MTG Arena Reveals Set Boosters

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jul, 27th 2020

Mark Rosewater of Wizards of the Coast made a huge announcement this weekend for MTG / MTG Arena Set Boosters! But what exactly is a Set Booster? These will “spark more joy” and have 14 cards instead of the normal 12. For years, decades now, there was only way to start a new set, and that was to buy boosters. The same old boosters that everyone uses. Then came the Theme Booster, usually restricted to just one color. Collector Boosters came next, which were also neat.

The data that Wizards of the Coast said that more than half of all opened boosters were not used in Limited Play (Sealed/Draft events). That means the vast majority of players are opening boosters optimized for Limited Play, and have no intention of Sealed or Draft. But what if they made a new booster, designed to be as fun as possible? There’s a new way to look at Boosters, and that’s where the Set Booster shows up for MTG Arena.

What’s in the Box?!

Sorry, I was watching Sev7n this weekend. A great deal of experimentation went into what they could do with the Set Booster, to make them as interesting and as fun as possible. The Set Booster has 12 Magic Cards, with 14 cards total in each booster. It’s broken up into four parts in each pack.

  • Welcome (Art Card, Land Slot, Connected Commons & Uncommons)
  • Fireworks (Head Turner Slot, Wildcard Rarity Slots)
  • Big Finish (Rare/Mythic Slot, Foil Slot)
  • Epilogue (Token/Ad slot – gotta advertise, right?)

What does each section mean? It almost sounds like a book or a play. So, the Welcome Part is first. The Art Slot probably won’t affect us MTG Arena players very much. Modern Horizons introduced art cards. They weren’t playable but showed off some of the incredible MTG art. They’re wildly popular, so Zendikar Rising’s Set Boosters will have 81 different art cards (Modern Horizons had 54). The Land Slot will, of course, be a Basic Land. There’s a 15% chance it will be a foil, and you can expect gorgeous full-art basic lands.

Slots 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are the Connected Commons and Uncommons. Normal Boosters have a balanced amount of commons, uncommons, and color ratios, but that’s not a factor. These slots in a Set Booster will be organized so that each card of the same rarity has something to do with the card next to it. Creature types, synergy, things like that. So these boosters will mean drafts/limited formats will be wild. It will be much easier it sounds, to build decks that fit together.

They also point on one more thing: These are the only slots for guaranteed normal commons and uncommons in the booster. You could get commons and uncommons in the other slots, but not always. In normal Draft Boosters, you get 10 commons and 3 uncommons, but those commons don’t matter very quickly. Set Boosters in MTG Arena haver fewer overall commons and uncommons, but they will pair together better.

Set Boosters are guaranteed uncommon in these slots, but the common has the potential to upgrade into an uncommon. Here are some percentages, for the fact-minded of you:

  • 5 Commons, 1 Uncommon: 35% chance
  • 4 commons, 2 uncommons: 40% chance
  • 3 commons, 3 uncommons: 12.5% chance
  • 1 common, 5 uncommons: 3.5% chance
  • 0 commons, 6 uncommons: 2%

Next up is the Head Turner Slot (Slot 9). The Fireworks Section has the really exciting cards for your booster. Slot No. 9 is always going to be visually interesting. This will vary in future Set Boosters, but for Zendikar Rising, it will mean a common or uncommon that is either a showcase card or a cool element.

Slots 10 and 11 are the Wildcard Rarity Slots. These can be anything from Common to Mythic Rare. You could get showcase versions of Mythic Rares / Rares in these slots too. These aren’t your “Rare” slot either. So, you could wind up with extra rares! How awesome is that? Of course, they also provided the percentages. Note: Rare here also means Mythic Rare.

  • Common, Common: 49% chance
  • Common, Uncommon: 24.5% chance
  • Common, Rare: 17.5% chance
  • Uncommon, Uncommon: 3.1% chance
  • Uncommon, Rare: 4.3% chance
  • Rare, Rare: 1.6% chance

Slot 12 is the Rare/Mythic Rare (Big Finish) Slot. This is where the good stuff comes in. In Zendikar Rising, the rate of Mythic Rares appearing is also changing. In the past, it was 1 in every 8 rares. In Zendikar Rising, it’s 1 to 7.4, so it’s improving. . . a little bit. In the MTG Set Boosters, you also get a Foil in every pack. This is another shot at a Mythic Rare/Rare foil.

Finally, there’s Slot 14. This is where the Token/Ad card shows up. However, this is where MTG Arena will be different. . . for now. For tabletop MTG, 25% of the time, this card will be a card from The List. They have chosen 300 cards from the past, and they will have a little symbol int he lower-left to denote the reprint. These won’t be in MTG Arena, sadly. These would be cards that would be Historic, but they want to put a little more effort into the cards that come with Historic. There are some beefy cards on The List. They also point out that they expect these boosters to cost about $1 more (so perhaps slightly more gems in MTG Arena).

We have yet to see if these are confirmed for MTG Arena events, but the way they discuss The List section, we believe they will be. Once we have more information, we’ll pass it on. But we’re excited! Draft Boosters that make sense! Perhaps now we (Jason) can get into drafting on a more serious basis!

You can get a peek at the boosters and the full information right here. They also reveal (thanks to the art) that Jace, Nissa, and Nahiri will be three of the planeswalkers in the set! As cards are revealed, we’ll have them, so stay tuned!


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