It came seemingly out of nowhere, hitting the MTG community fast and hard. Draft and Set Boosters are a thing of the past. The new Play Booster will be replacing them, attempting to fuse the gameplay provided by Draft Boosters with the collectibility and excitement of opening Set Boosters. These products created an awkward interaction with one another and, to try and elevate the MTG experience, they are being combined into one product.
Alongside this change is another interesting effect that should make MTG Play Boosters even more exciting to open than the Set Booster they’re replacing. The List is getting squashed down heavily to dramatically improve value and flavor!
Goodbye List Chaff
Now, it’s important to remember that Play Boosters will not appear on store shelves overnight. These boosters will start taking over when Murders of Karlov Manor releases. When that release does happen, however, The List is going to get a lot shorter.
For reference, The List is an additional collection of cards that, at the moment, have a chance of showing up in Set Boosters. While you can open some incredibly interesting things like Sword of Feast and Famine and Mana Crypt in The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, thanks to the new Special Guests cards, your chances of hitting those cards are very small. This is thanks to the overwhelming amount of thematic chaff on The List.
That said, we have had a List in the past that elevated the quality of a product line. Back in Streets of New Capenna, Wizards of the Coast released a List that only contained rare and mythic cards. A lot of powerful cards like Vampiric Tutor, Sensei’s Divining Top, and Sakashima’s Student got into the hands of a lot of players. Expensive cards were being opened so frequently that anything that appeared on The List saw a significant price drop on the secondary market, which is great for accessibility.
Up to this point, The List for any given set contained 300 cards. As revealed by the new Play Booster article from MTG head designer Mark Rosewater, The List will be shrinking to 40 reprints once the Play Booster releases as a part of Murders of Karlov Manor!
The List Content Change
Alongside significantly reducing the size of The list, MTG head designer Mark Rosewater suggests that even more changes will be seen with the release of the new List in Play Boosters. The first of these major changes is the introduction of Special Guests. Technically already a feature of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, Play Boosters will take Special Guests to the next level.
“In the past, The List has mostly been reprints of older cards. Play Boosters are going to tinker with what exactly can be on The List. For example, when Play Boosters premier, The List will include what we call Special Guests, 10 cards that are exciting reprints that we can give new art and will thematically tie into whatever set they are in. What we do with the Special Guests will change set to set.”Mark Rosewater
Now, notably, Special Guest cards will not be included in the List of 40 reprints. This means that the Murders of Karlov Manor will not be 40 cards, but 50 if you include ten Special Guest cards that will also be appearing in List slots.
As far as rarity goes for the new List, here is the breakdown of what you should expect for the 40 reprints:
- 30 Common/Uncommon cards
- 10 Rare/Mythic Rare cards
This split means that your percentage chances of getting each option in The List slot is as follows:
- 87.5% – A common from the main set
- 9.38% – A common or uncommon normal reprint from The List
- 1.56% – A rare or mythic rare normal reprint from The List
- 1.56% – A Special Guests card from The List
(These numbers are from Mark Rosewater’s article over on Daily MTG)
Where Will The List Appear?
The new Play Boosters will have 14 slots available for Draft play. Seven of these slots will be dedicated to common cards in a set. The seventh slot, as shown above, will have a chance of having a List card on it. According to MTG head designer Mark Rosewater, you’ll have about a one in eight chance (12.5%) to open a List card from this slot which, notably, was not previously available in Draft Booster packs. This means that you can expect List cards to show up in just about every Draft in some way, shape, or form, but you may not necessarily open the card. It’ll just appear at your table. In terms of individual percentages, be sure to reference the breakdown above.
This is not going to be the case for Booster Fun, which will vary heavily on each set. This is why, in the breakdown above, Booster Fun could appear anywhere. Since things will vary on a set-by-set basis, this is instead just ironing out where Booster Fun could potentially appear, which is everywhere.
What About MTG Arena?
This is where things get a little weird. Play Booster will be available on MTG Arena, but only during Limited events.
Not every List card is going to be included on MTG Arena, which means that some List cards will be replaced with other cards for MTG Arena. This means that you can open different cards in The List slots of your MTG Arena Drafts versus paper Drafts.
Having Paper and Arena Drafts be slightly different is a rather interesting choice. A lot of effort was made to make Paper and Arena Drafts as close to each other as possible, especially with the introduction of player vs player Premier Drafts. For a while, all Arena players had was drafting against the CPU in Quick Drafts, and Premier Draft was a huge way to level up the Limited environment for the client.
Things are Looking Up!
Ultimately, whether or not each individual List is a success or not is largely going to depend on what appears on it. Should some spicy Rares and some cool Special Guests be ready to greet players, opening The List will be a hoot.
Either way, these changes are incredibly exciting, and having List cards appear in Limited could allow for some really wacky niche common and uncommon cards to appear that promote unique synergies. I’m excited to see what these changes will drag up!
To read more about Play Boosters, be sure to get the scoop here.