14, Feb, 24

Players Voice Frustration with Play Boosters Pricing People Out of MTG!

Article at a Glance

This year, it appears as though Wizards of the Coast is beginning to stretch design boundaries even further. One aspect of MTG that is clearly being experimented with is the layout of booster pack slots and what we can expect when cracking them. Recently, a new seven-card booster pack known as a Beyond booster was revealed to go along with the release of MTG Assassin’s Creed in 2024.

Of course, this isn’t the first major booster change this year. Murders at Karlov Manor completely revamped the traditional draft booster experience. In sets prior, players would play Limited with Draft booster packs. However, players could also purchase set boosters, which were a little different. For instance, cards on The List could appear in set boosters but not draft boosters.

Now, we have a one size fits all booster, offering players a chance to open extra rares even within a Limited environment. Obviously, this has some consequences for the Limited format itself. To help gather feedback, MTG head designer Mark Rosewater took to his Blogatog page to ask how players have felt about Play boosters thus far. From the sound of things, many players are not too thrilled with the change in structure.

An Issue of Price

Murders at Karlov Manor Play Boosters

“the price is too high and no drafts have started at my LGS because of it (plus the prereleases were about half the size of usual).”


The biggest objection among the players providing feedback clearly seems to be the overall price difference between current play booster packs and draft booster packs for the last premier set. In reality, the price difference per pack isn’t enormous. According to TCGplayer market price, while draft boosters of The Lost Caverns of Ixalan go for nearly $4, play boosters for Murders at Karlov Manor go for nearly $5. The problem is that, for Limited events where multiple packs are used at a time, the event prices seem to have risen across the board

“Can’t say, other than that I haven’t bought any because of the price increase.”


A lot of the players complaining about the price increase have also made it clear that this is the difference between them buying packs in some capacity and not. As far as Limited events are concerned, a number of players stated that it was difficult to justify drafting regularly at their local game store given the price spike to the events, and that this would result in them not keeping up the set as much as usual.

For players that enjoy simply cracking packs outside of the Limited environment, the change to Play boosters isn’t necessarily a big deal. After all, many players enjoyed cracking set boosters instead of draft boosters for the off chance of opening something cool and unexpected. Now, players don’t have an option and have to play Draft or Sealed with these new packs at a risen price and, unfortunately, price isn’t the only thing that Limited players disliked.

Read More: New MTG Karlov Manor Commander Addition Causes 585% Price Spike!

An Impact to the Limited Environment

Kuldotha Rebirth

“they don’t have a consistency with the rares per pack. I dislike the swing-y-ness of that.”


One of the strange aspects of these new Play boosters is that players have increased chances of opening rares. For instance, in roughly one out of every eight play boosters, a common slot will be replaced by a card from The List. This means that, while slim, there is a chance you can get a rare or mythic rare in what is traditionally a common slot.

Additionally, each booster has a non-foil wild card and a foil wild card slot, both of which have the chance to be rares or mythic rares. In this sense, boosters can contain a range of anywhere between one and four rares/mythic rares. While opening four rares/mythic rares is definitely unlikely, the general rise in high rarity cards can make the draft experience feel quite different, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.

“If you’re not willing to go back to the previous pack size, at least make sure that many List cards fit the set gameplay, not just world theme”


Additionally, even for cards from The List that aren’t rares or mythic rares, many don’t fit the set’s Limited environment super well. Some cards, like Kuldotha Rebirth, actually work quite nicely with the themes of the set (in this case, Investigate). However, other cards like Ghost Quarter serve little purpose in Limited and can feel like a waste of a slot. Overall, this feedback highlighting the problems associated with the overall price of the packs coupled with the negative changes to the Limited environment showcases why many players aren’t big fans of the booster change.

Read More: New Universes Beyond Changes Threaten to Replace MTG Sets

It’s Not All Bad

Surveil Lands

“I really liked that my packs with a rare land also had an additional rare in them. Felt a lot better that I didn’t “lose” a rare to a land.”


Even with all of the negative responses to Mark Rosewater’s Blogatog post, though, there were still some changes associated with the Play boosters that players found positive. First and foremost, multiple players liked the fact that, because the rare Surveil Lands could be opened in a wild card slot, they would still be able to open another rare. Even though some players weren’t big fans of seeing extra rares opened during a draft, most players seemed to feel differently when it came to the rare Lands specifically.

From a Limited perspective, this makes a lot of sense. Obviously, the rare Lands can help with mana fixing, but they aren’t anywhere close to as valuable as strong bombs would be in your card pool. Now, players have the opportunity to still open a bomb in their normal rare/mythic rare card slot in addition to a Surveil Land in the wild card slot, which makes it feel less like the rare/mythic rare slot was “wasted” on a Land.

“Me and my playgroup love the Play Boosters. We are Limited players but we liked Set boosters more, so Play Boosters feel like the best of both worlds.”


Additionally, for players that enjoy both playing Limited and cracking packs in the hopes of opening something special, Play boosters do a reasonable job of filling both roles at once. Price notwithstanding, having a higher likelihood of opening extra value while playing Limited is a nice bonus. Of course, it was made abundantly clear that the price increase of Limited events in general had huge consequences when it came to attendance of drafts and even Prereleases at local game stores. Hopefully a better balance can be struck in the future.

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