Foul Play | Illustration by Campbell White
In 2020, Wizards of the Coast released a new product called Set boosters that debuted with Zendikar Rising. This gave us the choice of Draft boosters if we wanted to have a draft with friends or at our LGS or to get Set boosters, which allow us to get the best cards for our collections.
Play boosters are coming to replace Set and Draft boosters, so there’s much to consider. What’s the difference between Play boosters and Set boosters, and how are they alike? Let’s “set” the scene and get ready to “play” as we discuss these similarities and differences.
Summon the Pack | Illustration by Matt Cavotta
Play boosters (14 playable cards) encompass the functionality of drafting while also acting as a resource for avid collectors of Magic: The Gathering cards. Set boosters (12 playable cards) are more for collectors who want to pull the big-hit cards rather than for Draft players, who prefer Draft boosters to fit that desire. Both Set and Play boosters contain about 6 commons, but there are still notable differences between the two.
Play boosters replace Draft and Set boosters as of 2024. Draft players and collectors alike can enjoy purchasing these packs for Limited format gameplay and/or to chase after the best cards for their collection.
Play boosters are organized by slots, with the first six slots dedicated to commons. The 7th slot is usually another common, with a 1/8 chance of being substituted for a card of any rarity from “The List.” Slots 8-10 feature uncommons. You’re guaranteed at least one rare card (sometimes a mythic rare) in the 11th card slot while the 12th slot contains a basic land.
The 13th and 14th card slots are where the big hitters sit. You get a non-foil “wildcard” in the 13th slot and foil wildcard in the 14th slot. Wildcards can be any card of any rarity from the main set. Finally, the 15th card slot contains an advertisement card, a token, or an art card.
Play boosters contain 14 playable cards per pack. They have 1 less non-playable card and 2 more playable cards compared to a Set booster, which means you get more bang for your buck by investing in a Play booster.
Set boosters come with a guaranteed rare or mythic plus a foil card in every pack. There are 2 other non-playable card slots in a Set booster pack that contain an art card and a token or an ad. Magic collectors prefer to purchase Set boosters versus Draft boosters because of the usual higher value that they offer when pulling cards.
The 1st slot features the art card while the 2nd card slot has a land. Slots 3-8 contain commons and uncommons, while the 9th slot is a head-turner card that may be a showcase card.
The wildcard rarity slots for the 10th and 11th card have a chance of being multiple combinations of cards with different probabilities:
- 49% – Two commons
- 24.5% – One common, one uncommon
- 17.5% – One common, one rare
- 3.5% – Two uncommons
- 4.3% – One uncommon, one rare
- 1.6% – Two rares
You receive a rare or mythic rare in a Set booster in the 12th card slot and a foil card from the set in the 13th. Finally, the 14th card contains an advertisement or a token that’s generated from one of the cards in the set.
Set booster packs contain 12 playable cards each. They have two fewer playable cards than Play boosters do.
Play boosters are better than Set boosters because you receive two additional playable cards compared to set boosters. Plus, Play boosters have a specific number of guaranteed commons (6) and uncommons (3) while Set boosters only have a mix of commons and uncommons within six card slots.
There are no Play boosters on the market just yet! They debut in February 2024 when Murders at Karlov Manor is released. Watch out for more updates on what we believe are the best Play boosters as they release in the future!
The best Set boosters were released between 2021 to 2022, setting the tone for the history of Set boosters forever.
Modern Horizons 2
Modern earned some serious staples in the mix when Modern Horizons 2 was released in June 2021. With 492 cards in the set, there were a couple of big hitters that had Modern and Commander players excited.
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer further revolutionized and popularized decks, defining what a 1-drop in the 21st century could look like. Its dash ability is what makes it such a high-value card that new players continue to chase!
Urza's Saga is a normal land on chapter one and gets you a couple colorless Construct tokens with the 2nd chapter. You can fetch a 0-drop or 1-drop artifact (Sol Ring or Mox Opal anyone?) with the 3rd chapter.
- 36 Modern Horizons 2 (MH2) Magic: The Gathering Draft Boosters
- 1 New-to-Modern reprint in every pack
- 1–2 Rares and/or Mythic Rares in every pack
- Just add lands and draft with up to 12 players
- Introduces powerful cards and beloved reprints to the Modern format
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
This set popularized double-faced cards that are cast as saga enchantments on the front side and become creatures on the flip side. Once the final chapter of the saga enchantments resolves, players exile them and return them to the battlefield as a creature. Examples are:
- Michiko's Reign of Truth that transforms into Portrait of Michiko.
- The Fall of Lord Konda that transforms into Fragment of Konda.
- Teachings of the Kirin that transforms into Kirin-Touched Orochi.
Light-Paws, Emperor's Voice is still a hitter as a popular Voltron commander. In the release of the Commander precons for this set, Chishiro, the Shattered Blade became a popular deck to play after Post Malone played it on Game Knights.
- 36 Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty MTG Draft Boosters
- 15 Magic cards per booster
- Ukiyo-e Land in 33% of Draft Boosters
- Just draft, add lands, and play
- With cyberpunk cards full of color and chrome—the future is bright in Kamigawa
Kaldheim was released in February 2021 and featured 407 cards. Before it was rotated out of Standard in September 2022, Standard players loved playing with Goldspan Dragon for more token deck shenanigans. But hey, that card could go in a red deck alongside other token generators, too!
The World Tree is now a 5-color deck staple. It's got an awesome ability that puts all gods in your library into play at once, for the low cost of double-! Plus, the card synergizes and adds flavor to an Esika, God of the Tree Commander deck, another card released in Kaldheim.
- 36 Kaldheim (KHM) Magic: The Gathering Draft Booster Packs
- 36 assorted rare and mythic rare cards per box
- 15 Magic cards per pack
- MTG set inspired by Norse Mythology, Vikings, and metal! m/
Booster Tutor | Illustration by Heather Hudson
While Play boosters will soon take the place of Set boosters and Draft boosters in February 2024, you can always still purchase Set boosters from your favorite older sets. Or, check back for more updates on the Draftsim blog leading up to the release of Play boosters.
Get notifications on the latest MTG news and content articles via the Draftsim Facebook page. It’s easy to get caught up in life on the day-to-day so let us update you on these things so you can check back when it’s convenient.
Until next time, I hope I “set” the tone as you get ready to “play” these new boosters.
Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: