In the Secret Lair series, Wizards of the Coast has introduced a collection of limited release cards. Gorgeous alternate arts, crossovers from other universes, some amusing jokes, and uh, whatever these are. Elsewhere in nerddom, Riot Games dropped its first ever TV series this month, and as we covered in our Arcane review, it’s legitimately great. Today, Wizards announced a Riot crossover in a pair of Secret Lair drops—exclusive printings of physical cards you can only order directly for a short window.
The first drop is a collection of the five basic lands, with locations from the cities of Piltover and Zaun depicted by the art team at Riot. Personally, the swamp has just the right spooky vibe for me, and I’ll be tempted to get it for anything I build with the other half of the drop.
We also got to get a little insight into how the crossover went down as well, in speaking briefly with Brandon Miao, director of product for Arcane at Riot Games, and his contemporary, Mark Heggen, product architect at Wizards of the Coast.
PC Gamer: In this crossover with Riot, how did the two companies collaborate on art?
Brandon Miao: Magic is so deep and storied that we knew we wouldn’t have trouble finding cards that matched the show’s themes and tones. We shot right past that part and because both our teams are fans of each other’s work we started asking each other the "real" questions—can our cards be playable in this set? Can Riot offer some nods outside of Arcane to the history of Summoner’s Rift? This was a partnership with a lot of passion behind it.
Mark Heggen: The mission was always clear: find the most enjoyable fits between our cards and their creative direction. It was a really energized and exciting process; Riot was sending us imagery and concepts they thought might work, and we were sending them card ideas. We’d each react and send back new ideas; it was a flurry. We had a lot of League of Legends fans on our side, and they had Magic fans on theirs, so when a good concept snapped into place, we’d all be like “Yeaaaaah, that’s it!” and grin, and we knew we had it.
How popular are the respective games at Riot and Wizards?
BM: It’s not hard to find an MTG player here [at Riot]. In this very project we have some dedicated players. One of our product managers plays EDH and is very excited to slot in these staples in his favorite decks.
MH: We love League of Legends. The original game has always been super popular among Wizards, and we’ve loved watching Riot craft all of the amazing extensions they’ve built out across gaming genres, storytelling, and entertainment. As a group of people dedicated to the power of gaming to bring people together, how could we not be inspired by what Riot has done, and continues to do?
Brandon, is there any chance of a crossover coming back the other way? Maybe seeing some references to Magic in something from Riot? A planeswalker would feel right at home in Runeterra.
BM: Not this time around! This partnership is a celebration of Arcane and the exciting moment around it. Never say never, though.