Last updated on March 31, 2022
Sisters of Stone Death | Illustration by Donato Giancola
Magic has had a lot of products over the years. Most of them end up being changed constantly or dropped right when they become popular.
Fat packs, weird name aside, were one of the longest-running Magic products we’ve seen in the history of the game. While they saw several revisions over the years, fat packs managed to stick around for almost 20 years. They still exist today, but they’ve been rebranded as a bundle with different content. We still get to enjoy them.
But what are these packs? What’s in them? Let’s find out!
Pack Leader | Illustration by Ilse Gort
Wizards released a new sealed product alongside booster packs and boxes with Mercadian Masques in 1999: fat packs. Originally referred to as a “phat pack” (gotta love the 90’s), they were intended to bridge the gap between regular players and collectors by combining several products into one collectible box.
The contents of a fat pack have changed a lot over the years, sometimes several times in a couple of years of revisions.
The original fat packs came with the following items:
- 3 draft booster packs
- 1 “tournament pack,” a 75-card deck
- 2 premium promo cards
- 1 panoramic art piece
- 1 decorative storage box
- 1 player’s guide, including a visual guide to all the cards in the set
Over the years these contents shifted to include:
- Novels (up until Shards of Alara ended this)
- Basic lands (anywhere from 40 to 80, sometimes foil)
- Extra storage boxes
- Deck boxes (Mirrodin Besieged)
- Plastic card dividers (from Ninth Edition to Shadowmoor)
- Cards featuring pro players
Before they were discontinued fat packs usually included:
- 6 to 9 draft booster packs
- 40 to 80 basic lands
- 1 player’s guide
- 1 decorative storage box
- 1 panoramic art piece
Charix, the Raging Isle | Illustration by Kekai Kotaki
Technically fat packs still exist, but they’ve been rebranded as “bundles” and have different contents than before. Starting with Kaladesh, fat packs got a facelift to become bundles, which continued to change contents every few sets (just like fat packs!).
This change was mainly thanks to Wizards’ feeling that new players needed a better gradual slope of products. They wanted to adjust bundles with new players in mind. They didn’t want to direct new players to this product entirely, making it more new-player friendly.
Bundles came onto the scene with the release of Kaladesh and have had a few product revisions since then.
- Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and onwards is the current iteration of bundles, offering set boosters over draft boosters for the first time.
- War of the Spark was the last bundle to offer a player’s guide, a visual guide to the set that showed you all the cards plus some lore for the set.
- Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is the most recent bundle to come out and features some eco-friendly packaging which is a first for Wizards since these tend to have a lot of waste in them.
Before Wizards abolished their MSRP, fat packs were $24.95 USD. They were later changed to $42.99 when they became bundles in Kaladesh and now tend to float around $35 to $45 for new sets on release.
Treasure Chest | Illustration by Scott Murphy
Fat packs have always been about the extras more than the packs. The packs are great, of course, but I also love all the bonus stuff. I still have fat pack boxes from Morningtide and Lorwyn, and the novels too. My friends used to collect the art pieces from the fat pack wrapping.
These products and their new bundle re-imagining are best for collectors and casual fans who aren’t looking to crack packs, while booster boxes are better for those who want cards (or to draft). You get almost four and a half times the number of packs for roughly double the price, and it’s a better value overall.
You can still find sealed fat packs on some third-party retailers like TCGplayer.
You can also sometimes find them on Amazon, but buyers beware. You can easily get some sketchy products here, while I’d trust Card Kingdom or TCGplayer to have reliable sealed products.
If you’re big on nostalgia I think it’s worth picking up an old fat pack to get a great view of that set. I don’t know if it’s because we’re assaulted with new sets every three months or thanks to rose-tinted glasses. Still, I always felt a better connection to the earlier fat packs where I got a novel or at least some info about the ongoing story.
I think bundles are still a pretty good value but still tend to skip them. There’s nothing wrong with them, they just no longer appeal to me as a customer. The addition of set boosters to their draft counterparts is a welcome change but there’s no reason why WotC can’t make it ten packs again for the “not-MSRP” price of $42.
Triskaidekaphile | Illustration by Mathias Kollros
If you’re interested in picking up some older product, TCGplayer currently has a few options:
- If you can afford it, Eventide is the last fat pack to come with a novel. Lorwyn, Morningtide, and Shadowmoor are all part of this novel series and it’s a pretty good story from pre-Gatewatch times.
- Mirrodin Besieged’s fat packs included nine packs instead of 8 and 80 basic lands, but they don’t have the introduction to the set’s novel. They also came with some cardboard deck boxes if that’s your thing.
- Magic Origins surprisingly still have fat packs at an average price of $40, which isn’t that bad if you’re a fan of the set.
I don’t think Wizards ever made a statement about how many cards can fit in these boxes. According to a thread from 2016, fat packs store about 500 to 550 unsleeved cards, which sounds pretty in line with how many cards I keep in a full fat pack box.
You can easily fit three sleeved Commander decks plus tokens with some wiggle room to boot.
Fat packs didn’t originally come with any lands at all beyond what came in the original tournament packs in the OG boxes. Starting with Ninth Edition they came with a 40-land pack that continued until Mirrodin Besieged doubled the count to 80.
Since Core Set 2020, bundles now come with 40 basic lands, 20 in foil and 20 non-foil.
Invoke Despair | Illustration by Donato Giancola
Fat packs are an iconic part of Magic merchandise and they’ve stuck around this long for a good reason. Players love them, collectors love them, and they make great gifts for almost any Magic player. While they might have transcended to a new form, fat packs are still worth picking up and will be around for a long time.
How do you feel about fat packs? Do you have any fat pack boxes you want to flex in the comments? Show off that bling down there or over on Draftsim’s official Twitter.
As for me, I’m going to go dig up my Tenth Edition plastic card dividers from my first fat pack. Peace out!
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