The Best MTG Booster Boxes to Make Money

With so many booster boxes on the market, it takes significant work and study to determine which MTG products contain the most value. Some booster boxes will have a higher density of more expensive cards from their release date, ensuring you can break even or profit from them by reselling the complete booster box, individual booster packs, or single cards.

MTG booster boxes with official shrink wrap

Others will take some time to grow into their value, containing cards that are either unappreciated during their time in Standard, underappreciated until someone brews a new deck that utilizes them in a sanctioned format (Seasoned Dungeoneer and White Plume Adventurer, anyone?), or are in need of a card that has yet to be released to exercise their true potential.

While anyone can figure out how to make a quick buck with newly released cards in a short timeframe, it’s rare you’ll make a high profit percentage for a sustainable period of time. New cards tend to go down in value for a while as more copies are introduced to the market, and those that go up in value tend to be few and far between.

Investing in the Best MTG Booster Boxes to Make Money

The booster boxes that are best to invest in and hold long-term are often harder to isolate, but tend to be much more consistently profitable. Those that are unique or rare products are often better pickups than those that aren’t, but even products that don’t fall into these categories frequently see some gains simply by aging.

This is because Magic sets are only produced for a finite period of time. Wizards of the Coast doesn’t rerelease booster boxes once they’ve finished profiting from any print run(s) after their initial release. This means new copies of cards from older sets aren’t getting put into circulation, which makes them harder to find, especially in good condition, which raises the price.

Even if an individual card is reprinted in a future product, the original tends to hold a premium because it was the card’s first release and is considered desirable strictly for that reason. Value might go down in the short term, but as long as the card continues to have demand, it will often bounce back in price charts.

Since people have been playing Magic: the Gathering (MTG) for years, and it’s a game that has had a consistent player base for a very long time with little sign of slowing down, it’s little wonder savvy investors have been making money off of it for decades.

Ready to learn how to do the same? Awesome. But first, a quick disclaimer:

Risk of Investing in MTG

While I have made money as both a collector and investor in MTG products, my perspective is only one among many, formulated by my past experiences. You should always do your own due diligence and research when investing in sealed MTG booster boxes to assess their pros and cons, and if investing long-term, be prepared to hold them for a minimum of 5-10 years before selling.

MTG products, as with other collectibles, also exist as part of an unregulated market. Decisions made by Wizards of the Coast (WotC) can have a significant impact on market trends, card prices, and product prices, and they can make these decisions at their sole discretion. This means you can lose money due to decisions completely outside your control.

Never invest any money you aren’t prepared to lose.

Best Types Of Booster Boxes To Invest In

There are many types of booster boxes and packs across Magic: The Gathering‘s history, and the prices on many have skyrocketed in recent years. With more choices to sift through than ever before, researching what you want to buy and/or open compared to other options is a key step toward mitigating the risk and disappointment of buying a dud box with no upside.

Fortunately, there are several categories you can split your options into to determine which booster boxes have valuable cards and which are worth holding to make money down the road.

Draft Booster Boxes

These contain 36 of what many would consider the “standard” booster pack of 15 cards. Ratios of rarities have varied over the years, and a set will occasionally stray from these numbers, but the overall intention is that the cards in the packs be drafted in an 8-player pod.

In a draft, players have three packs, each opens one, takes a card, passes the rest of the pack to their neighbor, and the process continues with that pack until all cards are drafted. Rinse and repeat for packs 2 and 3.

Double Masters 2022 MTG Draft Pack
Glad I didn’t have to pass this pack of Double Masters 2022…

The fun of a draft environment can add some player interest to a draft booster box over time, especially those nostalgic for a format they haven’t gotten to play in years. Sets like Innistrad and Dominaria exemplify this, being spoken of reverently even after being out of print for years.

Set Booster Boxes

Set booster boxes contain only 30 packs instead of 36 and only 12 cards instead of 15, but they are also designed to be more fun to open thanks to a more connected theme in your commons and uncommons, a couple wildcard slots that could contain up to 2 extra rares, and a little something called The List.

The List is curated for each set, and contains cards from across Magic’s history. 1 in every 4 packs (give or take) contains a 13th card from this special list of cards in place of an advertisement or token within the pack (not counted in the 12 cards), and while some are dud commons that tie in with a set’s theme, others can be quite valuable.

These were introduced in 2020 with the Zendikar Rising set, but many players have taken to these packs over draft boosters when they feel the urge to crack a pack for that extra chance at opening a special card.

Collector Booster Boxes

Collector Booster boxes are the evolution of the Mythic Edition boxes from Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, and War of the Spark. In addition to being more expensive than regular booster boxes, several are also marketed as being rarer or harder to find while also containing unique artwork, easy access to foil cards, and even special card frames or treatments.

These unique characteristics make this type of booster box very desirable to players who appreciate the art or want to bling out their decks, especially since these types of cards either don’t show up or are considerably rarer in regular booster packs.

Throne of Eldraine was the first set to feature Collector Boosters, but it also contained extremely powerful cards like The Great Henge and showed off a world and card frame that was well received by players. All of these factors have played a role in keeping a comparatively high price for this type of booster box.

Modern Horizons 2, while being newer, contains quite a few powerful cards as well as the distinction of being a premium product with a higher inherent price point. Throw in the nostalgia of older card frames for these powerful new cards and reprints, and you have another collector box that will remain desirable for years to come.

Vintage Booster Boxes

The farther you go back in the game’s history, the higher the price of a prospective booster pack or box. For example, the Alpha starter deck and booster pack are the first Magic: The Gathering products ever made. They were first issued in 1993 with a print run of 26,000 starter decks and 70,000 booster packs.

Compared to a statistic presented by Hasbro (preserved on Imgur), Wizards of the Coast produced 117 million booster packs in 2016. Factor in over 30 years to open this much smaller supply of Alpha packs, and you now have a product that’s almost impossible to even find in the wild. The last time I even knew of a shop that could get one was in 2006.

If you are lucky enough to find one today, you’ll still need to have tens of thousands of dollars on hand to buy it for your collection.

Other old sets from the 1990s had larger print runs, and the later in the decade you go, sealed product trends toward becoming easier to find (though Alpha is hardly the only difficult set to find sealed product for, as Beta‘s print run was only about 3x the size of Alpha‘s).

Individual packs or boxes that are still easy to find from this era can still sell for thousands of dollars though, so this is not an investment area for the faint of heart.

Reserved List Booster Boxes

While everyone’s definition of a vintage booster box will vary, main set releases from Alpha to Urza’s Destiny are the only ones that contain cards from the oft-cursed Reserved List. These cards will never be reprinted in future sets, so as an increasingly scarce supply dwindles, the most powerful among them hold an increasingly high value.

The more desirable cards a specific booster box has from the Reserved List, the more its value is likely to grow over time.

Modern Booster Boxes

Modern booster boxes either refer to booster boxes released since 8th Edition (the cutoff point for the Modern format) or booster boxes released in more recent years (the oldest typically being around Return to Ravnica, the cutoff for the Pioneer format). Some might even throw this term around for sets released in the last 5ish years.

As with vintage booster boxes, older tends to mean scarcer when it comes to sealed product, but there can be more variance when it comes to discussing price (though more recent sets tend to be less expensive to buy sealed product for overall).

Magic 2013 Core Set booster box
A sealed box being older doesn’t always guarantee it is especially rare or expensive. Though to be fair, I also can’t call this box sealed.

The closer you get to the present day, the more likely you are to find more types of sealed product, a set that had an intentionally limited print run, or just a higher initial price point overall. Most modern booster boxes are easy to find, but many have already accumulated value since they went out of print, so it can be difficult to make money quickly on them.

Standard Booster Boxes

Standard-legal booster boxes, whether set or draft, tend to be accessible between $90 and $130 depending on the power of the set, whether it has been out long enough for people to get their fill, and its relevance compared to other Standard-legal sets (those released within the last 2-3 years).

While these are extremely plentiful when in print (you can easily walk down to your friendly local game store and buy one), securing the best possible price in recent years tends to require working with a distributor or waiting for a major sale on Amazon. This applies to any type of booster box, including set, draft, or Collector Boosters).

Premium Booster Boxes

Masters sets like Commander Masters and the Modern Horizons sets are prime examples of what you’ll find here due to their higher price point, desirable reprints, and sometimes even powerful new cards. While this section overlaps a bit with the discussion on Collector Boosters, don’t sleep on the draft or set booster boxes these sets bring to the table.

The release of Commander Masters delivered a great example of what to look for when scoping out a premium booster box. Box prices dipped below distributor prices on the secondary market across many major marketplaces, and despite a lot of consternation around its much higher price point from both stores and players, the set has a lot of valuable cards.

It’s not clear where the bottom is yet, but there’s a lot of potential upside depending on where the floor and the price of singles end up.

Miscellaneous Booster Boxes

Sets like the Jumpstart boxes, which offer a unique experience compared to a regular booster box, fall into the miscellaneous category. These are designed to fill a specific purpose or style of play that simply stands apart from targeting a sanctioned format or blindly cracking packs. Not all Jumpstart sets are created equal though, and we’ll discuss that more in a bit.

How To Assess The Value Of MTG Booster Boxes

There are many features of a specific booster box that can determine its current and potential value. We’ve touched on some of these already, including rarity, power level, and card styles, but analyzing how these elements come together is critical if you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck when investing in the short or long term.

Rarity Of The Booster Box

Two different variables influence the value of a sealed booster box’s rarity more than any other – age and print run.

The impact of a booster box’s age is pretty self-explanatory. New sets that are still in print have new boxes entering the market until the print run ends. After that point, as people open these sealed boxes, this set supply starts to shrink, meaning there simply aren’t as many to go around.

After enough time, you may only be able to buy a box or individual packs on the secondary market, assuming there are any to be had at all!

A set’s print run, while not being precisely calculable, naturally ties in with a set’s rarity a couple different ways. First, it takes longer to exhaust a larger supply of sealed product, but more importantly, the larger a set’s print run, the less rare the individual cards are too, which tends to lower the price of a sealed product.

Chronicles is the classic example of this problem in action, as it was an overprinted reprint set that destroyed the value of cards for years. This caused so much consternation that Wizards created the Reserve List, a selection of cards they would not reprint so they couldn’t increase the supply of certain cards, making them extremely rare decades later.

Demand For The Booster Box

Demand for a booster box can be created a few different ways. The power of the cards within a set is one of the most common ways to drive demand, either through desirable reprints or entirely new cards. Bonus points if the cards are relevant in multiple formats, such as Standard, Pioneer, Modern, Legacy and Commander, as this will help maintain long-term value.

Special art styles or card frames, such as the anime planeswalkers from War of the Spark, the Godzilla cards from Ikoria, or the retro card frames from Time Spiral Remastered can also spark player interest, as these unique cards provide opportunities for people to engage with nostalgia or other interests within Magic while also providing cool customization options for their decks.

For those who want something more than art or style, recent sets have also started introducing serialized cards – a special numbered version of a card limited from anywhere to 1 copy (The One RIng) to a few hundred copies worldwide at most. The higher the price tag of a serialized card, the more it can impact the price of a booster box until all copies are found.

Nostalgia can also bring players back who have taken a break from the game or simply excite those who fondly remember a specific plane, mechanic, and/or characters. Ravnica, Innistrad, and Dominaria-themed sets tend to thrive when Wizards revisits them, but they’re hardly the only sets to do so.

Individual Card Prices and Expected Value

I’ve touched on the importance of individual card values a couple times now, but ultimately card prices tie in with a much more relevant statistic for a booster box – expected value (EV). To calculate the expected value of a box, perform these steps:

  1. Multiply the value of a card by the odds of opening the card.
  2. Do this for all cards in the set, then add the total together to get the value of 1 booster pack.
  3. Multiply by the number of packs in the box for your booster box’s EV.

So for example, let’s say a box has a $50 mythic rare, there is a 1 in 8 chance of opening a mythic rare. and there are 15 mythic rares in the set. If all are printed equally (which is generally assumed), you have a 1/120, or 0.0083% chance of opening the $50 mythic.

Multiply 0.0083 by the value of $50, and you’ll find this single card is adding 41.67 cents to the expected value of every pack!

Note that expected value represents an average that you are more likely to reach the more booster packs you open, and that there can be substantial variance between both booster boxes and especially individual packs. That said, the higher a box’s EV is when compared to its price, the more attractive it tends to be as an investment.

If you want to dig further into calculating EV for a specific box, you can utilize resources like MTGStocks or check out the youtube video below, which does a great job of explaining a few other details you may want to consider when calculating expected value.

Condition Of The Booster Box

As with individual cards, the condition of a sealed booster box matters a lot when determining its price. If a box has been clearly been a distributor’s punching bag over the years, featuring damage to cardboard, tearing on plastic seals, or other imperfections, it just isn’t going to go for as much a pristine one of the same type that was properly stored over time.

The Cultural Aspect Of The Booster Box

While discussion of Universes Beyond products featuring franchises such as Lord of the RIngs, Fallout, and Doctor Who could have been discussed as something that impacts demand, the impact is a bit different with these crossover products.

While many MTG players will inevitably be attracted to these franchises due to overlapping interest, these products can also draw people to Magic who have never been involved with the game before – a demographic that is relatively unique to this series of releases.

This in turn can push interest beyond what a comparable “regular” MTG product is capable of over time, especially if there are restrictions on reprinting the carts featuring the third party intellectual properties in question.

Game Variants Of The Booster Box

New ways to play the game, such as the Smash Up-inspired gameplay introduced by 2020’s Jumpstart release or the interactive shenanigans of wacky sets like Unfinity tend to generate interest from the novelty alone. Throw in some chase cards, and you’ve got potential for finding some financial success given good timing and price points.

How To Make Money With MTG Booster Boxes

Now that we’ve covered the different types of booster boxes and variables that can impact their value, it’s finally time to discuss the different ways to maximize your profit with them. Whether it’s a side gig or a full-time job, these tips can help you move the needle from good profit margins to great ones.

Learn The MTG Ecosystem

Knowing the details of the game is an absolute must before you decide to make a living selling these booster boxes. While you don’t need the in-depth knowledge of a judge, you should be both familiar with and up to date on the following aspects of Magic: The Gathering:

  • Rules of how to play
  • The sanctioned formats promoted by WotC (Commander, Standard, Pioneer, etc.)
  • Top decks, strategies, and cards within sanctioned formats

This will help you not only understand why certain cards are desirable compared to others, it will also hone your instinct for what might make a good card in the future. This can be especially useful when trying to assess possible gems players haven’t discovered yet, which can impact demand for both single cards and the booster boxes they are found in.

Leagues in Magic Online, high profile tournaments, and new set releases can also change a metagame surprisingly quickly, so staying on top of new developments in the tournament scene can help you capitalize on rising interest in specific cards without missing a beat.

Buy Low And Sell High

Stonks meme

First rule of stonks, I know, but if it was easy, everyone would do it.

The best way to figure out what a good buy-in will be for a given box is to become familiar with the market trends of booster boxes overall. By doing this, you can learn how to determine what is a good discount and what isn’t, develop good baselines based on previous market behaviors, and assess how long you’ll need to hold your boxes to meet your desired profit margin.

One example of a good buying opportunity is the deep discounts on booster boxes that periodically show up on Amazon. Setting up alerts for when these go live can often net you multiple types of booster boxes at prices lower than those distributors pay.

These are generally limited to more recent sets, but that’s where a lot of people get their start, so it’s not a bad place at all to build a position. Remember, you may be holding these boxes for a few years and it is still possible for the value of what you buy to decline rather than go up, but that tends to be more the exception than the rule with these sales.

High Volume Purchases

If you’re willing and able to buy a lot of booster boxes at once, some stores might work with you a bit on the pricing, lowering the cost per box to you in exchange for getting to extract profit from a lot of boxes right away on their books.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the chance to work with a distributor directly, they’ll frequently do the same, but your cost basis will almost always be lower as you only have to worry about the distributor’s profit requirements and not those of a store buying from a distributor.

Securing a distributor connection without a store is incredibly difficult, however, and you’ll usually need to have the funds to buy hundreds or even thousands of boxes to make such a partnership worth their time as an individual entity.

Long-Term Stockpile

This has been touched on a few times, but booster boxes almost always need years to grow into their potential. You might average 5-15% growth per year, but this is an average – some years you might see negligible growth, others a sealed box might jump 30%.

Patience is almost always the name of the game if you’re investing in MTG booster boxes, but with a good 5-10 year plan, you’ll almost always be pleased with the returns.

Individual Card Values

Sometimes, the best way to make money from a booster box is to simply open all the packs and sell the individual cards.

While I would almost never recommend this approach for older booster boxes, as you are gambling heavily on opening a chase card in an environment where the odds are stacked against you, sometimes this approach works well with newer sets.

The best example of this in recent memory was the period following the release of Commander Masters. Sealed booster boxes could be found below distributor selling prices shortly after release, yet the price of most desirable single cards bounced back incredibly quickly.

Rather than take a loss on their sealed boxes, some stores simply elected to open all their inventory and sell the single cards to try and recoup their money. You can watch one store owner’s account of this below.

Search For Sealed Booster Box Deals On The Secondary Market

While product dumps on Amazon create good opportunities to buy from recent sets, there are a number of online marketplaces where you can find older, out of print booster boxes to add to your portfolio.

As before, you’re aiming to buy in as low as possible, especially since older boxes have already had some time to appreciate in value. You’ll also want to be more critical of flaws in the packaging, damage to the box, or other tampering as older boxes are a rarer commodity by nature, making them a more profitable target for counterfeiters and scammers.

That said, you can also find people who need quick cash or are simply tired of keeping their money tied up in a position, which in turn can lead to a solid deal for you.

The Best Booster Boxes To Buy For Investments

Some booster boxes are simply a better investment than others, as they can offer unique gameplay options, have a bigger chance for rare or powerful cards, have special card art and/or frames, or some combination of the above or other unique factors.

Despite this, those that are considered the best to invest in can and often will shift depending on factors such as metagames, market conditions, or individual card prices.

As a result, we’re going to focus on examples that are either historically good investments or have potential at date of publication (August 2023). Each of these will cover what they had going for or against them so you can get a better picture of what to look for when considering your own purchases.

These examples may or may not be directly relevant today, as any easy money is more likely to have already been made the further out from this post’s publication date you’re reading.

MTG sealed booster boxes

Jumpstart Booster Boxes

Note: I am speaking specifically about the yearly release line of Jumpstart, including products such as Jumpstart 2020 and Jumpstart 2022. Steer clear of any set-based Jumpstart products like those affiliated with The Brothers’ War or Dominaria United, as their power level and card selection is MUCH poorer.

Jumpstart debuted in 2020, and its release was anything but smooth due to the pandemic. What was supposed to be a readily available set that a player could grab 2 packs of, mix together, and play against a friend who had done the same became an incredibly scarce product targeted by scalpers.

Once the supply issues settled, however, people grew to really enjoy this unique take on sealed play. Factions were well balanced, there were a variety of new and/or powerful cards you could open within factions, and many people of all skill levels took to it quickly since you could just jump right into a game without spending time deckbuilding.

While I wouldn’t have recommended this set at market prices during launch (especially knowing that the short supply was not an intended feature), once the price dropped below $100 per box, it became pretty attractive as an investment.

Benefits of Jumpstart Boxes

  • Getting a ready-to-play 40-card deck is as simple as combining 2 Jumpstart booster packs
  • Jumpstart factions have precise themes, but some variety within the cards you receive from opening them
  • Ideal for introducing players to different deck builds, new themes, and unique strategies while remaining engaging for experienced players
  • New cards and art for reprints were introduced, some of which have been relevant across 1 or more supported formats

Drawbacks of Jumpstart Boxes

  • Limited availability and pandemic conditions with Jumpstart 2020 stunted initial interest in the product
  • Booster boxes became very plentiful once supply issues were sorted out

Despite the same faction packs having very similar contents, the combination of light variance with the sheer number of factions makes opening a specific chase card harder than one might guess at first glance. Even with plentiful sealed booster boxes on the market, both Jumpstart 2020 and Jumpstart 2022 also have plenty of cards worth far more than the price of a pack.

While WotC has demonstrated they’re willing to fast track reprints of popular and/or expensive cards from these sets, these booster boxes have a lot more going for them than against in the long run – so long as they remain at or under $100 a box.

Commander Legends Collector Booster Boxes

Commander Legends was a great set, chock full of legendary creatures, powerful new cards specifically designed for the Commander format such as Jeweled Lotus and Jeska’s Will, and a fun multiplayer draft experience. Despite carrying a higher price tag than normal sets, players clamored to open packs on release, including the extra expensive Collector Boosters.

These premium boosters within a premium product contain a variety of extended art and foil etched cards within their wrappers, some of which cannot be found within draft boosters, and the prize among these cards is a foil extended art Jeweled Lotus, a card that has reached prices approaching $1,000 at its peak.

While the reprints and special treatments of Commander Masters have taken some of the wind out of the Commander Legends sails, these boxes remain up from their initial release point and have demonstrated the ability to go for quite a bit more than they currently do.

Benefits of Commander Legends Collector Boxes

  • New, powerful cards targeted at the most popularly played MTG format
  • Strong individual card prices, many of which have grown since initial release
  • A fun multiplayer draft environment that brings the best of draft games and Commander games to the table
  • Higher power level and complexity than a typical Standard set

Drawbacks of Commander Legends Collector Boxes

  • Significantly higher price point, even when compared to other Collector Boxes
  • Prices have been notably impacted by sets like Commander Masters

Despite some recent volatility in the price point of sealed Collector Boxes for Commander Legends, the overall box prices remain stable and strong, so while you may not have the opportunity to buy in at the lowest price in its history, there’s evidence showcasing some good future upside despite that.

Khans of Tarkir Draft Booster Boxes

What happens when you blend fun multicolor factions, powerful new cards relevant to multiple formats, and a reprint of allied color fetchlands together? You end up with an all-star Standard set release.

Benefits of Khans of Tarkir Draft Boxes

  • Multicolor emphasis, which has been very popular in sets like Ravnica: City of Guilds and Invasion
  • Contains powerful new and reprinted cards, including allied fetchlands (some of the most desired cards for manabases), which have had an impact across multiple formats

Drawbacks of Khans of Tarkir Draft Boxes

  • These boxes have been out of print for years, and have seen significant appreciation in the last few years
  • Was released before special cards like Kaladesh Masterpieces, serialized cards, or Collector Boxes, so there aren’t any especially rare or special cards to chase.

Standard set releases generally aren’t as flashy as specialty products or Masters sets, especially once you are dealing with sets prior to Kaladesh, but Khans of Tarkir allows us to zoom out a bit from more recent releases and practically demonstrate the virtue of waiting 5+ years for a payoff.

Boxes that could originally be found around $100 now regularly sell over twice that, with the biggest growth numbers being put up in late 2020 to early 2021. A 100-150% profit margin is nothing to scoff at over a 5-6 year period, and those who saw the set’s potential, especially as WotC neglected to reprint allied fetchlands, made serious money.

Making Money With MTG Booster Boxes – Final Thoughts

Anyone can invest in sealed MTG booster boxes, but it’s important to manage the elements you can control if you want to make money. To recap, these boil down to:

  • Doing your research
  • Staying up to date on the market
  • Being vigilant about the condition and authenticity of what you’re purchasing
  • Being patient – investments in this space take time to grow

Doing these things will help you separate the truly special products from the mediocre ones and give you the best chance of making the most money.

It is also worth noting that a little luck can also go a long way – while it isn’t something you can control, it is crucial to remember that no investment is a guaranteed winner. You can learn a lot from trends and experience to mitigate risk, but sometimes a curveball (good or bad) can make big changes in your plans.

You might also lose some money as you’re starting out – nobody is going to have perfect foresight regarding every product, especially as they’re building up their knowledge and expertise. If you put in the work over a long enough time, however, you’ll use these losses as opportunities to learn and grow, avoiding such pitfalls more easily in the future.

Other MTG Articles You Might Enjoy