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Rare is one of the four rarities of Magic cards. Cards that are of the rare rarity are often referred to as "rares."

Description[ | ]

Rares have been identified by a gold-filled expansion symbol since the Exodus expansion. In sets printed before Exodus rarity was not denoted on cards.

In Draft, the rares are often the first cards that are to be picked up.[1]

Appearance in boosters[ | ]

Regular 15-card booster packs (later known as Draft Boosters) usually contained 1 rare or mythic rare. Some of the earliest expansions; including Arabian Nights, Antiquities, The Dark, Fallen Empires, and Homelands; were packaged in 8-card booster packs that had no rares. The Alliances and Chronicles expansions were sold in 12-card booster packs that usually contained one rare. However, since Time Spiral, premium (foil) cards no longer replace a card of the same rarity, thus allowing for the possibility of two rares per pack (one foil and one regular).

Different kinds of rares[ | ]

Expansions through Alliances, excluding Ice Age, had some common, uncommon, and rare cards that were more prevalent than others. This was the result of some cards appearing more often than others on the printer's sheet of uncut cards. For example, Scarwood Bandits is a "U1" uncommon, and Whirling Catapult is a "R6" rare; the number in this code represents the number of times the card appears on the printer's sheet of uncut cards. "R6" rares are therefore six times as abundant as "R1" rares. Additionally, since 8-card booster packs contained no true rare cards, "U1" uncommons are often referred to as the "rares" in these expansions.

Mythic rare, one step higher than rare, was introduced in the Alara block (2008).

With the release of Play Boosters for Murders at Karlov Manor in 2024, the multiple "wildcard" slots give the opportunity of multiple rares in a pack, and certain rares that can be kept out of the conventional rare slot but appear more often in the wildcard slots. The latter occurred with the MKM surveil land cycle. The percentages of opening more than one rare:[2]

  • 2 - 37%
  • 3 - 4%
  • 4 - <1%

Why rare?[ | ]

Cards become rare for the following reasons:[3][4]

  • Too complex to be common or uncommon
  • Rules complications R&D doesn't wish to put in common or uncommon
  • Too wordy, requiring microtext (a smaller font)
  • Big creatures or big spells that need to be rare to keep their specialness
  • Cool, unique creatures or spells that need to be rare to keep their specialness
  • Narrow cards created for constructed (and not limited)
  • Cards that prove disruptive to sealed or draft
  • Cards that could be uncommon or rare but there's no room left in uncommon
  • Part of a rare cycle
  • R&D needs to make the card rare to keep a balance of “good” cards throughout the three rarities

References[ | ]

  1. Gavin Verhey (July 6, 2017). "Let's Talk about Rares". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (October 17, 2023). "I am concerned with the booster change how it will affect tournament play.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Mark Rosewater (February 25, 2002). "Rare, but Well Done". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (March 12, 2018). "Quite the Rarity". Wizards of the Coast.