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By: CheshirePlaysGames, Albert Caynes
Dec 18 2019 1:00pm
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Wizards finally revealed the full set of the Mystery Booster product that was available for sealed and draft at MagicFest Richmond, but is the set just a hype machine gone awry, or is the product much deeper than a glorified "Trash Masters" set? A number of angry Magic whingers, I mean AHEM, players, took to Twitter over the weekend to voice their disgust, AHEM, I mean concerns at a Mystery Booster product that seemed to have very little in the way of actual value for the "general player" Well, sourpuss, do I have some news for you. This product isn't for you if you think it's trash or you think it's chaff or if you want to voice your tired old nonsense about how this is overpriced GARBAGE. Because one person's trash, is very much another person's treasure.
Firstly we need to work out whom exactly this set is aimed at and what does this set bring to the table. It's fun, you know, that thing you forgot all about with your stuffy corporate job and your complete focus on capitalism above all else. There was a time when you didn't care about money, you saw the value of friends and belongings in other ways such as having ACTUAL FUN. This product looks like the actual booster fun we were promised with Eldraine.


But first up, what's in this set for COMMANDER players?
Mana Crypt, Carpet of Flowers, Curse of Opulence, Carpet of Flowers, Demonic Tutor, Rhystic Study, Mana Crypt, Herald's Horn, Expropriate, Selvala, Heart of the Wilds, Sorin Markov just to name a few. But even with this sort of selection, do we really expect players to dish out $25-30 for a draft with a large pool of 1,694 reprints from all throughout the game's history and a low EV? Well yes, why do you think I keep yammering on about having fun. This product screams to be made into a cube (sort of, I mean with way less power) and re-drafted, what with the Playtest cards in every CONVENTION booster. Yeah well you heard me right, let's discuss the difference between a convention booster and the retail product.


If you decide to visit a MagicFest (and select other conventions) then you can draft Mystery Boosters Convention edition. This is a pool of 1,694 regular cards and 121 special "test cards". These special cards in the Convention Edition are R&D play test cards, or rather they are cards made specifically to this product ONLY and in future years will end up being fairly rare. And there is the first issue we see with this product as rare is good but available only at specific conventions, not so much. You see, some of those "test cards" are already demanding upwards of $20 and that's just plain scary considering this is the ONLY time you will apparently be able to get your grubby little mitts on them at all.
On the other hand, the WPN Mystery Boosters WILL NOT HAVE the "test cards", instead they will be replaced with "an exciting foil card from a pool of 121 cards not in the set". Sorry Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow lovers, we get left out in the cold. This is still a cool sounding product and might raise the EV of the boosters at retail, but that there creates a problem straight away. Not including any foils in the Convention Edition is a pretty oddball move for a company wanting to make everything super shiny and get the collectors to throw cash at products. Speaking of things not included...


Misty Rainforest
Hey, fetchlands? WHERE THE ARE THE FETCHLANDS? This would have been an amazing place to put those much needed reprints of fetchlands, sadly this isn't the case. You see, one of the biggest problems with ANY product Wizards brings out, there is always the question of reprints and especially money reprints because it raises the expected value of packs and means you may draft and snag a card that's worth MORE than the booster instead of far less. This is why Masters drafts were so good, because not only did you get something old and something new, you got the chance at hitting uncommons you might not have and maybe one or two money cards. And while there is a case to be made that MASTERS sets are just that, a masters set for MASTERS, this isn't that... Chief.


Not. Every. Product. Is. For. Every. Player.
(pic=Sakashima, the Imposter)
And that's okay, that's fine because you can't please every person 100% of the time, that's just not possible. Unless you're a futuristic sex robot, I guess. Uhhhhh.....yeah okay, moving on. Look, this product has a few pros to it, old boosters are drying up and so are old opened cards. It's hard to get fresh OLD boosters to do a chaos draft because there is only SO MANY boosters in the wild anyway, Urza's block is almost impossible to get at a good price for this very reason, and that's where Mystery Boosters come in to the equation.
You hate it? Fine! Don't buy it and stop yucking my yum. You love it? Awesome, let's draft! I think those who are angry don't really have a leg to stand on with this one, the product just isn't for you. Move on and let us enjoy this thing.
HOWEVER, lets go back to the cost and exactly how these events are being run at conventions. Poorly. I know right, it was all so very positive and then BOOM! Right in the kisser. MagicFest Brisbane was flowing really well, there were multiple flights to play on the Friday, however they forgot to mention that these events are all run exclusively as SINGLE ELIMINATION. Step back for a second, so this “player experience” at FORTY DOLLARS and exclusive to conventions is single elimination? That means you maybe get 2 hours out of that $40 (AUD) and boy howdy I can mention some far more entertaining things I can get up to for forty dollars. Like 2x Eldraine drafts at a MagicFest, almost 3 EDH constructed events, almost 3 of ANY constructed event and so much more.
Now I'm cool with the cost, but not for single elimination. But why have I only mentioned Friday and why am I so mad? Well, Saturday sold out by 9am and Sunday by 9:30am. You see, players were entering with the sealed product and dropping straight away, then signing up and doing it again as a booth there was buying the boosters at $20 a pop, so you would make $60 for your $40 PLAYER EXPERIENCE draft and not actually drafting at all. Totally above board, according to Channel Fireball, totally fine. CFB actually didn't know this was happening somehow, they had ZERO WAY to track who was signing up to prevent players from doing this and as such, the maximum 20 flights per day were sold out before people really hit the convention itself.
This ISN'T a good player experience, this is a feeling of being robbed. The other issue that cropped up in our pod was that we had one player who was rare drafting every single money card and R&D card, he was scanning every card with an app as he got passed draft pools, the judges didn't notice and didn't really care. As much as I can't usually blast rare drafting, with this set it is VERY different as the R&D cards are pivotal to the “player experience”. Instead of players walking away making new memories of an awesome new product, instead they walked away angry, confused and depressed due to not being able to try out this set in its current form.
Also I want to drop a reminder about the above mention of EV, this set EV is ridiculously tiny due to the massive amount of non money cards in this set. You will RARELY if at all make your money back, because this is supposed to be a “player Experience” and not a rare drafters dream haul set. You know what? Actually I'm angry. I'm angry that this was run poorly, I'm angry that I only got a single draft in and I'm angry that the experience was so poor that I just don't care at all about this product now.
Wizards, CFB needs to do better. MAKE ME WANT THIS PRODUCT, but make sure your third party makes it a fair game for all instead of letting them allow people to cheat the system.

that's it from me today, I hope you all get a chance to draft this set before the store version in March, it IS a lot of fun - Chesh