Last updated on September 12, 2023
The Wandering Emperor | Illustration by Tommy Arnold
Snap, crackle… shuffle?
Every magic player who has ever bought sealed product knows that sound, the smell, and the feel of fresh cards. For many dinosaurs like myself, what we’ve known for the most part since playing is draft boosters, which really was the bread and butter of sealed product since Mirage, when sets were first designed to be drafted rather than just opened.
Starting in the fall of 2019, Wizards of the Coast introduced a greater variety to their array of sealed product by revealing the collector booster. As part of these, they introduced cards with extended borders and alternate arts that could be found in these packs. These boosters are part of the reason you see so many new alternate arts and frames on cards and why so many versions of the same card exist in the same set.
What Is a Collector Booster? What’s the Purpose?
Obsessive Collector | Illustration by Reiko Murakami
A collector booster is a new type of booster pack that is more expensive and is oriented towards players that want more premium and alternate art cards. These have started being released ever since Throne of Eldraine.
The purpose of collector boosters is to offer a premium product for players who want to open something with fancier cards than draft or set boosters without waiting for a Masters product or similar product to come out.
What Comes in a Collector Booster?
Collector boosters contain 15 or 16 cards, just like most other booster packs. The composition, however, is much different. Inside collector boosters are:
- 1 foil token
- 1 foil basic land
- 4 foil commons
- 2 foil uncommons
- 3 foil showcase / borderless commons and uncommons
- 1 foil rare or mythic
- 1 extended art rare or mythic
- 1 extended art rare or mythic from an ancillary Commander product
- 1 showcase / borderless rare or mythic
- 1 foil extended art/ showcase / borderless rare or mythic
What you see here is a sampler platter of every different version of a card that the set might have to offer. If you’re trying to open the hottest cards from the latest set, this is where to find them.
Ranking the Sets
Here’s what you’re here for! If you’re looking to buy some high-roller packs to crack, I’ll give some insight onto the price of some of these booster packs, what cool stuff you can open, and what’s worth your money.
Throne of Eldraine
The first set with collector boosters, the best and biggest things you could open from the Throne of Eldraine collector boosters were The Great Henge, showcase Brazen Borrower, and showcase Oko, Thief of Crowns. Sadly, a number of the former big-ticket items from this set have been banned in a number of formats.
Theros Beyond Death
Theros: Beyond Death has a banned card or two, but its collector boosters also have quite a few sweet things to open. Shadowspear, the titans, and Dryad of the Ilysian Grove are all solid hits and have tremendous multipliers on foil extended versions.
- PLAY IN STYLE: Each Collector Booster is packed with the most premium offerings from Theros Beyond Death – making the act of opening a booster as exciting as possible
- 1 EXTENDED ART CARD: A Rare or Mythic extended art card can only be found in Collector Booster.
- FOILS GALORE: In this pack you get 8 Foil common, uncommon or land cards, 1 foil rare or mythic card and 1 Foil double sided token.
- 2 FOIL FULL ART NYX BASIC LANDS: Each pack includes 2 foil full art basic land with a stunning illustration of Nyx, the celestial land of night in Theros.
- FULL CASE: This listing is for a full case of Theros Beyond Death Collector Boosters
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Ikoria’s special little schtick was the printing of all the alternate-named cards. This is where you could open Ghidorah, Mothra, or Bioquartz Spacegodzilla. This is the best thing about collector boosters: when fans of a niche fandom are catered to with weird cards like this. Outside of the giant monsters, Ikoria collector boosters have the nicest versions of your favorite companions, or any of the Triomes, which also have a showcase art.
- Collector Boosters are supercharged booster packs, loaded with nothing but the best from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO)—alternate art, alternate frames, Commander-focused picks, and more.
- Experience all the beauty, wonder, and ridiculously huge monsters of Ikoria—distilled into one incredible booster. Open a pack to see some of the most beautiful and exciting cards Magic: The Gathering (MTG) has to offer.
- The cards of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths (IKO) have mutated into something amazing. Open cards with alternate frames, fresh art styles, or beautiful borderless designs.
- Find your favorite monster companion, team up, and take on the behemoths of Ikoria together.
- Each of 12 packs contains: six (6) foil commons/uncommons, one (1) foil basic land, one (1) Commander-focused card, one (1) non-foil extended art rare/mythic rare, one (1) foil rare/mythic rare, two (2) non-foil showcase commons/uncommons, one (1) non-foil showcase rare/mythic rare or borderless planeswalker, one (1) non-foil alt-art Godzilla Series Monster card*, one (1) foil showcase or borderless planeswalker, one (1) premium token
As far as set cards are concerned, Zendikar Rising collector boosters aren’t very exciting. The best things to find are some of the modal double-faced cards (MDFCs) like Sea Gate Restoration that see play in several formats, but even those don’t command a particularly high price. Where it gets a lot better though is the 1 in 6 chance to hit an expedition in one of your collector boosters.
- 12 PACKS + 2 BOX TOPPERS. Get 12 Zendikar Rising Collector Boosters plus 2 "Expedition Land" box toppers—celebrated land cards with alternate art and frames inspired by the sky dungeons of Zendikar.
- CARD STYLES NOT FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE. Collector Boosters are the only Zendikar Rising boosters that contain cards with extended art and the possibility of getting Expedition Lands in foil.
- FOIL FULL-ART LANDS AND DOUBLE-FACED CARDS. Zendikar Rising brings a special kind of double-faced card to MTG: play the spell on one side or flip it over and play it as a land instead.
- EXPLORE ZENDIKAR. On Zendikar, danger is the norm: wild terrain, cunning predators, and "the Roil"—violent ripples of change—all make life precarious and full of adventure.
- CONTENTS. 12 Zendikar Rising Collector Booster packs; 2 non-foil Expedition Land box toppers. Packs include 4 assorted rares or mythic rares, 6 special alternate-frame cards, at least 11 foils, and 1 full art land.
My favorite thing about Kaldheim collector boosters is the gorgeous alternate frame that the showcase cards have. The old, wooden style the cards hold makes them hauntingly beautiful. Kaldheim has no shortage of sweet hits, my favorite of which is the alternate border Phyrexian Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider.
- 15 cards plus 1 foil token per pack
- Shortcut to the coolest cards in Kaldheim
- Loaded with rares, foils, special treatments, and more
- 12 Kaldheim (KHM) Magic: The Gathering Collector Boosters
Strixhaven: School of Mages
Strixhaven collector boosters have a cool alternate version of showcase cards: the Mystical Archives! The art for a lot of these Mystical Archive cards is stunning, even more so for the Japanese versions of some of those cards. Unfortunately for some, these arts can only be found on Japanese cards, so keep that in mind before placing an order!
- Includes 12 Magic: The Gathering Strixhaven Collector Booster Packs. Each Collector Booster Pack contains 15 Magic cards and 1 foil token (180 Magic cards total).
- At least 3 Mystical Archive cards (1 Traditional Foil Uncommon, 2 Foil Etched Uncommon, Rare or Mythic Rare) in every pack.
- Find 1 Foil Etched Japanese Alt-Art Mystical Archive card in every pack and up to 2 additional Japanese Alt-Art Traditional Foils.
- Collector Boosters are the shortcut to the coolest cards in Strixhaven.
- These are the only Strixhaven Boosters with Foil Etched and Extended-Art cards..Choose your college at the most prestigious university for magical learning in Magic: The Gathering’s Multiverse.
Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
I’ll be honest with you on this one, Forgotten Realms collector boosters were a big miss in terms of alternate card styles. The showcase cards that were mostly tan lost a lot of the art in favor of calling forth nostalgia for the old D&D rulebooks, and the lands that had the dungeon module alteration make them look like covers of pulp fantasy fiction books. I can see the appeal for some, but the style being a miss and the cards themselves being unexciting (nothing really beyond Old Gnawbone and Tiamat) proved to be disappointing.
- 12 Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR) Magic: The Gathering Collector Boosters
- Shortcut to the coolest cards in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
- Loaded with rares, foils, special treatments, and more
- 5 Rare or Mythic Rare cards per pack
- 15 Magic cards plus 1 foil token in every pack
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
Midnight Hunt collector boosters feature an awesome “equinox” alternate card style. These styles tend to give the sense of a dark autumnal setting, which I find makes white, red, and green cards warm and inviting while it makes blue and black cards a lot more harrowing and darker. As far as big hits are concerned, this one’s mostly a The Meathook Massacre lottery.
- 12 Innistrad: Midnight Hunt MTG Collector Boosters
- Shortcut to the coolest cards in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
- Total of 8 special treatment cards plus total of 10 foils per pack
- Only MID boosters with Extended-Art cards
- Total of 15 Magic cards plus 1 foil token in each booster
Innistrad: Crimson Vow
Crimson Vow collector boosters, on the other hand, leans far more into the vampire theme, where there are cards with alternate names as seen in Ikoria. Here you can open Dracula or his castle! As in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the showcase style is black and white, which is somewhat polarizing as a stylistic choice for players. Regardless, the value found here is a lot more spread out than in Midnight Hunt, though there still isn’t a truly big-ticket item to be found here beyond maybe a foil showcase Sorin the Mirthless.
- 12 Innistrad: Crimson Vow MTG Collector Boosters
- 2 foil Dracula Series box topper cards
- 15 Magic cards plus 1 foil token in each booster
- Total of 8 cards with special treatments in every pack—including 1–3 Dracula Series cards
- 5 Rare and/or Mythic Rare cards per pack
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty collector boosters go all-in on unique art styles. The showcase versions of cards look like scenes out of visual novels or anime. While this is not entirely my cup of tea, I know a large number of players were very pleased with the way that these cards came out. These have a large number of big hits in The Wandering Emperor and Boseiju, Who Endures. With praetors, planeswalkers, and powerful lands, this set truly has everything.
- 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
Modern Horizons 2
Modern Horizons 2 collector boosters have the greatest number of cards that boast hefty price tags. It’s got fetch lands, alternate art sketches, and dozens of Modern-playable cards. These are probably going to be the best value you can find within a pack, as they are chock-full of cards that will see play for many years to come.
- 12 Modern Horizons 2 (MH2) Magic: The Gathering Collector Boosters
- Shortcut to the coolest cards in Modern Horizons 2
- Only Modern Horizons 2 boosters with Foil Etched cards and Extended-Art
- 4 Rares and/or Mythic Rares per pack (max. of 3 Mythics)
- Introduces powerful cards and beloved reprints to the Modern format
Now here’s a set that has some home runs. Mana Drain, Vampiric Tutor, and Jeweled Lotus are all currently $80 or more on the second-hand market, and that’s just the extended border versions. Foils of Jeweled Lotus are currently about $800, which is far and away the biggest prize you could hope to open in any collector booster.
- 12 COLLECTOR BOOSTERS. Collector Boosters are a shortcut to the coolest cards in Commander Legends—fill your deck with rares, foils, and special art from the first booster packs created specifically for Commander.
- 24+ FOIL ETCHED CARDS. Commander Legends debuts a special kind of foil—foil etched cards with beautiful metallic frames. Collector boosters are the only Commander Legends booster packs where you're sure to find foil etched legends, with 2–3 in every pack!
- 60 LEGENDARY CARDS. Every Commander Legends Collector Booster pack contains 5 legendary cards, with at least one showcase mythic reprint. Collect classic MTG commanders or meet some of the 71 commanders introduced in the set.
- 24+ EXTENDED-ART CARDS. Not found in any other Commander Legends booster packs, Collector Boosters contain at least 2 extended-art cards, with a chance of up to 5.
- 48+ RARES. Each Collector Booster contains up to 5 assorted rare and mythic rare cards, with a minimum of 4 rares per pack.
What’s the Difference Between a “Regular” MTG Booster and a Collector Booster?
Collector boosters cost more and have different, premium versions of cards.
As far as “regular” boosters are concerned, there are two types: set boosters and draft boosters. Draft boosters are the same as all the other boosters that you have known and loved through Magic’s history; they contain 10 commons, 3 uncommons, 1 rare or mythic rare, 1 basic land, and a token or ad card. Since Shards of Alara, this has been the composition of just about every booster pack in every set, with some slight variations for sets with double-faced cards.
Zendikar Rising introduced the set booster, which is pretty similar to a draft booster in terms of what you can open, but is a little more seeded. Set boosters are marketed towards players who want to crack packs for the thrill of it without necessarily having 13 unrelated commons and uncommons (commonly referred to as “draft chaff”). Draft boosters are usually sold for $3.95 plus tax, while set boosters are about $1 more. Collector boosters cost much more than that, usually costing about $20 a pack upon release.
How Many Packs Are in a Collector Booster Box?
Collector booster boxes contain 12 packs of collector boosters. Given that these boosters command a premium for, well, their premium content, having 24 or 36 would push the price point of the box above what a retailer would realistically want to spend on a single box.
Are Collector Booster Boxes Worth It in General?
Possibly, and more likely if you can get a better deal by buying in bulk.
As far as being worth it, booster boxes follow the rule that buying in bulk is more efficient than buying single packs over the course of a longer period of time. If you want to buy boosters, and plan on buying more than a couple, I would recommend buying a booster box or splitting one with a friend. On the other hand, buying booster packs will only be “worth it” in very narrow circumstances, the same as lottery tickets. If they were truly worth it, everyone would be buying them all until the price is adjusted.
How Many Rares Are in a Collector Booster Box?
You can expect to find 60 rares inside a collector booster box, since there are five rares per pack and 12 packs in the box.
How Many Mythics Are in a Collector Booster Box?
About seven or eight per box.
This answer involves a bit of math. First, we have to calculate the expected quantity of mythic rares within a single pack, and then we have to multiply it by 12. Finding this expected quantity isn’t trivial, as there are five different slots where you could expect to open a mythic rare in your collector booster. The number of possible cards to find in every slot varies with every set, but you should expect to have a 1 in 8 (or 12.5%) chance of opening a mythic with any given slot. Multiply 0.125 times 5 for every booster and then by 12 for the total number of boosters, you should expect to open seven or eight mythics per collector booster box.
Are Collector Boosters Limited Release?
Kind of. They aren’t produced indefinitely.
This is a bit of a tricky question, so let me define the term “limited release.” Limited release is a term used to describe a product that will only be produced by its company for a given period of time before its production is suspended entirely. From this perspective, every Magic set ever printed is designated as a limited release. Most Magic sets are in print for about a year before going out of print, where Wizards of the Coast stops printing new cards for that set entirely. Collector boosters definitely fall within these terms of “limited release.”
Do Collector Boosters Have Cards from The List?
No, they don’t! It’s pretty hard to keep track of all the different cards that exist in all the various types of boosters, cards from The List only appear within set boosters, not collector boosters. The best way to remember this is to note that every card in collector boosters has some form of premium treatment, either being foil, showcase, or extended border, whereas cards from The List show up as printed in their original set, albeit with a stamp on the bottom left.
How Many Collector Booster Boxes Are in a Case?
For those of you who are truly degenerate and want to experience the maximum high rolling you can make in a single item purchase, you can buy a collector booster case. Each case contains 6 collector booster boxes.
Sin Collector | Illustration by Mike Bierek
So there it is! In the last couple of years, we’ve had a collector booster accompany every set released, and it has contributed to a huge spread in different arts, different borders, and even different foiling methods. While we have some huge hits among these in Kaldheim, Strixhaven, and Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, we’ve also had a number of misses, like Adventure of the Forgotten Realms.
I really love that there are now multiple arts for the same card, as I greatly enjoy having the choice to use my favorite arts (or to completely mismatch my playsets of cards, hehe). Still, there’s some level of exhaustion and confusion among players from having to keep track of all these different card versions.
What’s your favorite memory of opening a booster pack? Do you think collector boosters are good or bad for the game in general? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
Until then, see you next time here on Draftsim.
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