I’ve been opening packs of various cards since I was a kid. The trading card game (TCG) I bought cards for evolved as I got older, starting with Pokémon in elementary school, shifting to Yu-Gi-Oh! in high school, and ultimately landing on Magic: the Gathering (MTG) in college.
Booster packs were special in my younger years, as the opportunities to open them were fairly few and far between until I became a tournament-level Yu-Gi-Oh! player, but I’d often see the boxes of packs behind my local game store’s counter and wonder what it’d be like to be all but guaranteed access to rare cards by opening a whole booster box.
Thanks to my summer retail job in college, I eventually got to indulge this dream for the first time with a booster box of Tenth Edition. It was even notably less expensive than buying 36 individual packs, which while the norm, was a welcome surprise to my limited card budget.
And that box was heinous. I opened 10 rares from preconstructed decks for the set, none of the chase cards, multiple duplicates (which was weird from a 36 pack box with 121 different rares), and my foil rare was a 3rd copy of Kjeldoran Royal Guard.
As annoyed as I was by my rotten luck after the fact (buy single cards instead if you know what you need!), there was no denying that the overall experience was also fun.
Despite the awful results from my first box, I proceed to buy a booster box of each new MTG set for a few years afterward because I found it to be the most fun way to truly immerse myself into its cards and mechanics.
Being on a budget (I was still a poor college student, after all), I always looked for the best deals I could get to stretch my recreation money as far as it would go. That habit has stuck with me even after my finances improved, so today I’m sharing the best places to look for deals on your favorite MTG booster boxes, whether they be draft, set, collector, or specialty items.
Your Friendly Local Game Store (LGS)
Running a game store is difficult, thankless work much of the time. Profit margins are thin, and the last thing many LGS owners want is to have inventory collecting dust on the shelves. This can translate to good deals on MTG booster boxes or even booster cases (traditionally a box of 6 booster boxes, but this can vary based on the product line) in a few different ways.
The first possible opportunity for a good deal on a booster box is before a set’s release, when a local game store is trying to plan for how much product they need to buy from a distributor. Some LGS owners offer deals on booster boxes in order to gauge customer interest in a product, or possibly even to shore up their purchase amount to get a better price per box.
Another opportunity to snag a good deal comes at the other end of a MTG product’s timeline – when it’s been out for a while and interest in the product has disappeared. These sorts of discounts can show up at an owner’s discretion or tied in with a recurring sale period the store is known for or a more conventional holiday sale event like Black Friday.
But how would you know if a local game store was planning to discount a product, you ask? By building a relationship with the store and/or its owner and employees!
Loyal, consistent customers play a huge role in keeping local game stores in business, so finding ways to encourage that relationship is something many LGS owners dedicate time to when running their shop. Financial incentives, including loyalty programs, are a common solution that is easy to implement while also being mutually beneficial to you and the shop.
Plus, building a good relationship with the people running the shop is almost always worth more than a few bucks here or there. Comparing notes about the latest MTG news, what’s going on in each others’ lives, and the stories you exchange when conversations go in interesting directions are part of the experience when I frequent my local shops.
And that is something you can’t put a price on.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, you probably know that Wizards of the Coast (WotC) and Hasbro have expanded beyond traditional TCG distribution models and are selling sealed MTG products directly to players via Amazon, including booster boxes.
While this move has been heavily criticized by many in the MTG ecosystem, including players, collectors, LGS owners, and distributors, there’s also no denying that it has led to some of the best sales on booster boxes in recent memory.
Draft, set, and collector booster boxes have gone on sale for prices that sometimes beat those offered to conventional distributors by WotC themselves! The catch? Quality control issues have been occasionally reported, so sometimes your boxes are a little banged up or even tampered with.
I’ve never personally had this issue, but the visuals that come with these reports speak for themselves when they crop up. Amazon is usually pretty receptive to working with buyers when this happens though, so you’re usually not out of luck unless they are completely out of replacement stock.
Additionally, these flash sales/product dumps aren’t always predictable, and are frequently quite short-lived. It’s really no wonder that this is the case though. $50-60 draft and set booster boxes or $90-100 collector booster boxes are simply unmatched price points, and a great way to pick up sets from the last 3-18 months to either open or stash in a closet to appreciate in value for 5-10 years.
These sales also aren’t limited to sets and products that haven’t been well received, so it’s worth keeping an eye on prominent MTG names on social media or signing up for alerts on Amazon itself to get an early heads-up when these deals go live.
eBay has been a preferred outlet for people to sell cards for over 20 years, and the sheer selection of booster boxes you can find has always been unparalleled even when compared to most large card shops and online marketplaces. No matter the language or age of the set (barring Magic’s earliest releases), you’ll find virtually any booster box WotC has ever released.
While this accomplishment is definitely a feather in the cap of the massive e-commerce platform, eBay is often also going to have the best price on sealed booster boxes, sometimes even rivalling the prices found during Amazon’s flash sales.
You can also sometimes snag an even better deal if you get lucky during an auction, though I often prefer to look for the buy-it now options so I can move on with my day. This is especially easy to justify if I have access to an eBay Bucks promotion, which gives you 3-10% of your purchase back as credit to use on another purchase.
eBay isn’t without its flaws though, and the primary problem you’ll have to watch out for, particularly with older product, is scammers. Scams come in a few different varieties with sealed MTG products, so it’s important to thoroughly inspect what you buy once you receive it.
The first and most common scam is a seller simply not sending you the product you purchase. You can usually avoid this by looking at their feedback for a history of problems or a lack of overall account history (0-5 feedback and/or a newly created account). eBay is very buyer-oriented, so it’s unlikely you’ll lose your money, but it can get tied up for a bit which is annoying.
The second is resealing. While a more common problem with booster packs, some sellers have also tried getting away with resealing the shrink wrap or plastic outside a booster box, and some even go so far as to replicate WotC’s own packaging. Looking for tears in the plastic or feeling for oddities in the texture are your best bets to uncover this kind of tampering.
The last is misrepresentation of a sealed booster box. This typically occurs when a seller is selling a sealed booster box and takes pictures to make the box look like it’s in better condition than it is, omitting a tear in the exterior plastic or damage beneath the shrink wrap. Generally not hard to resolve with eBay if you can prove your case, but time-consuming to deal with.
None of these should be a detractor for using the platform though; Amazon can have these same issues, and I’ve only had 1 or 2 problems crop up on eBay in the last several years.
Once you spend a little time looking through listings, you’ll become accustomed to weeding out the majority of suspicious sellers with a quick glance at their profiles, other listings, and product descriptions.
Like eBay, TCGPlayer has an incredible selection of booster boxes available on their marketplace, and the pricing tends to be fairly competitive on both newer and older sealed products. They’re also very buyer focused, so if you run across a problem you cannot resolve with a seller, they’ll usually side with you in a dispute if you’ve made the effort to try and work things out, barring a compelling reason not to.
Like eBay, TCGPlayer also offers kickbacks in the form of store credit, but unlike eBay, their subscription service has recently been used to gatekeep a lot of these deals – a practice that I personally find predatory and hope to see reversed.
Fortunately, sealed product and gaming supply promotions have been more readily available to all customers than those for single cards, so you’ll usually be able to take advantage of these opportunities without shelling out $7 up front. Definitely a great way to make a good deal even better.
If you’re in search of a rarer or older booster box (think 4-5 figures of value), you may also find that sellers have unreasonable prices attached to their listing if there aren’t many for sale on the market. Don’t be discouraged by this though; it’s often a tactic used to weed out window shoppers in the hope a serious buyer will reach out to negotiate a price.
Not my preferred way to do business, but I also understand wanting to minimize risks affiliated with an expensive product in an environment that caters to buyers more often than not.
Troll and Toad
Note: Troll and Toad is only able to ship sealed MTG booster boxes released during the last 2 years within the United States, as WotC and Hasbro do not typically allow stores who receive product from them to ship sealed products out of the store’s country during this timeframe.
I’ll be honest, this was a bit of a surprise when looking at the largest US MTG stores to see whether any could hold their own in terms of price against the larger marketplaces.
I used to do a lot of business with Troll and Toad years ago, as their prices on single cards were usually excellent, and TCGPlayer wasn’t the default TCG marketplace juggernaut it is now.
As I got more invested into MTG in the 2010s, Troll and Toad’s pricing and shipping quality began to slip on single cards, and their card condition guide became a very, very loose guideline, to the point that the term “Troll and Toad near mint” was coined due to the contempt TCG players across different card games developed for this new lack of quality control.
But I’ve got to say, if you’re looking for a big box store that’s going to charge you relatively close to market rates for sealed MTG booster boxes nowadays, Troll and Toad consistently offers better prices than comparable sites like Card Kingdom, CoolStuffInc, Star City Games, and ABUGames, and it isn’t especially close, even after adding a few bucks for shipping.
Their selection of old and new MTG booster boxes is also pretty solid, so if you’re in the market for a specific set, there’s a pretty good chance Troll and Toad has it in stock. Definitely a site I’ll be adding back into my rotation when shopping for booster boxes moving forward.
Cardmarket (formerly MagicCardMarket)
Note: CardMarket is only available to those with access to European addresses, but MTG booster boxes can be shipped between European countries. For a quick reference of countries Cardmarket sellers can send to, go here.
CardMarket is the primary marketplace to buy individual MTG cards in Europe, and the same is also true of booster boxes. Prices are also comparable or even a little lower on MTG sealed product compared to the US, so you’re also getting excellent value barring prohibitive shipping costs or import fees.
As with other marketplaces like eBay and TCGPlayer, there’s an excellent selection of sets available for purchase, but the biggest draw for many n this area is likely to be the easy access to different languages of cards.
Since stores can ship European booster boxes to other countries in this region without issue (kind of like you can with states in the US), access to different languages like German, Russian, French, Spanish, and Italian is almost always at your fingertips, ensuring you can open cards in your preferred language without paying an arm and a leg for the privilege.
CardMarket also offers clear selling guidelines and does a far better job than other marketplaces of finding fair solutions and compromises with both buyers and sellers should an issue arise with an order. It’s a shame we don’t have a marketplace quite like it in the United States – my experiences when working through a middleman in Europe have been nothing short of excellent.
Note: Hareruya only ships sealed MTG booster boxes within Japan at this time.
Hareruya is the only company on this list I haven’t worked with personally, but if you’re in Japan and looking for a booster box, their reputation is nothing short of impeccable when their name comes up during conversations with those in the MTG industry.
Having looked at their site and done some quick conversion math, their prices on sealed products are also excellent (and props to them for having the yen to dollar conversion rate on all their pages). Well worth the look if you’re trying to find the lowest price on a MTG booster box without having to worry about who you’re buying from or the quality of their shipping.
I’m honestly surprised they don’t ship older booster boxes worldwide like other companies around the world – whenever WotC releases a set like War of the Spark or Strixhaven with Japanese alternate art cards, there’s a strong demand that tends to hold even years after release.
Fortunately, they ship single cards worldwide, so if you’re looking for Japanese language cards and aren’t based in Japan, definitely give them a look if you are having trouble tracking them down elsewhere.
Facebook MTG Groups
Facebook isn’t good for much anymore, but as an online marketplace, it’s still definitely worth your time. A number of dedicated buy, sell, and trade groups for MTG have cropped up in recent years, and while I primarily use them for buying individual cards, I’ll occasionally pick up some sealed products like booster boxes here as well.
That said, learning how to safely navigate the environment is critical if you want to avoid being scammed. Facebook is still a social media outlet first and foremost – it just happens to have developed a robust, if largely unregulated, marketplace along the way.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to mitigate risks and ensure smooth transactions:
- Always use Paypal’s Goods and Services option when making payments: Most sellers in MTG sales groups use Paypal as their primary method for processing payments, and it can be very tempting to try and save a few bucks by selecting the option to send funds to someone you trust. You forfeit your buyer protection by doing this though, so if someone decides not to send your booster box, you’re simply out of luck.
- Check for seller references: Whether through MTG reference groups or via reference threads in individual buy, sell, and trade groups, this can give you some insight as to whether a seller is trustworthy. While not foolproof, this will save you some grief at least 9 times out of 10.
- Respond quickly to messages: Sellers are under no obligation to hold anything they are selling for you, and most generally won’t. If you’re truly interested in purchasing a booster box from someone in a MTG sales group, paying attention to your private messages and responding quickly is not only polite, it’s also a good way to ensure you’re able to close the deal.
MTG Sick Deals and the High End group are generally my go-to Facebook groups for buying MTG singles and booster boxes, but there are also groups specifically dedicated to sealed product sales as well, so don’t be afraid to shop around!
Which Store is the Cheapest Place to Buy MTG Booster Boxes?
Honestly, this answer is going to vary from day to day and set to set. The cheapest MTG booster boxes might be found on Amazon one day, eBay the next, and then TCGPlayer or your local game store after that.
If you take a few minutes to shop around, however, you can usually save at least a few dollars per purchase of a recent set, and sometimes much more if you’re looking for a more vintage option that’s been out of print for a while. Either way, the end result is having more money left over to buy more MTG cards – a deal we can all get behind.
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Braden is a founder of Assorted Meeples and has been a gamer & writer with a vivid imagination all his life. Don’t believe us? Check out his excitement when meeting Goosebumps author R.L. Stine as a kid! An avid Magic: The Gathering spellslinger for over 15 years, you can always convince him to shuffle up for a game (or three!) of Commander.