Why Wizards Should Do Away With Prerelease Packs

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

The definition of frustrating.
The definition of frustrating.

I don't know about you, but seeing this thing come down across the table from me was pretty tilting. Maybe the first it was cool, but the second and third time in a single game were not. And in my second flight, the black promo was played on Turn 5 five games in a row against me.

Talk about frustrating.

Anyway, this post is brought on by this one I saw on social media today. I think the Guild Pacts in Ravnica were really fun and flavorful, and even the promos were kind of cool in that regard, though Grove of the Guardian was still kind of OP. Anyway, at least it made some flavor sense. It makes no such sense in Magic 2015, and was mostly just frustrating.


Because people have guaranteed bombs. Games aren't about gaining incremental advantages or choosing to adapt to your opponent's deck. Instead, everyone has guaranteed bombs and you just hope to play yours first. We had numerous games at the LGS go to time, and the card above is the primary culprit.

Not to mention that, as someone who spent the weekend actually running the events, it kind of sucks to have dozens of Red and Blue boxes left and none of the others, and at the last event people didn't get to play the color they wanted. All of this is not worth the benefit it provides to players. I actually think seeded packs are a decent idea, though worse now than they were when WOTC was pushing Guilds, but prerelease promos are not the kind of Sealed I want to be playing.

Anyway, that's my (frustrated) opinion. What did you all think?

Avatar photo

Corbin Hosler

Corbin Hosler is a journalist living in Norman, Oklahoma (also known as the hotbed of Magic). He started playing in Shadowmoor and chased the Pro Tour dream for a few years, culminating in a Star City Games Legacy Open finals appearance in 2011 before deciding to turn to trading and speculation full-time. He writes weekly at and biweekly for LegitMTG. He also cohosts Brainstorm Brewery, the only financial podcast on the net. He can best be reached @Chosler88 on Twitter.

View More By Corbin Hosler

Posted in Casual, Feature, FreeTagged

Have you joined the Quiet Speculation Discord?

If you haven't, you're leaving value on the table! Join our community of experts, enthusiasts, entertainers, and educators and enjoy exclusive podcasts, questions asked and answered, trades, sales, and everything else Discord has to offer.

Want to create content with Quiet Speculation?

All you need to succeed is a passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to write coherently. Share your knowledge of MTG and how you leverage it to win games, get value from your cards – or even turn a profit.

13 thoughts on “Why Wizards Should Do Away With Prerelease Packs

  1. In the spirit of prerelease’s more made for ‘new player’ base the Promo packs make sense (although I strongly oppose it for the same reasons you stated)….However, I think WOTC should keep them for ‘prerelease’ and lose them for Release weekend, which would allow WOTC objective while still being flexible for the rest of the player base…just a thought

  2. yeah, wizards should stop making these packs. Not because it’s a bad idea, but because people are stupid. Really, it’s a prerelease! have fun, pick the color you love, don’t go for the best. I took blue, that promo is not even playable. I played blue/red without the promo, but I had fun.
    I saw people getting frustrated at the prerelease, because they forced to play the color they picked, but without enough playables.
    I can’t say for sure this is because of prerelease packs, or just casual growing more competitive (I see the same frustration in commander).

  3. In our main prerelease event, we had ~~60 players.

    48 of them took the black event box.

    I think the numbers kinda speak for themselves here.

    Best part- Black didnt even make a top 8 showing.

    1. At our Pre-release white was sold out by the 2nd event (so people who played in the 3-5th didn’t have it as an option). It is interesting to see how different areas choose the packs. I know I went white for both events primarily because the Angel really is stupidly good and more importantly similar to the Theros ones…if you got a mythic in your color specific pack it was a Soul…and the white one is probably the most difficult to beat in limited (though to be fair Red’s not far off). I do feel bad for our store owner as the stores have to buy the packs in equal quantities and when one color is really bad (blue in M15 for instance) they get stuck with tons of those and players are either forced to take blue when other colors run out…or the owner is stuck with them post release.

  4. I completely agree. This is becomming more of a negative experience than a positive one as I kept having to give people bad news that the color they wanted was out. It’s also boring as people keep playing against the same decks. And the white card is particularly unfun as it undoes all the interaction and edges gained throughout the game up until she comes down.

  5. Prerelease packs would be fine, if they were even close to being balanced. As in, no fliers, and no bombs that can’t be easily dealt with. Also with only 5 actual boosters its possible as in my pack to have NO ACTUAL REMOVAL in my color pair. (I wanted blue white).

    Flesh to dust and 1 lightning strike were basically my only removal.

    I played against a guy who had a soul of theros, soul of innistrad, ob nixilis, and the black promo. Also 3 pieces of white exile style removal. He won that tournament needless to say.

    I feel like that would NOT happen if they didn’t have these bonkers promos and seeded packs. Just give us 6 packs like the good old days.

  6. I have enjoyed prereleases both before and after seeded packs. However, the plain six pack format of the old days was a whole lot simpler from an organizational perspective. A lot of these problems would be solved by balancing the power levels of the promo rares and the seeded pack contents. C’mon Wizards, you all are supposed to be professional game designers!

  7. As long as the promos cards are balanced (unlike M15) I don’t have any problems from a play perspective with set promo seeding packs. A better way to balance things might be to use a balanced cycle, possibly even an uncommon one as the promos (M15 colour packs with the Paragons for instance).

    That said I think that it’s losing the special feel that it had and flavorwise they would have been better only using the concept in sets where there is a strong sense of factional identities (IE. Ravnica with the Guilds or Mirrodin/Phyrexia with the 2 warring factions). On flavor for having these packs Theros was only so-so and M15 was pretty abysmal. Likewise most normal blocks would be pretty meh but something like Shards would have worked well.

  8. I went red. Only opend 4 red cards. Opened a Garruk and 5 removal spells. Proceeded to faceroll the whole event with red on the bench.

  9. Background – Our store in San Diego is the stronghold for MTG in the area. We are the hub of judges, and the L3 RC and other L3 have used us as their home store for over a decade. Also, you can find 8 or so L2s and a dozen L1s playing at any given time, and we will be running SCG’s 5K classics for the area as well as PTQs a couple of times a year. That all being said, our numbers for our events were 110 on the Friday midnight, about 170 – 190 for the events on Saturday and 70 or so on Sunday (World Cup killed that day for everyone).

    I would agree that the overpower of a couple of the rares was not good, but, I do not think that the packs themselves would be responsible for many of those decks. I myself took blue several times because I know nobody would play many, and I did not want to use another color up. I never ended up playing blue, and in a couple of cases ran a white convoke deck. Resolute Archangel was in one of them, and another day I ran a black deck because I received the Tormentor in my packs notwithstanding the blue weighted pack. There were also other players who took, for example, a white pack, but did not end up playing the Archangel because the white in the regular M15 packs they opened was not enough to support it…. just bad luck opening, is all.

    The real problem with the packs is for the retailer, mostly. As was said here earlier, you do end up with a lot of one color and none of others in the end. It does differ, as well. Of course, on first day black was 70% of the field. But by the second day, we were running lowest on red…. go figure.

    Our solution for this works pretty well. You will not have even numbers in the end, but your disparity between colors will be much less. We heavily announce preregistration for the event, primarily. Then, we allot specific equal numbers of each color for each flight based on expectations (for example, for the Friday midnight event, we alloted 20 of each color and on Saturday, 15 of each. Once they run out, we would put a set of all 5 up at a time until depleted, and so-on). This way, those who called in early got their choice, and those later, or walk-ins, took what they could find. But, I did not have any large complaints about it because everyone was aware of this process in the end, and they all realized that it was a fair chance for everyone… and what is better is that on each subsequent prerelease we get more pre-registrations because of it (we do not take payment until the event, of course….nobody would sign up). For M15, only 2 out of 82 prereg players did not show.
    In the end, we still had more blue, but only about 7 more than the average. I think with this system, it all works out pretty well. But, you will not stop the bombs from showing up, no matter what. I think the benefit of attracting newer players or more casual ‘once-a-month’ players far outweighs the other issues.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation