Draft Booster is the modern name for the original booster product. They have a fixed distribution based on rarity. A regular booster pack nowadays contains sixteen cards: fifteen playing cards and a marketing card / token.
There is also a chance for one of the common cards to be replaced by a premium foil card of any rarity. This results in a booster pack with one basic land, one foil card, nine common cards, three uncommon cards, and one rare or mythic rare card.
While most modern sets follow this breakdown in draft boosters, some sets may have unique pack requirements (like Innistrad including double-faced cards in every pack) that can skew the typical distribution of rarities and card types. In addition, this breakdown has evolved over time, with older sets sometimes having different numbers of cards in their boosters.
Theme Boosters contain 35 cards (a variable amount of commons and uncommons, and 1 rare or mythic rare) from a given color or theme. The MSRP is $6.99. These are targeted at deckbuilding players, providing a greater number of cards that could go straight into their deck. They also play up a set's flavor for those that might be interested in sampling a slice of a particular aspect of the world.
Collector Boosters are targeted at collectors and sold for $12.99. Unlike Draft Boosters, which optimize the Draft experience with a lot of repetition and a huge number of commons, Collector Boosters are maximized for more diversity in content, with more rares, foils, extended art, borderless planeswalkers and showcase cards.
Set Boosters were introduced for Zendikar Rising in 2020. They are targeted to players that are not interested in Draft or Limited, and sell for a slightly higher price than Draft Boosters. Each pack comes with fourteen objects, twelve of which are Magic cards with a higher variety in rarities and unique treatments.
Six card boosters
Conflux was the first set to be sold in six-card booster packs containing a tips/token card, one land, three commons, one uncommon, and one slot that had an equal chance of being rare/mythic, uncommon, or common. These packs were exclusively available from Gravity Feeds. These could be found at mass-market retailers like Target and Walmart. 6-card boosters were available up until Magic 2014. They were available in Japanese from 2010 Core Set to New Phyrexia. Spanish six card packs of Magic 2011 and Magic 2012 were added to the Salvate Magazines.
A seeded booster is a special set of cards that are made available at some prereleases. It consists of playable cards that help to create a coherent deck, so that way more people (especially newer players) have a good time. There are limited combinations of cards that can appear in a seeded booster,
Standard Showdown prize boosters
Special promotional prize boosters were introduced in 2016 for the Standard Showdown, containing three cards each. One is a premium card from a currently legal Standard set, including Masterpiece Series, and two are non-premium cards that are either a rare or a mythic rare from a set currently legal in Standard.
Holiday Buy-a-Box Promotion
- Kaladesh: as a holiday promotion, purchasers of a booster box received two bonus holiday packs. These boosters had the same content as the previously announced Standard Showdown prize boosters (for a total of two foil cards of any rarity—excluding double-faced cards—and four foil rares or mythic rares).
- Ixalan: purchasers of a booster box received the Buy-a-Box Treasure Chest booster, containing two foil cards of any rarity from any Standard-legal set, four rare or mythic rare cards from Standard-legal sets, two foil basic lands, and one out of ten possible alternate art, foil double-faced cards.
Twenty card boosters
The first booster packs had a fairly simple plastic packaging, where the sets only were differentiated by color. Core sets were brown, Arabian Nights was purple, Antiquities was silver-grey, and so on. A problem was that this early packaging was slightly transparent.
Nowadays, booster packs are sealed with silver foil wrapping to keep all of the cards neatly in place. Fourth Edition was the first core set, and Ice Age the first expansion, with packs made of foil flow wrap and the first with artwork on the wrappers.
The foil, a mixture of metal and plastic, is sealed off with heat, a process called "crimping". In the process of sealing boosters closed, cards can get caught in the heat press and accidentally get crimped, as well.
With Modern Masters 2015 WotC experimented with recyclable paperboard booster wrappers. Soon rumors abounded about the ease with which these new cardboard packs could be repacked. Also, the cards had room to move and could be damaged during transport. Mark Rosewater later admitted that some challenges had to be solved, before the experiment would be repeated.
In August 2019, Hasbro announced that it would begin phasing out plastic from new product packaging starting in 2020. This will include shrink wrap, window sheets, and more. Virtually all plastic packaging will be eliminated by the end of 2022.
The packaging features several markings and symbols. The CE Mark, together with the name and address of the first supplier, is required by law to appear on all toys placed on the market in the European Union on and after January 1990. The Lion Mark was developed in 1988 by the British Toy & Hobby Association as a symbol of toy safety and quality for the consumer. The Green Dot is an internationally recognized symbol that shows a company’s commitment to environmental protection.
A booster pack box (or simply “booster box”) nowadays consists of 36 (12×3) booster packs, with the exception of sets like Conspiracy and Masters series, whose booster boxes consist of 24 (8×3) booster packs. Earlier sets had different sizes for booster boxes, depending on the size of the booster packs. This wasn't very efficient in view of production costs. Each booster box can be flipped open to advertise the set with an appropriate piece of art.
Collector boosters are packaged 12 to a box.
A booster case nowadays consists of 6 booster boxes or 216 booster packs. Local game stores usually buy new sets by case.
From the Time Spiral block on, Booster packs could be sold in blister packs. A blister pack is putting plastic and a cardboard backing around the booster pack, this is somewhat of a theft-deterrent and adds the possibility of hanging the boosters on pegs (usually found in mass-market venues like Wall Mart, Target, etc.). This kind of packing can add cost to the booster pack. Blister packs can hold one, two, or three booster packs.
Starting with Magic 2013, the blister packs were replaced with cardboard booster sleeves. and about printing and collation issues. The sleeve is a cardboard overwrap around a regular booster in a normal foil wrapper. It's just a bigger package to make those items just a little harder to steal from big-box retailers. A Booster Sleeve display may contain 12 or 48 packs.
Conspiracy: Take the Crown introduced Draft Packs for sale in North American mass-market stores. These Draft Pack featured three boosters in a blister pack. For Time Spiral Remastered the three boosters were contained in a paper packaging.
- For the Ravnica block, a "perfect for draft" piece was sold. This included one booster of Ravnica, Dissension, and Guildpact each, and a spindown life counter. Retail price: US$11.99
- The Alara Premium Foil Booster pack contained fifteen foil, black-bordered cards from Shards of Alara, Conflux, and Alara Reborn. It was released on January 8, 2010 at an MSRP of US$11.99.
Wizards of the Coast toyed with the idea of scratch-off cards in boosters of Unglued 2. Another idea they explored was having it come with pieces of bubble gum. But it turned out that putting something edible in the booster packs created a whole series of stricter rules, and it turned out to not be feasible.
- Alpha packs through Revised packs have no card artwork.
- Starting with Fourth Edition, packs from most core sets feature artwork from one of several cards.
- Sixth Edition packs have all the same promotional artwork.
- Magic Origins packs have original artwork of five planeswalker by Chase Stone : Gideon Jura / Kytheon Iora, Jace Beleren, Chandra Nalaar, Liliana Vess and Nissa Revane. The art for these packages is not found on any card of the set.
Expert-level early sets
- Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, The Dark, and Fallen Empires packs have no card artwork.
- Homelands packs have no card artwork, but have a green and red textured frame.
Expert-level expansion sets
- Starting with Ice Age, large expansion sets feature artwork from three to five cards. Until Onslaught block, small expansions only featured one card art. This was later expanded to three.
- Chronicles packs have no card artwork, but have the Chronicles globe graphic.
- Masters series sets feature artwork from three different cards.
- Portal packs feature artwork from one of the cards: Merfolk of the Pearl Trident, Elvish Ranger and Spined Wurm.
- Portal Second Age packs feature art from Relentless Assault.
- Portal Three Kingdoms packs feature art from Riding Red Hare.
- Starter 1999 packs featured the art from Denizen of the Deep.
- Unglued was the first set to feature horizontal art on the packs. It featured Jester's Sombrero.
- Unhinged boosters featured art from Richard Garfield, Ph.D., Mana Screw and Gleemax.
- Conspiracy was the second set to feature horizontal art. The boosters featured artwork from Dack Fayden, Magister of Worth and Scourge of the Throne.
- Conspiracy: Take the Crown features horizontal artwork from Queen Marchesa, Kaya, Ghost Assassin (foil alternate art version) and Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast.
The term "booster pack" is also referenced in the rules.
- Booster Pack
- A group of unopened Magic cards from a particular expansion. Booster packs are used in Limited formats. See rule 100.2b.
In 2019, R&D introduced "Booster Fun" as the collective name that R&D use for the types of card frames (also called card treatments) that could appear in Collector Boosters Booster Fun cards evolved from Masterpieces. The difference is that the Booster Fun cards are versions of cards in the set, not from outside of the set. The following card treatments can show up:
- Extended art
- Borderless art
- Showcase cards (a catch-all term to cover a variety of different treatments that embody the spirit of the relevant sets.
- Retro frames
Foil and non-foil Booster Fun cards may also appear in regular Draft Boosters but at a much lower rarity. Non-foils appear in the same rarity slot as the original card. Foil Booster Fun cards appear in a common slot like other foils.
Welcome Boosters were introduced for Core Set 2021. These are free gifts for beginning players. Each Welcome Booster for a particular set is exactly the same and contains a sample of legendaries, planeswalkers, showcase cards, and more.
Antiquities booster pack
Buy-a-Box Treasure Chest booster
Unglued horizontal booster
Modern Masters 2015 paperboard booster
Planar Chaos blister pack
Magic 2013 booster sleeve
Ravnica Allegiance collector booster pack
Conflux 6-card booster pack
Conspiracy: Take the Crown draft pack
Commander Legends Draft Booster
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- Wizards of the Coast (November 14, 2016). "Announcing Standard Showdown". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
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- Tonya Garcia (August 19, 2019). "Hasbro removing plastic from toy and game packaging". Marketwatch.com.
- Adam Styborski (April 8, 2021). "Check Out The New Packaging for Commander (2021 Edition) and Beyond". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (November 25, 2008). "Ask Wizards: Shards, RSS and Mysterious Symbols". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Monty Ashley (June 28, 2012). "More Magic 2013 Packaging". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (May 26, 2015). "Concerns with Modern Masters 2015 Edition Booster Packs". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Wizards of the Coast (May 16, 2016). "Announcement Day". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (September 29, 2009). "The All-Foil Booster". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 20, 2016). "25 More Random Things About Magic". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Blake Rasmussen (June 22, 2015). "Origins Packaging". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Clayton Kroh (May 21, 2021). "Booster Fun of Modern Horizons 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2019). "Premium boosters seem fine conceptually, but the details of what the collector boosters contain are really hard to wrap one’s head around.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2019). "Does this mean that Masterpieces aren't coming back?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (September 22, 2019). "Will the non-foil “Booster Fun” cards be found in their normal draft booster slots?". Blogatog. Tumblr.