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Magic: The Gathering’s new Beyond boosters have only 7 cards

Wizards of the Coast is releasing another new type of MTG booster pack, but these 7-card packs summon the spectre of one of 2023's biggest flops.

MTG beyond boosters - an assassin with two blades

Wizards of the Coast is releasing a new type of Magic: The Gathering booster pack, which has only seven cards, instead of the usual 15. The new ‘Beyond boosters’ are designed for Universes Beyond sets, and the first will arrive with MTG Assassin’s Creed in July 2024.

According to Wizards, the intention here was to release a product that falls somewhere in the middle of a spectrum that has a massive set like MTG Lord of the Rings on one end, and a tiny MTG Secret Lair drop on the other.

Naturally, hearing this news, alarm bells are ringing right now for anyone who experienced March of the Machine: Aftermath. That MTG set from last year was sold in ‘Epilogue boosters’ which contained just five cards, and the set had only 50 cards in total.

MTG beyond boosters - an assassin leaping with a hidden blade extended

Foregoing all the commons, Aftermath was presented as a ‘Marvel post-credits scene’ of Magic sets. But it’s now known as one of the greatest flops of last year, ranking right at the bottom of our 2023 MTG set list for a reason.

Aftermath wasn’t just unpopular with a vocal minority, it seems. Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater previously hinted that the product had been a financial failure and recently, on his Blogatog Tumblr, stated “I’ve seen the data. It was hated.”

Announcing the new booster pack in an MTG Weekly stream on February 13, Wizards of the Coast was the first to bring up the comparison to the ill-fated Epilogue boosters. The designers acknowledge the key problems with the Aftermath set: the repetitiveness of the opening experience and the packs being too small.

But according to the show’s presenter Blake Rasmussen, and designers Zakeel Gordon and Max McCall, the new Beyond boosters were almost fully baked in by the time March of the Machine Aftermath launched.

“We knew what we were building, we were confident in what we were making, but we still had enough time to tweak the final product and how it was delivered to our fans,” said Gordon.

On the stream, Wizards isn’t very clear about what exactly was tweaked as a result of Aftermath’s dismal reception, but what’s clear at least is that the numbers are a bit different. Obviously, where Epilogue boosters had only five cards, these packs have seven. The distribution will be slightly changed too: whereas the best possible Epilogue booster would have three rares, Beyond boosters can have up to four.

MTG beyond boosters infographic

Furthermore, there will be twice as many cards in the Universes Beyond sets that have Beyond boosters. Whereas there were only 50 cards total in Aftermath, MTG Assassin’s Creed and future UB products will have 100.

As for Epilogue boosters, it seems Wizards of the Coast originally planned to produce one of those at the end of each story arc. But now, McCall reveals, the cards that would have been in the epilogue for MTG Outlaws of Thunder Junction have been folded into the main set proper. RIP.

While we’re pretty wary, we can see Beyond boosters being successful if they are fairly priced. But Wizards of the Coast did not share a price in its stream, claiming that it could not because it does not set an MSRP.

“That was one of the pieces of feedback we received on the epilogue boosters,” said Rasmussen, referring to their cost. “We did hear the price feedback and we took that into account as best as we can for a product that was already in production.”

For more MTG content, check out the MTG release schedule for 2024, to see everything that’s coming out this year.