Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary Edition – SHOULD YOU BUY OR PASS?

Brian Cooper  By Brian Cooper | Updated on December 19, 2023

Magic 30th Anniversary Edition Buy or Pass

Magic 30th Pack

You’ve heard the phrase GO BIG OR GO HOME and Wizards of the Coast is deciding to go BIG for their upcoming 30th Anniversary. Set to go on sale on November 28th, WotC announced today that they’ll be releasing a special limited edition Magic: The Gathering 30th Anniversary Edition set and the price will blow your socks off (and your wallet too!)

Priced at $999, the Magic 30th Edition box will contain 4-packs (yes, you read that right….FOUR packs) of 15 cards each that will be special in many different ways that we’ll go into below. No this is not a misprint. The boxes will have FOUR packs….that’s it!

There are no plans for cheaper 36-pack Draft Booster Boxes, no 18 or 30 pack Set Booster boxes and no individual packs for sale either. There will be no 30th Edition complete sets offered and the only way to buy these 4-pack boxes is through the online sale that will occur on November 28, 2022 on their Magic 30th Edition Webpage. GET READY!

About the MTG 30th Anniversary Edition Set

Each 15-card pack will contain 13 “modern framed” cards including 1 rare, 3 uncommons, 7 commons, and 2 basic lands. The pack also contains 1 “retro framed” basic land, 1 additional retro framed card (could be any rarity) and finally a token card. From what we’re told, the RETRO framed cards will look similar to the ones found in packs of Time Spiral Remastered so that to me is a good thing. And yes, there is a possibility of pulling more than one rare card per pack, depending on what that additional retro framed card ends up being. Could there be a double Black Lotus pack?  Yep!!

Magic 30th Anniversary Mox SapphireWhat I like about the 30th Anniversary Edition is that WotC is basing the design off of the Limited Edition Beta set from 1993, with a few distinct differences of course. These cards will not only have really cool looking anniversary backs with gold borders but will have modern looking corners, a cleaner look with improved art, 30th Edition lettering on the card front, and did I mention the really cool card backs with the Black Lotus? WOW!

The set will include most of the cards from the early Beta release minus a few that WotC deemed were not fitting to this new set. The 6-cards not included are Contract from Below, Darkpact, Demonic Attorney, Earthbind, Weakness and Crusade. No real specific reason was provided for not including these so I’m sure WotC will release more information soon on their decision to exclude these cards.

What I Like About The Magic 30th Anniversary Edition

Let’s start first with the things I really like about the upcoming Magic 30th Edition cards. 

  1. I’M A FAN OF THE CARD DESIGN – I really like the card backs and the way they designed it with the Black Lotus, one of the most iconic Magic cards ever made. In a way, if you don’t pull a Black Lotus, you’ll see one on EVERY card! I was a huge fan of the Retro framed cards in Time Spiral Remastered so I’m looking forward to seeing this new edition with that old vintage framing.
  2. I LOVE THE IDEA OF “RECAPTURING THE MAGIC OF THE EARLY YEARS” – Although I was around in 1994 during the early years of Magic and was able to rip open packs of Revised and Antiquities, I missed the Alpha and Beta releases by about 6-months. This is a great way to open a pack and see all of those original BETA looking, black bordered cards and experience the excitement so many players enjoyed back in 1993. And knowing the POWER 9 cards are ALL in this new edition, you’ll be able to say one day (if you’re lucky enough) that you pulled a MOX or ANCESTRAL RECALL out of pack! Most of us will never again have the feeling of opening a pack and pulling a MOX or Black Lotus or any Power 9 and this could be your last opportunity.
  3. THE INVESTMENT POTENTIAL – I do not know yet how many of these 4-pack boxes will be made, but considering the high price and WotC coming out and specifically saying that they “wanted a collectible, commemorative, jaw-dropping, mind-blowing thing that would cement itself in our collective memories”, I’m thinking this will be extremely limited. We have yet to know specifics about how to buy them and how tough it will be on November 28th to purchase one, but knowing everything I’ve read so far, everything leads me to believe this will be a super hot, super limited set and that will ultimately lead to price appreciation over time. Look at the Collectors Edition and International Edition sets that were limited to under 10,000 sets a piece and look at those prices. All signs point to this being the same IF NOT BETTER. The investment potential, if you can get a box at the initial price, is HIGH. Time will tell if this eventually becomes one of the best MTG sets of all time so we’ll have to see what happens long term. 

What I DON’T Like About The Magic 30th Anniversary Edition

So with everything there’s a good side and a bad side.  Here is my initial reaction on some of the negative things that could come from the 30th Edition set.

Magic 30th Edition Singles

  1. THE PRICE – MY GOD THE PRICE! – The price point is insanely high for the Magic 30th Anniversary Edition Box. My bet is most people are not going to be able to afford nearly $1,000 (plus tax/shipping) for 4-packs of cards. I think many of us would take a significant amount of verbal lashings from our significant others for the mere thought of spending this amount of money on 4-packs of cards. So why the price, why nearly $1,000? At some point you have to decide as a company that there is a fine line between being greedy and leaving money on the table. Too low a price means scalpers would take advantage and buy these to flip on the secondary market to make thousands. My guess is the company wanted to put something out that was insanely rare and thus insanely expensive so they decided to raise the price, cut out the scalpers (most of them at least) and make this the ULTIMATE special Magic product. Not everyone can afford diamonds I guess.
  2. “THEY’RE MESSING WITH THE RESERVED LIST!” – I’m sure the arguments are already starting that WotC is messing withMagic 30th Pack the Reserved List by releasing this set. I can hear the backlash already.  “If they can reprint the Power 9, what’s stopping them from reprinting everything on the Reserved List?” I think we have to keep things in perspective and understand that WotC is not looking to abolish the Reserved List by putting out this set. I know some will try to make this argument and that might create an uproar, but I think WotC knows what they’re doing and this set is just something super limited and special that should not in any way affect values of the vintage cards or the idea behind maintaining the Reserved List.
  3. A LOT OF PLAYERS AND COLLECTORS WILL BE EXCLUDED – This goes hand in hand with the price argument. I just feel bad for all of those people that played and collected Magic back in the early 1990’s who might not be able to afford this high price point. I wish everyone like me who has played and enjoyed the game for just about all of these 30 years could partake in the celebration of this limited set.

    In the end there’s really no way to make everyone happy and I feel bad about that. I’m often told that I can’t make everyone happy, but I still try to do so. I just wish WotC could have made something else that all of us could enjoy…and afford. I know I’ll definitely try my hardest to purchase one, but it’s still going to be a hard sell to my wife to allow me to shell out a thousand bucks for (4) packs. I’m probably going to try the “hey, it’ll be my Christmas Present” idea and see if that works. Wish me luck.

MTG 30th Anniversary Edition

Final Thoughts

I’m EXCITED for the set and I’m really hoping I get lucky on November 28th and I’m able to (1) afford it and (2) actually get one in my online cart and check out in time before it sells out. I really think you have to look at it this way…’re paying $999 for 60-cards which makes your average cost per card just under $17.

It’s a humongous gamble and if you hit a big Power 9 card, I think that one card alone could pay for a big chunk of the cost. But at $17, it’s not that bad a price point for what we’re expecting to be a very limited set.

Magic 30th Volcanic IslandAs mentioned in my Black Lotus post, the Collector’s Edition Black Lotus (of which there are only about 9,000 printed) is going for a minimum of $3,000 lately. Do I think you’ll see the same sort of price for the Magic 30th Anniversary Edition Black Lotus with the MODERN Framing?  Probably pretty darn close. BUT, if you snag the RETRO framed Black Lotus, I’ll bet it’s WAY more.

We’ll have to wait and see if they release print runs to see how many of each of these are actually out there. The bottom line, you could hit it BIG if you nail one or more Power 9 cards in these boxes.

My recommendation is this. If you can afford it, go for it. And although the temptation will be there to rip the packs open, you should consider holding the sealed box at least for a little while. 

As people tear into the packs, the prices of singles will be insane for a while and that will drive box prices up.  And if you’re ripping packs, make sure you protect these 30th cards with the best MTG sleeves you can buy as these will be very expensive cards for sure. Let others rip packs open and sit back and wait for the sealed box prices to go through the roof (which they will.) If you have the willpower, holding a sealed box is probably a great long term investment. That’s my 2-cents. 

Check out a complete list with images of all of the Magic 30th Anniversary Edition Cards HERE.

As always, if you have any questions or would like some more advice about Magic: The Gathering, I’m here to help. Just hit me up on the contact page or over at Twitter or Instagram. Best of luck and if you haven’t already, start investing in Magic (and other TCG’s) today!

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Brian Cooper has been a part of the trading card scene since the 1980s and is the driving force behind MAGIC CARD INVESTOR. His mission is to help bring back the fun and nostalgia of collecting Magic: The Gathering cards and other Trading Card games to everyone young and old.

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