The Amazing Math of CLCBs

Commander Legends has been fully previewed, and I’d like to express my appreciation to Wizards for doing this on Thursdays. Makes my life that much easier.

We know what’s in the set, what’s got special frames, and the formulation of each Collector Booster. That means it’s time to do some math and figure out how rare some of these cards are going to be, and that’ll inform our buying decisions.

First of all, let’s look at the raw numbers on the set: 141 commons, 120 uncommons, 77 rares, 22 mythic rares, 1 special (The Prismatic Piper).

Of those, 69 legendary creatures (from any rarity) can show up as foil-etched in a special frame. Add to that 32 more reprinted legends in that frame, including all of the original Partner commanders.

From a finance perspective, the most relevant pieces of information are that Extended Art foils and nonfoils are ONLY in the Collector Boosters. The etched foil legends (Only foils, there’s no nonfoils of these cards) can be found in the draft boosters, as can the borderless planeswalkers in foil and nonfoil. We know there’s one foil of any rarity per Draft Booster, but that’s a regular foil, not an Extended Art foil, but it could be a borderless planeswalker in foil.

Thankfully, we also have a breakdown of precisely what’s in the Collector Boosters. Feel free to look at the breakdown, but I’m going to be focusing on the odds and the chase cards.

Most regular-frame common and uncommon foils I’m not too worried about. Yes, this is a first foil for a lot of Commander-specific cards, but there’s a special list of 33 commons and uncommons available as extended-art foils, and that’s the spicy stuff. 

Collector Boosters have one slot for a nonfoil EA of one of these cards, so you have a 1 in 33 chance of getting a particular nonfoil EA from this list per booster. 

For foils, it’s notably rarer. There are two slots for foil uncommons from the entire set, but about 20% of the time, that upgrades to a foil EA from this list. So in one pack, you have two runs at these, at 1/5 the rate of the nonfoil. 

That works out to a 1.2% chance, per pack, of getting a specific foil EA common or uncommon. If you like fractions, I did the math and it’s 1 in 82.5 packs for getting that foil EA Arcane Signet. At 12 packs per box, and six boxes per case, you will get .87 FEA Signets per case, or any other particular card from the list of 33.

For the foil-etched legends, there’s a slot for the 36 uncommons, a slot for the 32 reprinted legends, and then a slot for the 23 mythic and rare ones. Those are guaranteed, so the rate is much better than the 20% drop rate for the FEA uncommons.

One slot is dedicated to nonfoil EA treatments, and that will help keep those prices in line, but there’s 65 of those cards that could drop. That’s just a 1.5% chance of getting a specific EA rare or mythic rare in your collector booster pack.

Now, the super-chase cards: The foil extended-art cards at rare and mythic. There’s one slot for a foil rare or mythic rare, and 30% of the time, that card upgrades to a foil Extended Art.

In that slot, 30% of the time, it goes to FEA rare or mythic. There’s 52 rares and 17 mythics. That means that on a sheet of 121 cards, each rare is on there twice and each mythic once.

If you don’t like percentages, let’s expand it out a little.

Percentage of opening a specific cardHow many packs you have to open to get one copy of that card (roughly)How many of this type per Collector Booster box
Rare Foil1.15%877.2
Mythic Rare Foil0.58%1721.2
Rare Extended Art Foil0.49%2043.1
Mythic Rare Extended Art Foil0.25%4000.5

How about a visual? Each column is the foil rare/mythic rare slot in a Collector Booster:

Many thanks to sods, Alexis, and Ra0Ra in the MTGPrice Discord for explaining math to me over and over again.

So what does this mean for us? 

First of all, these Collector Boosters are going to have some very big swings in value. The Extended Art cards will carry a lot of value in the big ones, and some won’t be very expensive, but FEA mythics are going to be hyper rare. 

There will be excellent value in the FEA uncommons as well. The first-time foils like Arcane Signet and Thought Vessel will carry value even without being Extended Art, but the FEA Signets and Vessels should be very high out of the gates and likely won’t come down too much. Don’t sleep on Path of Ancestry (first foil), Myriad Landscape (78k decks on EDHREC, second foil printing) or Three Visits (a P3K reprint).

Commander Legends is already impacted by production delays and the coronavirus shutting down North American stores. It’s quite possible that some of these cards never have a chance to get cheap–Jeweled Lotus will be in FEA once every 33.3 boxes, or 5.55 CASES of Collector Boosters.

I don’t have enough information on the delays and the impact on the total number of Collector Boosters out there to predict the effect that’ll have. I do advocate that you definitely get your personal copies before Christmas, but don’t be a buyer the first week or two. Let the frenzy calm down a little and then get what you need. Be more patient when it comes to your investments in this set.

Cliff (@WordOfCommander) has been writing for MTGPrice since 2013, and is an eager Commander player, Draft enthusiast, and Cube fanatic. A high school science teacher by day, he’s also the official substitute teacher of the MTG Fast Finance podcast. If you’re ever at a GP and you see a giant flashing ‘CUBE DRAFT’ sign, go over, say hi, and be ready to draft.

6 thoughts on “The Amazing Math of CLCBs”

    1. Boxes! Roughly 1 in 400 CBs will have that FEA Lotus, divided by 12. Sorry.

      Cases will be 33.3/6, so every 5.55 cases.

      I’ll go edit the article, thanks for catching that.

    1. That is an excellent question, one I can’t answer quickly. I’m not trying to be evasive; there’s just a lot of comparisons to go through.

      Roughly, I’d say the mythics are rarer but I gotta go in there and crunch drop rates and sheet sizes.

  1. Seriously, well done on this article. The scarcity of the full art foils in this set is taking the community by surprise right now and here was the information a full 10 days before release.

    I’ve been able to target some rather aggressive pre order prices here in Europe on certain chase FEA’s and it’s already looking pretty good.

    1. I’m not buying anything this first weekend, and I’m not likely to in the first month. There seems to be a lot of product being opened, and I’m willing to be patient. Europe, since Commander isn’t as big over there, will absolutely have some spectacular deals coming up.

      Thanks for reading!

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