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I don’t know about you, but I was pretty darn excited for the release of the Mystery Booster set in stores last Friday. We’d already known for months the content of the so-called “Convention Edition” of Mystery Boosters that was available at GPs/MagicFests, but Wizards of the Coast kept us on pins and needles waiting until March 6 for the full list of foil cards in the “WPN/Store Edition”.
But for many of us, the world around us has rapidly changed due to the coronavirus outbreak. All non-essential businesses, including your friendly local game store, are shuttered. While mine was open this past Friday to celebrate the release of Mystery Booster draft, I didn’t feel like it would be responsible to go. Here in the US, it seems increasingly unlikely that you’ll have many opportunities to gather in person and play the set with your fellow gamers.
So what can you do? After all, the set is sweet, and there are all kinds of awesome mechanics and amazing throwback cards in it. So how can you experience this cool limited format that a lot of people at Wizards of the Coast put so much work into?
Fortunately… there is a way! And it involves just a little help from Draftsim, and our ol’ reliable — Magic Online.
In short, we’re going to:
- Generate a deck on Draftsim
- Import the deck into Magic Online
- Get the cards we need from Cardhoarder
- Play against friends or internet friends
Trust me, it’s a lot faster — and cheaper — than it sounds. There are a lot of steps here, but you can actually do everything in this guide in < 15 minutes and get playing very quickly!
Getting Your Deck
OK, so the first problem is that this set is not available on Magic Online… right?
Well not exactly. While you can’t purchase Mystery Boosters on MODO, all the cards in the WPN edition are reprints, so once you’ve drafted a deck, you can still acquire them on Magic Online after that. So all we need to do is solve the challenge that no digital packs are available.
The good news is that I have this little website called Draftsim, and we do have packs.
Head over to the home page draft simulator to start off with.
Hover over the leftmost column to choose between draft and sealed
Drafting and deckbuilding
Hopefully you’ve used Draftsim’s draft simulator before, but if not, it should be relatively intuitive for you. You’re drafting against 7 bots, very much like what you do on MTG Arena.
Proceed with your draft and make your picks just like you would on MTGA or MTGO.
After drafting you’ll be presented with an intermediary screen – just click “Deckbuild”.
Use Draftsim’s UI to build your deck – don’t forget you have a lot of sorting options to sort your deck by color, CMC, etc. And you can also switch the main area and the sidebar back and forth with sort → swap.
Exporting and saving the deck
After you build your deck (don’t forget to add basic lands!), hover over the “More” button and click “Export.” Your deck will be automatically copied to your clipboard.
You can then paste that deck into a text file using Notepad or a similar text editor.
Then save that text file into a local .txt file on your computer.
Magic Online: Build Your Deck
So now you need to import the deck you saved and find out which cards you drafted that you don’t have.
Import your deck into Magic Online
Go to the lower pane and click on the deckbox with a plus on it that says “Add a deck”.
This will bring up a dialog where you have the option to import a deck from a file — that’s what we’re going to do.
After you find your .txt file you saved earlier and load it, Magic Online should tag it as a “Freeform Deck” (meaning it has no particular format or requirements for number of cards) and give you a chance to name it.
After you name it and click “OK” – voila! You have successfully imported your draft deck into MODO.
OK, so as you can see, I have a problem. I don’t own all the cards that I drafted. Although I’ve drafted for many years on Magic Online, it hasn’t been that long. And I always sell off rares whenever I can.
Export your missing cards
So then you need to separate out the cards that you need to buy into a wishlist:
Right click on an empty spot near the deck and select “Add Missing Cards to Wish List”.
A new binder called “Wish List” is created for you.
Now you can export that list and buy these cards so you can get playing. Just right click on Wish List on the left sidebar and save your missing cards in another .txt file.
Buy the Missing Cards for Your Deck
Now this is where an otherwise daunting process becomes incredibly easy. Normally you’d have to shop around on a bunch of bots on Magic Online and hope that they have all the cards you need. I can imagine that process being such a pain that none of this would be worthwhile.
With Cardhoarder, you can just go to their website, enter the cards we need, checkout, pay with cash or tix, and get the cards. This all takes less than 5 minutes.
Building a shopping cart and checking out
To start with, go to the Deck Editor section of Cardhoarder’s site.
You could upload a file, or you could just directly copy/paste from the Wish List text file you just saved.
Click on the “Import Deck List” tab.
Then paste all the cards from your Wish List.txt into the box and click “Load Deck”.
BOOM! Everything is now in your cart with a price:
Yeah that’s right — for this deck, the cost for me to draft was $0.72. Did I mention you can sell the cards back after you’re done with them?
When you check out, you can pick your payment options (cash/tix) and whether you want a bot to deliver them to you. The bot process is incredibly easy and fast, so that is what I went with.
Getting the cards
When the bot/Cardhoarder rep trade messages you, make sure you click “Import a Decklist” so you can automatically load only the cards you need during the trade.
And there you have it, I now have all the cards in my deck and am ready to battle!!
While this should be the fun and easy part, you still need people to play with. Where can you find them?
First of all, do you have any friends that you were intending to play Mystery Booster with? Reach out to them.
What about Magic-playing friends who live out of town from you? Maybe this is a great time to reconnect with them. Use Discord or Skype to chat while you play.
What about acquaintances from your LGS? Message them on Facebook or leave a post on your store’s Facebook page that you’re looking for someone to play with.
Another great option – Discord servers
There are now many places online where you can find like-minded MTG players. Yes, even other people who like limited.
I would be remiss not to first mention Draftsim’s own Discord server. I try to keep the culture on the server very friendly, helpful, and extremely welcoming to newbies.
Discord is where it’s at to find and chat with MTG players in real time
The only downside is that you need to be a Patron of each of these shows, but they’re awesome, so it’s well worth it to throw them a couple bucks to have access to such a great community.
Hopefully between all these you’re able to find someone to play with! Even if you can find just one person, you can each build multiple decks or just trade each other and play with the other person’s deck. Be creative.
And if you find eight players, you can organize your own draft or sealed tournament!
The great thing is that you can now play as much as you like since you now (digitally) own the cards and are not constrained by any tournament or time structure. If you’re super cheap, you could just keep one deck and keep playing it over and over again against different people.
What about IRL?
This one I don’t have quite as many ideas about, I’m sorry. If you’re practicing social distancing and don’t want to get a group of Magic players together, your options are pretty limited.
You could always try to score a booster box cheap right now and wait to play later?
If that’s the plan, consider helping out your local game store and buying one there. A lot of retail businesses are struggling right now and could really use your help.
Use the Wizards store locator to find the store closest to you
That notwithstanding, there’s always Ebay and Amazon.
Boxes available on Ebay:
Things seem to be around the same price on Amazon:
Or, you could do what I’ve seen some people do with commander and use a webcam to share your board via Discord.
Theoretically, you could do something like this and build a sealed deck to play against other people who also have physical packs on hand.
Hopefully this got your juices flowing about some alternative ways you can enjoy this game we love so much and try out the new set despite all the challenges. Have you gotten a chance to play Mystery Booster yet? What are you doing with your friends to keep playing, even if it’s virtual?
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