Double Masters: Are Boosters Worth Opening?

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We are in the thick of Double Masters spoiler season, and so far my social media feed is giving the set mixed reviews. When spoilers first started, Wizards chose to led with some fairly underwhelming reprints—this introduced the set starting on the wrong foot, in a sense. Since then, we have seen some fairly impressive reprints with really nice artwork.

Is it enough to incentivize buying? Should you purchase and crack sealed packs of this set? Let’s take a look at the numbers!

The Rares

A standard booster pack of Double Masters will yield you two rares/mythic rares! Double the flavor, double the fun! So what do the rares look like in this set?

Well, as of Sunday, July 27th the average rare in Double Masters is worth $3.78 (70 rares spoiled so far). The most valuable is Exploration, currently worth $24 and change. Bringing up the rear is the rare I’m most likely to open, Sphinx Summoner (did we really need a reprint of this card?).

The set has a total of 121 rares, so there are still 41 to be spoiled as of this article’s writing. But, judging from past experience, I don’t expect the average rare value to deviate too much—there’s enough data already so that a surprise outlier wouldn’t shift the mean all that much.

So, with this data in hand, if you crack open two rares (no mythics) in Double Masters booster pack, you’re going to see $7.56 in value. Consider this: on TCGplayer, the cheapest sealed booster packs for preorder are selling for $14.73. That seems like awful value, especially considering the fact that the average rare value is certainly going to drop over the next couple weeks, even if the print run is tiny. Players are going to rush out to sell the cards they open to recoup costs and we’ll see some weak buylists in the near future.

So does that mean this set is a bust? Not yet! Let’s examine the mythic rares to see if they salvage this set’s EV!

The Mythic Rares

So far, 25 mythic rares have been spoiled out of a total 40. Not surprisingly, the mythic list is far more exciting and flashy than the rare list. The headliners include favorites such as Force of Will ($100), Mana Crypt ($120), and Jace, the Mind Sculptor ($59). These have each been reprinted multiple times, yet they seem to cling to their high price tag. I don’t even know if Big Jace aka Jace 2.0 sees much constructed play anymore. Yet, I would still be delighted to open one in a Double Masters booster!

The average value of the mythic rares spoiled so far is $30.85. So far, most of the mythics spoiled would make cracking open your Double Masters pack worthwhile. If we assume you open one rare and one mythic, and your rare is worth $3.78 on average, then you need your mythic to be worth a little over $10 to break even on the booster pack (besides uncommons and foils…more on that later).

Of the 25 spoiled mythics, only 6 of them don’t crack the $10 mark. Arcum Dagsson is the first mythic to miss, at $7.63. Following this is Vengevine, Breya, Etherium Shaper, Voice of Resurgence, Geist of Saint Traft, and finally Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, which has no business being a mythic.

Now, I’m not sure about the frequency at which mythic rares will appear in boosters. In a normal set, you open a mythic rare with approximately 1:6 odds. So for the sake of this calculation, I’ll assume similar for Double Masters, only that you have two chances at a mythic instead of one in each pack! So if we apply the 1:6 odds, the average rare/mythic slot is worth $8.29. Doubling that, we have $16.58 of value in each booster pack. Comparing this to the going market price for boosters, it looks like cracking open packs is suddenly a worthwhile proposition!

But hold your horses! There are two more points I need to make before rounding out my final judgment.

Commons, Uncommons, and Foils

First, we need to acknowledge that this set has a couple of money uncommons and commons as well. Of the 18 uncommons to be spoiled so far, four are worth over a buck. Manamorphose leads the pack, followed by Mishra's Bauble and repeat reprint Path to Exile.

The last card worth at least a buck at uncommon (so far) is Dread Return. These will most definitely drop in price as more product is opened, but it’s good to know that you may be able to buylist an uncommon or two right out the gate.

You also have the tron lands and Expedition Map at common. This will make the draft experience really cool (when was the last time you could assemble Tron in limited?!) but it will also give you a tiny bit of value from your average common.

Then there are the foils: two per booster pack! Those foils could be any rarity from common through mythic rare. This certainly adds a difficult-to-quantify value to each booster pack. But it’s worth noting that Masters set foils typically don’t carry much premium relative to their non-foil counterparts. Let’s call this a “cherry on top” of the value sundae, which this is shaping up to be. But there’s one last detail that needs to be emphasized before we start buying out the internet of Double Masters packs.

The Fine Print

It’s time for me to come clean: all the prices I referenced are from MTG Stocks, which in turn takes pricing from TCGplayer’s average price. These values are not a reflection of what the cards are selling for, though they’re frequently close. These values are also effectively a “retail” price—if you sell copies of these cards, you will not be netting these dollar amounts. There are fees, shipping, and general market competition that will result in a lower net for your sales.

Therefore, while you may break even on average by buying a booster of Double Masters and trading singles at today’s TCGplayer pricing, chances are you won’t be so fortunate two weeks into the set’s release. As players rush to sell the valuable cards they opened, pricing will momentarily drop. At that point, you will be losing money on an average, per-booster basis.

Do not despair! This is typical for new sets—and especially for reprint sets! If one could profit simply by cracking boosters and selling singles, then boosters would be in higher demand. That higher demand would drive booster prices upward until the point where that pack-opening arbitrage was no longer a possibility. It’s how this market works, and Double Masters is no exception.

Wrapping It Up

Taking all the data into account thus far, I must say I’m not as disappointed in Double Masters as my social media feed appears to be. I’ll admit I was a bit disappointed by the first couple spoilers, but things have improved dramatically since then. I’m not a big gambler, but there’s a good chance I’ll crack open a few boosters of this set to try my luck—there’s enough value in the set to make it worth a shot.

Now, one thing I didn’t go anywhere near in this week’s article is the VIP Booster value. According to Wizards’ site (which admittedly has been adjusted multiple times), each VIP Edition booster contains 33 cards and 2 foil tokens: 2 foil borderless cards, 2 foil rare/mythic rares, 8 foil uncommons, 9 foil commons, 10 full-art basic lands, 2 foil full-art basic lands, and 2 foil tokens.

The high-dollar foil borderless cards will be worth a lot of money, but I’m not sure if the regular foils will be worth anything more than their nonfoil counterparts. These will be gambles for the high rollers of the Magic community—crack open a foil borderless Force of Will or Mana Crypt and you’ll be riding high. But I have to imagine the average value of these will be well below the $100 price tag.

I also didn’t talk about the Box Toppers, yet another way of receiving value when purchasing Double Masters product.

It seems Wizards pulled out all the stops for this set, making it a highly anticipated, if not somewhat complicated premium set (what cards come in what product again?). I anticipate the Double Masters release will be a big success based on spoilers so far—there’s a good balance of value and desirable reprints. Two rares/mythics per pack also doubles your chances at opening value and should reduce the amount of time you feel awful by opening a $0.10 rare in a $10 booster pack. That alone convinces me to roll the dice a couple times on this unprecedented set!

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