Tangram's Blog

Magic the Gathering: Which pack to buy? Intro, Fat Pack, Booster Box, or Deck Builder?

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MTG LogoAs an older (43yo) new Magic: The Gathering player, who has only been playing for 8 weeks, it has been a steep learning curve coming up to speed with the underlying story of MTG and how the stories are represented in annual releases of card sets, and groups of card sets, called blocks. The information is out there … it just requires a lot of reading.

Having got my head around core set releases, block releases, and card rarity, the next question that occurs and that I have seen recurring on many forums is “Which pack shall I buy”.

Everyone wants to get the best possible deal for their money, and the questions arising are often:

  • “Should I buy a Fat Pack or a Booster Box?”, and
  • “Is the Intro Pack worth it”.

There is a lot of opinion thrown around, but little in the way of cold hard facts. So this post presents a cost benefit analysis of each of the types of packs availables:

Here is a direct short-link to the Google spreadsheet I put together: http://goo.gl/lFVBt
Below (hopefully) is the embedded spreadsheet.


  • The calculated cost per card for e.g. 27 Uncommon’s in a Fat Pack assumes that all you are looking to get from the Fat Pack is this type of card. This is the only way to compare the different packages to each other.
  • The 2011 Deck Builder’s Toolkit only has common’s and uncommons. Also consider that it contains 85 Fixed cards and is restricted to cards from M11ZendikarWorldwakeRise of the EldraziScars of Mirrodin and Mirrodin Besieged.

Spreadsheet conclusions:

1. If you are new to MTG and don’t know where to start, buy a couple of Intro Packs for you and your gaming partner to play with against each other. Do not mix up the cards between the packs until you have played a couple of games at least, so you can get a feel for how the packs are different to each other in the way the work. From a price perspective you get Uncommon’s at a decent price and the decks have been preconstructed to help you along your way.

2. You have now played a few games and want to add a number of cards to your collection. You might not yet be too sure as to what they all do, or why the Rare’s and Mythic Rare’s can be so useful. You also aren’t too concerned about having the latest cards. If this is you, then buy the Deck Builder’s Toolkit. It is the cheapest retail acquisition of Common’s and Uncommon’s. You also end up with more Land than you can poke a stick at.

3. So now you have moved on. You want to build your own decks with the latest cards. However it’s the first time you are doing this so you wouldn’t mind a little bling to go along with the cards like a card box with some fancy artwork, some flimsy deck boxes, and … ooooh a plastic D20 (fancifully called a spindown lifecounter or somesuch rubbish, but let’s call it what it is – a 20 sided dice). Sound like you? Then buy a Fat Pack. But be aware that it is the most expensive way to acquire cards.

3. So now you are down to cards, cards, and nothing but cards. You want Rare’s and a good shot at Mythic Rares. If you get Common’s and Uncommon’s you want them to be from the latest sets. It’s a no brainer – If you can afford Booster Boxes (A box of 36 boosters) then do it. Or split a box with a friend.

4. If you can’t afford a Booster Box, then buy individual boosters within your spending limit.

A quick recap on package types:

1. Intro Packs (60 Cards)

MTG 2012 Intro Pack Img

60 Cards: Core intro packs are a constructed, immediately playable deck of cards.

2. Booster Pack (15 Cards)
BoosterPack Img

1 Rare or Mythic (Mythics are 1 in every 8 rares)
3 Uncommon
10 Common
1 Basic Land
Also a token card (useful) or a rules card, or advertising card (useful bookmarks and game table stabilisers).

3. Fat Pack (135 Cards from Boosters + 80 land cards)

MTG Fat Pack Img

Stuff: Players Guide, Card Storage Box, 2 x cheap 60 Card Deck Boxes, D20 (e.g. New Phyrexia Fat Pack)
Cards: 9 Boosters + 80 Land =
9 Rare or Mythic, 27 Uncommon, 90 Common, 9 land + 80 land

4. Booster Box (540 Cards)

MTG Booster Box Img
36 x Boosters = 36 Rare or Mythic, 108 Uncommon, 360 Common, 36 Basic Land

5. 2011 Deck Builder’s Toolkit (285 Cards)

Although Semi-Random, the 85 fixed cards are listed here: http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Deck_Builder’s_Toolkit_2011
Contains: 100 land cards, 125 semi-random common and uncommon game cards, four 15-card booster packs from current magic sets, card storage box, and a guide containing deck building tips

4 Boosters: 4 RareMythic, 12 Uncommon, 40 Common, 4 Land
85 Fixed Cards: 75 Common, 10 Uncommon
10 Cards each from 4 “deck building strategies”: 16 Uncommon, 24 Common
+Land: 100

Total: 285 Cards
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Written by tangram11

5 October 2011 at 9:31 pm

Oxygen RC6 has a video bug / Zeam development discontinued.

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As noted in XDA developers, Oxygen RC6 has a video bug that AdamG cannot resolve until the Google Android team release an update to the core Nexus code. Something to check back on in a few weeks then.

Also it looks like the Zeam launcher dev, cloakt, has ceased developing Zeam. Wonder what that means for the future launcher to be included in Oxygen? http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=10491215&postcount=1135

Written by tangram11

14 January 2011 at 10:32 am

Oxygen MOD

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Have been using OpenDesire MOD for a couple of weeks and generally like it, but time to upgrade to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). To do that, I have chosen Oxygen by AdamG who also did OpenDesire.  It is pretty lean and uses the Zeam launcher instead of ADW … I’ll see if that’s more stable than ADW.

Loading Oxygen was pretty straitforward, so the first step is to figure out how to get Oxygen to use my Ext3 partition properly.  It does not seem to be aware of it and is trying load all apps to the limited phone memory … oops down to 6MB free – that is very unhealthy.

Okay, looks like life is not so straitforward with Oxygen. Adam has managed to figure out how to do away with Ext3 but some more hoops are required to be jumped through. Install order  according to this post (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=882758) is:

  1. Root your phone – done that.
  2. Install a custom “recovery” module – done that, installed Clockwork.
  3. S-Off the phone – ok, this is new. Follow the S-Off steps from the Oxygen FAQ link (above) and then look at this thread http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=805811 PLUS read the comments which have some extra tips that might make it easier for Windows users.
  4. Setup Fastboot and ADB – Instructions from the FAQ are a little out of order and it looks like installation of the SDK will be required.
  5. Now load the Oxygen HBoot – wtf … have no idea what this is and looks like it is making a serious commitment to Oxygen, but the page at http://alpharev.nl/ has other HBoot files that look like you can use if all does not go well with Oxygen.
  6. Do a full backup of the SD card, then reformat it to FAT32. Keep reading FAQ instructions.
  7. Check to see if you need new Radio code
  8. Now you finally get to Download and Install Oxygen.

Ok, that’s looking more complicated than Download ROM … Flash Rom … Restore applications.

Time to boot back into recovery and do a nandroid restore.


Written by tangram11

14 January 2011 at 8:56 am

HTC Desire – Battery Recalibration

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Whether you have bought a new HTC Desire, or have just done an upgrade to Froyo (Android 2.2), your phone battery may need recalibrating to ensure you get good use out of it.

After following these instructions, I was able to get at least 3 hours extra time out of my battery, with average use.

The steps below appear convoluted, but follow them slowly – it is really quite simple and will take you about 15 mins or less if your phone is close to a full charge.

1. Connect phone to the charger with the phone powered on and let the phone to charge until the notification LED is green.

2. Disconnect the phone from the charger, and power it off.

3. Reconnect the phone to the charger with the phone powered off, and allow the phone to charge until the notification LED is green.

4. Disconnect the phone from the charger and power it on. Once the phone is powered completely on, power it off again and reconnect it to the charger until the notification LED is green.

5. Disconnect the phone, power it on, and use it.

(via Level X who got it from XDA Developers)

That’s it! Hope this worked for you.



Written by tangram11

5 November 2010 at 1:07 pm

Telstra HTC Desire – Upgrade to Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system

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Upgrading your phone operating system = better performance and improvements

Have you upgraded your HTC Desire operating system yet? If not, you will most likely be using version 2.1 of Android (Eclair) and there is a newer version 2.2 now available (Frozen Yoghurt aka Froyo).

If you want to upgrade, and you should, follow these instructions. Note that the whole process takes about 20 mins and will not destroy your data or applications.

  1. Make sure your phone is fully charged.
  2. Make sure you are disconnected from Telstra 3G access, and connected to a wireless connection. If you do not understand what this means, either discuss with your friendly techy friend or follow the alternate instructions below and visit a Telstra Shop.
  3. Click the Menu button on the front of the phone.
  4. Then select Settings, then scroll all the way down and click on About Phone.
  5. Then click on System Software Updates, then click Check Now button.
  6. Follow this instructions from there.

If you can get through all that, well done. If you can’t, you could go to a Telstra shop and ask them to do it for you, but confirm with them that they WILL NOT use your data allowance to do this. The process sucks down about 100 meg of data and could incur high charges if you are using Telstra data and near your limit.

Good Luck,

Written by tangram11

5 November 2010 at 12:53 pm

Posted in HTC Desire

How to buy a plasma / LCD TV

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1. Choose the largest size you think you can reasonably put in your room. Anything less and you will have buyers remorse within a few months.

2. Decide Plasma or LCD. Rule -> If it’s going to be in a room with lots of bright sunlight, get an LCD. If it’s going to be in a room mostly for evening watching, and that is a bit shady during the day, get a Plasma. Any other arguments of Plasma vs LCD are bullshit.

3. Decide your mandatory extra features e.g. Has a hdd so can pause/record TV (Some LG’s I think have this), is 3D, can play movies directly from a USB stick, has Internet capabilities.

3. For Australians: Keep the JB Hi-Fi/Harvey Norman/Clive Peeters catalogs for a few weeks to see how price vs size are trending. You have picked your size, so you can focus specifically on models that match your size.

4. If you haven’t bought already, and can hold off, there will be a 10-20% price drop in Feb/March. There always is.


Written by tangram11

6 October 2010 at 11:50 pm

Posted in TV

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