Courier's Briefcase | Illustration by Josu Hernaiz
A booster box seems like a near infinite supply of cards when you’re first starting off in Magic. It’s probably more than you own in your collection, and getting your hands on a box early on seems like Christmas morning.
In the end it’s usually just 24 packs, with a large majority of the cards being relegated to your bulk collection and a handful of star rares shining through. If you’ve been playing for a few years like I have then you’ve probably opened up a box already, and the magic just isn’t there as much anymore.
What if I told you that you could go even further? That there exists an even more expensive, even more packed, and even more irresponsible purchase out there? That’s right, I’m talking about buying an entire case of booster boxes!
Which cases are the best, how are they priced compared to the expected value, and just how much are they? Let’s find out!
#8. Masters 25
Masters 25 has a decent chance of breaking even—or making a slight profit—from a case. An average box has an expected value of around $170, which helps determine your profit margins a bit before buying. Your major payoffs are going to be obvious classics like Chalice of the Void, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Phyrexian Obliterator.
Masters 25 ends up at the bottom today just because of the risk. You might not break even, and you’re not likely to make much profit should you have a few decent packs given the odds. That makes it harder to justify and harder to generate returns from selling any cards.
#7. Zendikar Rising
Zendikar Rising has an expected value of approximately $112 per box. Similar to Masters 25, it’s like you’re just going to break even with a case of these things at the rate they’re posted for.
Your major pulls are going to be in the $10-15 range, which doesn’t help. Most of your value will come from $4-5 rares and the ~$10 MDFCs like Sea Gate Restoration.
#6. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt brings a lot to the table with an expected value of $110, mostly because of the cheaper rate that cases go for. The Meathook Massacre is the ultimate bomb when it comes to value with an average price of around $40, with most other rares and mythics sitting around the $5 range. Haunted Ridge is solid, and so are the other rare lands in the set.
Gatecrash has an expected value of over $150 per box thanks to all the shock lands in the set! If you can secure a case for less than $900, you’re probably going to be having a decent mix of value rares to sell and shock lands to keep. Plus, they’re all old border!
#4. Core Set 2020
The Core sets typically hold a very stable and consistent expected value thanks to their reprints, and Core Set 2020 currently has an EV of around $170. There’s also a decent supply of cases online, which means that the price is both stable and lower than most.
You’re likely going to get a decent profit thanks to these factors, and you should be looking out for Field of the Dead and Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord if you pick up a case. A foil Veil of Summer or Colossus Hammer would also be also amazing. A lot of the rares sit around $3-4, which provides consistent value per pack.
#3. Core Set 2021
Core Set 2021 has a similar story. It’s got a decent and stable expected value of $140, and the available stock provides a decent price point and availability. Aside from its multiple, expensive mythic like Terror of the Peaks and Fiery Emancipation, the foil versions of the Cat and Dog tokens go for $10-20.
There’s a lot of value in this set, and it’s spread across many different cards which means your boxes are going to be more consistent overall.
#2. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has a pretty decent expected value of $140, and it’s been stable at that point for over a year. The cases are listed for relatively cheap compared to other sets, and most of the value comes from rares, not mythics.
The Triomes really carry the weight here, but keep an eye out for Drannith Magistrate or Shark Typhoon.
#1. Return to Ravnica
Return to Ravnica is the best booster case to buy when it comes to maximizing value. There are still plenty of cases listed online. With a great expected value of over $160 per box, you’re going to make a decent profit on average if you can find a good price.
To nobody’s surprise, most of that value comes from opening old border shock lands, Cyclonic Rift, and Worldspine Wurm. If you manage to get any of these in foil, or even Utvara Hellkite, you’re looking at upwards of 1/3 of the price of the case covered!
How Many Booster Boxes Are in a Case?
Most cases come with six booster boxes. There are exceptions for supplementary, reprint, or collector sets, which can come with two to four depending on the set and style.
How Much Is an Average Case?
The average booster box case is about $900, or $150 per booster box. But the price of each case can range widely depending on a number of factors like set age, available supply, and the expected value of the set.
Sets that are incredibly old or had limited printing typically go for far more than the combined expected value of the cards. Alternatively, sets with a high print run or that didn’t sell well can be found for the expected value or even less.
Is It Better to Buy Cases or Individual Booster Boxes?
It’s generally better to buy individual booster boxes over cases. But the real answer to this question depends on your budget and what set you’d like to buy.
Sometimes cases go less than buying boxes individually, and sometimes they go for far more. It depends on the stock of the seller and how desperate they are to offload the material before new cases come in to the store.
Is It Better to Buy Boxes or Packs?
It’s generally better to buy a booster box than a single pack. For most sets a box of packs has a lower cost per pack than the price of a single pack in a retail environment.
Encase in Ice | Illustration by Mathias Kollros
That wraps up all you need to know about booster cases! They’re certainly a rare thing for an individual to buy, but they may prove to be a valuable purchase for the right person with the right data and investing skills.
Have you ever bought a case, or do you even want one? If so, what case would you end up buying? Let me know your thoughts and experiences with booster cases in the comments below, or come chat about it in the official Draftsim Discord.
Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!
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