The Math on Kaldheim

There’s a lot to unpack in Kaldheim, in terms of how rare the rarest cards are, and considering Commander Legends just taught us a very Jeweled Lotus lesson, let’s pay attention, yes?

First, some basics. I’m going to be breaking down the special versions of cards, as those offer some of the highest upside possible. We all like to get the prettiest version for our Commander decks, so let’s keep our eyes on the prize.

There are 64 rares you can open in a booster pack, plus five themed rares available in Set Boosters, Theme Boosters, or Collector Boosters. There’s an additional 15 uncommons only in the Set/Theme slot which will merit their own discussion later. Wizards designed these cards to go with different themes but not affect the Limited experience. At least these can be opened in a booster, though it seems they are not available in foil.

There are 20 mythics in the set, and all of them have at least one variant, either Showcase or Extended Art, and no additional ones past that. Two of these mythics have two variants: Vorinclex has a Showcase frame and a Phyrexian frame, while Valki, God of Lies has a Borderless frame and a Showcase frame.

In addition to that, the five mythics with Foretell as a mechanic don’t just have an Extended Art treatment, they have alternate art to go with their Borderless-looking frame. 

It would appear that Draft Boosters and Set Boosters can have both foils and nonfoils of Showcase or Borderless treatments, but no Extended Art at all. If you find a post/article that says different, please clue me in.

In Commander Legends Collector Boosters, there was some variation that led to Foil Extended Art mythics being ridiculously rare. A lot of that variation has been taken away in Kaldheim, which should lead to lower prices on most things. My focus today is on the five CB slots with rares/mythics, because each CB has a pair of slots for Showcase uncommons, one foil and one non-foil. There’s going to be plenty of those, and they will make a delightful spec in a couple months.

So, in those last five slots, we have the cards that we care the most about. Please keep in mind that these numbers are statistics, these are predictions. Some people will have better luck and some will have worse luck. Would that we all had the good luck all the time!

A foil rare or mythic in the regular frame. This does include the Sagas from the next slot, giving you a chance of opening a foil Saga here and a nonfoil of the same Saga in the next slot. In this spot we have 64 rares and 20 mythics possible, so that gives us a drop rate of 1/84 for a particular foil rare and 1/168 for a particular foil mythic. Keep in mind that these are the same cards as in Draft Boosters, though that’s a bit balanced out by the lower number of Draft Boosters getting opened in the middle of the pandemic. 

A nonfoil rare saga/theme rare/Commander deck rare or mythic. There are only ten rare Sagas, five theme rares, and 17 Commander rares/mythics available. It seems like the mythic symbol doesn’t matter as much for this, the assorted Wizards releases indicate that they all drop at the same rate in this slot. Plus, all of these are nonfoil. Your odds are 1/32 for one of these, making them relatively common as a side effect of the hunt for more valuable cards.

A card in non-foil Extended Art. This is the slot for everything without a special border, and there’s 36 rares and four mythics that fit this bill. Since rares (until they tell us different) come along at twice the rate of mythics, you have a 1/38 chance of a particular EA rare and a 1/76 chance of a particular mythic EA. Yes, that’s nearly twice the rate of the regular frame foil mythics in these same CBs, offset by the other places you can get those foil regular mythics. 

A nonfoil Showcase/Borderless. For this slot, we have 18 potential rares and 16 potential mythics. So to nail one of these, it’s 1/26 for a specific rare and 1/52 for a specific mythic. This is slightly complicated by the double-up of Vorinclex and Valki. Wizards did the math on having two special versions of Vorinclex and Valki, God of Lies. Their two treatments are combined to drop as often as other mythics. Think of it as a coin flip. You have a certain chance to hit the mythic, but then you are 50/50 on which version you’re going to get, making each version half as common. If you like the real numbers, in this slot, for nonfoil, you have a 1/104 chance of each version of Valki or Vorinclex.

A foil Showcase/EA/Borderless. The big money slot, given that there’s 54 potential rares and 20 potential mythics. The only difference between this slot’s potential and the foil regular-frame rare/mythic slot is that you can’t get a foil Saga here, as there are no special frames for Sagas. Your odds are slightly better here: 1/64 for a specific rare and 1/128 for the specific mythic EA/Showcase/Borderless. The Valki/Vorinclex odds are that much worse, being 1/256 to get the version you want.

Let’s have a tl;dr table, shall we? 

For a particular…Odds of it being in a CB pack# of CB Boxes needed to open one 
Foil rare in the regular frame1 in 847
Foil mythic in the regular frame1 in 16814
Nonfoil Saga or Theme rare or Commander-deck exclusive1 in 322.6
Nonfoil Rare in Extended Art1 in 383.2
Nonfoil Mythic in Extended Art1 in 766.3
Nonfoil Rare in Showcase or Borderless1 in 262.2
Nonfoil Mythic in Showcase or Borderless1 in 524.3
Foil Rare in EA or Showcase or Borderless1 in 645.3
Foil Mythic in EA or showcase or Borderless1 in 12810.6
Foil Phyrexian Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider1 in 25621.3

The good news is that Vorinclex and Valki are among the priciest cards from the set right now, so hitting either version is profitable, for now. Jeweled Lotus is the comparison people want to make, but that was significantly rarer, needing 400 packs to get there. 

We shouldn’t see the huge prices out of the gate in Kaldheim that we saw in Commander Legends, mainly because of the switch from the 30% chance of foil upgrade to the slot dedicated to foils. That 30% chance wasn’t there in other Collector Boosters, and represents quite a shift. It’s very likely that the shift in CL caused much more of a selling frenzy than would have otherwise happened. We will see if having a single, mega-chase version of a card (the Phyrexian Vorinclex) has a similar effect on prices. 

One more item that I’ve encountered that may end up being super relevant: The uncommons from the Set/Theme Booster exclusives are ONLY in those specialized boosters. The entire list can be found here, but the rares can show up in Collector Boosters while the uncommons are trapped. They are Standard-legal, so there’s a scenario where in eight months, a new interaction occurs and some price gets out of hand.

Finally, if you’ve found an error in my math, please reach out to me in the comments here, on the Discord, or on Twitter. 

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.

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