Booster pack

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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 fifteen playing cards and a marketing card.

An Antiquities booster pack
Fourth Edition Booster Pack

Contents and cost[edit | edit source]

Over the years 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).[1][2] 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.[3] 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.

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 6-card booster

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.[4] 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: samplers

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: samplers

Seeded boosters[edit | edit source]

A seeded booster is a special set of cards that is made available at some prereleases.[5] 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.[6]

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

Treasure Chest booster
  • Kaladesh: as a holiday promotion, purchasers of a booster box received two bonus holiday packs.[7] 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.[8]

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 contain 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.[9][10]

Apparently deemed a success, Theme Boosters also appeared with Guilds of Ravnica. This time around, they were bi-colored.[11]

Collector's Boosters[edit | edit source]

For Ravnica Allegiance, Wizards will be selling a "Collector's Booster" that contains fifteen cards for US$12.99:[12]

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

This is a very limited experimental test run. Collector's Boosters will only be available in Japan and North America, and even then they won't be widely available.

Packaging[edit | edit source]

Planar Chaos blister pack
Magic 2013 booster sleeve

The first booster packs had a fairly simple 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.

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.

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. Starting with Magic 2013, the blister packs were replaced with cardboard booster sleeves.[13] and about printing and collation issues.[14]

With Modern Masters 2015 WotC experimented with recyclable paperboard booster wrappers.[15] Soon rumors abounded about the ease with which these new cardboard packs could be repacked.[16] 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.[17]

Modern Masters 2015 paperboard booster

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.

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.

Draft Packs[edit | edit source]

Conspiracy: Take the Crown draft pack

Conspiracy: Take the Crown introduced Draft Packs for sale in North American mass-market stores. The Draft Pack features three booster packs.[18]

Unique packages[edit | edit source]

Resale pack

Resale packages[edit | edit source]

Main article: Resale packages

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.[20]

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]

Unglued horizontal booster

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (Monday, June 2, 2008.) “The Year of Living Changerously”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast. (Monday, June 2, 2008.) “Changes as of Shards of Alara”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Blake Rasmussen. (December 24, 2014.) “A Fetching Look at Fate Reforged”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Magic Arcana. (February 05, 2009.) “The Gravity Feed”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater. (September 23, 2018.) "Can you explain why we are back to seeded boosters in pre-release?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  6. Wizards of the Coast. (November 14, 2016.) “Announcing Standard Showdown”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Blake Rasmussen. (November 21, 2016.) “Magic Holiday Gift Guide and Holiday Buy-a-Box Promotion”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Blake Rasmussen. (November 7, 2017.) “Black Friday Treasure Chest Promotion”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Dominaria Themed Boosters Found at Walmart (Reddit)
  10. Gavin Verhey. (May 3, 2018.) “A New Era”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Barry White (August 15, 2018). "Guild of Ravnica Theme Boosters, Guild Packs Detailed by WotC". GeekNifty.com
  12. Hipster of the Coast on Twitter
  13. Monty Ashley. (June 28, 2012.) “More Magic 2013 Packaging”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Wizards of the Coast. (May 26, 2015 .) “Concerns with Modern Masters 2015 Edition Booster Packs”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Blake Rasmussen. (February 24, 2015.) “Recyclable Modern Masters Packaging”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Wizards of the Coast. (May 21, 2015.) “Modern Masters Packaging Concerns”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Mark Rosewater. (June 17, 2016.) "Was there results posted from the experimental change in Booster Packaging with Modern Masters 2?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  18. Wizards of the Coast. (May 16, 2016 .) “Announcement Day”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Magic Arcana. (September 29, 2009.) “The All-Foil Booster”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Mark Rosewater. (June 20, 2016.) “25 More Random Things About Magic”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Blake Rasmussen. (June 22, 2015 .) “Origins Packaging”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.