Review of Secret Lair’s First Full Commander Deck

Heads I Win Tails You Lose Commander Deck Review

Review of Secret Lair’s First Full Commander Deck

Wizards of the Coast’s custom-designed, print-to-demand Secret Lair series has been so successful, there’s no stopping the money train. If a handful of singles wasn’t spectacular enough, Wizards is now going for full, 100-card Commander decks, playable straight out of the box!

And props to Wizards for picking one of the best casual and fun Commanders to start off – partners Okaun and Zndsplt in a coin-flipping theme! We’ve played a similar coin-flip deck with Yusri, Fortune’s Flame leading the charge, and it’s always fun to see the bemused looks of opponents when the coin doesn’t come up in their favour.

The Commanders in this “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” Secret Lair are the powerful pair Okaun, Eye of Chaos and Zndrsplt, Eye of Wisdom. But Yusri is also in the deck should you wish to use him. This Secret Lair even comes with tokens and a special coin for you to use (beware, your opponents will say it is rigged).

The Deck: Double-Sided Foil Secret Lair Cards

For the first time in Magic: the Gathering history, the “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” Commander deck will also offer 5 exclusive double-sided foil cards. These 5 cards are key components of the deck (and 2 of them are your Commanders), and as far as we know there’ve never been foil treatments for both front and back of the card.

As though it weren’t cool enough, the artwork for the Zendsplt, Eye of Wisdom and Okaun, Eye of Chaos pair can be joined, and both sides as well! The other pair of cards with linked artwork is Stitch in Time and Krark’s Thumb.

Apart from the 5 double-sided foil cards, the deck actually comes with 50 regular foil cards in total. Some of these will feature new art but others will effectively be reprints but possibly with the “shooting star” set symbol. Here’s the full deck list:

Now on to the review!

As always these decks are rated based on the following categories:

Playability: How likely the deck is to hold its own against other precon decks in the format?

Value: How good is the deck in terms of financial value and inherent value of cards present?)

Upgradability: How easily can this deck be upgraded and optimised?

Beginner Friendliness: How easily can a beginner pick up and learn the mechanics of the deck?

Accessibility: How easy it is to get a hold of the deck at MSRP at your local game store/online retailer?


The deck’s strategy is pretty straight forward – toss as many coins into the air and hope you win more than you lose. It would be best for players to just focus on their two partner Commanders, as one can draw cards easily and the other will pump its stats to crazy levels. Don’t forget players can lose with just 21 points of Commander damage, and Okaun, Eye of Chaos only needs 3 wins of a coin flip (all players count) to hit that mark.

Yusri can be a good secondary Commander in the Secret Lair deck

Without the two powerhouse Commanders, the goal is just to hold off the enemy with control pieces like Propaganda and Counterspell, while hoping to hit some of the alternative win-conditions in Niv Mizzet, Parun or Chance Encounter. They’ve actually included plenty of the coin-flipping classics like Planar Chaos and Risky Move into the deck. Even the newer Yusri, Fortune’s Flame is in the list and can serve as a more unpredictable solo Commander.

The deck can easily blowout other preconstructed decks quickly, especially since this Secret Lair edition does come with some very explosive cards such as Embercleave. Combine that with the luck factor and you could say anything goes with this deck. You could win big and at speed, or the coins just don’t land in your favour, leaving you too far behind to compete.


There are a handful of flipping cards that will up the power level of this deck. Frenetic Efreet effectively lets you have infinite flips, letting your Okaun scream “unlimited power!” in a way that only Darth Sidious can. Or why not draw your entire Library with Zndrsplt? Toss in a Thassa’s Oracle in your deck and that makes a three-card infinite combo.

There really isn’t much else to add that can further amplify the deck’s goals of chaos and chance. The addition of Steam Vents or a Scalding Tarn might make the colour fixing smoother, but being a 2-colour deck with other sufficiently efficient dual Lands (Sulfur Falls and Temple of Epiphany), we don’t see it as a necessary upgrade unless you’ve got leftover cash after Christmas gifting.

Counter spells are one area that could do with some fine tuning. A single Counterspell isn’t going to come in handy. Wizards Retort, Dissipate and Arcane Denial are all cheap additions that can provide some protection against board wipes, even though leaving Mana open to cast these will also slow down your own development on the Battlefield.

Beginner Friendliness

It’s certainly easy enough to flip a coin on one hand, but can beginners juggle the complex interactions on the other? The two partner Commanders Zndrsplt and Okaun are straightforward enough, but there are some less commonly seen mechanics such as the Cumulative Upkeep on the Karplusan Minotaur.

Then there’s stuff like Ral Zarek‘s ultimate ability – does coming up heads mean a win of the coin flip? Even seasoned Commander players may not be able to tell you without looking it up (the ruling is no one wins or loses that kind of coin flip).

Then there’s looking at all your cards and coming up with the best optimised play. With the randomness of coin flips, it becomes trickier to pilot this deck because you don’t know if step 1 will produce the outcome you need for step 2. And on the flip side, tossing coins do generate a lot of excitement for all levels of players, so beginners are sure to have fun in these games.


“Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” has some sweet reprints to bump up that price tag. Cards such as Gamble and Shadowspear are Commander staples and hold the most value outside of the 5 exclusive Secret Lair art cards. Other notable Artifacts of decent value are Embercleave and Commander’s Plate, which handily also makes the deck more playable (see first category).

Embercleave is a great addition to the Secret Lair Commander deck.

The 50 foil cards also have to count for something, even if none of the money cards outside the Secret Lair exclusives are in foil. The Commander deck retailed for US$100 before shipping, and even in conservative estimates, each of the Secret Lair double-sided foils should fetch US$10-15 each. That’s 3/4 of the buy-in price covered.

Strong Artifacts such as Commander’s Plate and Shadowspear have shown tremendous resilience in its prices, hovering around US$15-20 after an earlier dip. This is likely due to way fewer Commander Legends and Theros Beyond Death packs being opened. With the release of this Secret Lair, prices may drop a little but should bounce back over time.

The regular preconstructed decks also often hold great value, at least at launch, so this Secret Lair Commander deck is no different. It might even go against previous price trends as time goes by. Value of cards in preconstructed decks often drop in time because of a flooded supply, but this Secret Lair deck will become more scarce over the years ahead.


Unfortunately these were only available for about a month in the Secret Lair second Secretversary event, which ended just before Christmas. For that month, it was as easy to get a set (or more) with a few clicks and your credit card, but now that it’s over, there’s just no way to get it except from the secondary market.

A limited supply would then mean that when these finally reach the hands of players, those that put on the market are inevitably going to be higher priced and can easily put some people out of…luck.

It’s hard to say for sure if they would ever do a re-release of the same Secret Lair but so far none in the past 2 years have been reprinted, so we wouldn’t hold our breath for this.

Final Rating

Resale and reprint value would be the biggest reason to get this deck, though maybe less so once prices pick up in the secondary market. If you’re a casual Commander player or just looking to get into Magic, “Heads I Win, Tails You Lose” will be gleeful rollercoaster ride that will keep your playgroup entertained for many games. You might not win as much as you’d like, but we feel Wizards of the Coast made the right call to pick the coin-flipping theme as Commander’s epic entry into the Secret Lair universe.
After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.

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