MTG Play Boosters Replacing Draft & Set Packs – Here Is What You Need To Know

Mark Rosewater recently dropped some massive news on the MTG community. A new booster pack, “Play Boosters,” will replace both Draft and Set Boosters. More precisely, Play Boosters are a combination of both products. This is the most significant change to the game in a very long time. So, today, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the MTG Play Boosters.

We’ll go over what Play Boosters are, what they do (and don’t contain), how they came to be, and the problems they are meant to address. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions and talk about whether these changes will help the game move forward and when we can actually expect to see them implemented. So, without further ado, let’s jump in.

What Are MTG Play Boosters?

Play Boosters are new packs that combine the balance and “draft ability” of Draft Boosters with the excitement of extra rares you’d find in a Set Booster. Think of them as a middle ground between the two products, eliminating the need for each separate pack. Let’s look at how WOTC achieved this and the contents of these new boosters.


Play Boosters contain the following:

  • 1-6 Commons
  • 7th Common or a card from The List
  • 3 Uncommons
  • 1 Rare or Mythic
  • 1 basic or common land
  • 1 non-foil wildcard
  • 1 foil wildcard
  • 1 non-playable card (ad, token, or art card)
play booster contents

Play Boosters Vs. Draft & Set Boosters

With the general contents out of the way, let’s delve a bit further into how Play Boosters differ from both the Draft and Set packs we’re used to.

Related: Set Boosters Vs. Draft Boosters FAQ [Contents, Value & Guide]

Draft Boosters

Draft Boosters are made for players to draft with. To do this, they needed a very consistent number of playable cards and specific numbers of cards at each rarity, with minimal deviation. This ensured a balanced playing field for Draft and Sealed.

They were/are the only product fit for limited. However, they weren’t exciting to open for players who don’t draft. The new Play Boosters are replacing Draft Boosters, but there are a few differences to make them more exciting than the draftable packs we’re used to.

Play Boosters differ from Draft Boosters in the following ways:

  • Potential to get up to 4 rare or mythic rare cards (which wasn’t possible in Draft Boosters)
  • One fewer playable card
  • Three fewer commons
  • A non-foil and foil wildcard card (neither of which were in Draft Boosters)
  • A 1-in-8 chance to get a card from The List (which wasn’t in Draft Boosters)
  • A 1-in-3 opportunity to get an art card (which didn’t appear in Draft Boosters)

In short, Play Boosters will be more exciting to open because you can possibly get more rares and cards from the list. But should still be balanced enough for limited play.

Set Boosters

Set Boosters were made to be exciting to open. These were for players who wanted to crack packs for fun. Considering you don’t build decks and play with these packs, they could have tons of rares, exciting non-playable collectibles, and commons and uncommons that share a theme. Play Boosters hope to be as exciting as these were but more playable.

Play Boosters differ from Set Boosters in the following ways:

  • Two More Playable cards
  • Unconnected commons and uncommons
  • One Fewer Non-foil wildcard
  • One Fewer Nonplayable Card
  • Only a 1-in-3 opportunity of an art card (Set Boosters always had an art card)

These won’t be as hard to play limited with as Set Boosters because the commons and uncommons are not themed, and there are fewer nonplayable cards. On the other hand, having more playable cards and slightly fewer wildcards and non-playable cards makes them balanced enough for deck building to be consistent and fun.

WOTC’s Reasoning For Combining These Products

We’ve covered the new packs and how they differ from the traditional ones. Now let’s move on to what WOTC hopes to achieve with these new packs and their thought process on keeping limited in check with these changes.

Low Demand For Draft Packs

First and foremost Draft Boosters were becoming obsolete for a large portion of the player base. Don’t get me wrong; limited players need Draft packs. That said, any player not sitting down to play limited would prefer to spend their money on Set Boosters. After all, they are self admittedly more fun to open.

This made stores more likely to stock Set Boosters because that’s what many players wanted to buy. However, limited is a significant, intrinsic part of the game, and Set packs don’t do the job. So, many stores found themselves in a conundrum about which product (or how much of each) to buy.

From Wizards of the Coast’s point of view, they realized they had two seperate product lines, each of which only appeal to a particular portion of their customers. Want to Draft? Well, you’re not buying Set packs. Don’t want to Draft? Well, you’re 100% not buying Draft packs, then. They were unhappy with this division and combined them into one product every player could buy and enjoy.

Confusion For Customers

The number of products for each new set that drops is a lot to keep up with. You’ve got Draft, Set, and Collector boxes. Plus, Commander Precons, Jumpstart packs, Bundles, Gift Bundles, and sometimes more. Simply put, it’s a lot, especially when each product can contain specific things that the others don’t.

Frequently Asked Questions

frequently asked questions in white letters with a pink question mark

After reading this far, you may still have a few questions. If so, worry not. I’ll clear everything up here.

When Will We Switch Over To Play Boosters?

Murders at Karlov Manor releases in Q1 (probably February) of 2024 and will be the first set to feature Play Boosters. This means that all sets between now and then, such as Lost Caverns of Ixalan and Ravnica Remastered, will have regular Draft and Set Boosters.

How Much Will Play Booster Packs/Boxes Cost?

According to Mark Rosewater, single Play Boosters will now cost about the same as Set Boosters. That said, the Booster Boxes will contain 36 packs instead of the usual 30. So, the price of full booster boxes for Play Boosters will be higher than Set Boxes.

How Will These Changes Affect Limited?

Even if they’re not as loaded as Set Boosters, these Play Boosters can have up to four rare/mythic cards per pack. If you’ve ever drafted or play sealed, the idea of an opponent having twice as many rares as you is alarming. Here’s a quote from Mark Rosewater to answer this question:

Will the Play Booster make Draft less fun?

R&D believes it will not. We’ve been working very hard for years to understand the impacts the Play Booster will have on Draft, and we’ve adapted how we’re building the sets to accommodate. Murders at Karlov Manor was designed and balanced with Play Boosters in mind. Will there be lessons to learn as we adapt to a new system? Of course, but Magic constantly evolves, so we’re pretty good at adapting.

If the Play Boosters have more rares/mythic rares on average, will that mean more bombs in Limited formats?

There will be more cards of a rare and mythic rare power level, but adapting to that (making sure players have more answers at lower rarities) is part of how R&D is adjusting our set designs. All our playtests have been done with this in mind, and they’ve been very enjoyable.

Mark Rosewater from “What Are Play Boosters?

Do Play Boosters Effect Collector Boosters?

No. Collector Boosters aren’t being changed at all. So, no worries there.

Is This A Good Change For The Game?

I say yes, assuming that WOTC is correct and limited won’t suffer for the change. Having fewer overall products is good. Having fewer products that don’t appeal to certain players is good. One unified product that’s functional from a gameplay perspective and fun to open would undoubtedly be the best of both worlds.

Having said that, only time will tell if Play Boosters change limited for the worst. If they do, we’ll be in for some trouble. I think they’ll play well the majority of the time. However, sealed games are often already decided by who gets the biggest bomb. So, every once in a while, a loaded pack could lead to some severe blowouts.

My only other concern is that they won’t be as exciting to open as Set Boosters. The addition of the wildcard slots is good in theory, but I’m curious to see how often we’ll actually be getting good extra rares and mythics. It can’t be too often, or it’ll definitely shift games of limited. But if it’s so scarce, we’re paying Set Booster prices for a Draft pack that will suck.

End Step

There you have it, my friends, everything you need to know about the new MTG Play Boosters. Not every day you get this significant of changes to the game. It’ll undoubtedly go down as a day in MTG history, for better or worse. If you’ve been playing the game for a while, you’ll notice that we’ve been pointing many of these issues out to WOTC for quite a while.

I’m pleasantly surprised to see them openly address many issues we voice. As a player of limited, though, I will worry a bit until I get those first few drafts with Play Boosters in and see that the formats will be okay. I’ll be thrilled with these changes once they’re out and confirmed to play well.

Until next time, get out there and play some MTG.

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Geno Doak

I started playing Magic in 2015. I love all formats but I particularly love to play and build decks in modern. Pretty much every part of my life has been influenced by Magic in some way or another. It is something I am very passionate about. RIP Simian Spirit Guide.