The Math of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

Welcome to your regular installment of math, where I parse the articles and posts, leaving you with the welcome information of ‘just how rare is this card’ and ‘is it as rare as X card?’

Every time I think I have a handle on things, they make it worse on me. This time, we’ve got more repeats than ever, which really can swing the numbers. Let’s get into the weeds, and get some numbers going.

I want to preface everything with a caveat: I’m working from the best known information. Wizards is required by law to give some information about what’s possible in some booster packs, but they want to avoid giving specific numbers or techniques out whenever possible. As such, if now information becomes available, or if it turns out I made some mistakes, I’ll come back and edit this to the best information I can give you.

The first thing we have to establish is the basics: the set has a little less to chase than VOW and MID did. In Neon Dynasty, there’s only 59 rares and 18 mythics. I don’t know if there’s a protocol, or an explanation, but the less rares the better when it comes to getting the more chase cards.

Every rare and mythic has at least one alternate treatment, and some have two…up to some that have five versions, if you count the Buy-A-Box of Satoru Umezawa or the seven versions of Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, one of which is WPN only. 

For the sake of this article, I’m only going to be talking about the things you can pull from a Collector Booster.

This is pretty straightforward stuff, with the sort of distribution we’re used to: guaranteed foils of the new sweet lands, guaranteed foils of commons and uncommons in the new frames, a guaranteed foil rare or mythic, an extended-art version of the Commander rares (nonfoil only, a choice I still don’t understand) and then the last slot, where the rarest, shiniest things live. 

Before we get into that slot, we have to look at some numbers for how much of each card exists. Wizards has helpfully told us how many of each rarity are in each frame:

Type of frame# of rares with this frame# of mythics with this frame
Soft Glow376
Foil Etched39
Extended Art5914

There’s a special case in the rares, Hidetsugu, who I’ll get to in a moment.

When figuring the percentages of rares and mythics, remember that Wizards uses a 2:1 ratio for rares and mythics. So you take your total number of rares, double it, then add the number of mythics. In this case, with 59 rares and 18 mythics, the number is 136. 

The number of cards with more than one treatment is higher than ever. As a result, when you get one of these cards, you then have a chance to get one of the different special frames/arts. (for my sake, I’m going to call these variants.) Every rare in this set, with three exceptions, has two variants. 

So for almost any variant of a rare, you’re looking at a 2/136 chance of a card, reduced to 1/68, multiplied by the 1/2 chance of the two variants. This gives you a straightforward 1/136 chance of pulling the foil rare variant you’re hoping for.

Risona, Farewell and Satoru Umezawa each have a foil-etched variant, making your odds for a specific variant 1/204. This doesn’t count the Buy-A-Box variant of Satoru.

Now let’s talk about Hidetsugu. We are told the approximate ratios, in the form of an evil middle-school math problem: “There are about half as many neon green cards as neon blue cards, and about a quarter as many neon red cards as neon green cards.” I’ll spare you the equation and the fractions, but at those ratios, a sheet of 121 cards would have roughly 75 blue, 37 green, and 9 red versions. So if your pack would contain a Soft Glow foil Hidetsugu, you then get a subset of options, much like what happened with EA foils in Commander Legends. If you hit the 1 in 136 packs that has a Soft Glow Hidetsugu, you’re going to get a blue one about 62% of the time, a green one 31% of the time, and the red a mere 7%. The original ratios tell us that the numbers for this are pretty crazy: for every thirteen Hidetsugu you open in a Collector Booster, eight will be blue, four will be green, and one will be red. 

The dozen foil-etched cards, plus the borderless variations, give us a peek at some of the rarest cards we’ll have a crack at.

Of the 18 mythics, nine of them have two variants, eight have three, and one has four variants, Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant. Now the math gets terrifying. You have a 1/136 chance of getting any one mythic, of any treatment. If there’s two variants, it’s 1/272 chance for a specific variant. If three, then 1/408. For Jin-Gitaxias, you’re looking at a whopping 1/544 to get a specific version! This is eased, somewhat, by the presence of the etched foil. So if you don’t care which foil Praetor you get, you’re all the way back to 1/272!

Going back to the original questions, how’s this compare to the chase cards of other recent sets?

setOdds of a specific foil rareOdds of a specific foil mythic
Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/1361/272 up to 1/544
Innistrad: Crimson Vow1/741/171
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt1/75.51/151
Forgotten Realms1/631/126
Strixhaven 1/154.51/309
Modern Horizons 21/126.51/253
Commander Legends EA Foils1/2041/400

It’s interesting that NEO has less rares than the sets before it, but because there’s so many extra frames, and so many rares with multiple treatments, getting the exact one you want is going to take some patience.

Let’s have a handy chart for some of the chase cards from this set and previous ones.

Card/TreatmentSetOdds of pulling it from a Collector Booster (approx.)
Phyrexian Foil VorinclexKaldheim1/256
Japanese-Language Alternate Art Time Warp FoilStrixhaven (Mystical Archive)1/309
Foil Extended Art The Meathook MassacreInnistrad: Midnight Hunt1/151
Foil Fang Frame Sorin, the Mirthless by Ayami KojimaInnistrad: Crimson Vow1/171
Extended Art Foil Jeweled LotusCommander Legends1/400
Phyrexian foil (or foil-etched) Jin-GitaxiasKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/544
Blue Soft Glow HidetsuguKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/219
Green Soft Glow HidetsuguKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/444
Red Soft Glow HidetsuguKamigawa: Neon Dynasty1/1828

Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Foil red Soft Glow Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos, being about one-eighth as common as the blue version, will require roughly 1,828 packs to show up. That is 4.5x as rare as FEA Jeweled Lotus, and easily the rarest pull from a booster that I can think of.

I think there’s enough collectors out there, people who love a thing just for being rare, that the price of Red Hidetsugu will be tremendously high. If you happen to beat the odds and crack one, don’t be afraid to ask for the moon. 

I hope all of this is understandable and helpful. If you have found errors, or if you want to talk about my methods, please reach out in the comments or on the ProTrader Discord.

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.