Booster Packs – What are they good for?

The worst part of a CCG/TCG (what exactly is the difference?) is the way they sell the cards. I guess it’s a good business model, but random cards at different rarities is really the worst consumer model for the super casual player. I’ve complained before about the amount of booster draft chaff in every pack, but even lamer than that is the dud rare. I mean you only get one per pack, so it ought to be guaranteed to be at least decent. I keep swearing off booster packs, but it’s really the only way to satisfy my ‘I want some new cards now’ urge. After my most recent experience, though, I am really starting to get serious.

In the last week or so, I picked up 8 booster packs. I had thought to do a little draft, but it was never convenient and in reality, my kids aren’t good enough at valuing cards to make it a meaningful experience yet, so I just ended up opening them. The results were quite disappointing.

Here are the rares I got (the uncommons and commons were nothing to write home about either):

Sutured Ghoul – It must have been an omen when this was the first card I opened. I can pick this RARE up for $0.19! To add insult to injury, I got another one in a later pack. Plus, I already had one from the Judgment set. Have I mentioned that the main reason I even buy booster packs is to pick up rares I wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford?

Royal Assassin – I like this guy, but I already had one from an M11 precon, and I can get them for $0.22 – I might as well complete the playset now for $0.44 more.

Arachnus Spinner – This is an OK card, except that in all the packs I opened, there was not a single Arachnus Web, it’s companion card, in sight, and, of course, I can pick these up for $0.20.

Rites of Flourishing – This is definitely a card I had my eye on in the set, but since I can buy it for $0.40, it’s not something I want to get in a booster pack.

Sorin’s Vengeance – This was another sweet card I wanted to get, but at $0.48, I could have just bought a couple.

Sunpetal Grove – I play a lot of GW, and I’ve been meaning to get this for my (K)night of the Terravore Deck, so I wasn’t unhappy to see it, but since it keeps getting reprinted, I can just buy one for $0.80.

Dungrove Elder – The best of the lot in these packs, but still only worth about $1.75. This will definitely go into one of my mono-Green decks.

So, 8 packs and no Mythic Rares. 8 packs and $4.23 worth of Rares. 8 packs, 120 cards, retailing for $32. I recently made an order with Old School Gaming for 117 cards that ran around $30 ($35 after shipping costs), but I got 117 cards that I actually wanted and most of which will see some play. Of those cards, 47 were Rares and 3 were Mythic Rares. Granted, these were cheaper rares, but mostly better than what I got in those packs. I think we can all see the moral of this story: In this day and age, unless you actually plan to do some drafting, don’t bother with booster packs! I’ll still probably pick one up now and again, but I’d be better off spending $10 for a Mythic than buying 3 packs and crossing my fingers.

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