What are Beyond Boosters?

This past Tuesday, Wizards of the Coast took to their weekly Twitch stream to announce, among many things, the details regarding the newest Booster pack coming to Magic the Gathering, the Beyond Booster. Beyond Boosters are smaller, 7-card booster packs that are strictly tied to Universes Beyond releases. It’s important to note that sets releases through Beyond Boosters will be legal in the Modern format.

Wizards has said that Beyond Boosters help to solve a problem with certain Universes Beyond releases. In Universes Beyond crossovers where the material isn’t suited for a full, major set release, like Lord of the Rings, or not suitable for faction-based Commander decks, like Warhammer 40k, the Beyond Booster serves as the best way to package these releases. We will see the debut of Beyond Boosters with the release of Assassin’s Creed this July.

What is in Beyond Boosters?

As mentioned, Beyond Boosters are smaller than normal booster packs with seven Magic cards. Each pack contains 3 Uncommons, 2 Rare/Mythics, and 2 additional cards that could be of any rarity. One of these Beyond Booster wildcards is guaranteed to be a foil.
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While similar to the largely panned Aftermath Epilogue Booster, Wizards has taken notes about where Epilogue Boosters have failed. We can see some of these changes in the increase to seven cards as opposed to five. The debut Universes Beyond set, Assassin’s Creed, is also a larger set than March of the Machine Aftermath. This should lead to less complains about duplicate cards, especially in the uncommon slot.

The other key factor regarding Beyond Boosters is reprints from other Universes Beyond products. Beyond just the cards from that set, Beyond Boosters can contain reprints from other Universes Beyond products. This includes sets, Commander precons, and Secret Lair releases.

Beyond Boosters in the Bigger Picture

Beyond Boosters have been just a portion of the Magic the Gathering news. Over the past weeks, what we received outlines a very thorough plan to incorporate the Universes Beyond into a larger part of Magic’s regular releases. Wizards of the Coast has confirmed that starting next year, we can expect two major releases from Universes Beyond annually.

Full-sized Universes Beyond sets won’t be utilizing Beyond Boosters (at least as far as we know), but the willingness to dedicate so much time and effort to Universes Beyond is telling. Barring a huge failure with Assassin’s Creed, we can likely expect Beyond Boosters to be regular part of Magic going forward.

From a gameplay perspective, Beyond Boosters contain sets that are Modern legal. This is an important distinction since many meta cards in Legacy and Modern have come from direct to Modern releases. Wizards has shown that when they don’t have to account for Standard, they tend to make more powerful cards.

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Whether it’s the free Elementals, the One Ring, or Orcish Bowmasters, these cards are strong and would be harder to print into a Standard set. Beyond Boosters will likely serve as an outlet to create cards designed solely for Modern and Legacy. Even if Beyond Boosters aren’t seen extensively throughout the year, what releases that do come could impact competitive Modern and Legacy.

Whether you play Modern, Legacy, or Commander, Beyond Boosters will help Wizards print cards powered for these formats. These cards are also tied to IPs from outside Magic the Gathering. Depending on your opinion of these crossover cards, this can either be good or bad.

Final Takeaways

Beyond Boosters is a solution to a problem Wizards was facing in their implementation of more Universes Beyond products. Opinions surrounding Universes Beyond are divisive, but it’s clear that one of the positives of the UB crossovers has been the growth and expansion of Magic: the Gathering to new and wider audiences. We’ll just have to wait and see how the first ever Beyond Boosters turn out when they are released with Assassin’s Creed this July.