Booster pack

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Fourth Edition Booster Pack

A booster pack is a sealed package of random Magic cards from a particular expansion set, designed to add to a player's collection. They have a fixed distribution based on rarity. A regular booster pack nowadays contains sixteen cards: fifteen playing cards and a marketing card / token.[1][2] Starting with Throne of Eldraine, regular boosters were rebranded as Draft Boosters, which formed a line up with Theme Boosters and Collector Boosters.[3]

Draft boosters[edit | edit source]

Over the years, regular booster packs have grown in size and cost:

  • Arabian Nights was sold in eight-card booster packs for US$1.45 per pack. Each pack contained:
  • Antiquities was also sold in eight-card booster packs.
  • Legends booster packs contain fifteen cards.
  • The Dark, Fallen Empires, and Homelands boosters contain eight cards; At least for Homelands, each pack contains six commons, and has two slots that can be either uncommon or rare. This makes a double rare or no rare pack possible. The ratio for each slot is roughly 2:3 for an uncommon, 1:3 for a rare.
  • Alliances and Chronicles booster packs contain twelve cards:
    • Eight commons, three uncommons, and one rare.
  • From Mirage until Coldsnap, booster packs contain fifteen cards:
    • Eleven commons, three uncommons, and one rare.
  • Unglued boosters contain ten cards:
    • One basic land, six commons, two uncommons, and one rare.
  • In core set booster packs from Seventh Edition to Ninth Edition one common was replaced with a basic land card. These boosters contain fifteen cards:
    • One basic land, ten commons, three uncommons, and one rare.
  • The price went up to US$3.29 starting with Ninth Edition.
  • The Time Spiral block has "timeshifted" cards and due to this their rarities in booster packs are different, though each booster pack contains fifteen cards.
    • Time Spiral booster packs contain ten commons, three uncommons, one rare, and one purple-rarity timeshifted card.
    • Planar Chaos booster packs contain eight commons, two uncommons, one rare, three timeshifted commons, and one uncommon or rare timeshifted card.
    • Future Sight booster packs contain eleven commons, three uncommons, and one rare, any of which might be a timeshifted card.
  • Tenth Edition booster packs introduced an additional marketing card and thus contain sixteen cards:
    • One marketing card, one basic land, ten commons, three uncommons, and one rare.
  • From Lorwyn to Eventide, booster packs contain sixteen cards:
    • One marketing card, eleven commons, three uncommons, and one rare.
  • From Shards of Alara on, both core set and expansion booster packs contain 16 cards:
    • One marketing card, one basic land, ten commons (one possible premium card in any rarity), three uncommons, and one rare (occasionally, about one in eight packs, replaced by a mythic rare).[4][5] However, some of the sets may contain different configurations on particular cards:
      • Sets having double-faced cards (except Magic Origins): The basic land slot contained one basic land as usual, or one checklist card, which appear in three out of four packs.
      • Innistrad, Dark Ascension: one common slot was replaced by a double faced card (which can be anything from a common to a mythic rare).
      • Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon: one common slot was replaced by a common or uncommon double faced card. And, occasionally, about one in eight packs, one additional common slot was replaced by a rare or mythic rare double faced card.
      • Dragon's Maze, Fate Reforged (excluding languages that had no intro pack or fat pack): The basic land slot contained only nonbasic lands.[6] For Fate Reforged, booster packs in languages that have no intro pack or fat pack, most of the cards in land slots are basic lands.
      • Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance used Gates instead of basic lands.
      • War of the Spark: each booster pack contains a planeswalker card

The latest expansion set's booster pack retails for US$3.95.

Non-regular boosters[edit | edit source]

Six card boosters[edit | edit source]

Conflux was the first set to be sold in six-card booster packs containing a tips/token card, one land, three commons, one uncommon, and one slot that had an equal chance of being rare/mythic, uncommon, or common. These packs are exclusively available from Gravity Feeds.[7] These could be found at mass-market retailers like Target and Walmart. 6-card boosters were at least available up until Dragon's Maze. They seem to have been abandoned for Magic 2014, Theros block, and further sets.

Demogame boosters[edit | edit source]

Free 24-card Demogame boosters were available for several starter-level sets and core sets.

Main article: sample deck

Sample Packs[edit | edit source]

Free ten-card Sample Packs were available for several starter-level sets and core sets. Six-card Sample Packs were given available for Duels of the Planeswalkers-users.

Main article: sample deck

Seeded boosters[edit | edit source]

A seeded booster is a special set of cards that is made available at some prereleases.[8] It consists of playable cards that help to create a coherent deck, so that way more people (especially newer players) have a good time. There are limited combinations of cards that can appear in a seeded booster,

Standard Showdown prize boosters[edit | edit source]

Special promotional prize boosters introduced in 2016 for the Standard Showdown, containing three cards each. One is a premium card from a currently legal Standard set, including Masterpiece Series, and two are non-premium cards that are either a rare or a mythic rare from a set currently legal in Standard.[9]

Holiday Buy-a-Box Promotion[edit | edit source]

  • Kaladesh: as a holiday promotion, purchasers of a booster box received two bonus holiday packs.[10] These boosters had the same content as the previously announced Standard Showdown prize boosters (for a total of two foil cards of any rarity—excluding double-faced cards—and four foil rares or mythic rares).
  • Ixalan: purchasers of a booster box received the Buy-a-Box Treasure Chest booster, containing two foil cards of any rarity from any Standard-legal set, four rare or mythic rare cards from Standard-legal sets, two foil basic lands, and one out of ten possible alternate art, foil double-faced cards.[11]

Theme Boosters[edit | edit source]

With the release of Dominaria, Wizards of the Coast began testing a new product at 300 Walmart locations across North America called the “Dominaria Theme Booster”. These contained 35 cards (a variable amount of commons and uncommons, and one rare or mythic rare) from a given color and theme, as well as artifacts and colorless cards. The MSRP is $6.99. By limiting this test to a single large account, WotC hoped to perform a controlled test that allowed them to more efficiently and accurately interpret sales results that would help inform future decisions about this kind of product.[12][13]

Apparently deemed a success, Theme Boosters also appeared with Guilds of Ravnica. This time around, they were bi-colored.[14] Later, Wizards of the Coast announced that Theme Boosters would be part of each main set's lineup going forward.[15] The composition of the these theme boosters differs depending on the properties of the set.

Starting with Throne of Eldraine, nine out of ten Theme Boosters will have one rare, but one out of ten will have two rares.[3] The number of commons and uncommons still varies between boosters, unlike Draft Boosters where the number of each rarity mostly remains constant. You'll always get more commons than uncommons, however. A reference card is added to help expose newer players to different aspects of the game.

Collector Boosters[edit | edit source]

For Ravnica Allegiance, Wizards introduced "Collector Boosters" that contained fifteen cards for US$12.99:[16] These featured:

  • 2 foils of any rarity
  • 3 rares/mythic rares
  • 10 uncommons

This was a very limited experimental test run. Collector Boosters were only be available in Japan and North America, and even there not be widely available.

Collector Boosters became a regular feature with the release of Throne of Eldraine.[3] This version contained:

  • 1 rare/mythic rare with extended art
  • 1 foil rare/mythic rare
  • 9 foil commons/uncommons
  • 3 special-frame cards (showcase cards or borderless planeswalkers)
  • 1 ancillary card
  • 1 foil token

Unlike Draft Boosters, which optimize the Draft experience with a lot of repetition and a huge number of commons, Collector Boosters are maximized more diversity in content.[3]

Booster Fun[edit | edit source]

"Booster Fun" is the collective name that R&D use for the types of card frames that may appear in Collector Boosters: extended art, borderless planeswalkers and showcase cards.[3][17] Booster Fun cards evolved from Masterpieces. The difference is that the Booster Fun cards are versions of cards in the set, not from outside of the set.[18]

Foil and non-foil Booster Fun cards may also appear in regular Draft Boosters, but at a much lower rarity. Non-foils appear in the same rarity slot as the original card. Foil Booster Fun cards appear in a common slot like other foils.[19]

Mystery Booster[edit | edit source]

Main article: Mystery Booster

Packaging[edit | edit source]

Wrapper[edit | edit source]

Plastic[edit | edit source]

The first booster packs had a fairly simple plastic packaging, where the sets only were differentiated by the color. Core sets were brown, Arabian Nights was purple, Antiquities was silver-grey, and so on. A problem was that this early packaging was slightly transparent.

Metal foil[edit | edit source]

Nowadays, booster packs are sealed with silver foil wrapping to keep all of the cards neatly in place. Fourth Edition was the first core set, and Ice Age the first expansion, with packs made of foil flow wrap and the first with artwork on the wrappers.

The foil, a mixture of metal and plastic, is sealed off with heat, a process called "crimping". In the process of sealing boosters closed, cards can get caught in the heat press and accidentally get crimped, as well.

Paper[edit | edit source]

With Modern Masters 2015 WotC experimented with recyclable paperboard booster wrappers.[20] Soon rumors abounded about the ease with which these new cardboard packs could be repacked.[21] Also, the cards had room to move and could be damaged during transport. Mark Rosewater later admitted that some challenges had to be solved, before the experiment would be repeated.[22]

In August 2019, Hasbro announced that it will begin phasing out plastic from new product packaging starting in 2020.[23] This will include shrink wrap, window sheets, and more. Virtually all plastic packaging will be eliminated by the end of 2022.

Booster box[edit | edit source]

A booster pack box (or simply “booster box”) nowadays consists of 36 (12×3) booster packs, with the exception of sets like Conspiracy and Masters series, whose booster boxes consist of 24 (8×3) booster packs. Earlier sets had different sizes for booster boxes, depending on the size of the booster packs. This wasn't very efficient in view of production costs. Each booster box can be flipped open to advertise the set with an appropriate piece of art.

Collector boosters are packaged 12 to a box.

Booster case[edit | edit source]

A booster case nowadays consists of 6 booster boxes, or 216 booster packs. Local game stores usually buy new sets by case.

Blister packs[edit | edit source]

From the Time Spiral block on, Booster packs could be sold in blister packs. A blister pack is putting plastic and a cardboard backing around the booster pack, this is somewhat of a theft-deterrent and adds the possiblity of hanging the boosters on pegs (usually found in mass-market venues like Wall Mart, Target etc.). This kind of packing can add cost to the booster pack. Blister packs can hold one, two, or three booster packs.

Booster sleeves[edit | edit source]

Starting with Magic 2013, the blister packs were replaced with cardboard booster sleeves.[24] and about printing and collation issues.[25] The sleeve is a cardboard overwrap around a regular booster in normal foil wrapper. It's just a bigger package to make those items just a little harder to steal from big box retailers. A Booster Sleeve display may contain 12 or 48 packs.

Draft packs[edit | edit source]

Conspiracy: Take the Crown introduced Draft Packs for sale in North American mass-market stores. The Draft Pack features three boosters in a blister pack.[26]

Unique packages[edit | edit source]

Resale packs[edit | edit source]

Main article: Resale pack

Additions[edit | edit source]

Wizards of the Coast toyed with the idea of scratch-off cards in boosters of Unglued 2. Another idea they explored was having it come with pieces of bubble gum. But it turned out that putting something edible in the booster packs created a whole series of stricter rules, and it turned out to not be feasible.[28]

Artwork[edit | edit source]

Core sets[edit | edit source]

Expert-level early sets[edit | edit source]

Expert-level expansion sets[edit | edit source]

  • Starting with Ice Age, large expansions sets feature artwork from three to five cards. Until Onslaught block, small expansions only featured one card art. This was later expanded to three.

Compilation sets[edit | edit source]

  • Chronicles packs have no card artwork, but have the Chronicles globe graphic.
  • Masters series sets feature artwork from three different cards.

Starter sets[edit | edit source]

Supplemental sets[edit | edit source]

Rules[edit | edit source]

The term "booster pack" is also referenced in the rules.

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (October 4, 2019—Throne of Eldraine)

Booster Pack
A group of unopened Magic cards from a particular expansion. Booster packs are used in Limited formats. See rule 100.2b.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (October 04, 2019). "A long time ago, the 15th card slot got changed to a basic land. Why did they do that?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Mark Rosewater (October 05, 2019). "what made the packaging for Modern Horizons special to allow the seventeenth card (the art card)?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. a b c d e Mark Rosewater (July 21, 2019). "Project Booster Fun". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (Monday, June 2, 2008). "The Year of Living Changerously". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Wizards of the Coast (Monday, June 2, 2008). "Changes as of Shards of Alara". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Blake Rasmussen (December 24, 2014). "A Fetching Look at Fate Reforged". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic Arcana (February 05, 2009). "The Gravity Feed". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Mark Rosewater (September 23, 2018). "Can you explain why we are back to seeded boosters in pre-release?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Wizards of the Coast (November 14, 2016). "Announcing Standard Showdown". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Blake Rasmussen (November 21, 2016). "Magic Holiday Gift Guide and Holiday Buy-a-Box Promotion". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Blake Rasmussen (November 7, 2017). "Black Friday Treasure Chest Promotion". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Dominaria Themed Boosters Found at Walmart (Reddit)
  13. Gavin Verhey (May 3, 2018). "A New Era". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Barry White (August 15, 2018). "Guild of Ravnica Theme Boosters, Guild Packs Detailed by WotC".
  15. Gavin Verhey (2019-02-05). "State of Product Design 2018". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Hipster of the Coast on Twitter
  17. Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2019). "Premium boosters seem fine conceptually, but the details of what the collector boosters contain is really hard to wrap one’s head around.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2019). "Does this mean that Masterpieces aren't coming back?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Mark Rosewater (September 22, 2019). "Will the non-foil “Booster Fun” cards be found in their normal draft booster slots?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Blake Rasmussen (February 24, 2015). "Recyclable Modern Masters Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Wizards of the Coast (May 21, 2015). "Modern Masters Packaging Concerns". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Mark Rosewater (June 17, 2016). "Was there results posted from the experimental change in Booster Packaging with Modern Masters 2?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  23. Tonya Garcia (August 19, 2019). "Hasbro removing plastic from toy and game packaging".
  24. Monty Ashley (June 28, 2012). "More Magic 2013 Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Wizards of the Coast (May 26, 2015). "Concerns with Modern Masters 2015 Edition Booster Packs". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Wizards of the Coast (May 16, 2016). "Announcement Day". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Magic Arcana (September 29, 2009). "The All-Foil Booster". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Mark Rosewater (June 20, 2016). "25 More Random Things About Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Blake Rasmussen (June 22, 2015). "Origins Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.