Last updated on November 16, 2023
Pack Guardian | Illustration by Filip Burburan
MTG is a collectible card game, and collecting has always been the heart of the game. Magic has recently grown to a wider than-ever audience with differing card needs. Wizards quickly realized that some MTG players weren’t satisfied with the limited offering of products and are actually willing to buy premium products, so they ran with it to their heart’s content.
WotC has shifted into full “product variety” gear since 2018, and the plethora of products in each set is overwhelming for casual and veteran fans alike. But fear not! Today I'm going to go through every booster option available.
Maybe you’re looking for the latest collection’s draft booster to fire a Draft, or you’re aiming to get the most expensive Constructed chase rare or mythic in the shiniest foil treatment. Let’s dive right into all the different MTG booster offerings!
Quick note: All prices are quoted in U.S. dollar figures.
My pick: March of the Machine
Draft boosters used to be simply known as “booster packs,” and they were the main way to get MTG cards. They’ve been renamed “draft boosters” as more booster types have been introduced, and they’re the only sanctioned and balanced way to play Limited.
Draft boosters come with 15 cards (one rare, three uncommons, and 10 commons) alongside a basic land or extra token card/ad card. The fact that the rarities are fixed makes them balanced for Limited play, while other boosters (set boosters, collector boosters) aren’t.
Each set has its own draft booster, and it’s the cheapest pack to buy. You’ll want a few of these if you want to play lots of Limited, be it to Draft or to play Sealed. An average MTG player usually plays around two ore three Drafts per collection and keep the cards they’ve opened this way. Some players also get a draft booster box for each set, be it to open the cards and see what they can find or to play Limited. Draft boosters usually sell for $3.99.
- 36 March of the Machine MTG Draft Boosters—the best boosters for drafting March of the Machine
- 15 Magic: The Gathering cards per booster
- At least 1 Multiverse Legend card in every pack
- 1–2 cards of rarity Rare or higher in every pack
- 1 Traditional Foil card in 33% of packs
My pick: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Set boosters come with fewer cards than draft boosters (12 vs. 15), but there’s an increased chance of having more rares/mythics and more premium cards like foil and extended art cards. It usually retails for a dollar more than a draft booster around $4.99. Since set boosters aren’t balanced for Limited they usually have two rares or more, and there’s also the chance of there being reprinted card from The List, which can also be an extra rare.
Let’s see what you can find in March of the Machine set boosters as an example:
- 1 Multiverse Legends card
- At least 1 battle card
- 1 traditional foil/foil-etched card of any rarity including Multiverse Legends in traditional foil and the foil-etched treatment
- 2 wildcards of any rarity (opportunity to open MOM Commander cards, Jumpstart booster rares, or Multiverse Legends)
- 1 basic land/full-art harbinger basic land in traditional foil or non-foil
- 1 double-faced Phyrexian common/uncommon
- 2 connected uncommons
- 2 connected commons
- 1 art card
- 1 token/ad card, double-faced Helper card, or The List card
I’d stick with set boosters if Limited play isn’t your jam and you’re buying cards to increase your collection. There’s a possibility of finding a couple rare or mythic rare cards in a single booster and a guaranteed foil card.
- 12 Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty MTG Collector Boosters
- 15 Magic cards + 1 foil token in each booster
- Only NEO packs that may contain a Neon Ink Foil or Foil-Etched card
- Only boosters with Extended-Art cards—get 1–3 in every pack
- 9–10 traditional foil cards and 5 cards of rarity Rare or higher in every pack
Play boosters aren't out yet, but they're next new booster type coming to Magic, and they're specifically made to replace Set and Draft boosters! In short, Play boosters have the added rare counts of Set boosters, making them more optimal to open than Draft, but with a pack structure and design intent to be played in Limited!
Play boosters have the following contents:
- Slots 1-6 are commons.
- Slot 7 is another common, with a 1/8 chance of being a card of any rarity from “The List.”
- Slots 8-10 are uncommons.
- Slot 11 is a rare/mythic, your “normal rare” from the pack.
- Slot 12 is a non-foil “wildcard,” which can be any card from the set.
- Slot 13 is a foil “wildcard,” which means every pack includes a foil.
- Slot 14 is a basic land.
- Slot 15 is an ad, token, art card, or helper card.
My pick: Jumpstart 2022
Jumpstart 2022 is my pack because it has a great variety in themes, is classic MTG all around, and includes some nice reprints.
Jumpstart boosters are a different product aimed at highlighting easy deckbuilding. The point is to buy two boosters and shuffle them together for a deck that’s ready to go! They’re thematic, so a given collection can have an angel booster, a dragon booster, a soldier booster, and so on. You’ll only know the theme after you’ve opened it, so you can’t ask your LGS for the dragon-themed Jumpstart booster.
You can open a dragon booster and a soldier booster, shuffle them, and now you have a dragon soldier deck! Jumpstart is perfect for playing with friends that don’t have MTG cards, or to introduce new players to the game.
Jumpstart boosters usually sell for $6.99 and contain 20 cards: one rare from the theme (sometimes two), some uncommons, commons, and basic lands. Combine two of these and you’ll have a 40-card deck with around 16 lands and 24 non-land cards.
- 24 Jumpstart 2022 MTG boosters
- 20 Magic cards in each booster—includes all the lands you need to play
- 1 anime-inspired card in every pack
- Total of 1–2 cards of rarity Rare or higher in every pack
- Each booster has over 40 possible themes—combine them for wild mash ups
My pick: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Collector boosters are the most expensive packs, and this is where the higher chances to get premium cards lie. You might as well spin the wheel and get a nice prize, so there’s definitely a lot of luck involved.
Collector booster contents vary wildly between sets, so here’s what you can expect from a March of the Machine collector booster as an example:
- 5 rares/mythics including:
- 1 traditional foil Multiverse Legends rare/mythic
- Traditional foil in 75% of boosters
- Foil-etched in 14% of boosters
- Halo foil in 10% of boosters
- Serialized double rainbow in < 1% of boosters
- 1 traditional foil rare/mythic that is either:
- Planar booster fun from MOM
- Extended art from MOM
- Extended art from MOM Commander
- Serialized double rainbow foil Praetor
- 1 non-foil rare/mythic in extended art from Jumpstart boosters or MOM Commander
- 1 non-foil rare/mythic from MOM Iin planar booster fun, extended art, or borderless treatment
- 1 tradition foil rare/mythic from MOM or set booster Commander cards
- 1 traditional foil Multiverse Legends rare/mythic
- 1 traditional foil full-art basic land
- 1 foil uncommon Multiverse Legends card
- Foil-etched in 75% of boosters
- Halo foil in 24% of boosters
- Serialized double rainbow in < 1% of boosters
- 1 traditional foil uncommon Multiverse Legends card
- 2 uncommon traditional foil cards (including standard basic lands)
- 5 common traditional foil cards (including standard basic lands)
Collector boosters have premium content but also come at a premium price, most retailing for around $20 to $30. They're your best chance to find the prettiest version of the collection’s most desired cards.
This is the right product for you if you’re looking to play with the shiniest new toys and pimp out your Cube or Commander decks.
My Pick: March of the Machine: The Aftermath
Epilogue boosters are special boosters released in the March of the Machine: The Aftermath micro set. They contain only five cards, with a combination of 1-3 card(s) of rarity rare or higher and 2-4 uncommon cards. There’s also a guaranteed foil in each pack, with a maximum of two.
Expect some high-value boosters with nice and powerful cards. Epilogue boosters are currently exclusive to The Aftermath.
- THE FIRST STEPS AFTER THE LAST STAND—Rebuild the Multiverse while building up your collection in this epic conclusion to the March of the Machine storyline
- INTRODUCING EPILOGUE BOOSTERS—These special boosters fill in the story between sets with 5 Magic: The Gathering cards in each pack
- RARES & UNCOMMONS ONLY—Small but mighty, all 5 cards in each booster are of rarity Uncommon or higher, including 1–3 cards of rarity Rare or higher
- FOILS & SHOWCASE CARDS—Each Epilogue Booster contains 1 Showcase or Retro-Frame card and at least 1 Traditional Foil card
- CONTENTS—1 Epilogue Booster Box containing 24 March of the Machine: The Aftermath MTG Epilogue Boosters
Welcome boosters were introduced in 2020, and there's been one for each set since. Their contents vary with each set, and they show off different aspects of the game.
Unlike the other boosters from this list, you can get these for free at your LGS. They're not for sale and are meant to be free “samples” to welcome and entice players to the game.
Compleat Edition Boosters
My pick: Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Compleat edition boosters are exclusive to Phyrexia: All Will Be One and contain two of each basic land along with two mythics from the set. These 12 cards also come with the exclusive oil slick raised foil treatment.
The only way to get a Compleat edition booster is in the Phyrexia: All Will Be One: Compleat Edition bundle, which comes with compleat edition boosters alongside 12 All Will Be One set boosters.
- Bundle: Compleat Edition—contains cards with an Oil Slick Raised Foil treatment exclusive to the Compleat Edition
- 1 Compleat Edition booster—12 Oil Slick Raised Foil cards, with 2 Mythic Rares + 10 Basic Lands (2 of each type)
- 1 Exclusive Phyrexian Language Traditional Foil Rare promo card—Phyrexian Arena
- 40 Traditional Foil Land cards that celebrate the glory of Phyrexia—20 Phyrexianized Lands + 20 Panorama Full-Art Lands
- 12 Phyrexia: All Will Be One Set Boosters—the best MTG boosters to open just for fun
Chronicles was sold in 12-card booster packs in 1995, with 1 rare, 3 uncommons, and 8 commons. This is the only 12 card-booster in MTG history.
Starter decks were sold in early MTG sets. It came with 60 cards including two or three rares, with the rest typically being 20 basic lands, 25 commons, and 5 uncommons depending on the set.
The sets that offered starter decks started with Alpha, MTG’s first set all the way through the Tempest block. After that the starter decks changed to “tournament packs.”
Tournament packs were packs that contained a huge number of MTG cards from the same set: 75 cards. A good chunk of these cards were basic lands, usually 30, with around 25 common cards, some uncommons and rares mixed in between.
Theme boosters are boosters with 35 cards from a single theme. They debuted in Dominaria in 2018, and each of those theme boosters had cards of a specific color theme. The themes varied between sets, with sets like Strixhaven and Guilds of Ravnica having guild-based themes, while sets like Innistrad: Midnight Hunt had mono-color themes and a special werewolf-themed deck. The last set to offer theme boosters was Streets of New Capenna in April 2022.
Most of the 35 cards from theme boosters were commons, with a few uncommons and one or two rares/mythics. They’re recommended for new players that prefer a certain color (or color combination) and want to boost a specific deck or themed deck.
VIP Edition Boosters
VIP edition were a special version of collector boosters only released for Double Masters in 2020. It contained 30 cards and at least 4 foil rares or mythics. It’s the only possible way to open foil Double Masters borderless cards, each pack containing two of them. I'm talking premium cards like Mana Crypt, Force of Will, and Atraxa, Praetors' Voice.
You can also find 2 foil rares or mythics alongside 17 foil commons and uncommons. It’s the most expensive product on this list with prices in the $170 range. They also make for excellent MTG-related gifts and presents.
While not officially discontinued, the VIP edition boosters didn’t reappear in Double Masters 2022.
WotC has been releasing lots of different products lately, which can be overwhelming to average and veteran players alike.
The fact is that there’s no wrong booster or product, but there is something for everybody and that’s the important part. Set boosters are usually a nicer, risk-free option value-wise, and you can’t really go wrong with them. Limited players tend to be drawn towards draft boosters, while players that expect more value from their openings or want a higher risk-reward situation should spring for collector boosters.
What’s your go-to MTG booster product? Are you more like me and prefer set boosters, or do you go straight to the value-filled products like collector boosters? Let me know in the comments below, or join the conversation over in the Draftsim Discord.
Stay safe folks, and go crack some packs!
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