With a tight economy, high inflation and stagnant incomes, this is probably the perfect time to talk about whether Magic Booster Boxes are worth it. I seem to ask the same question every other month when a new Magic set is released and I’m not sure sometimes that buying a box at current prices is worth the investment.
For those of you who struggle with trying to figure out whether the price of a Magic Booster Box is really worth it, I’ll try and help you out with some pros and cons. Hopefully this helps you with your decision making the next time Wizards of the Coast (aka Hasbro) releases a new set and a bunch of Booster Boxes.
How Much Do Magic Boxes Cost?
WotC (Wizards of the Coast aka Hasbro) doesn’t provide resellers with a specific suggested retail price for Booster Boxes or packs. There is no mandate from the company that local game stores or online retailers sell boxes for a certain price.
However, prices for the different types of Booster Boxes are always hovering around the same price each time a new set comes out.
For Magic: The Gathering Base/Core and Expansion Sets (like Phyrexia: All Will Be One, The Brothers’ War, etc) DRAFT and SET Booster Boxes tend to be around $120/box when they’re first released. Magic COLLECTOR Booster Boxes are usually selling around $220/box while JUMPSTART Booster Boxes come out around the $70/box price range.
For Magic: The Gathering Compilation Sets (like Modern Masters, Dominaria Remastered, etc), the prices for Booster Boxes tend to be different from the core or expansion set boosters. Normally these sets are full of high demand reprint cards and it’s well known prices are higher for these products. Prices for DRAFT Booster Boxes in this category tend to be around $200/box when released with the COLLECTOR Booster Boxes selling for closer to $270-$300/box.
Expected Values Rarely Exceed Box Prices
One of the ways to determine if the price of Magic Booster Boxes is worth it is by looking at the prices of the cards in the box. There are a few websites, forums, players and collectors that spend lots of time computing the value of the cards that come out of an average box. They call that Expected Value or “EV.”
The EV is a dollar figure. For example, the EV for the set Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is currently $105. The Draft Booster Box for this set is currently selling for $90-$100. So the expected value is a bit more than the Booster Box price. This means you’re getting a pretty good value from that box because the value inside is more than the price of the box.
- 36 Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty MTG Draft Boosters
- 15 Magic cards per booster
- Ukiyo-e Land in 33% of Draft Boosters
When a Booster Box first releases, the EV can fluctuate wildly as the market tries to figure out what the individual cards should be selling for. As single prices go up, the EV also rises. As single prices go down, so does the EV. It’s a back and forth game.
Over time, the EV starts to stabilize as the market gets a better idea of what box prices should be. Most times you’ll see EV’s lower than the box price. That doesn’t mean the set is worthless and not worthy of buying. It just means the single card values in that set are not as strong as the price of the box itself.
So Expected Value (EV) is definitely one factor to look at when it comes to figuring out if Magic Booster Boxes are worth it.
How Else Do You Value A Magic Booster Box?
You have to remember that the term “value” is subjective when it comes to Magic The Gathering. You could interpret value in different ways depending on your intent.
Some feel value is more game-based and what the cards inside the Booster Box are “worth” during gameplay. Others feel value means how much a Booster Box is worth in dollars.
Some players only care that the cards in the Booster Box are powerful and can help their deck to win a game or tournament. That is true value to that player and why they might purchase the box.
But if you talk to a collector or investor, the value could also be how much the Booster Box itself is worth now and in the future. To me, value is a combination of the two.
- 30 Phyrexia: All Will Be One Set Boosters—the best MTG boosters to open just for fun
- 12 Magic: The Gathering cards + 1 Art Card in each booster
- At least 1 Showcase Ichor card and 1 Traditional Foil card in every pack
When asking the question, are Magic Booster Boxes worth it, you have to determine which angle you’re viewing this from. From my perspective as a player/collector/investor, I want to ensure the set itself has a lot of desirable cards and that I actually like the set, the box is somewhat rare (meaning a lot of the inventory has been opened or the print run was small) and the price of the box is moving in an upward trajectory. That to me is what makes a Booster Box valuable and worth buying.
When Is Buying a Magic Booster Box NOT Worth It?
Again this is subjective but there are times when I feel buying a Magic Booster Box is not worth it. You should have your own criteria too, but I have a few ideas to share on how I figure out if it’s just not worth it.
First, I can tell you by looking at the cards in the set if I’m going to like it. For instance, I’m not a fan of the Magic Unfinity set as I think it’s a goofy gimmicky set. I won’t invest my money in that Booster Box because I just genuinely don’t like the cards. So therefore it’s not worth it to me.
My Magic days go back to 1994 and I’m a huge fan of creatures, dragons, spells and that Dungeons and Dragons type feel. When Wizards starts making sets with Anime, clowns and sparkling horses, I’m not interested and it’s not worth buying those Booster Boxes!
Also, if I see absolute tons of the product on game store shelves and online on eBay and TCGPlayer, I might steer clear for a while. To me it’s not worth shelling out big dollars for a Booster Box if I think Wizards/Hasbro dumped truckloads of the stuff onto the market.
In those cases I’d rather wait for Booster Box prices to come down a bit before investing. Again, it’s not worth it for me to buy the box now if I think prices might come down.
You might have your own criteria too, which is good. Make sure you set some ground rules on how to determine if a Magic Booster Box is worth it in your own opinion. That will save you a lot of money over time I’m sure.
- 36 Dominaria Remastered MTG Draft Boosters—the best boosters for drafting Dominaria Remastered
- 15 Magic cards per booster
- 1 Retro-Frame card of any rarity plus 1 Retro-Frame Land in every pack
- 36 March of the Machine MTG Draft Boosters—the best boosters for drafting March of the Machine
- 15 Magic: The Gathering cards per booster
- At least 1 Multiverse Legend card in every pack
- 36 The Brothers’ War MTG Draft Boosters—the best boosters for drafting The Brothers’ War
- 15 Magic cards per booster
- At least 1 Retro-Frame Artifact card in every pack
When Is Buying a Magic Booster Box a Good Idea?
Buying a Magic Booster Box is a good idea when you’ve ripped it open and had fun doing it. What’s the sense of buying a box to rip or draft if you don’t intend on enjoying it!
Buying a Magic Booster Box is a good idea if you simply really like the cards in the set and you want to put the box away as an investment. Some people (like me) really like having that unopened box on the shelf knowing there could be something really cool and valuable inside. Some people don’t understand why people collect Booster Boxes, but I do. I really enjoy it.
Buying a Magic Booster Box is a good idea if you can afford it too. I’ve never met a person who was overly thrilled about buying something they couldn’t afford. You’ll enjoy the Booster Box WAY more if you know you can afford it and you didn’t take food off the table to do so.
Buying a Magic Booster Box is a good idea if you want to get a better deal by the pack. It’s the same idea….the more you buy, the better the price. Buying by the pack can get expensive so in those cases I think if you want more cards you should buy Magic by the Booster Box. Here’s a breakdown of the average prices of packs and boxes to give you a better idea of why it’s worth it to buy Magic Booster Boxes.
|Product||Set Type||Booster Box Price||Pack Price When Buying By The Box||Avg Retail Pack Price||Per Pack $ Savings When Buying By The Box||% Savings When Buying By The Box|
|Draft Booster||Compilation Sets||$200.00||$5.56||$8.00||$2.44||31%|
|Collector Booster||Compilation Sets||$300.00||$25.00||$31.00||$6.00||20%|
Obviously buying a Booster Box is a good idea if you look back one day and it doubled or tripled in price! But you won’t know that for sure when you buy it so make sure you’re buying the box for the right reasons mentioned above.
Should You Buy Magic Booster Boxes By The Case Instead?
Sometimes it’s worth it to buy Magic Booster Boxes by the case instead of individually. Many times the box price can come down dramatically the more you buy. So in those cases it might be a good idea to purchase by the case.
Most newer Magic Booster Boxes come in 6-box cases so be prepared to spend quite a bit for a sealed case. Not everyone has the extra money or space to store Magic Booster Box cases so make sure you do the math (both money and space) before investing in a case.
I think for the average collector, buying Magic Booster Boxes by the case is not a great idea. It tends to be too large of an investment of money and space and is just not worth it. If you’re a store owner or reseller it might be a good idea, but again not worth it for the everyday player and collector.
- Officially licensed Deck Box? for Magic: The Gathering Streets of New Capenna
- Features exclusive artwork
- Holds up to 100 standard size cards double-sleeved
So Are Magic Booster Boxes Worth It? Here’s The Answer!
Absolutely! I think Magic Booster Boxes are worth it to most players and collectors and I highly encourage you to consider buying by the box too. As you’ll see from the table above, you do save nearly 30% across the board by buying Booster Boxes and that’s a huge savings.
Here’s how I would make that decision:
- Check online to view the cards in the set before buying anything. There are tons of websites that show Magic card spoilers for sets before they even hit shelves so you can see the cards. You can also check out the official Magic: The Gathering website to see the cards as well.
- Buy a pack or two from your LGS FIRST. If it’s not fun opening the packs, you might want to pass on buying an entire Booster Box. If you really liked the cards and got some screaming awesome stuff in those couple of packs, buying a Booster Box is probably worth it.
- Consider your budget. As mentioned above, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Make sure you have the funds to get a Booster Box. If not, stick with singles and packs (which is totally fine.)
- Figure out if you want a box to Draft with friends. If so, go with a Draft Booster Box. You’ll get more packs then the other boxes and you’ll still get a lot of great cards to build decks.
- Decide if you want the best, rarest, most foily ( is that even a word?) looking cards. If so, go for the Set Booster or Collector Booster Boxes. Those have the best bang for your buck when it comes to getting better cards.
There you have it. That’s how to find out if Magic Booster Boxes are worth it. If you have any questions, I would enjoy hearing from you. Check out our contact page and send me a note and I’ll be happy to reply back. Have a good one!
Brian CooperBrian Cooper is the founder of Magic Card Investor and has been in the trading card industry since the 1980's and Magic The Gathering since 1994. Since then, his mission is to bring the nostalgia and joy of collecting trading cards to everyone and to help people learn about (and maybe even profit from) this fun and rewarding pastime.
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