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MKM Play Booster

Magic Play Boosters are a type of booster product introduced for Murders at Karlov Manor in 2024 to replace both Draft boosters and Set boosters.[1][2] Going forward, they are the "foundation product" of every premier and tentpole set.[3]

Description[ | ]

Play Boosters are 14-card Booster packs that contain eight "slots" (or card options) — six cards are common cards, one is a common that has a 12.5% chance to be replaced with a card from The List, three cards are uncommons, one is a rare or mythic rare, two cards are "wildcards" that can be of any rarity, and one card is a basic land. Play Boosters also include one non-Magic card, with a chance for that to be an art card. Each of the 14 playable cards can be drafted, meaning The List and Special Guests form part of the Limited environment.[4]

Play Boosters are designed to combine the characteristics of their predecessors; they are draftable per Draft Boosters while retaining the fun opening experience of finding surprise cards or card treatments per Set Boosters.[5] The structure of the Play Booster's slots result in each pack having one rare or mythic rare 58% of the time, two 37% of the time, three 4% of the time, and the chance four rares or mythic rares (1 regular rare/mythic, 2 wildcards and a card from The List/Special Guest) less than 1% of the time.[6]

Play Boosters do not prevent future sets from having a Bonus sheet but how they are integrated into the pack has not been outlined.[7][8]

A booster box of Play Boosters contains 36 packs.

Play Boosters are priced approximately the same as Set Boosters were prior to their discontinuation.[3]

Magic Online[ | ]

Magic Online implements Play Boosters as they are in tabletop with no changes.[3]

MTG Arena[ | ]

Play booster structure

Structure of a Play Booster for Murders at Karlov Manor.

In alignment with tabletop, starting with Murders at Karlov Manor, limited packs on MTG Arena include the same features as a Play Booster. Without foil renderings, that dedicated slot is a second wild card slot. Packs for Limited play events (Draft and Sealed) include Special Guests and cards from The List but because MTG Arena's eternal formats are different from those of tabletop Magic, the designers of MTG Arena have worked with the Play Design team on a few card swaps on The List when necessary.[9]

Structure[ | ]

All playable slots (#1-14) have a chance for the card to be a Booster Fun version.[1]

Slot Quantity Type Chance of surprise
#1-6 6 Common
#7 1 Common or The List[5] 87.5% chance of a common from the set

12.5% chance of a List card:

  • 9.38% – A common or uncommon reprint from The List
  • 1.56% – A rare or mythic rare reprint from The List
  • 1.56% – A Special Guests card
#8-10 3 Uncommon
#11 1 Rare or Mythic Rare
  • 87.5% chance of a rare
  • 12.5% chance of a mythic rare
#12 1 Basic land In sets with no basic lands, this will be a common land.
#13 1 Non-foil Wildcard A card of any rarity from the set. Guaranteed to be non-foil.
#14 1 Foil Wildcard A card of any rarity from the set. Guaranteed to be foil.
#15 1 Token, art card, play aide, ad Non-playable card, excluded for draft.

History[ | ]

Background[ | ]

In September 2023, Mark Rosewater first indicated that the introduction of Set Boosters alongside Draft Boosters had created a number of compounding issues. [10] Set Boosters had proved so popular with players that they were significantly outselling Draft Boosters.[1][11] This put pressure on local game stores (LGSs) to stock Set Boosters at the expense of Draft Boosters. In some smaller regions, this resulted in LGSs only stocking Set Boosters and being unable to run Limited events. For those that did stock both, it cause problems with inventory management as ordering too much of one booster type, or not enough of the other, resulted in a loss of profit.[1][3] At the same time, the number of games of Limited being played had steadily increased year-on-year since 2020.[3] Based on its internal numbers, Wizards of the Coast projected that without change, the pressure on LGSs to stock Set Boosters would eventually lead them all to abandon purchases of Draft Boosters.

The decision to combine Draft Boosters and Set Boosters into a single product was announced in October 2023.[1] This removed the need for players and LGSs to choose between Set and Draft boosters.[3]

Design[ | ]

With Set Boosters being the more popular booster option, R&D decided to move the draft booster closer in design to Set Boosters. Through their market research and player feedback, R&D identified that the likelihood of getting 1-4 rares and/or mythic rares in a pack was the top reason for why players like Set Boosters.[1] This put a limit on the number of cards in the new booster and the type of slots available in the pack. R&D settled on a 14 card booster as the best mix of draft play-ability and Booster Fun.

To facilitate the reduction in cards, the way sets are designed for limited needed to be modified. At the highest level, the number of cards per pack was reduced from 15 to 14 and the number of common cards per pack from 10 to 7. To compensate, the number of common cards in a set was reduced to 81, from 101, to keep the frequency of seeing any one individual common at approximately the same rate.[12] To balance the frequency of commons with that of uncommons, the number of uncommon cards in a set was increased to 100 (from 80).

The intent is to reduce the number of draft chaff common cards and common cards that are specifically designed as sideboard options across the set while increasing the number of answers to bomb rare and mythic rare cards.[3][13] On the other hand, the collation only allows us to guarantee four colors and not five.[14]

Unlike Set Boosters, Play boosters don't contain booster-only Commander cards.[15]

References[ | ]

  1. a b c d e f Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2023). "What are Play Boosters?". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (October 20, 2023). "Play Booster Discord Q&A". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b c d e f g Blake Rasmussen, Mark Rosewater, Mike Turian (October 18, 2023). "WeeklyMTG - Play Booster Q&A (Video)". Magic: The Gathering. YouTube.
  4. Mark Rosewater (October 16, 2023). "... will the list and/or special guest cards that are opened during limited ... be able to be used in that event?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. a b Wizards of the Coast (October 16, 2023). "Introducing Play Boosters: The Best of Two Worlds, Combined". WPN.
  6. Mark Rosewater (October 16, 2023). "What will be the average number of rares/mythic per Play Booster?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (October 16, 2023). "Does this mean The List is taking over the function of bonus sheets?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (October 16, 2023). "In future sets with bonus sheets, what slot will they take in Play Boosters?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Wizards of the Coast (October 18, 2023). "Play Boosters on MTG Arena". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mark Rosewater (September 10, 2023). "May I request that we get Draft Boosters with different artworks on the packaging again?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Miles A. (October 17, 2023). "The Numbers That Killed Draft Boosters".
  12. Mark Rosewater (October 16, 2023). "... I'm worried about what the drop from 15 card packs to 14 cards would mean for limited.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (March 4, 2024). "Nuts & Bolts #16: Play Boosters". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater (July 7, 2024). "One thing I've noticed with the new play boosters is that it is no longer guaranteed to have a card of every color in it.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (October 16, 2023). "Will they include cards from the Commander set, or booster-only Commander cards, like Set Boosters do now?". Blogatog. Tumblr.