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Magic: The Gathering Booster Pack Types – What’s The Difference?

magic the gathering booster pack types

It’s time to grab yourself a random selection of cards with which to build a new deck – as we give you the low down on Magic: The Gathering booster pack types!

Even if you’re a player familiar with the mechanics of Magic: The Gathering (or MTG) – which was launched in 1993, making it thirty years old – if you haven’t played for a while, the various types of booster packs on offer can be a bit confusing.

It’s even more confusing for new players, who may have no idea where to begin or which booster packs are the right ones for their needs.

So here at Card Gamer, we thought it would be a good idea to take you on a tour of the different types of Magic: The Gathering booster packs – to tell you what they’re for, what they contain and whether or not they’re right for the way that you’re intending to play MTG!

So let’s take a look at all of the Magic: The Gathering booster pack types!

What are Set Booster packs in Magic The Gathering?

Set Booster MTG

A Set Booster is a pack that contains an assortment of cards for both playing the card game and collecting. These packs are perfect for those that are more physical with their cards and aren’t afraid to use them, nor lower their quality.

For more casual players who simply want to get a good, varied selection of cards that they may or may not use in their decks, Set Boosters are the best option.

The Set Booster is what most players will think of when the idea of a ‘booster pack’ comes to mind – even though the Draft Booster (which we’ll come to!) features the more traditional mix of booster pack cards – it’s simply a random selection of cards from a specific set, containing a mixture of Common, Uncommon and Rare cards.

Additionally, Set Boosters will also include Land and/or art cards too. 

In order to get a good idea of what a new set contains, getting your hands on a Set Booster is a good first step – especially if you’re not looking to play Magic: The Gathering either competitively or in a specific format.

That’s not to say that you won’t find powerful cards in a Set Booster – indeed, each pack of 12 cards (plus two bonus, non-game cards – such as art cards) contains 1-5 cards at the ‘Rare’ or higher rarity level, making them a more appealing product in some ways than, say, Draft Boosters.

If you are looking for specific ways to play or a more fancy set of cards just to collect, there are other, better options for you.

What are Collector Booster packs in Magic The Gathering?

Collector Booster MTG

A Collector Booster is a pack that contains an assortment of foil cards, some with alternate or full card art. These packs are great for serious collectors of Magic cards and may not be practical for repeated or heavy usage during games.

Which brings us to Collector Boosters.

Not intending to play Magic? Just interested in getting your hands on the most beautiful, rare cards in any given set?

Then Collector Booster packs are what you’re after.

It may seem counter-intuitive to many people that a type of booster pack is sold for a collectible card game that isn’t necessarily intended for play, but Collector Booster packs are intended to provide the best looking selection of cards in any given pack and may be just used for bragging rights, instead of being handled and shuffled in actual decks, during fraught games of MTG!

All cards in a Collector Booster are foil, with 10% of boosters containing a special Halo Foil Rare or Mythic Rare, with under 1% of packs containing a Foil Serialized card.

Otherwise, what you get are all foil cards in a fairly traditional rarity split: 5 at Rare or higher, 4 Uncommon, 5 Common and 1 Land.

They’re expensive, but Collector Booster packs are premium products – and with many cards often featuring alternate art or special foil treatments, these really do provide the most highly desirable MTG cards in any given set.

What are Draft Booster packs in Magic The Gathering?

Draft Booster MTG

A Draft Booster pack is an assortment of cards of different rarities. Draft Boosters are the most cost effective booster pack, designed to be opened in packs of three at a time as part of the Draft format of Magic: The Gathering.

Replicating the single, simpler option of buying a booster pack many years ago, the Draft Booster is the cheapest way of getting a selection of MTG cards to play with.

The rebranding of booster packs as draft boosters is due to the method of playing ‘Draft’.

Simply put, in the Draft format of Magic: The Gathering, each participating player picks up three Draft Boosters. 

Opening one pack at a time, players pick a card from the revealed selection, then pass the rest of the cards on. The process is repeated until all of the cards in each single pack have been chosen, then the second pack is opened – and the same process continues until all three packs have been used.

Players then construct a deck from their pile of newly acquired cards and play against an opponent who’s just done the same.

We’ve covered the Draft format of MTG in more detail, in our how to Draft in Magic: The Gathering article – but those are the basics.

Along with the Draft packs, you’ll need a good selection of Land cards to ensure that all players can build the decks they want with the cards they’ve chosen (and not be subject to a lack of mana during their games!).

There’s nothing to stop you simply buying Draft Boosters in the same way you’d buy a Set Booster, of course, rather than just using it to play in the Draft format.

Note, however, that you’ll get only 2 Rare cards at most (with 1 or 2 Rares per pack), along with 3-5 Uncommon cards, 8-9 Common cards and 1 Land.

There’s a relatively high chance of getting a foil card however – with a 33% chance of getting an any-rarity foil, which replaces a Common card, in a Draft Booster.

Buying a Draft Pack is the most cost effective way of getting involved in a game of Draft too, as it’ll contain three Draft Boosters – the exact number each player needs to get involved!

What are Jumpstart Booster packs in Magic The Gathering?

Jumpstart Booster MTG

Jumpstart Booster packs contain an assortment of 20 themed cards including Land. They’re designed to be opened two at a time, then combined to build a deck instantly. The Jumpstart format is the fastest way to build a deck and get playing.

A relatively recent booster pack type in Magic: The Gathering, Jumpstart Boosters were introduced in 2020 as an entirely new way to play MTG – and have since become a regular staple of new set releases too.

So, what exactly is Jumpstart?

Jumpstart is a format of Magic: The Gathering using 40 card decks, built using just two Jumpstart Booster packs.

To build a deck ready to play in Jumpstart, it really is that simple – just open two Jumpstart Boosters, shuffle the contents together and you’re ready to go!

Each Jumpstart Booster contains cards that fit a specific, colour-based theme.

To illustrate this, the most recent Jumpstart release (in March of the Machine) contains two different themes for each type of mana in the Magic colour wheel – so there are ten different themes; any one of which could be represented in a March of the Machine Jumpstart Booster.

Jumpstart is a fantastic format for newer players; as long as they know the basics of MTG before they play, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in being able to just grab two booster packs, shuffle them together and immediately play against an opponent who’s done the same with their own two Jumpstart Boosters!

Even better is that you can buy a Jumpstart Booster Pack – as with the Draft Booster Pack, the Jumpstart Booster Pack contains the exact number of packs you need to have your own set of cards to get started; in this case, two packs.

It’s never been easier to get involved in Magic: The Gathering, but the different booster pack types can definitely be confusing if you’re not already familiar with them. Hopefully we’ve helped you to cut through the jargon and potential confusion with this guide.

Happy duelling, Planeswalkers!

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