. However, her art is the entire point, and they could 100% make things right. And they should. But they aren't.
Alayna Danner, however, is doing everything she can to ensure fans get what they paid for. Remember when I said, "More on this later," regarding her efforts to correct the issue? Well, she's taken to Reddit to do what Wizards of the Coast should have done - Send players the finished version of the card. Not only is she a fantastic artist, but she seems very genuine, down-to-earth, and caring toward her fans. She generally engages with excited fans and had this to say about the error:
It's unfortunate that Alayna herself is having to try and rectify the problem when WOTC isn't. Furthermore, she's been all class in not bashing Wizards for their mistake. Despite the issues, she deserves this drop and is very excited about it. Props to her for being so chill and going the extra mile for her fans.
There you have it, folks - I wanted to put this issue in the spotlight so that anyone looking to pick up this drop wouldn't be caught off guard. Alayna is a great artist and seems to be an outstanding person as well. Wizards of the Coast, on the other hand, appears to continue to show blatant disregard for the player base. I would like to say I'm not surprised, but I actually kind of am on this one. The fact that they wouldn't correct the issue when they have shown that they can is insane. Be that as it may, this drop is still pretty sweet if you're a fan of Alayna.