MTG To Replace Set And Draft Boosters With New Play Booster

Play Booster will be introduced with Murders at Karlov Manor

Change of Plans illustrated by Campbell White

Wizards of the Coast (WotC) announced today that starting with Murders at Karlov Manor Set Booster and Draft Booster packs will be replaced by a new product called the Play Booster.

The Play Booster essentially combines the two previous products, making the Play Booster exciting to open like a Set Booster while being what Sealed and Draft players will use to play games of Limited. This will make it so players no longer have to choose when picking a pack to buy and consolidate prizes so that players will always get a pack they desire, removing the disappointment in getting the “wrong” type of booster pack. Now all players will get a fun experience opening packs with the added benefit of reducing market place confusion. Notably, Collector Boosters aren’t going anywhere and are staying the same.

The Play Booster will contain 14 cards (an essential for Limited gameplay), along with a guaranteed traditional foil card, an art card, booster fun treatments, a chance at a card from The List, and the chance to open multiple rares (up to four) like the current Set Booster. Each pack will have three uncommons, a rare or mythic rare, a basic land, a foil wildcard, non-foil wildcard, six commons, either another common or a card from The List, and an ad/token/helper/art card. Wildcards can range from any rarity and may contain booster fun treatments. Unlike Set Boosters, the cards in the Play Booster will be more balanced by color, so that packs offer options for all colors instead of grouping commons together by theme or mechanic like the Set Booster.

These changes mean that packs for Limited play will on average have slightly more rares than Draft Boosters did, which will have a bigger impact on Sealed than Draft to some degree. The sets will be designed differently going forward with these changes in pack distributions in mind. The team has already had some experience with this while designing multiple sets for Limited with bonus sheets adding additional rares and powerful uncommons to the format. What these changes will actually be is unclear, but members of R&D will be fielding questions later this week to answer questions like this more precisely. Mark Rosewater will be on Weekly MTG tomorrow for a follow-up Q&A and even more members of the design team will be available Wednesday for a Discord Q&A, including Aaron Forsythe.

With the move to Play Boosters, all packs for Limited play will now have a chance at a card from The List, so it is noteworthy that The List will be having a major overhaul. The List currently is 300 cards, but it will be trimmed down to just 50 cards (10 Special Guests and 40 other cards, 30 of which will be common or uncommon and the other 10 being rares or mythic rares) starting with Murders at Karlov Manor. The List will now revolve around cards more directly tied to the current set, include Special Guests, and be more exciting in general. The cards from The List will also be legal in the Limited format for the set.

Limited events on MTG Arena will also use the new Play Booster to keep the digital format as close as possible to its tabletop equivalent. The price of events and packs will remain the same. However, like in the past, certain cards that appear on The List might be swapped out for other cards due to their impact on Arena’s older formats. For example, if Mana Crypt is on The List, it would be replaced with something else like when Jumpstart was added to MTG Arena and cards like Reanimate, Path to Exile, Thought Scour, Exhume, and Lightning Bolt were swapped with much lower-power alternate cards like Doomed Necromancer, Banishing Light, Weight of Memory, Bond of Revival, and Lightning Strike.

Other Play Booster notables include:

  • Play Booster displays will contain 36 packs
  • Prerelease events and packs will use Play Boosters
  • Play Boosters will no longer contain cards only legal in Commander that used to show up in Set Boosters
  • Play Boosters will be printed in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Simplified Chinese

Read the official announcement from WotC.