Last updated on July 25, 2022

Scheming Fence - Illustration by Cristi Balanescu

Scheming Fence | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu

Wizards releases dozens of new products with each set, offering a plethora of options for players to enjoy the game as they see fit. One of these products has fallen into an interesting middle ground between typical set, draft, and collector’s boosters.

Theme boosters have been a part of each premier set release since Dominaria and offer a way for players to immerse themselves in the flavor of a new set. But what is a theme booster? Are they worth buying? And which ones are the best to buy?

Let’s jump right in!

What’s a Theme Booster? What’s the Purpose?

Unity of Purpose - Illustration by Jason Felix

Unity of Purpose | Illustration by Jason Felix

Theme boosters were created to capture the flavor of a set. Each is themed around one of the five colors of Magic or a different flavorfully-appropriate theme. For example, Midnight Hunt’s theme boosters were sold in white, blue, black, red, green, and werewolf themes.

These boosters are targeted at players that wanted to dive into a new set with a basic collection of cards to get them started. Some of these hit the mark better than others, but I’ll talk about that in the rankings below.

What Comes in a Theme Booster?

Each theme booster comes with 35 cards. They have a mix of commons and uncommons (the exact number isn’t set, but you’ll always get more commons than uncommons), plus one to two rares or mythics. The exact drop rate for the rares/mythics is also variable.

9 out of 10 of Throne of Eldraine’s theme boosters (and each one from then on) included a single rare, with 1 in 10 containing two rares. Theros Beyond Death’s theme boosters (and each one going forward) had a chance to include 1 of 10 unique rares only found in the set’s theme boosters.

These rares were designed specifically for the theme boosters and could only be opened in them. Examples include Theros: Beyond Death’s Deathbellow War Cry and Ironscale Hydra as well as Kaldheim’s Cleaving Reaper and Starnheim Aspirant. These cards aren’t necessarily very powerful, but they make great introductions to the flavor of any given plane.

It’s important to note that theme boosters never include lands. I guess WotC figures new players have friends who are chomping at the bit to offload their basics on someone.

#12. Zendikar Rising

Zendikar Rising theme boosters

Zendikar Rising’s theme boosters were available in all five colors plus a 5-colored booster themed to the party mechanic, which had a mixed reception. The cards rarely saw competitive play but were a hit for flavor.

As an introduction to Magic, the ZNR theme boosters are just fine. Nothing too special, but they could be worse.

Wizards of the Coast MTG - Zendikar Rising Theme Booster Display (12 Packs) - English
  • Card Game
  • Contents: 12 packs/ 35 Zendikar Rising cards, all based on a single theme per pack.
  • For all MTG Fans!
  • Join Jace, Nariri, Nissa and more in Zendikar; a dangerous world of lethal risks where brave adventurers in the Edlrazi aftermath delve into ancient ruins in search of priceless rewards!

#11. War of the Spark

War of the Spark theme boosters

War of the Spark’s theme boosters were only available in the five basic colors. I liked WAR’s theme because it served as a great introduction to the flavor of Magic. The uncommon planeswalkers made it easy for players to learn about all the different characters and their respective planes.

Overall, the lack of a sixth specific themed booster hurts this set’s theme boosters. There could’ve been a booster based around the amass mechanic, or planeswalkers, but instead it’s just divided by color.

Magic The Gathering C63040000 War of The Spark-Theme Booster Packet (Style Sent at Random)
  • Helps players to build a deck on demand for the way they like to play Magic.
  • Each booster pack includes 1 rare or mythic rare.
  • 35 cards per theme booster.

#10. Core Set 2020

Core Set 2020 theme boosters

Core Set 2020’s theme boosters, like many, only included the five color varieties with no specific booster for the set’s theme. While this makes it the most basic of the theme boosters, I’d argue that basic is best when it comes to products oriented towards new players.

The 2020 Core Set features plenty of essential cards for deckbuilding, meaning any color booster would make a fine basis for a fresh player looking to start their collection.

#9. Dominaria

Dominaria theme boosters

The first iteration of theme boosters were released with Dominaria, and they weren’t so bad! There were no theme booster-exclusive rares, and only the mono-colored boosters were available.

But Dominaria’s card pool makes it a great start for any new player. Plenty of the cards had simple mechanics that would be useful throughout their career, and each booster also included artifacts and colorless cards to play with the historic mechanic introduced in this set.

#8. D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms

D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms theme boosters

Forgotten Realms introduced the venture mechanic and featured a 5-color theme booster based on it. These boosters were a hit for any new player coming to Magic from D&D. Each card in the set references a mechanic or character from D&D, so new players could immediately make connections to the flavor of the set.

MGO MTG Magic Adventures in The Forgotten Realms Theme Set: All 6 (35-Card) Booster Packs
  • The D&D team worked with the Magic team on every aspect of this first-time D&D tcg set, with extensive input on the visuals and lore of the cards
  • Experience the long awaited crossover between Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons.
  • This product is packed to the brim with mystical artifacts, magic spells, and fearsome monsters straight from your tabletop campaign.
  • This listing includes all 6 Theme booster packs.

#7. Throne of Eldraine

Throne of Eldraine theme boosters

Throne of Eldraine’s theme boosters were the first to change the drop rate of rares. Every theme booster going forward had a 1 in 10 chance of including two rares instead of one. They also added a reference card to help acclimate new players to the game. Think one of those “popular formats in MTG” cards you toss immediately upon opening.

The introduction of the second rare per pack made theme boosters more desirable. They also included cards you’d typically only see in the Brawl decks released alongside the set.

Magic The Gathering MTG-ELD-TBD-EN Throne of Eldraine Theme Boosters-Set of 5
  • Helps new and casual players expand their collection.
  • All cards themed around a single colour.
  • One rare or mythic rare.
  • Item Package Quantity: 1

#6. Theros Beyond Death

Theros Beyond Death theme boosters

When Theros Beyond Death dropped it came with the standard run of five mono-colored theme boosters. Each pack contained two out of a possible 10 cards not included in the main set which further increased the desirability of these packs. But sadly the theme booster-exclusive rares aren’t very strong.

Demon of Loathing and Victory’s Envoy are some of the more favorable choices, but most are unplayable junk rares. Besides this, one of TBD’s strong points were its cool constellation art lands, which you’d never pull in a theme booster.

GET All 5! MTG Magic the Gathering Theros Beyond Death Theme Booster 35-Card Packs (1 of Each Color)
  • Theme Boosters are perfect for players looking to expand their collection with a specific strategy in mind.

#5. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths theme boosters

Ikoria featured a sixth theme booster in addition to the typical five mono-colored ones. The 5-color monsters booster focused on big scary creatures with the mutate mechanic. Buying a monsters booster gives you an effective start to a deck based around mutate.

While not as focused as one of the mono-colored boosters, the monsters pack includes a chance to pull one of the exciting new multicolor legendary creatures like Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt, or a companion like Yorion, Sky Nomad.

Magic The Gathering MTG Ikoria Lair of Behemoths Theme Boosters All 5 Colors + Monster Pack!
  • Theme boosters are perfect for players looking to expand their collection with a specific strategy in mind.

#4. Strixhaven: School of Mages

Strixhaven: School of Mages theme boosters

I’m not a huge fan of the not-Harry Potter world of Strixhaven, but there’s no denying that this set was great for new players mechanically speaking. Its theme boosters were arranged in five paired colors aligned with the five schools: white/black Silverquill, blue/red Prismari, green/black Witherbloom, red/white Lorehold, and green/blue Quandrix.

While I’m distraught at the thought of a whole generation of players calling Boros “Lorehold,” I find the color pairs a great start for any new players. And having the opportunity to declare allegiance to an in-game faction helps inoculate new players to the flavor immediately.

#3. Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance

Ravnica Allegiance theme boosters

I’ve combined Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance into one ranking because they’re inseparable in my mind and form a complete set of 10 2-color theme boosters to choose from. Another departure from the typical mono-colored boosters, their theme boosters each featured paired color themes correlating to each of Ravnica’s guilds. I started my Magic career with the Dissension-era Rakdos () starter deck, and I always felt that clumsy and underpowered list set the tone for the rest of my collecting and playing.

Similar to the Strixhaven decks, giving players an opportunity to declare allegiance to an in-game faction immediately links them to the flavor of the world and makes enemies of their friends’ factions. Immersing players into how different colors interact is paramount to their early career and ultimately enriches their experience. Say they pick up the Rakdos theme booster but decide they don’t care for the black cards. Pick up another of the red guilds’ boosters to mix and match them, and they’ve suddenly built their first deck!

Magic The Gathering Ravnica Allegiance Theme Guilds Booster Box: 10 Jumbo Packs!
  • Darkness is coming to Ravnica. A conflict with Nicol Bolas that could tear apart the world itself looms large, and the fragile peace between the guilds is strained to its breaking point!
  • This listing includes 1 brand new factory sealed Themed booster box.
  • 'Theme' boosters are a new unique type of booster: each box has 10 packs, each pack has 35 random cards.
  • The cards inside each pack are all related to (that pack's) 'Guild', which could be any of: Azorius ({W}{U}), Rakdos ({B}{R}), Gruul ({R}{G}), Simic ({G}{U}), and Orzhov ({W}{B}). This is a great way to get random cards but tailored to the Guild you are trying to build.
  • Release Date: January 25, 2019

#2. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt theme boosters

Midnight Hunt’s theme boosters were released with the standard five mono-colored boosters plus one allegedly “5-colored” booster with a werewolves theme.

I say 5-colored, but really I mean mostly red and green since the only non-Gruul () werewolves in the set are Brutal Cathar, Baneblade Scoundrel, and Graveyard Trespasser. Two of these are rares, too, so your chances of pulling any non-red or non-green werewolves was fairly low.

But for a player looking to just get their hands on a ton of new werewolves (and their awesome variant arts), this was an easy enough choice.

MGO MTG Magic The Gathering Innistrad Midnight Hunt Theme Set of All 6 Jumbo Booster Packs!
  • Get ready for more Werewolves, Devils, and Witches that inhabit Innistrad! In this set Magic has returned to a fan-favorite world steeped in gothic horror, monsters and death. This listing includes all 6 jumbo theme booster packs!

#1. Streets of New Capenna

Streets of New Capenna theme boosters

I love the Streets of New Capenna theme boosters. Recently I’ve been wracking my brain with the best way to teach Magic to new players (without using Arena’s great tutorial), and I think the New Capenna theme boosters work wonderfully.

Instead of the standard five mono-colored boosters, SNC has five 3-color boosters based on the five factions of New Capenna. I want new players to experience as much Magic as possible in their early games, and having access to three colors and 3-colored cards just makes the most sense.

And the New Capenna mechanics make great introductions to the basics of the game. Alliance is a keyworded version of an effect we see all over MTG, and mechanics like connive illustrate simple ways to gain incremental advantage over your opponent.

Each faction has a clear goal in-game that should lead you to victory, making this an effective introduction for new players. Or even just players that want to dive right into New Capenna’s lore and mechanics.

MTG Magic the Gathering Streets of New Capenna Theme Boosters: All 5 Jumbo Packs
  • Each of the five families that vie for strength and profits in New Capenna take more than just one or two colors. This listing is for one of each theme booster pack: blue, purple, red, white, green. Each pack has 35 cards.
  • English (Publication Language)

What’s the Difference between a “Regular” Booster and a Theme Booster?

“Regular” booster packs (read: set and draft boosters) differ from theme boosters in a few ways.

Draft boosters, designed for the traditional Draft experience, contain 16 cards (1 land, 10 commons, 3 uncommons, 1 rare/mythic, and 1 marketing card).

Set boosters are designed for the most exciting pack-opening experience and contain 14 cards (a mix of commons and uncommons, 4 rares/mythics, 1 art card, and 1 marketing card/token). And the token/marketing card in set boosters has a 25% chance of being replaced with a card from The List, which are reprints from older sets with their original set symbol.

How Many Packs are in a Theme Booster Box?

Body Count - Illustration by Vladimir Krisetskiy

Body Count | Illustration by Vladimir Krisetskiy

Theme boosters “boxes” come in a display case of 25 (30 if there’s a sixth 5-color theme booster) you could theoretically buy in its entirety. This would include five theme boosters of each color plus five of the special sixth booster if the set has it.

Are Theme Booster Boxes Worth It in General?

25 theme boosters at around $7 per pack works out to about $175 for 875 cards. With a conservative estimate of 25 total rares, I can’t recommend purchasing tons of theme boosters if you’re rare-hunting.

How Many Rares Are There in a Booster Box? How Many Mythics?

Each theme booster includes one to two rares or mythics. A conservative estimate places this at one rare per pack, so 25 total in a display box of theme boosters, with a possibility of up to 50 if you’re feeling lucky.

Are Theme Boosters Limited Release?

Theme boosters are produced as long as their respective set is in print at roughly the same rate as the draft, set, and collector’s boosters.

Do Theme Boosters Have Cards from The List?

Theme boosters don’t include cards from The List. They’re composed entirely of cards from their respective sets.

Wrap Up

Final Payment - Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez

Final Payment | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez

I’m sad to see the theme boosters phased out. I’m sad whenever a product is discontinued, especially one targeted at new or more casual players, but I understand the reason behind ditching them. They’re clunky and not a great buy for any established MTG player, but they’re a cute way to introduce a friend to the game (as long as you have some spare lands to donate).

That said, try to grab a Streets of New Capenna theme booster before they disappear. It’s a fair introduction to the game for new players or an interesting deckbuilding challenge for veterans looking to play some lower-powered Magic.

What do you think about theme boosters? Are you looking forward to the new Jumpstart boosters, or are you sad to see these go too? Let me know in the comments down below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.

That’s all from me for now. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

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