One of the most important things that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has done in its decades as king of the trading card game market is realize that players and collectors value rare cards. And what they have done with the MTG Box Topper is provide everyone a shot at getting a rare and sometimes valuable card with the purchase of a specific Booster Box.
The Box Topper has not only driven sales up for WotC, but it has revitalized the industry over the last few years and made people want to buy Booster Boxes. WotC’s head-first jump into ‘manufacturing rarity’ in the form of Mythic Rare Cards, Promos, Foil cards and Box Toppers has been a main factor for the amazing numbers WotC has put up recently. But rarity has a price.
Let’s talk about Box Toppers, where they came from, which Magic products have them and why I think Wizards of the Coast needs to keep putting them in booster boxes.
Let’s do this!
What is a MTG Box Topper?
If you’re new to the game you might think a box topper is something WotC puts on top of the box. But in reality, a Box Topper is a special pack, normally containing 1-card, that WotC inserts into specific booster boxes. This pack is normally laying on top of the rest of the packs in the box, thus the name “box topper.”
The cards inside Box Topper packs are normally unique in that they’re either not found in the regular set or in regular booster packs. They might also have something different about them that makes them look different from the regular set cards. That could be special foiling treatment, a specific border style or frame (like an extended art card) or alternative art work all together.
Why are Box Toppers Not For Resale?
Some Box Toppers indicate “Sealed Product Not For Resale” as they are meant to be free promotional items that are meant to drive booster box sales at Local Game Stores. That specific verbiage was meant to stop game stores and retailers from breaking open boxes just to pull the Box Topper pack to resell it.
Manufacturers will often label products in this way because they are either meant to be included with the box being purchased and not pulled out to be sold on their own. However, this doesn’t prevent anyone from selling those packs individually after they pull them from boxes and it’s obviously not against the laws or terms of service on the WotC side.
How Many Cards are in a Box Topper Pack?
Box Topper packs contain 1-card.
When Did WotC Start Putting Box Toppers inside Booster Boxes?
Back in 2003, WotC decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Magic by including one reprint card that had never been reprinted before as part of the set. These cards were also printed in oversized versions and included as box toppers in Eighth Edition booster boxes.
These Eighth Edition Box Toppers were the very first ones WotC ever printed and inserted into boxes. Each card was not only oversized but had a unique card back (not a normal Magic card back) with artwork of the original set it was reprinted from. See images below of the front and backs of some of these very first Magic Box Toppers.
What are Oversized Box Toppers?
The very first Box Toppers that WotC included in booster boxes was back in 2003 in the 8th Edition. These box toppers were also OVERSIZED meaning they were larger than normal Magic Cards.
The Eighth Edition Oversized Box Topper cards measure approximately 4″ x 6″ (11 cm x 15 cm) and are considerably larger than normal Magic cards (which measure approximately 2.5” x 3.5” or 6.35 cm x 8.89 cm.)
Two years later in 2005, WotC released the Ninth Edition which also included oversized box toppers. These cards measured exactly the same as those included in the Eighth Edition (4” x 6”.)
WotC has released oversized Magic cards throughout their history with many of those measuring approximately 6” x 9”. However, the oversized box toppers were made smaller so they would fit inside the booster boxes, which generally are about 5” x 8” in size.
What is a Region-Specific Box Topper?
First seen in 2022 in the Magic: The Gathering Streets of New Capenna Draft Booster Box | 36 Packs + 1 Box Topper (541 Magic Cards), a Region-Specific Box Topper is one where the card is the same foil card but the artwork is unique and based on the region of the world where you live and/or purchase the box.
In this case, WotC came up with one Box Topper card called “Gala Greeters” and they made 12-different versions of the card for different areas of the world.
According to WotC, “the art and language of the card will match the language of the display purchased.” So if you purchase a Streets of Capenna Set Booster Box in Japan, the artwork will be unique to that region and the language on the card will be in Japanese. See images below.
What are EXPEDITION Box Toppers?
In September of 2020, MTG Zendikar Rising was released and all booster boxes from that set (Draft, Set and Collector) included Box Topper packs.
Inside each box topper pack was 1 of 30 of the most powerful lands from the history of Magic, 10 of which were the very popular Fetch Lands. These 30-cards were labeled “Expeditions” by collectors and players alike and they continue to be highly sought after.
Each Draft or Set Booster Box contains (1) Expedition Box Topper pack. Collector Booster boxes contain (2) Expedition Box Toppers. All of the Expedition land cards found in the Box Toppers were non-foil versions. (Note: The only way to find foil Expeditions was in Collector Booster boxes and packs.)
Are All Box Topper Cards Foil?
Most times WotC will spice up the Box Topper and make it a special unique foil edition card. However Box Toppers are not always foil cards and can sometimes be non-Foil.
For example, the Zendikar Rising Expedite Box Topper cards were all non-foil cards that had a smooth glossy treatment on parts of the card’s frame instead of foiling.
How To Tell If A Pack Is A Box Topper?
The box topper pack will look different than all other packs in the box so you’ll definitely know it when you see it.
Most packs will indicate “Box Topper” on the front and some also contain the verbiage “Sealed Product Not For Resale.” Others will be in clear cellophane wrapping so you can see the card inside the wrapper.
Most of these Box Topper packs are loosely placed inside boxes so they tend to move around a bit. Sometimes you’ll find that they slid down between the regular booster packs so you might have to search for them. But, it’s very clear they are Box Toppers from the label on the outside of the wrapper.
Are Box Topper Packs Searchable?
A majority of the box topper packs are wrapped in the normal foil wrappers (like booster packs) and are not searchable. The box toppers from Streets of New Capenna are in clear cellophane wrapping so you will see the card you’re getting. But in that case, everyone gets the same box topper card so it’s not a big deal.
However, back in 2018 when Ultimate Masters was released, there were cases of Box Topper packs being searched which caused an uproar in the Magic community. The wrapping of the box topper was found to be translucent so anyone with a good eye was able to search the packs and determine the card that was inside.
That being said, word got out that Ultimate Masters Box Toppers were searchable and everyone became very leary about buying them separately on the secondary market. To this day I still caution players and collectors to only buy the box topper cards as singles since you cannot guarantee the packs were searched. Unless you purchase a sealed Ultimate Masters Booster box, there’s no way to prove someone didn’t already search the box topper pack.
Which MTG Booster Box Products Have Box Toppers?
The basic answer is WotC makes that decision each time a new set comes out. But in general, box toppers are normally included in Draft, Set or Collector Booster Boxes only.
There are some sets where you find box toppers in just Draft Booster Boxes and in other sets you’ll only find them in Set and Collector Booster Boxes. The graphic provided below will tell you more about where to find them for each set since 2003.
Which MTG Sets Have Box Toppers?
I see many questions about MTG Box Toppers online, many asking which set has them and which does not. I often hear “Does Double Masters 2022 Have Box Toppers” or “Does Ultimate Masters Have a Box Topper” so I thought I would list them out here.
Check out the graphic below as I listed all of the sets that currently have Box Toppers and some information about each one. As time goes on, I’ll update the graphic but this is current as of the end of 2022.
What’s the Difference Between Buy-a-Box Promos and Box Toppers?
In an effort to promote Magic booster box sales and get more people into local game stores, WotC decided to come up with some promotions that would help accomplish both of those things. What they came up with was the Buy-a-Box Promos and Box Toppers. However, there is a distinct difference between the two.
Buy-a-Box Promos were mainly used to drive collectors and players into local game stores. They were unique cards not found in regular packs and were provided to game store owners to hand out to buyers as a freebie for purchasing booster boxes. The program was designed to increase box sales for the game stores and it has been quite successful over the years.
Box Toppers were also designed to promote booster box sales and WotC accomplished this by including them as separate packs inside booster boxes. Although the company doesn’t release sales figures for sets including Box Toppers, they continue to use this promotional idea on newer sets so it must be working.
How Many Box Toppers Can You Get in a Magic Booster Box?
Although most Set and Draft Booster Boxes only contain ONE Box Topper, WotC has included TWO Box Toppers inside of the more expensive Collector Booster Boxes.
Remember that not every set that comes out will have a Box Topper promotion. Keep checking back here and on the Wizards of the Coast website for updates as new sets are released.
How Much Are Magic Box Toppers Worth?
Secondary market values of Box Toppers vary based on the set, the print run (which is normally not provided by the company) and popularity of not only the regular set but the cards included in the Box Topper.
The more limited sets like the Unfinity and Ultimate Masters sets tend to have higher priced box toppers ($50-100 each) while lower end sets like Innistrad: Crimson Vow and Dominaria United are much lower (around $5 each.)
What is the Best Magic Box Topper?
Wow this is a tough question. There are so many ways to go with this one.
When it comes to the BEST MTG Box Topper I’m going to go with the most popular one from the best set that is potentially worth the most. And that is the ULTIMATE MASTERS Box Topper.
Ultimate Masters Booster Box prices are currently over $400 and this is helping drive the price up on the box topper packs. I’ve seen Ultimate Masters Box Topper packs selling for $100 and over with no problem online and it’s easily one of the most sought after promotional packs.
As mentioned above, the Ultimate Masters Box Topper packs can be searched so be careful when buying them. But I have to say, the 40-cards included in the box topper ‘set’ are great cards and at least 5-6 of them can sell for over $100 a piece. The [mtg_card]Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth[/mtg_card] Legendary Land card in this set is close to $200 by itself so the set is loaded.
My runner up for Best MTG Box Topper pack has a lower value but I love the cards and that is the ZENDIKAR RISING Expedition Box Toppers.
I talked about the Expedition Box Toppers before and I’m a huge fan of the Expeditions and the Fetch Lands. I’m a sucker for crazy cool Land cards and these are definitely some of the coolest ones out there. The Scalding Tarn is super popular and sells for $30-40 with a handful of other Expeditions bringing $15-25 a piece. It’s a great set.
Should You Keep Box Toppers Sealed or Open Them?
Some MTG box toppers are very inexpensive and some are worth quite a bit so opening them or keeping them sealed is personal preference. There’s reasons for both to be honest.
If you are searching for a specific box topper card and the packs are of the expensive variety, I always recommend just buying the card. If you buy a $100 Ultimate Masters box topper pack gambling that you’re going to pull the [mtg_card]Cavern of Souls[/mtg_card] Borderless Foil (worth $200), odds are you’ll not find the card since there are 40 different box toppers in that set.
However, if you’re just into ripping packs and you find the cheaper box toppers for a good price ($5 range) AND you like the cards in the set, then by all means open them up and have some fun. As long as the packs fall in your budget and you like the cards, there’s absolutely no harm in treating yourself to a few Magic: The Gathering lottery packs!
Also, there’s something to be said about collecting sealed Box Topper packs. I don’t know many people who do that but I’m sure there are some. There are lots of people who collect sealed booster boxes and others who collect a sealed pack from every single new set that comes out. Collecting all of the box topper packs actually sounds like a fun idea so give it a try as it would be pretty unique.
Will the Dominaria Remastered Set Being Released in 2023 Have Box Toppers?
As of the writing of this post, I am being told that Dominaria Remastered will NOT have box topper packs in any of the booster boxes.
Will Phyrexia: All Will Be One Coming Out In 2023 Have Box Toppers?
As of the writing of this post, everything I’m showing indicates Phyrexia: All Will Be One will NOT have box topper packs in any of the booster boxes.
More Box Topper Q&A Coming Soon!
Well that was fun! I hope you learned a lot about MTG Box Toppers as I know I learned a lot myself as I researched them more. If you have any questions or if there’s something I missed above that you would like me to research, please send me a message and I’ll get back to you and maybe even post an update right here.
Have a great day everyone and keep collecting Magic!
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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