Last updated on February 12, 2024

Grand Ball Guest - Illustration by Leanna Crossan

Grand Ball Guest | Illustration by Leanna Crossan

With the merging of Draft boosters and Set boosters into the Play booster with Murders at Karlov Manor, much of the anxiety in the Magic community has been about what these new types of packs mean for Limited. But given the popularity of set boosters that influenced the creation of play boosters, folks who just like cracking packs want to know what this means for their experience. One of the most interesting parts of the set booster experience is the chance to get a reprint card from The List.

How did that change for pack crackers going forward? I’ve got your answers right here!

What Are Special Guest Cards in MTG?

Mephidross Vampire (Special Guests) - Illustration by Samuel Araya

Mephidross Vampire (Special Guests) | Illustration by Samuel Araya

Special Guest cards are “highly desired reprints with creative that adapts it to the world,” according to Mark Rosewater. In Murders at Karlov Manor Special Guests can appear as nonfoils in play boosters, and can be played in Limited but are not legal in Standard. The guests remain legal in other formats for which they are already legal. In collector boosters, the guests arrive wearing their best traditional foil.

Special Guests are part of the List, which shrunk down to 40 in MKM‘s play boosters and collector boosters. They have their own set symbol SPG and are curated for each premiere release.

How Many Special Guest Cards Are There?

There are 10 for Murders at Karlov Manor and 18 in the set and collector boosters for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, but it’s unclear what the number will be in future releases. Given that these are borderless cards with new art that fits the release look and theme, expectations in keeping with this range of numbers seem reasonable.

Where Do You Get Special Guest Cards?

Special Guest cards are in play and collector boosters for Murders at Karlov Manor and in set and collector boosters for The Lost Caverns of Ixalan.

How Rare Are Special Guest Cards?

Special Guests show up in play boosters in the Common/The List slot at a 1.56% chance.

In Collector boosters, Special Guests can appear in 3% of the traditional foil slot, mixed in with the Booster Fun.

In terms of your chance of pulling one of these, it can vary depending on the set. In terms of actual rarities, quite a number of them are rares and mythics, including some that are really hard to find cards like Mana Crypt.

Special Guests Card Gallery and List

Murders at Karlov Manor

Victimize

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan

Special Guests vs. The List

Special Guests are like a sub-list of The List, which is already very selective. This seems part of the confusion amongst the community, as it’s unclear what The List will become as new iterations continue to surface from Wizards and the amount of Special Guests seems like a sizeable portion.

Are Special Guests Cards on MTG Arena?

Yes, Limited events on Arena with the play boosters can include Special Guests. That means that Special Guests and The List cards also show up in the appropriate slot, although we don’t yet know if the percentage of pulls will mirror paper Play boosters. WotC has indicated that the Arena List may have some differences compared to the paper List.

Are Special Guests Legal?

Special Guest cards, like everything else in the booster, are legal in the Draft or Sealed format, like with the bonus sheet cards in Draft boosters that started back with the Strixhaven Mystical Archive. There are no Special Guests in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Draft boosters.

Otherwise, if you’re pulling these cards from packs or buying singles for Constructed play, as with The List reprints, Special Guests’ existence in booster packs does not change their format legality. Most specifically, just because Show and Tell is a Special Guest doesn’t mean it’s legal in Standard!

Are Special Guests Cards a Limited Release?

It’s unclear how long any of these experiments will last, but all indications are that this is the way going forward. I’d imagine that if there’s excitement around the new Special Guest cards for new releases that WotC would continue the practice.

Wrap Up

Star Compass (Special Guests) - Illustration by Alix Branwyn

Star Compass (Special Guests) | Illustration by Alix Branwyn

I’m optimistic about these cards. The List has always been a fascinating puzzle. There were so many cards, and the reprints were kind of the old card but kind of not. Special Guests is a smaller list to get excited about, and the borderless art is a welcome addition. For example, the Underworld Breach has some sick art by one of my favorite Magic artists, Piotr Dura, and I love reprints with new art.

I also like that a curated Special Guests roster and a smaller List have a better chance of serving a more coherent role in the Limited formats than if a 300ish card List were dropped onto Draft. I get that Limited generally has a higher proportion of rares and mythics floating in those boosters, but I enjoyed it in March of the Machine, and I liked that format quite a lot.

That said, the MTG community seems skeptical of changes by WotC, and often for good reason. Where do you sit on this one? Let us know in the comments or on our Discord.

Good luck cracking packs and landing a sweet, valuable Special Guest!

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