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

Considering that each of the four annual sets comes with corresponding Draft Boosters, Set Boosters, Collector Boosters, and more, more MTG products are hitting shelves each year than ever. While they are all somewhat similar, each of these products fills a niche in the market and has specific things they offer. Today we will mainly focus on Set Boosters vs. Draft Boosters, the difference between the two, and which is best for you depending on your needs.

The difference between Set Boosters and Draft Boosters is somewhat simple – Draft Boosters are designed for players to build decks and play games with the cards from the booster pack. Set Boosters are designed for players to have the maximum amount of fun possible opening the booster pack.

If you want to know more about the ins and outs of Draft, Set, or even Collector Booster and what each one contains, you’ve come to the right place. So, without further ado, let’s jump into Set Boosters vs Draft Boosters.

Updated: 4/29/2023

Table of Contents:

  1. Draft Booster
    1. Contents
    2. Pros and Cons
    3. Key Takeaways
  2. Set Booster
    1. Contents
    2. Pros and Cons
    3. Key Takeaways
  3. Collector Booster
    1. Contents
    2. Pros and Cons
    3. Key Takeaways
  4. Financial Differences
  5. Which One Should You Buy?

Set Vs. Draft Booster Summary

Draft BoosterSet Booster
PurposeA fun, balanced draft experienceFun and exciting to open
Quantity15 cards14 cards
Contents1 basic land
10 commons
3 uncommons
1 rare/mythic-rare
Commons / uncommons are balanced & randomized
Contents36 packs30 packs
Probabilities25% of the time, a foil card of any rarity will replace one of the 10 commons25% of the time, instead of an ad or token card, you’ll get a card from The List (a list of 300 iconic cards from MTG history)
Cost Per Pack~$4~$6
Cost Per Box~$100~$110
OtherCommons / uncommons are balanced & randomizedCommons / uncommons share a theme

Draft Boosters

Nowadays, a standard draft booster pack contains sixteen cards: 15 playing cards and a marketing card/token. Of the 15 playing cards, one is a basic land, 10 are common, three are uncommon, and one is rare or mythic-rare.

Approximately 25% of the time, a foil card of any rarity will replace one of the 10 commons. Draft booster packs usually retail for about $4.18. They also come in boxes (called draft booster boxes) containing 36 booster packs and usually sell for about $100.


There are a few non-standard releases that contain slightly different things. For example, a “Commander Legends” draft booster contains 20 cards and one advertising token, including two legendary cards, one rare or mythic rare card, one premium card of any rarity, three “unusual” cards, and 13 common cards. Commander Legends booster boxes also only contain 24 packs instead of the usual 36.

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Pros and Cons

Widely available at most stores (e.g. Walmart and Target)Higher number of commons and un-common cards
36 packs per booster boxLower number of rare and mythic rare cards
Cheapest booster packs/box

Key Takeaways

  • Cost $100 – $110 per box
  • $4 per pack
  • Contain 36 packs
  • Each pack contains 16 cards. 15 cards and a marketing card or token
    • 1 basic land
    • 10 commons
    • 3 uncommons
    • 1 rare or mythic rare
  • Draft boosters are designed and balanced to make a fun draft or sealed play event

Set Boosters

The majority of players are opening boosters optimized for Limited play when they have no intention of ever playing Sealed or Draft. This seemed like an opportunity. What if we made a new booster that was optimized to make opening boosters as fun as possible? What if ripping open a booster could be more fun? That’s what the majority of players are doing. Let’s make a booster for them. The goal was to create a booster that had a path that you went through as you opened it. Rather than just one excitement point, we designed the booster to have many excitement points.

Mark Rosewater

You can find that entire article here if you’re interested in the thought and reasoning behind creating Set Boosters.

The quote from MTG head designer Mark Rosewater on the creation of Set Boosters sums up the product and the differences in design for Set Boosters. Set Boosters are designed specifically for MTG players to open and enjoy doing it. Thus, they do not have the same limitations that draft boosters do, meaning they don’t require a balance of cards that will ensure a fair draft experience.

As a result, they stand to contain many more cards that add to the excitement of opening a pack – Things like potential additional rare and/or mythic rare cards and commons / un-commons that are less random.

Set booster packs usually retail for about $1-2 more than Draft Booster packs, and Set Booster boxes come with 30 booster packs instead of the standard 36 included with Draft boxes.


Set Boosters contain fourteen cards: Twelve of which are playing cards plus one token/ad card and a collectible art card. The cards in a Set Booster usually include one land and six common and/or un-commons that share some type of theme.

They are grouped so that each card of the same rarity has something to do with the card next to it. Maybe the connection is a creature type, or the cards play well together, or they have some story element in common. Part of the fun of opening this section of cards is trying to figure out the connection.

Every Set Booster is guaranteed at least one uncommon in these six slots, but each common has the potential to upgrade to an uncommon. As a result, these six slots in the Set Booster will range from five commons and one uncommon to zero commons and six un-commons.

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How Do Wildcard Slots Work in Set Boosters?

These two slots can basically be anything from common to mythic rare. It is possible to get showcase versions of rare and mythic rare cards in these slots but neither of these is your rare slot, so any rare or mythic rare cards you get in these two slots are extra ones in the booster.

The rarity of each slot is independent, so you can get two mythic rares here, one rare or mythic rare, and one foil of any rarity. In addition, you’ll also get a token/ad card, which is similar to what you would find in a Draft Booster.

Unlike Draft Boosters, which never change, the potential contents of Set Boosters change each time a new expansion is released. For example, Strixhaven Set Boosters each contained a guaranteed Lesson card and a guaranteed Mystical Archive Card but did not have randomly inserted second rare, unlike Adventures in the Forgotten Realms.

Art Cards

sorin the mirthless art card

Each pack also has a collectible “art card.” These art cards are cards with full art on the front and card information on the back. They’re not playable Magic cards, just fun objects to have around or collect. Five percent of the time, rather than a regular art card, you’ll get one with a gold-stamped signature of the artist. Every art card can be obtained in its standard and signature versions.

What is “The List” In MTG?

25% of the time, you’ll get a card from The List instead of an ad or token card. What exactly is The List? “The list” is a compilation of 300 attractive cards chosen from throughout MTG’s history, printed as they originally appeared, including art, frame, expansion symbol, etc.

The List changes subtly from set to set, bringing in cards that might make sense with the current set we’re in, but it will mostly stay intact from set to set, meaning you will slowly get to learn what cards are in The List. You can find a complete list of the cards, what has been removed, and the current List for the newest release here.

It’s also worth mentioning that Wizards of the Coast made an error with the March of the Machine bundles and included a list card in every single pack within the bundle. So, you’d usually look at roughly two list cards per bundle. Now, people are getting a full eight, which is pretty insane.

Pros and Cons

More rare/mythic rare cards per packCan be harder to find than draft packs
Common and un-common cards share a themePacks/ Boxes are more expensive than draft versions
Possible to get high value cards from The ListLess packs per booster box

Key Takeaways

  • Cost ~$100 per box
  • ~$6 per pack
  • Contain 30 packs
  • Each pack contains 14 cards. 12 cards, 1 art card, and 1 token OR card from The List
    • 1 land
    • 6 common or uncommons
    • 2 wildcard rarity slots (rare or mythic)
    • 1 guaranteed rare or mythic
    • 1 guaranteed foil of any quality
    • 1 art card
    • 1 token or marketing card
      • 25% of the time, this card will be from the list
  • Designed to provide a fun and exciting pack-opening experience

Collector Booster

In addition to the differences between Set Boosters and Draft Boosters, we will also examine how each compares to Collector Boosters.

Collector Boosters were created for people who love the collectible aspect of MTG. Collector Booster packs contain some of the rarest, most coveted, and most valuable cards a set offers.

Collector Boosters are maximized for more diversity in content, with more rares, foils, extended art, borderless Planeswalkers, and showcase cards – Often times containing things that can only be gotten from Collector Boosters.


The specific contents for Collector Boosters tend to vary some with each release. For example, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Collector Boosters offered a showcase Ninja & Samurai and a Phyrexian Language card. While Strixhaven: School of Mages had Mystical Archive cards with Japanese variances.

Collector Boosters for the newest set, March of the Machines, guarantee you full-art basic lands, extended art cards, three Multiverse Legends cards, a shot at serialized cards in around 1% of packs, and foil-etched, halo-foil, and double-rainbow foil versions of certain cards.

Having said that, these are somewhat more unique than other Boosters; they generally contain the following:

  • A foil double-sided token
  • 1 foil basic land
  • Some number of foil commons, and uncommon
  • showcase or alt art commons and uncommon
  • a foil rare or mythic rare
  • 1 extended-art rare or a mythic rare.

The price tag for Collector Boosters vs Draft Boosters is considerably higher at around $15 – $20 per booster pack and $185 for a booster box. Collector Booster Boxes contain 12 packs per box.

Pros and Cons

Contains very high value cardsHigh price per pack/box
Contains alternate editions of cards that are exclusive to Collector BoostersHard to find at common retail stores like Walmart and Target

Key Takeaways

  • Cost ~$240 per box
  • ~$20 per pack
  • Contains 12 packs
  • Each pack contains 15 cards of various types
    • Extended Art
    • Borderless
    • Showcase
    • Foils
    • Ancillary cards unique to only Collector Boosters
  • Meant for collectors who want the rarest cards

Financial Differences

Now that we know what a Draft Booster and a Set Booster are let’s compare the numbers for each one.

Set Booters, on average, cost about $1 more per pack than Draft Boosters. The increased amount of potential value in Set Booster Vs Draft Booster is the reason for the higher cost, but many players have wondered if they really get that extra $1 per pack of value.

The answer seems to be yes. Even though Set boosters are going to come in 30 packs to a booster box display rather than 36, you can open up to four rare or mythic rare cards in a single Set Booster—both wildcard slots, the rare slot, and the foil slot—and that’s not even counting the possibility of “The List.”

Draft Boosters usually contain two rare cards in a single pack, about once in every eight booster packs. Therefore, it can be expected that you will get the same number of rare and mythic rare cards per dollar spent as you would buying Draft Boosters.

The Numbers

Let’s look at how much value you can expect from a few recent products that have had time for their prices to settle. You can also use our pack simulator to find the expected value of any set (draft, set, or collector booster) in MTG history.

pack simulator

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms:
Draft Booster Box Price: $90
Expected Value: $82

Set Booster Box Price: $100
Expected Value: $127

Strixhaven: School of Mages
Draft Booster Box Price: $104
Expected Value: $103

Set Booster Box Price: $97
Expected Value: $95

While there are some slight variations from product to product and from set to set, both Draft and Set Booster boxes tend to be worth roughly the same when compared to their sale price. With no substantial financial reason to buy Draft Boosters over Set Boosters, let’s look at why you should or shouldn’t pick up one over the other.

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Which One Should You Buy?

If you’re using the packs to draft or play sealed, you want to buy Draft Boosters. These packs are the only ones that are specifically designed for limited play. While they have slightly less “exciting” or “flashy” pulls, everything about Draft Boosters is done to optimize the experience of playing games of limited.

This includes having an exact number of playable cards per pack, balanced common and un-commons, and an even color distribution. Conversely, the same things cannot be said of Set Boosters, leading to lopsided games and players being stuck with “art cards” that are not playable cards.

You’ll want set Boosters if you simply want to open packs for fun and get more rares and mythics. Just as Draft Boosters are designed to make drafting as fun as possible, Set Boosters are designed to be as exciting and as fun as possible to open.

This is done by adding things like collectible art cards, commons, and un-commons that share a theme, potential extra rare and mythic rare cards, and a small chance to get cards from throughout magic history. These differences make almost every card in a Set Booster something to look forward to.

Collector Boosters are what you want to buy if you’re looking for the flashiest, rarest, and most collectible cards in the set. These are packed with foils, extra rares, alternate & full art cards, and cards exclusive to Collector Boosters. Having said that, these Boosters also have the highest price tags of all.

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End Step

Magic the Gathering is such a great game because it has so many different things that appeal to different players. Some players play for the strategy of the gameplay. Some love the complexity of the deck building. Others are drawn in by the art and fantasy elements /roleplaying. Ultimately Draft and Set Boosters are no different in this regard.

In conclusion, if you want to draft with friends or test your skills in building a sealed deck with the newest set, Draft Boosters are the packs for you. If you’re searching for a thrill when cracking a pack and want to get the most out of every card, then Set Boosters are precisely what you are looking for.

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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.