A new type of booster pack, called Play Boosters, is coming to Magic: The Gathering in 2024.
Replacing Set and Draft boosters, Wizards of the Coast says Play Boosters will be introduced with the set Murders at Karlov Manor. They are being designed to fix a number of issues that have arisen since the introduction of Set Boosters, which the company says are a "wild success," including inventory problems, player abandonment of Draft Boosters, and marketplace confusion.
"Having two things that are similar, but not quite the same, causes several issues," says MTG Head Designer Mark Rosewater. "Having two different types of regular boosters means we have to communicate twice as much information about how each booster is put together and what's in it. For example, there can be cards that appear in one type of booster but not the other. Add in things like variants of cards, and this gets very complicated to communicate and understand."
Like 15-card Draft Boosters, Play Boosters will be draftable. It's something that Set Boosters, which are 12 cards and have proven to be more popular to purchase amongst Magic players, were never designed for.
"Limited play, especially Draft, is a huge part of the Magic ecosystem," explains Rosewater. "Limited play might not be how many players interact with the game, but for the millions of players who play Limited, it's fundamental to their enjoyment. Seeing Draft Boosters, and thus Limited play, disappear would be a big problem, for players and stores."
As for what a Play Booster will be comprised of, Magic players can expect them to contain 14 cards. That's one card fewer that traditional Draft Boosters, but two more than Set Boosters.
As for why only 14 cards when draftable Magic boosters, traditionally, had 15?
"The change to the Play Booster gave us the ability to rethink how we put together a booster," Rosewater says. "We experimented with different amounts of playable cards per booster and found that 14 did the best job of giving us the play experience we wanted."
Another complaint these 14-card booster packs are being designed to combat, according to Rosewater, was that players said they often got too many cards that didn't get used when drafting.
The first six cards in the pack will be commons. Card number seven will either be another common or a card from MTG's The List. Cards eight through ten will be uncommons. The eleventh card will be either a rare or a mythic rare, including a possible card variant option. The twelfth card is reserved for a basic land. The 13th card will be non-foil and could be of almost any card found in the set, including a card variant option. The 14th card will have the same options as the previous card slot, but will be a guaranteed foil card. The 15th and final card will be an advertisement, token, helper, or art card.
Wizards of the Coast says that, despite the company not publishing MSRP, Play Boosters will sell for the same price as Set Boosters. Furthermore, a booster box will contain 36 packs just like a current Draft Booster box, which is exactly enough for three eight-player drafts.
"Because that is six more boosters than Set Booster displays have right now, be aware the price of a Play Booster display box will be higher than that of a Set Booster display box," points out Rosewater.
The company is also publicly stating that the move to Play Boosters in 2024 will increase the cost of participating in draft events. It's something that Wizards of the Coast doesn't see players having an issue with.
"...the expected value of the booster went up as well because there are opportunities to pull additional rares and mythic rares," Rosewater says. "So yes, you will be paying slightly more, but you'll likely be getting more value out of the boosters."
As for Collector's Boosters, Wizards of the Coast says that, despite Play Boosters supplanting Draft and Set Boosters next year, nothing major will be changing about them.