Magic: The Gathering’s next expansion Zendikar Rising is introducing a new type of booster pack designed to make tearing open a set of cards more enjoyable.
Set boosters join the three existing types of MTG boosters: draft, theme and collector. The three types of booster were introduced last year alongside the Throne of Eldraine set, replacing the classic Magic: The Gathering card pack that had been the only type of booster since the game’s launch in 1993. Draft boosters are identical to traditional 15-card MTG packs, while theme boosters (which previously appeared in Guilds of Ravnica) include 35 cards designed around specific gameplay or lore elements, and collector boosters offer rare and foil cards at a higher cost than the other packs.
Set boosters, by comparison, are said by head designer Mark Rosewater to have been designed specifically with the purpose of making packs more fun to open.
Each set booster will include 14 cards that aren’t balanced with the same makeup of rares, commons and uncommons as boosters used in the Draft format. The order that the cards are revealed in the pack also plays a part in the experience, opening with an art card - that has no gameplay use, but captures the atmosphere of the set - followed by a land, a combination of common and uncommon cards that each have a connection to the card before and after it. Suggested connections include similar creature types and story elements, with Rosewater saying the team will play around with the connections.
The first few cards will be followed by a card that Rosewater says is “always going to be a visually interesting looking card”, then two wildcard slots that can be of any rarity from common to mythic rare.
As in draft boosters, set boosters will feature a guaranteed rare/mythic rare card, but with a higher chance of mythics appearing in both draft and set boosters from Zendikar Rising onward. (Rosewater says the chance of a mythic will increase from one in eight rares to one in 7.4.) Set boosters will also include at least one guaranteed foil card, of any rarity, and there will be the potential for up to four rare or mythic rare cards to appear in total.
The final advertisement card included in MTG boosters (which sometimes doubles as a token creature) has a 25% chance of being replaced with a card from something that Rosewater calls “The List” - a collection of 300 “interesting” cards from across Magic: The Gathering history. The cards will be almost identical to their original appearance, with a planeswalker symbol indicating their inclusion in the new set. The List will not be supported on MTG Arena, due to its inclusion of cards that would change the Historic format.
Set boosters will be slightly more expensive than draft boosters - Rosewater estimates around $1 per pack more - and will be available alongside Zendikar Rising’s release this autumn. Zendikar Rising will launch on MTG Arena on September 17th, followed by its tabletop release on September 25th. Attendees of the set’s pre-release events will receive one set booster for free.