Mark Rosewater: Introducing Set Boosters
This is an abridged version of Mark Rosewater's DailyMTG article. You can read the full article here.
For decades, there was only one booster. No matter what type of player you were or what you cared about, you had to enter each new set through the same booster.
The problem with this is that any restriction for one group becomes a restriction for everyone. For instance, drafting is a big part of Magic—a lot of decisions about how a booster is put together are affected by how it will draft.
Whether you drafted or not, you were affected by those choices, even if those choices were not ones that made the booster experience better for you. So, we decided to change that.
The first new booster to come from this line of thinking was the Theme Booster. Next came the Collector Booster. Then, we wanted to make a new booster that was optimized to make opening boosters as fun as possible.
That is what Set Boosters are.
Introducing Set Boosters
Rather than just one excitement point, like the rare or mythic rare slot in a Draft Booster, we designed the Set Booster to have many excitement points.
To do this, we've organized the booster into four sections that we're calling "chapters"—Welcome, Fireworks, Big Finish, and Epilogue—each with some number of cards that we're calling "slots."v
Slot 1—Art Card Slot
The art card is the first card of the Welcome chapter. Zendikar Rising Set Boosters will have 81 different art cards, and, five percent of the time, they'll include one with a gold-stamped signature of the artist.
Slot 2—Land Slot
Continuing the immersive experience of the Welcome chapter, the second slot highlights the card type that best shows off the world—lands. Zendikar Rising has full-art basic lands in this slot, and 15% of the time, it will be foil.
Slots 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8—Connected Commons and Uncommons
In these six slots, each card has something to do with the card next to it—they have the same creature type, or the cards play well together, or they have some story element in common. Part of the fun of opening this section is trying to see what connection we've made.
Every Set Booster is guaranteed at least one uncommon in these six slots, but these six slots will range from five commons and one uncommon to zero commons and six uncommons.
Slot 9—Head-Turning Slot
Now we've ventured into the first slot of the Fireworks chapter. The goal of this chapter is to be splashy and exciting. You never quite know what might turn up here.
Slot 9 is always going to be a visually interesting card. For Zendikar Rising Set Boosters, that means you will get a common or uncommon that is either a showcase card or a card that's a cool element of the set that we haven't talked about yet.
Slot 10 and 11—Wildcard Rarity Slots
These two slots can be anything from common to mythic rare. It is possible to get showcase versions of rares and mythic rares in these slots.
The rarity of each slot is independent, so you have the potential to get two mythic rares here—in fact, just under one fourth of the time, you will open at least two rares or mythic rares just from the wild slots. We have yet another way to get an extra rare coming up.
Slot 12—Rare/Mythic Rare Slot
Now we venture into the Big Finish Chapter. This chapter is about guaranteed goodies.
The first slot here is your rare/mythic rare slot. This was the most exciting thing in the Draft Boosters, so we couldn't get rid of that!
Slot 13—Foil Slot
A lot of players enjoy foils, so we decided to just make a slot where you get a foil in every pack. This slot can be any rarity, so, this is another place where you can get a rare or mythic rare.
Slot 14—Token/Ad Card
These cards are like what you'd find in a Draft Booster 75% of the time.
But 25% of the time, instead of an ad or token card, you'll get a card from The List —300 interesting cards from anywhere in Magic’s past. They will be printed as they appeared (including art, frame, and expansion symbol) plus a small Planeswalker symbol in their lower-left corner.
The List has commons, uncommons, rares, and mythic rares and shows off beloved mechanics from the past, fun worlds and creatives, and just flat-out wild cards we've done.
Here's a little teaser from The List that will appear in Zendikar Rising Set Boosters.
Note that being on The List does not make cards Standard-legal—they are only legal in whatever formats the cards are already legal in.
Now that I've walked you through the Set Booster, let me talk a bit about it.
First up, I should tell you that Set Boosters are going to cost a little more than Draft Boosters (we estimate about $1 more per pack, but it may vary from region to region), but because you have the opportunity to open more rares per pack (you can open up to four rares or mythic rares in a Set Booster—both wildcard slots, the rare slot and the foil slot—and that's not even counting The List), we expect that you will get the same number of rares and mythic rares per dollar spent as you would buying Draft Boosters.
Set boosters are going to come in 30 packs to a booster box display rather than 36.
If you're still unsure about the Set Booster and want a chance to sample one, attend a Zendikar Rising Prerelease. Every attendee (as long as supplies last) will get a Set Booster for playing.
Until then, may opening Magic boosters be as much fun as playing the game.