Commencement of Festivities - Illustration by Zack Stella

Commencement of Festivities | Illustration by Zack Stella

Large events are slowly returning to MTG with MagicCons. There still aren’t many of these, and lots of players who may want to attend aren’t able. Either they’re too far away, or they’re not available on the weekends that MagicCons are held. For those players, Wizards is launching Festival in a Box.

What is this, and does it bring the festival feeling into your living room? Let’s look into what it includes!

What Is Festival in a Box?

Path to the Festival - Illustration by Darek Zabrocki

Path to the Festival | Illustration by Darek Zabrocki

Festival in a Box is a collection of Magic products sold as a bundle, and it includes some promos that otherwise are only available to those attending a MagicCon. There are two different versions of these: there’s the Commander Fan Bundle, which contains a load of Commander decks and a Mystery Booster box alongside some other things; then there's the Drafter’s Dream Bundle, which includes two boxes of draft boosters alongside the Mystery Booster box.

Another thing that’s worth pointing out is that it also gives you access to follow along with the MagicCon at home with video feeds to some of the panels taking place across the weekend.

What’s the Purpose of Festival in a Box?

The purpose of Festival in a Box is to bring the “festival experience” home with some MTG product and promo cards, according to the marketing material. Whichever box you go for, there’s clearly an intention to use this to play with friends somehow, whether you use the Commander decks in the Commander bundle or play Limited with the Drafters Dream bundle. They could easily have put something together that just included some traditional Secret Lair-style things, but you couldn’t play with those out of the box. There’s clearly some thought put into this; it’s not just a “box of stuff.”

Pessimists may say that it’s just a way to sell more stuff, and that’s somewhat fair. There are others who say that it’s just a way to sell off leftover stock, but I don’t think that’s true because lots of the products included here are popular. Mystery Booster Convention Edition was already sold by stores after the events in 2020 didn’t go ahead, and these versions of Mystery Booster have some small differences to those originally intended for use in those conventions. It feels like this product has been set aside to be used here on purpose.

Another interesting point is that this is one of the few ways that Wizards sell sealed product directly to consumers. Is this a trial before moving out and doing this more in future? We’ll have to wait and see there!

What Comes in Festival in a Box?

Commander Fan Bundle

Drafter’s Dream Bundle

So, Are Festival in a Box a Good Value?

Commander Fan Bundle

Secret Lair Festival in a Box Barcelona 2023 - Commander Fan Bundle

The Commander Fan Bundle costs $299.99. If you wanted to buy everything individually, the six Commander decks will set you back around $250 at time of writing going by Amazon prices. The Mystery Booster box is around $300, so $550 in total for those not wanting to do the math.

On top of this you still get the promo cards, with the Arcane Signet just under $10, despite multiple printings so far. The Relentless Rats promo has the potential to fetch a bit of a premium because it’s the type of card that someone will want in multiple copies.

Drafter’s Dream Bundle

Secret Lair Festival in a Box Barcelona 2023 - Drafter's Dream Bundle

The Drafter’s Dream bundle comes in a little pricier at $319.99. Similarly, you get the Mystery Booster box at $300, but you also get a draft box of Dominaria Remastered (note: not Dominaria United, like I first read) and The Brothers’ War. If you were to pick these up on Amazon it would cost you around another $250, or up to $550 for the individual items, before the promos.

It’s worth pointing out that the release of both bundles may bring down the price of the individual items, but I wouldn’t expect it to hit them much.

Festival in a Box Alternatives: Buy the Items Separately

If you’re wanting to buy the items separately, you can still do that since most of them are available from all your regular sources for cardboard goodies.

You can get the Commander decks for $35-$50 apiece on Amazon. Dominaria Remastered draft booster boxes are around $150, and The Brothers’ War draft boxes are roughly $100. The Mystery Booster Convention Edition, which is found in both bundles, comes in at $300 each.

The promos are more difficult to find right now, especially the Relentless Rats, but they should be more easily found once MagicCon has happened.

Is Festival in a Box a Secret Lair?

Yes, Festival in a Box is a Secret Lair, kind of. It’s not like the traditional Secret Lairs which include a few singles with nice and unique art, but it’s sold through the Secret Lair website and this, alongside the Secret Lair Commander decks, is widening what’s on offer through Secret Lair.

How Do You Buy Festival in a Box?

You can buy either version of Festival in a Box through the Secret Lair website. They’re limited in quantity, so make sure you get one before they’re gone if you want to pick one up.

Will There Be More of Festival in a Box?

There have been Festival in a Box products for other MagicCons earlier in the year, like Philadelphia and Minneapolis, so it’s likely that we’ll see them again in future.

Boxing it Off

End the Festivities - Illustration by Chris Rallis

End the Festivities | Illustration b Chris Rallis

Festival in a Box is definitely a decent attempt at widening the audience for MagicCons, even if just a little bit for those taking part at home. It’s also a good value product if it’s something you’re interested in buying anyway.

Will you be buying Festival in a Box? Or will you give it a miss? Do you think it’s a good way to bring the MagicCon experience home, too? Let me know in the comments below, or over on the Draftsim Discord.

I’m going to go get ready for MagicCon Barcelona!

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