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Posts Tagged ‘Deck Builder’s Toolkit

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

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