Last updated on September 27, 2022
Lorcan, Warlock Collector | Illustration by Andrew Mar
Set boosters have been around for nearly two years at this point, and we’ve all become quite familiar with them in that time. If you’re like me, you probably opened one of these accidentally and were greeted with confusion at the extras rares and cards in the pack. And while we’ve all gotten very used to set boosters and what they offer to us as players, Dominaria United is bringing back another type of pack: the Jumpstart booster.
All of these new booster packs can get a little confusing, especially if you’re not up to date with all of their differences. That’s why today I’m writing about the differences between the set and Jumpstart packs, their contents, which one is right for you, and the best of each.
Let’s get started!
The Difference Between Set and Jumpstart Boosters
Opposition Agent | Illustration by Scott Murphy
While neither of the two are much like draft boosters, set and Jumpstart boosters have some distinct differences in their contents, their price, and intended purpose for the player.
Set boosters are packs that are intended to be opened for the sake of cracking packs, and they’re structured in a way that makes every card or section of cards exciting and valuable to the player opening them. These packs typically have a full-art card in front, a land, a few commons and uncommons, plus more exciting and rare cards. These rarer cards include a “wild card” slot of any rarity plus a guaranteed rare or mythic followed by a foil card. Set boosters are basically draft boosters on steroids, but they’re much more valuable in the context of cracking packs.
Jumpstart boosters are completely different in every way. Instead of being made to be opened for any reason, Jumpstart boosters instead are meant to be combined with each other to make a 40-card deck that’s ready to be played with. This means each pack of 20 cards contains a rare or two, plenty of other on-color cards following the pack’s theme, and an appropriate number of lands to make up half of a deck.
Set Booster Contents
Unlike collector boosters, which have varying contents with each set, set boosters have a surefire content that doesn’t change. The packs are officially split up into four sections: the “welcome,” the “fireworks,” the “big finish,” and the “epilogue.”
The first section, the welcome, contains an art card, a land, and six commons and uncommons. This is meant to be a basic and expected opener for each pack. It should be very familiar since it’s so similar to how draft boosters are laid out.
The fireworks section is where things start to get a little interesting. It contains three cards. A “head turner” slot is where anything can happen, usually a showcase or card with a special element from the set, like showcase from Zendikar Rising or Streets of New Capenna’s Golden Age cards. Then you have two “wild card” slots, which are almost always a common or uncommon with a roughly 22% chance to open at least one rare.
The second to last section, the big finish, is where you’ll probably go immediately in each pack. Here you’ll find a guaranteed rare and foil, which can be any rarity.
Jumpstart Booster Contents
Jumpstart boosters, like their set booster counterparts, also have guaranteed contents. They’re each a specific list of cards adhering to a specific color, color combination, or theme. For instance, one of the most valuable Jumpstart boosters, Teferi, is a mono-blue pack that includes Teferi, Master of Time and Teferi's Ageless Insight!
Each Jumpstart booster is different, but they all have at least one rare that brings some decent value and make for some interesting deck combinations. They’re a great way to shuffle up and play.
Which Is Better? Set or Jumpstart Boosters?
While Jumpstart boosters are a great way to quickly get to playing some Magic, a perfect product for new or returning players, set boosters are ultimately the pack that’s worth getting. You’ll get some great cards, a nice foil, and possibly even a second or third rare!
Best Set Boosters
Streets of New Capenna
There are a few great options when it comes to best set boosters. The Streets of New Capenna set booster comes to mind as one of the best. It currently has the fewest number of cards from The List, which means you’ll have a higher chance of pulling rarer reprints or Secret Lair cards. It’s also a fresh Standard set, so you won’t pull any Standard staples that have since rotated and dropped 80% in price.
- 12 Magic: The Gathering cards per booster
- Best MTG booster to open just for fun
- 1–4 cards of rarity Rare or higher in every SNC Set Booster
- Traditional or Gilded Foil card in every pack
- At least 1 Showcase card in every pack
Strixhaven: School of Mages
There are also Strixhaven’s set boosters¸ which have a Mystical Archive card in every pack. The Mystical Archive cards are absolutely stunning, with foil versions and rarer cards being worth a pretty penny if you decide to sell them.
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
- The Kamigawa Neon Dynasty Set Booster Pack includes 12 cards.
- 1 in 4 Set Boosters includes a card from "The List"—a pool of reprints.
Best Jumpstart Boosters
While each Jumpstart booster should be chosen based on what cards and style of gameplay you enjoy best, there are some pretty sweet mythic cards in some specific packs.
Send to Sleep | Illustration by Cynthia Sheppard
With that I’ve covered everything you need to know about the difference between set and Jumpstart boosters! I’m a set booster kind of guy all the way, but Jumpstart boosters have served me quite well when trying to introduce my friends and family to the game.
What do you think of the set boosters? Have you enjoyed the extra value despite the extra $1 on the price tag for the better pack-opening experience? I’ve bought more packs from my local game store since set boosters came around. Let me know what you think down in the comments, or over at the official Draftsim Discord.
Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!
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