Gaming, Hands-On

Unboxing Magic: The Gathering Crimson Vow Set Booster – Fun to Open?

Magic: The Gathering’s newest set, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, is available today. This set – which focuses quite a bit on vampires – continues the trading card game’s Halloween theme introduced in the previous set, Midnight Hunt.

To celebrate the launch of the new set, Wizards of the Coast (WOTC) sent us a Set Booster of Crimson Vow to check out. If you’re interested to pick it up, here’s our unboxing of the Crimson Vow Set Booster!

Unlike a normal Draft Booster, a Set Booster is meant to be more “exciting” to crack open. This booster type was introduced just last year with Zendikar Rising, and it’s proven to be quite popular among folks who just enjoy opening booster packs instead of using them for Limited play (Draft or Sealed).

So…what makes a Set Booster more exciting to open? Well, quite a number of things, actually. There is a structure to this (technically) 14-card pack. 12 of them are Magic cards, while the other two are an art card and a token/ad card.

When you first crack open a Set Booster, the first card you’ll see is an art card, followed by a very nice-looking black and white full-art basic land card for Crimson Vow. If you’re lucky enough, there is a 15% chance that this land card will be foil. Out of 16 packs that we’ve opened so far though, we only managed to get one foil land card.

Anyway, after the basic land card, the next six cards will be regular commons and uncommons with some form of “connection” to each other. Unlike Draft Boosters, you’re only guaranteed one uncommon with a Set Booster, though the other five common cards have a chance to be upgraded to uncommon rarity.

After these common and uncommon cards, the 9th card in a Set Booster pack is the “head-turning slot,” as WOTC puts it. This slot is occupied by different cards from one set to another, but for Crimson Vow, it will be a common or uncommon double-faced, hybrid mana, or showcase card – that is, it has a special frame.

The 10th and 11th slot of a Set Booster is where things can get really interesting. These two slots can be anything from common to mythic rare cards, depending on your luck. You will also get showcase cards in these slots; we got a pretty sweet-looking Runo Stromkirk in one of the packs.

Of course, the 12th slot in a Set Booster pack is a guaranteed rare or mythic rare card, which is no different than the same slot found in Draft Boosters. As for the 13th slot in the pack, it is a guaranteed foil card, and it can be of any rarity – yes, you can even get a mythic rare foil. We were fortunate enough to get a foil Cultivator Colossus in this slot!

Last but certainly not least is the 14th slot, which is usually a token/ad card. However, there is a 25% chance it will be a card from “The List” – a list of 300 interesting cards from Magic’s past. If a Set Booster pack has such a card, it can be of any rarity.

And…that is basically what a Set Booster is. Its unique structure certainly makes it interesting to crack open, especially with the increased chance of getting a rare or mythic rare card. Oh, also included in the Crimson Vow Set Booster is a Box Topper card.

A Box Topper is a single card that’s guaranteed to be a foil rare or mythic rare card with an extended-art. You can also get a Box Topper in a box of Draft Booster; two of them if you get the Collector Booster box. Basically, a Box Topper is extra incentive for players to purchase a whole booster box instead of individual packs.

While we love cracking open Magic packs, we wanted to get some “value” out of the Crimson Vow Set Booster, so we played a Winston Draft – a casual limited play for two players – with eight packs from the booster. Keep in mind that this isn’t exactly recommended, as a Set Booster is not designed for drafting; that’s what Draft Boosters are made for.

Nonetheless, even if a Set Booster is not meant for limited play, we still enjoyed building our own decks with it. There are still some fun synergies with Crimson Vow’s new mechanics such as daybound and nightbound, disturb, exploit, cleave, and of course, blood tokens that are generated by vampire cards.

All in all, Innistrad: Crimson Vow looks to be a great addition to Magic: The Gathering. If you’re keen to check out this new set, give your nearest hobby shop a visit tonight – it’s Friday Night Magic, after all.

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