Last updated on October 28, 2022
Magister of Worth | Illustration by John Stanko
Booster boxes are good for lots of occasions, whether you’re a long-time player planning a Draft night with friends or a newer player looking to build your collection. As Magic continues to get more expensive, it’s smart to do some research to know which booster box deserves your hard-earned money.
Other sources might tell you not to buy a booster box at all, but there are tons of reasons why you might want to spring for one. I get the appeal and sometimes buy them myself. It’s fun to have a bunch of boosters to draft with friends, or you can hang on to them for future Chaos Drafts.
Sometimes a set comes along that resonates with you. You want a bunch of cards from it, not for value or a specific deck, but because you like the aesthetic or theme. Boxes are great in the right situations, but it’s important to know what to look for.
So that’s enough talk. Let’s get into the best booster boxes money can buy!
The Best Booster Boxes
Start from Scratch | Illustration by Bayard Wu
There are a few factors to look at when shopping for the best booster box. What kind of cards can you get from the booster? What formats is the set legal in? What’s the Draft environment like? Knowing what you want out of a box is important before you buy it.
If you want a box that doesn’t feature on this list, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad investment. You just might want something different from what we’re measuring on these boxes. This is a good place to start if you’re not sure what box you want to buy and need a little guidance.
Before we get into it I want to mention a few sets I think have a lot of really great things in them but don’t belong on the main list for one reason or another. That said, you’re still getting a great product if these boxes’ drawbacks don’t dissuade you from grabbing one.
Double Masters 2022
Double Masters 2022 is the perfect set for a newer player looking to build their collection of older and more powerful cards, maybe to get a start in Commander or other formats outside of Standard. But its high price tag might be too steep for newer players.
It’s a great box if you can afford it. There are staples like Force of Negation and Bitterblossom, as well as great commanders like Kaalia of the Vast. Players looking to build a Cube find tons of powerful pieces for it. Some are even printed at uncommon and got some cool alternate art treatments, like Blood Artist.
- 24 Double Masters 2022 MTG Draft Boosters
- 16 Magic cards per Draft Booster
- 2–4 cards of rarity Rare or higher in every pack
- 2 Traditional Foil cards in every pack
- Get a double dose of some of the strongest, coolest Magic cards ever made.
Unstable is probably my favorite of the Un-sets and has a lot of things that make it very fun to draft. The set intentionally watermarks cards that work well together to create easily defined Draft archetypes and make drafting easier for inexperienced players.
The cards had the same funny mechanics that are still fun to play, like Earl of Squirrel’s nutty squirrellink ability. Unstable also has a unique and interesting card type: contraptions. These allow you to have a separate deck full of contraptions that add a new dimension to the game.
The lands are another reason Unstable is a great booster box. The full-art lands in this set are some of the best. You’re guaranteed one per pack, meaning you get 36 amazing lands to include in your decks.
This might not be the set for you if you’re looking to grow your collection. Silver-bordered cards like the ones in this set are illegal in every format, so there’s no real guarantee you’ll get any use out of these cards after the initial Draft.
- Display box of 36 booster packets
- Unstable contains 15 randomly inserted silver-bordered cards per booster pack
- A silver-bordered, non-tournament-legal product
Few Magic sets have struck me like New Phyrexia. Each of the five colors represents one of five unique factions on the now corrupted plane of Mirrodin. The set features five iconic villains in the form of the praetor and countless striking pieces of art like Phyrexian Unlife. This set boasts a lot of powerful cards, but a few things hold it back from being on the main list.
First and foremost, the price tag is outrageous. If you can afford to spend over $1,000 on a booster box, you can afford to without anyone’s advice. It’s also very hard to find a box of New Phyrexia. A lot of the big sellers don’t have it, instead offering a fat pack that’s still more expensive than a lot of full boxes.
But New Phyrexia is the box I’d want more than any if price and availability were no object.
Multiplayer Magic formats are a ton of fun, especially if you’re drafting with a group of friends. Conspiracy booster boxes are one of the best to buy if you’re planning a group event because it was designed as a multiplayer Draft experience. It’s also a great change of pace if your play group loves multiplayer formats but needs a change from Commander.
This set also has some pretty cool cards in it. Marchesa, the Black Rose is a very fun Grixis () commander, and Dack Fayden is both the greatest thief in the multiverse and one of my favorite planeswalkers.
I highly recommend Conspiracy as a great way to have fun with your friends. You might even pull an Avatar of Woe!
- 1 Booster box contains 36 booster packs of MTG Conspiracy Singles
The original Innistrad is widely considered to be one of the best Draft environments available. There are archetypes available for a lot of the color pairings, so it’s easy to create synergy in your draft deck whichever way you decide to go.
Unfortunately the Innistrad boxes are very expensive, so you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny to experience a Draft of Innistrad. But this set can be a blast if you’re a big fan of Draft and want to treat yourself to the best of the best (and have friends willing to split the cost of the box).
- Innistrad is a world beset by terrible evils on all sides and betrayed by the hope it held most dear. Avacyn has finally returned, but what new evils have come with her? Madness is plaguing the inhabitants
- In Shadows Over Innistrad, Magic card game players will follow the clues to unravel the madness of Innistrad, the gothic horror themed plane in the mtg planewalker multiverse!
- The set features the same tribal components as the Innistrad block with the five main tribes each being split over an allied color pair. Spirits primarily in white and blue, Zombies in blue and black, Vampires in black and red, Werewolves in red and green, and Humans primarily in green and white.
- New abilities include Delirium. Delirium is a new ability word that highlights cards that get better if you have four or more card types represented in your graveyard. Investigate is a new keyword action found in Shadows over Innistrad
- Each booster box is brand new / factory sealed, each box contains 36 booster packs, each pack contains 15 random cards from the set, guaranteed to include at least 1 Rare, 3 Uncommons, and 1 Land card, with a chance for rare foils & mythics.
#4: Streets of New Capenna
Streets of New Capenna booster boxes are the best current set to buy if you’re a Standard player. It’s going to be in Standard for longer than older sets, but some of its cards have crept into other formats, like Ledger Shredder and the completed Triome cycle. You’ll build up your collection of Standard cards but also potentially get some cards for other formats.
This is a very fun set to draft. There’s a lot of mana fixing available in the form of dual lands, tri-lands, and pseudo-fetch lands. It’s easy to create powerful 3-color decks and focus on the plane’s crime families.
Buying a Streets of New Capenna box is a way to get a little more drafting experience at home before stepping into a more competitive scene.
- 36 Streets of New Capenna MTG Draft Boosters + 1 foil box topper card
- The best SNC packs for booster draft play—just draft, add lands, and play
- 15 Magic cards per Draft Booster
- 1 Rare or Mythic Rare card in every pack
- Metropolis Full-Art Land in 33% of boosters
#3: Mystery Booster
Mystery Boosters are a unique Magic product first introduced at conventions. The usual Magic set has a couple hundred cards in it, but Mystery Boosters have over 1,600 possible cards.
This is the ultimate collector’s or decision paralysis box: it grants access to a huge range of cards across Magic’s long history. You can’t expect to draw any specific cards from such a big pool, but there are some powerhouses in here, like Mana Crypt.
This seismic card availability also makes for a very fun and unique Draft environment because it’s essentially a pre-packaged Chaos Draft. You never really know what to expect, so you’re forced to think carefully about each choice you make. That can be off-putting to newer players, but experienced drafters looking for a challenge will really love drafting this set.
You might even draw some incredible playtest cards like Slivdrazi Monstrosity or Sliv-Mizzet, Hivemind if you can get your hands on the convention version of these boosters.
- All 1670 species + 121 species
- Full booster box
- Released 2021 August
- 2 white commons or uncommons
2 blue commons or uncommons 2 black commons or uncommons
2 red commons or uncommons
2 green commons or uncommons
1 multicolor common or uncommon 1 artifact or land common or uncommon 1 rare or mythic rare with the card frame introduced in Core Set 2015 1 card from before Core Set 2015 (can be a common, uncommon, rare or mythic rare) 1 "playtest card"—an original design that sometimes bends Magic’s traditional rules
#2: Khans of Tarkir
Everything great about Streets of New Capenna Draft is also true for Khans of Tarkir. There are five great 3-color options for you to draft that are clearly defined by the in-universe clan the combination represents. There’s great mana fixing to make decks better, and there are powerful cards that can be played in multiple formats.
Khans is better overall than New Capenna thanks to true fetch lands, which are essential for Modern and great for Commander. Khans of Tarkir boxes are a great option for your next Draft if you don’t mind spending a little more than you would for a Standard set.
#1: Modern Horizons 2
It’s hard to beat Modern Horizons 2 as a great multi-faceted booster box, even a year after its release. This set has it all. Fun Draft environment? You bet. Value? Reprinted fetch lands and unique cards like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer make it worth the money.
What’s even better is that Modern Horizon 2’s cards are great for both Modern and Commander. This will likely be my top choice until Modern Horizons 3 inevitably comes out.
- 36 Modern Horizons 2 (MH2) Magic: The Gathering Draft Boosters
- 1 New-to-Modern reprint in every pack
- 1–2 Rares and/or Mythic Rares in every pack
- Just add lands and draft with up to 12 players
- Introduces powerful cards and beloved reprints to the Modern format
Budget Booster Boxes
Magic players are painfully aware that their access to certain cards and sets is highly limited by price, but there are luckily some budget-friendly booster boxes that are still great to play with.
#3: Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate
I don’t know if expectations for Commander Legends 2 were too high or if the release schedule was too tight between this and Double Masters 2022. Either way, Battle for Baldur’s Gate is a fun Commander Draft set that’s been largely overlooked.
There isn’t much value outside of the ancient dragon cycle, but this set is super fun to draft. There are also some familiar faces and monsters in here that enhance the whole experience for Baldur’s Gate and D&D fans.
Battle for Baldur's Gate boxes are pretty cheap online thanks to the set’s relative commercial failure. This is a great budget option if you and some friends want to draft some Commander decks. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to open this box hoping to get a lot of value out of it.
- 24 Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate MTG Draft Boosters
- 20 Magic cards per CLB Draft Booster
- 1–4 cards of rarity Rare or higher in every pack
- At least 2 Legendary cards and 1 Traditional Foil card in every pack
- Grab 3 boosters, pick 2 cards at a time, and build a 60-card Commander deck
Jumpstart was a very fun Magic product. Essentially Draft-lite, Jumpstart packs were each a 20-card half-deck. Just shuffle two pre-made decks together and you’re ready to play, no deck building required! This might honestly be preferable to a Draft for newer players since the decks are put together.
Jumpstart booster boxes are a fun way to play pre-made decks, but they also have some great cards. There are plenty of great reprints, like Craterhoof Behemoth, Phyrexian Tower, and Rhystic Study. Some of its great original cards have become powerful in other formats, like Allosaurus Shepherd.
- Grab two boosters shuffle them together and you’re ready to go. Jumpstart is a unique way to play Magic The Gathering (MTG) that lets you assemble a 40-card deck and start battling in minutes
- The Jumpstart booster box includes 24 booster packs each with 20 cards—enough for you and your friends to open your packs and get straight into the action again and again
- Each booster pack has 20 cards and a theme Will you get Cats and Dragons vs Elves and Unicorns. Pirates and Angels vs Dogs and Dinosaurs. Open your boosters and find out
- Each booster pack contains one of 121 possible card lists so there are over 14 000 possible 40-card decks.
- Jumpstart booster packs are loaded with cards from throughout Magic The Gathering (MTG) history plus 37 cards that get their first-ever printing and dozens of cards from Core Set 2021 (M21)
#1: Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
Much like the original Innistrad, Midnight Hunt has Draft archetypes for pretty much every color pairing. Midnight Hunt boxes are a great option if you’re looking to get a cheaper facsimile for one of the game’s best Draft environments.
This set is also still Standard legal, so you’re pulling cards you can potentially use in Constructed formats if that’s your game. Slow lands are some of the best dual land options for Commander and are also included in this set. The Meathook Massacre is a great card for a variety of formats.
This is also a great box to choose for a themed Draft come Halloween.
- 36 Innistrad: Midnight Hunt MTG Draft Boosters
- 15 MTG cards per Draft Booster
- 2 double-faced cards in every booster
- 1 Eternal Night full-art basic land in every pack
- Become what you fear in a gothic horror set overrun with werewolves, warlocks, and spooky mechanics
Should You Buy Booster Boxes?
This is a very “your methods may vary” kind of thing. If you want to buy a booster box and it’s in your budget, go for it. But I think that some things are important to consider when buying a box to make sure you’re buying it for the right reasons.
Booster boxes are a way to get cheaper packs for Drafts and semi-randomly build your collection. They’re can even be a way to gamble some disposable income. Booster boxes are not a sure-fire to get the card you want. The chances of getting the exactly what you want out of a set are very low, so buying singles may be the way to go if that’s your goal.
I would never tell you to never buy a box, but there are some things to look at when deciding if the experience is for you.
Cracking Packs for Value
Entire sets are spoiled weeks in advance and MSRP is a thing of the past for Magic. Retailers are free to set prices on booster boxes based on relative value and scarcity, like when Double Masters 2022 Draft boxes shot up nearly $100 over the course of spoiler season.
TCGPlayer sets a widely-respected market standard, so you’re unlikely to find a box at a lower price than the actual expected value of the cards inside. Older sets are even more likely to be priced closer to or above the likely value you’ll draw out of their boosters. While there’s always a chance that you pull more value out of your packs than you initially paid, there’s a greater chance you won’t.
For value, opening booster packs is kind of like playing a slot machine, except you’re stuck finding a place to store your 25-cent bulk rares. YouTube videos and social media posts might convince you that every box will get you an amazing haul, but they’re the exception rather than the rule. I used to run my own LGS can assure you that dud boxes exist and are way more common than treasure troves.
Draft with Friends
Buying a box to draft with friends also lets you split the price, which is great if you want to grab one of the more expensive boxes you wouldn’t usually buy on your own. And you can always buy a box with the intention to keep all the cards but still have a Draft with a group of friends.
Whatever option you choose, buying a box to draft is one of the best reasons to get one.
Loving a Set
Discussions about buying a booster box often revolve completely around the financial aspects of it. But it’s completely valid to want a booster box for whatever reason strikes you.
Last year I bought a box of Midnight Hunt because I loved the atmosphere it had, and it came out perfectly in time for autumn. While I’m here to give you advice on what to buy, don’t let my picks discourage you from buying a set that you connect with!
Standard vs. Premium Boosters
There are standard boosters, and then there are premium boosters. Premium boosters are set specific and follow their own rules, but standard boosters have specific context structures.
Back to Basics | Illustration by Terese Nielsen
These are the 15-card draft boosters you know and love. They cost around $4 and have the following cards:
- 10 common
- 3 uncommon
- 1 rare/mythic
There’s also a 33% chance that a traditional foil of any rarity takes the place of a common card.
Originating in Zendikar Rising, set boosters have become a regular part of Magic’s pack repertoire. These are slightly different from draft boosters in a few ways. They have 12 or 13 cards instead of 15, and their card distribution is pretty complicated:
1 art card (5% chance of a “signature” variant)
1 land (15% chance of a foil land)
6 “connected” (commons and uncommons with a common type/theme):
- 35% chance of 5 commons, 1 uncommons
- 40% chance of 4 commons, 2 uncommon
- 12.5% chance of 3 commons, 3 uncommons
- 7% chance of 2 commons, 4 uncommons
- 3.5% chance of 1 common, 5 uncommons
- 2% chance of 6 uncommons
1 “showcase” variant
2 wildcards of any card/rarity:
- 49% chance of 2 commons
- 24.5% chance of 1 common, 1 uncommon
- 17.5% chance of 1 common, 1 rare/mythic
- 3.1% chance of 2 uncommon
- 4.3% chance of 1 uncommon, 1 rare/mythic
- 2.6% chance of 2 rare/mythics
The rare and mythics may be “showcase” variants
1 rare/mythic (13% chance on mythic, 1/7.4)
1 foil of any card/rarity
1 token/ad card with a chance of being a card from “the list”
You basically sacrifice the boosters’ ability to be used in a Draft to get a chance at multiple rares. It’s unlikely you’ll get up to four in a booster, but the average pack has more than one.
I don’t think it’s too controversial for me to say that collector boosters were originally a bit of a scam. Luckily Wizards has totally revamped them and made them a much more viable option.
Collector boosters now include:
- 1 traditional foil “Booster Fun” rare or mythic rare
- 1 non-foil “Booster Fun” rare or mythic rare
- 1 non-foil extended-art rare or mythic rare
- 1 non-foil extended-art Commander rare or mythic rare
- 1 traditional foil rare or mythic rare
- 1 traditional foil basic land
- 1 traditional foil common or uncommon,
- 2 non-foil commons or uncommons
- 2 traditional foil uncommons
- 4 traditional foil commons
- 1 traditional foil double-sided token
“Booster fun” refers to whatever special treatments are being done to cards in a specific set. In Streets of New Capenna, this meant you run into gilded foils or possibly Phyrexian language cards.
Moonsnare Specialist | Illustration by Lie Setiawan
Magic has a variety of premium sets, like Masters’ sets, Commander Legends, and Mystery Boosters. These premium sets usually have some key difference in terms of pack contents.
For example, Commander Legends and Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate both included 20 cards in a pack and guaranteed at least one legendary creature in each one to enhance the Commander Draft experience. Double Masters and Double Masters 2022 both included two rare/mythic cards in each pack, hence the “double.”
Make sure to pay attention to these differences when buying these premium sets so that you have a full understanding of what you’re buying!
Opened Booster Boxes
One big upside to buying a booster box to draft with is that it doesn’t have to be a one-time experience. A lot of players sleeve up the card they get out of a box and then recreate the booster packs.
You don’t have to keep track of exactly which card came from what pack, but I recommend recreating packs with the appropriate ratio of commons, uncommons, and rares/mythics. If you were lucky enough to pull some foils, feel free to randomly distribute them throughout the packs as they normally would be.
You probably won’t see every card that was available the first time you draft a box. Drafting the same one a second or even third time can produce unique experiences. That box becomes more than a one-time purchase, it’s a game piece to be used repeatedly. Do it more than once and you can mix and match to create your own Chaos Drafts and keep the drafting experience fresh!
Using Booster Boxes to Play Remotely
Drafting in person wasn’t feasible during the height of the pandemic. Some players bought enough packs to play virtual Sealed games at home with friends.
Pandemic restrictions have largely been lifted in the U.S., and vaccines and at-home tests have helped mitigate the risk. Some play groups might still choose to play remotely for a lot of reasons, and playing remotely is a great option if geography or scheduling still get in the way.
But if you’re planning to do multiple Sealed event with the same set, a booster box is probably the way to go. Prerelease packs may be better for a one-time event.
Angel of Finality | Illustration by Howard Lyon
I hope you found this helpful in choosing the best a booster box for you. Even if you aren’t looking to buy any of the specific boxes listed here, the criteria I’ve discussed can help you to make an informed decision.
And don’t let me stop you from following your Magic dreams if there’s a box that you want and it’s within your budget. I know I’d be buying a box of New Phyrexia or Lorwyn for aesthetic purposes alone if I had the resources.
Have you had a good experience with any of these booster boxes? Which box was your favorite to open? If you’ve never bought a box, which do you think will be your first? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
I wish you luck in your future pulls and look forward to seeing you in the next one!
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