Last updated on June 14, 2021

Pack Leader | Illustration by Rudy Siswanto

I know picking the right booster pack to buy is almost an impossible task. You’re essentially trying your chance to get the one card you need, and sometimes you end up with totally useless junk. Of course, every seasoned player would say that buying singles is much more effective than opening packs, but it just doesn’t have the same pure joy or unmitigated fun of opening a fresh, new booster.

This is a no-brainer, but there’s just no “best” booster to buy because it all depends on your need. Are you looking for a booster to draft with friends? Fun cards for Commander? Maybe you’re thinking about collecting the cards and selling them later? Then you have to consider the pack’s EV (expected value), but it’s really tedious to calculate.

Whatever your reasons, I’ll try to help you pick the best booster for you and give a small list of packs to consider buying. But if you can only buy one right now, the answer is the Core Set 2021 Collector Booster. Let me tell you why.

Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
  • UPGRADE YOUR COLLECTION. Collector Boosters are supercharged booster packs, loaded with nothing but the best. Each pack includes 15 of the most desirable cards from Core Set 2021.
  • TREAT YOURSELF. The perfect pack for collectors—you’ll find more rare cards than appear in Draft Boosters, with at least 4 rare or mythic rare cards in every pack.
  • PLAY IN STYLE. Each pack includes 11 foils and at least 7 cards with special art treatments, including extended-art cards found only in Collector Boosters.
  • MAGIC LIKE YOU REMEMBER IT. Core Set 2021 (M21) gathers iconic cards from MTG’s past and combines them with recent favorites. It’s the perfect set to reconnect with Magic: The Gathering.
  • Contents: 4 foil commons, common dual lands, or basic lands; 2 foil uncommons; 1 foil showcase basic land; 1 extended-art rare or mythic rare; 2 foil rares or mythic rares, or foil extended-art rares or mythic rares; 2 showcase commons or uncommons, or a borderless card; 1 showcase or borderless rare or mythic rare; 1 foil showcase common or uncommon, or a borderless card; 1 foil showcase or borderless card, any rarity; 1 foil token

Reasons to Buy

Reason // Believe | Illustration by Daarken

Now, as I said, there are many reasons why you’d buy a booster pack. It might be a gift, you might be new to MTG and want to build a collection, or you might want to boost your EDH deck… Before buying any pack, you need to consider a couple of things.

First, the price. Similar to single card prices, the price tag on booster packs varies greatly. Some of them are no longer printed and some are really easy to come across. Newer sets are usually cheaper, except for some special or collectible releases.

The second thing you need to consider is the set’s overall strength. The price alone shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. There are some sets where the cards are significantly better, flexible (used in more formats), or just plain stronger than others.

The third and final factor is the expected value. “EV” is a term used to refer to the future value you might get for buying any card or pack. You already know that there are some cards that can cost hundreds of dollars while some go for mere cents. If the set already has several powerful cards, the EV you’ll get will increase. Otherwise, it’ll drop. This goes for the prices card may have in future, so it’s a tricky one.

Okay, now that the basics are out of the way, let’s list some packs you might want to buy for different situations.

Best Overall
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack – 2 Legends – Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack – ELD Booster Draft Lot)
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack - 2 Legends - Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack - ELD Booster Draft Lot)
$23.99
$12.90
$8.25
$31.99
Best for Collecting
Best Gift
Best for EDH
Best for New Players
Best Overall
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
$23.99
Best for Collecting
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
$12.90
Best Gift
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack – 2 Legends – Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack - 2 Legends - Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
$8.25
Best for EDH
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack – ELD Booster Draft Lot)
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack - ELD Booster Draft Lot)
$31.99
Best for New Players

Best as a Gift

If you’re buying a pack as a gift, you’ll want to play it safe. Of course, if you know about your friends’ playstyle, you can pick the most suitable booster pack for their decks, but chances are you don’t. So, if you want to buy a pack from a set that is solid and has the most value and relevancy to their playstyle and Magic tastes, here are three solid options:

Zendikar Rising

Zendikar Rising Set Booster pack

Zendikar Rising is one of the newer sets in MTG (Standard legal at the time of publishing), but it’s definitely one of the strongest. Released in the midst of the pandemic, it didn’t have the great entrance it deserved, but people have long realized how strong of a deck it can make. Its price is really affordable nowadays since it’s a recent release and it’s also legal in practically every format, so it would be a great gift.

Just complete speculation, but it may be more rare to come by this set in the future because of limited distribution during the pandemic, so snap it up while you can!

Magic The Gathering MTG-ZNR-SBD-EN Zendikar Rising Set (Single Booster Pack)
  • Magic The Gathering Zendikar Rising Set Booster Pack
  • A new way of experiencing Booster openings, featuring cards from Zendikar Rising.
  • Each booster follows a path as you open it.
  • 1 in 4 Set Boosters includes a card from “The List”—a pool of reprints.

Khans of Tarkir

Three Khans of Tarkir booster packs

Khans of Tarkir is a timeless set that was and is a favorite for many Magic players The set has a lot to offer. It’s one of the best tri-colored sets out there, has a decent number of powerful cards, and is relatively cheap compared to some other older sets. It may not be that cheap, but it’s still within the affordable range.

The set features the incredibly fun morph mechanic — where you can play with cards face down on the table — and, of course, a really nice set of chase rares in the fetch lands.

Innistrad

Innistrad booster pack

Perhaps the greatest set in MTG, Innistrad is a great choice as a gift. Each pack has a rather high price tag, but you just can’t go wrong with it. Any Magic player has heard or will eventually hear of Innistrad, and I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be overjoyed to get an Innistrad booster pack. One of the greatest draft formats of all time, and amazing gothic horror flavor.

Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
  • Revisit one of the most popular settings in Magic of all time!

Best for Commander

Commander is one of the most beloved and fun ways to play Magic, and almost every set has something to offer to Commander. That said, there are some sets that offer a lot more than others with a reasonable price.

Dominaria

Dominaria booster packs

Dominaria has always been a good choice for Commander because of its theme. The set revolves around legendary creatures, so it’ll give you a lot of options to choose from. You can always get a potential commander when you open a Dominaria pack — each pack is guaranteed one! It’s also fairly cheap and you can easily find Dominaria boosters.

Battlebond

Battlebond booster pack

Battlebond is a set specifically tailored to Commander, so it’s obviously a great choice if you’re planning to expand your EDH collection. It was so well-received when it was first released that it got dubbed “Commander Masters.”  It has a good number of useful legendary creatures to choose from and some cool partner commanders that can pair with each other, like Will Kenrith and Rowan Kenrith.

Commander Legends

Commander Legends booster pack

Commander Legends is simply the best choice for EDH. It has a lot of partner cards, which allows you to have two commanders instead of one. There are a lot of good rares, like Opposition Agent, mythics, like Jeweled Lotus, and also some very useful uncommons, like Cultivate. It’s a very well-rounded set for EDH and what better way to expand your Commander options than choosing the set named after it?

Best for New Players

If you’re a new player and want to join the fray, you might get frustrated with the sheer number of choices. Different sets, formats, legalities, and tens of thousands of cards can be very confusing. I’d suggest you keep things simple and get one of the more recent sets. Chances are you’ll be playing Standard for a while before any other format, and new releases will be legal in Standard for a while.

Other than that, newer sets will be more available and generally cheaper than older sets. This is also appealing because it’s like you don’t have an established playstyle yet. It doesn’t necessarily make sense to choose from among older sets before even finding out how do you like to play MTG.

Kaldheim

Kaldheim set booster

Kaldheim has a lot of different mechanics going on, which will throw you headfirst into learning all the nuances of the game. They’re not very difficult to grasp and will give you an idea about the complexity of MTG. It’s also very new, so you won’t have any availability issues.

3 Packs Magic: The Gathering Set Booster Pack Lot MTG Kaldheim
  • Magic The Gathering kaldheim Set Booster Pack
  • A new way of experiencing Booster openings, featuring cards from kaldheim.
  • Each booster follows a path as you open it.
  • 1 in 4 Set Boosters includes a card from “The List”—a pool of reprints.

Throne of Eldraine

Throne of Eldraine booster packs

Throne of Eldraine is a very powerful set with some solid mechanics. It’s built around the theme of fairytales, which is a great way to start your adventure. It also offers a decent number of valuable rares and mythics. Buying ELD won’t disappoint you in the short or long term because you can easily use the cards you get in your starter decks and it seems like they’ll stay relevant for some years to come.

Oh, and by the way. The power level of the set is so high that several of the cards had to be banned in tournament play!

6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack – ELD Booster Draft Lot)
  • 6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine.
  • Draft with a friend! Buy 4 sets for a standard 8 person draft experience.
  • Each pack contains 15 cards.
  • NOTE: This product can only be shipped the United States, Puerto Rico, APO/FPOs and USVI.

Core Sets

Core Set 2021 booster packs

You probably noticed that I didn’t include a single core set, but all of them. The thing is, Core sets are great choices for any beginner. They don’t offer complicated mechanics but rather have some, you know, core cards that you can use for any deck. The most recent set, Core Set 2021, is probably what you want to buy if you’re new to MTG.

3 (Three) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering: Core Set 2021 M21 – 3 Booster Packs (MTG Booster Pack Draft Lot Bundle)
  • Core Set 2021 M21 – 3 Booster Packs
  • Listing is 3 Booster Packs .. MTG Booster Pack Draft Lot Bundle
  • PLAY IN STYLE. Core Set 2021 is filled with beautiful cards and special art treatments, including alternate art, thematic showcase frames, and mor
  • MAGIC LIKE YOU REMEMBER IT. Core Set 2021 (M21) gathers iconic cards from MTG’s past and combines them with recent favorites. It’s the perfect set to reconnect with Magic: The Gathering.
  • NOTE: This product can ONLY be shipped the United States, Puerto Rico, APO/FPOs and USVI.

Best for Collecting

This is where it gets personal. The reason why we collect cards is because of their collection value. If you’re looking for a deck that you’ll show to your children in future, stick with the sets you like playing. That nostalgia value wins every time. But material value is also important, so if you want to build a collection that’ll gain value over time, here are some options for you.

Commander Legends

Commander Legends booster pack

Let’s start with a safe choice. Commander Legends is a fairly new addition so it’s rather cheap, you’ll get a lot of valuable cards, and they’ll stay relevant for as long as EDH is still played frequently. So yes, Commander Legends will most probably keep its value or rise over time.

Core Set 2021 Collector Booster

Core Set 2021 collector booster

One thing is sure in any collectable: the cooler it looks, the more attention it’ll get. This might not be entirely applicable to MTG, but it’s a fact that foil cards or those with special art are much more valuable than their regular counterparts. M21 is a very reasonably priced way to get them. Plus, the collector boosters for the set have several showcase-style cards, which look fantastic and will probably gain more value over time.

Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
  • UPGRADE YOUR COLLECTION. Collector Boosters are supercharged booster packs, loaded with nothing but the best. Each pack includes 15 of the most desirable cards from Core Set 2021.
  • TREAT YOURSELF. The perfect pack for collectors—you’ll find more rare cards than appear in Draft Boosters, with at least 4 rare or mythic rare cards in every pack.
  • PLAY IN STYLE. Each pack includes 11 foils and at least 7 cards with special art treatments, including extended-art cards found only in Collector Boosters.
  • MAGIC LIKE YOU REMEMBER IT. Core Set 2021 (M21) gathers iconic cards from MTG’s past and combines them with recent favorites. It’s the perfect set to reconnect with Magic: The Gathering.
  • Contents: 4 foil commons, common dual lands, or basic lands; 2 foil uncommons; 1 foil showcase basic land; 1 extended-art rare or mythic rare; 2 foil rares or mythic rares, or foil extended-art rares or mythic rares; 2 showcase commons or uncommons, or a borderless card; 1 showcase or borderless rare or mythic rare; 1 foil showcase common or uncommon, or a borderless card; 1 foil showcase or borderless card, any rarity; 1 foil token

Strixhaven Collector Booster

Strixhaven collector booster pack

This one might very debatable, but I’ll take my chances. Strixhaven is a fairly new release so it’s difficult to accurately determine its value, but its collector boosters have at least three Mystical Archive cards, which are just beautiful. They’ll be very common for a while since people are buying them left and right, but they’ll be great collection items in the future.

Magic The Gathering Strixhaven Collector Booster Pack | 15 Magic Cards
  • 15 Strixhaven (STX) Magic: The Gathering Cards + 1 foil token
  • Shortcut to the coolest cards in Strixhaven
  • Only Strixhaven boosters with Foil Etched cards and Extended-Art
  • 1 Foil Etched Japanese Alt-Art Mystical Archive card in every pack + up to 2 additional JP Alt-Art Traditional Foils
  • Total of 3–4 Mystical Archive cards in a pack—2 Foil Etched in every pack

Best for Value

We’re nearing the end and it all comes to the big question: what’s the best booster pack you can get right now with the most positive EV? The one pack you’ll buy today, and it’ll give you a net value.

I think the answer would be Core Set 2021 booster packs. There are several valuable cards and alternate art in M21 collector boosters, so there’s a good chance you’d at least make even after opening them.

Yes, I know there are great sets out there (Commander Legends for EDH, Modern Horizons for, well Modern, and some fantastic olden sets like Khans of Tarkir), but let’s be real. Booster packs are meant to build the core of your deck, not the finer parts. If you have a half-complete deck, you’d have to buy dozens of packs to make it work and you might still not get what you want. M21 makes the cut with its incredible balance: it’ll help build the core of your incomplete decks, collector boosters have some very neat cards, and it has a lot of different cards that can be used in different formats.

There Can Only Be One

Of One Mind | Illustration by Matt Stewart

Best Overall
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack – 2 Legends – Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack – ELD Booster Draft Lot)
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack - 2 Legends - Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack - ELD Booster Draft Lot)
$23.99
$12.90
$8.25
$31.99
Best for Collecting
Best Gift
Best for EDH
Best for New Players
Best Overall
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
$23.99
Best for Collecting
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
Magic The Gathering Shadows Over Innistrad Booster Pack
$12.90
Best Gift
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack – 2 Legends – Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
Magic The Gathering Commander Legends Booster Pack - 2 Legends - Total 20 MTG Cards (1 Draft Booster)
$8.25
Best for EDH
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack – ELD Booster Draft Lot)
6 (Six) Booster Packs of Magic: The Gathering- Throne of Eldraine (6 Pack - ELD Booster Draft Lot)
$31.99
Best for New Players

“Best” is a relative term, but as you can see, there are some options that are objectively better than others. Before wrapping up everything, I want to highlight something anyone ranting about MTG should say: do not buy packs for long term investment. This is almost definitely considered gambling and you might end up with nothing.

I know opening a new pack feels great, especially when drafting with friends, but don’t overdo it. You never know what you’ll get out and all this ranting is aimed to give you an idea about what you should expect. Buy them as a gift, maybe as a way to supplement your collection, but don’t be one of those guys or gals who spend all their money on boxes and packs. Speaking of boxes — if you do want to buy a lot of packs, you may get a way better deal if you buy a booster box instead.

There are a lot of fancy sets out there with new releases and collections and whatnots, but M21 is the booster pack you want to buy. Naturally, if you just want to open a new set for fun or want to gamble, that’s cool. But if you’re going for a more calculated approach, it’s just a consistently dependable set with solid cards. If you disagree, feel free to comment below! See you all around.

Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2021 (M21) Collector Booster | 15 Cards | Min. 4 Rares Per Pack
  • UPGRADE YOUR COLLECTION. Collector Boosters are supercharged booster packs, loaded with nothing but the best. Each pack includes 15 of the most desirable cards from Core Set 2021.
  • TREAT YOURSELF. The perfect pack for collectors—you’ll find more rare cards than appear in Draft Boosters, with at least 4 rare or mythic rare cards in every pack.
  • PLAY IN STYLE. Each pack includes 11 foils and at least 7 cards with special art treatments, including extended-art cards found only in Collector Boosters.
  • MAGIC LIKE YOU REMEMBER IT. Core Set 2021 (M21) gathers iconic cards from MTG’s past and combines them with recent favorites. It’s the perfect set to reconnect with Magic: The Gathering.
  • Contents: 4 foil commons, common dual lands, or basic lands; 2 foil uncommons; 1 foil showcase basic land; 1 extended-art rare or mythic rare; 2 foil rares or mythic rares, or foil extended-art rares or mythic rares; 2 showcase commons or uncommons, or a borderless card; 1 showcase or borderless rare or mythic rare; 1 foil showcase common or uncommon, or a borderless card; 1 foil showcase or borderless card, any rarity; 1 foil token

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1 Comment

  • Owen Carver July 26, 2021 8:25 am

    Thanks for the recommendations! Collector boosters of core look really cool.

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