Mountain Goats MTG Secret Lair is all mountains, no goats

Wizards of the Coast gave creative control over the new Secret Lair to Mountain Goats frontman and Magic: the Gathering superfan John Darnielle.

MtG Secret Lair, Featuring: The Mountain Goats, closeup of artwork of the mountains of Lorwyn

Wizards of the Coast announced the MTG Secret Lair ‘Featuring: the Mountain Goats’ as part of the 2023 Summer Superdrop. Mountain Goats’ lead singer and Magic: the Gathering fan John Darnielle had creative control over the lair, which contains ten basic mountains with unique art.

According to the product description on the MTG Secret Lair website, “Darnielle set these cards on Lorwyn, created the art descriptions, hand selected the artists, and reviewed the art as it was being produced. On top of all that, he penned the epic prophecy featured in the flavor text across these 10 cards”.

Darnielle is a massive Magic the Gathering fan, as this video interview with WotC shows:

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In fact, he’s a bit of a nerd in general. His 2019 album ‘In League with Dragons’ was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons and the promotional tour featured a live stream from Wizards of the Coast HQ.

If you’re an MtG commander player or Arena deck brewer who’s not familiar with the Mountain Goats and you’re wondering why the rest of the band wasn’t involved with the Secret Lair, Darnielle is the main creative force in the band and its only permanent member. Since 1995 he’s recorded 21 Mountain Goats albums. To recommend just one, ‘Tallahassee’ is fantastic.

Although there’s no actual Mountain Goat card in the set, or even a Trading Post or Battering Craghorn, there are a smattering of goats in the artwork. Setting the cards on Lorwyn is another nod towards the goaty theme; Lorwyn block plenty of goats in card art or card effects, and the first Goat token appeared in the connected MtG set Eventide, which is technically Lorwyn, just in its evil night-time form.

If you mostly play online make sure to check out our guide to MtG Arena Codes to get your virtual hands on some free digital packs.