Magic: The Gathering is getting rid of Draft and Set boosters, squishing them together into a single type of MTG booster pack. The new pack type, ‘Play boosters’ are essentially Set boosters that are designed to be usable in Limited formats like Draft and Sealed. They’ll be replacing Draft and Set boosters early next year, starting from Murders at Karlov Manor. Collector boosters will remain unchanged.
The new MTG Play boosters will be priced like Set boosters, and like Set boosters, they’ll contain between one and four rare cards. However, to make them usable in MTG drafts, Wizards of the Coast says they’ll be color balanced like Draft packs, and also contain more cards. Whereas currently Set boosters have 12 playable cards, and Draft boosters have 15, Play boosters will have 14.
According to an article by MTG head designer Mark Rosewater, there are a number of reasons for this change. The main points seem to be that the two booster types caused market confusion, draft boosters weren’t selling well, and this both split the player base and caused problems for stores.
As well as the guaranteed rare/mythic rare slot, the new Play boosters will have two ‘wildcard’ slots that could be any card from their main set, at any rarity. There’s also one slot that could be a regular common, or a card from The List (again, at any rarity). Like Draft boosters, Play boosters will have three guaranteed uncommons, but where Draft packs had a guaranteed 10 common cards, Play packs will have only 7. The explanations above hopefully make it all a bit clearer.
The main losers from this change seem to be in-person Limited players, who are now going to have to pay more to take part in Draft or Sealed events. Rosewater explains that “you will be paying slightly more, but you’ll likely be getting more value out of the boosters. Your rare/mythic rare card ratio per dollar spent will be staying the same.”
The change is coming to MTG Arena as well, however. Wizards explains that the gem cost of draft events won’t change on Arena, but the new pack type will be used for these events. Interestingly, however, packs bought directly from the store or obtained through MTG Arena codes will remain unchanged.
According to Rosewater, the way Wizards designs sets has had to change to accommodate the shift to Play boosters, and R&D believes the change won’t make Limited gameplay less fun. The head designer says he’ll explain more once Murders at Karlov Manor is closer to release, but adds that one focus has been to make sure that players have more answers at lower rarities.