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Gather the Pack - Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

Gather the Pack | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

MTG cards have always been sold in booster packs, which are sold inside booster boxes, with the customer having the option to buy a single booster or a whole box. People like to buy boxes to crack lots of packs, have higher chances of finding that special rare or mythic they need, or just to play Limited.

But how many booster packs are there in the boxes? Are all MTG boxes equal in pack numbers? Let’s find out!

How Many Booster Packs Are in a Box of Magic Cards?

Werewolf Pack Leader - Illustration by Miranda Meeks

Werewolf Pack Leader | Illustration by Miranda Meeks

Most sets these days have 36 packs in a draft box, which is the most common and traditional booster box. But specialized boxes like set booster boxes and collector booster boxes are different. A set booster box has 30 packs, and a collector booster box has 12 packs.

There have been 36 boosters in a draft booster box since the start of the game. But the number of boosters in boxes varied with some expansions (between 1992 to 1995) while the core editions (Fourth Edition, Fifth Edition) and so on kept 36 boosters per box. From Mirage onthe standard for booster boxes became 36 booster packs per box.

Draft Booster Boxes

D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms draft booster box

There are 36 packs in a draft booster box, usually with 10 commons, 3 uncommons, a rare or mythic rare, and a basic land, plus the merchandising/token card.

Streets of New Capenna draft booster box

This was the only booster box offered to players for a long time so there wasn’t a choice, but with the extra options nowadays the draft box is aimed at Limited players who want to play Draft or Sealed. These boosters are balanced for Limited in terms of card colors and rarity.

Draft Booster Boxes from Supplemental Sets

Masters 25 booster box

Some supplemental products like Modern Masters and Conspiracy are collections of reprints that are balanced for drafting. These sets are released in boxes with 24 booster packs, which is exactly what’s needed for an 8-player Draft, three boosters per player.

These boosters usually have at least a rare and a foil in each pack and are slightly more expensive since the cards themselves are staples of Constructed decks across multiple formats.

Ultimate Masters booster box

Set Booster Boxes

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty set booster box

There are 30 packs in a set booster box and each pack contains a different mix of cards:

  • 1 art card (5% chance of having a gold signature)
  • 1 basic land (15% chance of being foil)
  • 6 commons/uncommons (different combinations possible, the most common is 4 commons and 2 uncommons)
  • 1 unique common/uncommon
  • 2 “wild cards” (any rarity from common to mythic)
  • 1 rare (13.5% chance of being a mythic)
  • 1 foil card
  • 1 marketing card/token (25% chance of being a card from The List)
Streets of New Capenna set booster box

The set booster isn’t really balanced for Limited since there’s a guaranteed foil in each pack and a higher chance of having more than one rare. It’s more of a “I need cards for my Constructed decks” kind of booster. Set boosters are aimed at players who want to crack a pack to get the cards (more rares/foil). They’ve been around since Zendikar Rising.

Set Booster Box Exception #1: Supplemental Sets

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate set booster box

Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate set booster box only has 12 packs instead of the usual 30 set boosters.

Collector Booster Boxes

Modern Horizons 2 collector booster box

There are 12 packs in a collector booster box, each containing 15 cards, most of which have a premium treatment like foil, alternate frame, alternate art, or extended art. Each collector booster has its own particular rules with different configurations, cards, and treatments with each set.

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty collector booster box

These boosters are more expensive and aimed at players who want high-end stuff.

Exceptions: Older Magic Sets

Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Fallen Empires, The Dark, Homelands

Homelands booster box

From 1993 to 1995 we got five sets that had booster boxes with 60 packs of eight cards each. They were:

  • Arabian Nights (1993)
  • Antiquities (1994)
  • Fallen Empires (1994)
  • The Dark (1994)
  • Homelands (1995)
Fallen Empires booster box

Alliances

Alliances was released in 1996 and its booster box came with 45 boosters of 12 cards each.

Wrap Up

Pack Attack - Illustration by Andrea Radeck

Pack Attack | Illustration by Andrea Radeck

That’s all there is to cover on packs in booster boxes across Magic’s history. Which of these booster boxes is your favorite? What was the last one you bought? Let me know in the comments below or in the Draftsim Discord.

I’m out to try and get some new rares and foils for my Cubes and EDH decks. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!

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