The Math of The Brothers’ War

Here we are, everyone, another installment of ‘How rare is rarer than mythic rare’ and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of these numbers. Things aren’t as insanely rare as they used to be, and yet they are still going to require a lot of packs to get what we want.

This set has TWO subsets of cards we care about: the Transformers subset and the Retro Artifact set. Each of those sets has chase versions too! There’s a lot to keep track of, but luckily, I’ve gotten good at parsing small details and figuring out some approximate drop rates for these cards.

So let’s dive into the odds and the math and the likelihood of getting the cards you want!

This set, everything we care about is in the Collector Boosters, as opposed to other sets where Set Boosters might have some of what we want. So all of these figures are calculated for those boosters and those alone.

It’s also worth mentioning that these are estimates based on best information. These aren’t for sure, locked in figures. The nature of statistics and probability means that some people will have better results and some will have worse results. 

One of the core principles I use in calculating these drop rates is the ratio of cards in a Draft booster: 10 commons, 3 uncommons, 1 rare or .5 of a mythic rare. Since we don’t get half of a card, I double that, so for every mythic rare, there’s 2 rares, 6 uncommons, and 20 commons.

There’s a slot dedicated to the nonfoil Commander and Jumpstart cards from this set. To be specific, that is the Commander cards plus the Jumpstart cards for a total of 26 rares, 6 mythics.

% chance to open any card of this rarity10.3%89.7%
# of packs needed for a specific card5829

Not a lot to see here, as there will be plenty of EA nonfoils going around. No foils to be had at all for these, unless something weird comes out like they’ve done in past sets.

In the Transformers slot, it gets interesting. First of all, the subset has the name BOT, which is so on point it hurts. Secondly, we’re told that all of them are mythic, so all are the same relative rarity. We’re outright told that 12% of this slot is Shattered Glass, the flipped-mirror universe where Deceptions are good and Autobots bad. We’re also told that foil SG cards are about as rare as Neon copies of Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos. Happily, I have that math handy from that article, so I know that it’s all about .6%, or 1 in 151 to get any Shattered Glass foil.

The article also indicates that nonfoil Shattered Glass is about as common as foil Generation 1 cards, so we get a rough breakdown of 75% nonfoil G1 (6 of 8 packs), 12.5% nonfoil Shattered Glass (1 in 8), 12% foil G1 (again, about 1 in 8) and finally foil Shattered Glass, which will be the 1 in 151 or so that we got from Hidetsugu, less than 1% chance. 

Then we get to the last slot in the pack, which has: Foil Extended Art, Foil Borderless cards, Foil Alternate-Art Planeswalkers, and foil Rare and Mythic Retro or Schematic artifacts. That’s a lot, and let’s look at the breakdown for how many of each type there are in that slot.

Extended ArtBorderlessAlt-Art PWRetro Artifact Schematic

Doubling the rares gets us to a pool of 299 cards, and that’s where we can get a table that matches.

Chance is:Extended ArtBorderlessAlt-Art PWRetro Artifact Schematic

This is one of the lowest drop rates for rares we’ve had in a while, and might well lead to things like the borderless foil painlands being more expensive than expected. 

When it comes to the Artifact Archive, there’s a lot to unpack. Keep in mind that the schematic and the retro have equal numbers or each rarity. Schematic Helm of the Host is just as rare as Retro Helm of the Host. I don’t expect the prices to be equal, but the rarity is the same. 

The serialized copies of each of the 63 cards is a tricky problem to solve. Since there’s 500 of each, there’s exactly 31,500 serialized cards in existence. Several have been opened already! To calculate your odds of getting one of these, we’d need to know how many booster packs/boxes exist. We don’t have that exact number, so some estimations are in order.

We know Wizards’ annual reported revenue, and from that we can figure how big or little the revenue is from this particular piece of their pie. Can’t be too small, or too big. We also know that the distributor price (Wizards sells boxes for this price, we get retail with a markup) was around $135.

So here’s a table, with the percent chance and how many boosters, boxes, and income Wizards gets if that’s the number of boosters out there.

My estimate is that you’re at a .7% or .8% chance to open a serialized card, or around one every two cases. If we get new information, I’ll update this post.

What’s especially odd is that the rarity doesn’t matter. There’s the same number of serialized uncommon Bone Saw as there is the rare Ashnod’s Altar and the mythic Aetherflux Reservoir. I don’t think the prices will be the same at all, but the rarity and the drop rate are equal.

It’s also worth mentioning that for a price comparison, the Ampersand promos given to Premium WPN stores were in a similar vein. There were around 3,000-5,000 sets of those distributed, and now we’re getting 500 of each. These artifacts are some of the most popular Commander cards around, and I won’t be shocked to see them fetch truly premium prices. Again, rarity isn’t relevant. Burnished Hart and Swiftfoot Boots have higher EDHREC numbers than any of the mythics in this subset, and they are uncommon in this grouping. 

Does that mean they will be more expensive than mythic serialized cards? My instincts say no. This is the first crack at serialized cards for Wizards, and I am pretty sure that all of them are going to be quite expensive.

So let’s summarize things with a list of chase cards, and then how they compare with other Collector Booster sets.

CardOdds as a percentEst. number of packs needed
Extended Art Rootpath Purifier1.7% chance to open58
Generation 1 Arcee, Sharpshooter5%20
Foil Generation 1 Megatron, Tyrant0.5%180
Shattered Glass Ultra Magnus, Tactician0.5%180
Foil Shattered Glass Optimus Prime, Hero0.0004%2520
Foil Extended Art Tocasia’s Welcome0.6%149.5
Foil Extended Art Arcane Proxy0.3%299
Foil Borderless Brushland0.6%149.5
Foil Alternate-Art Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim0.3%299
Foil Retro Ashnod’s Altar0.6%149.5
Foil Schematic Aetherflux Reservoir0.3%299
Serialized Double Rainbow Foil Helm of the Host0.0001%9009

And finally, let’s do a comparison of other Collector Booster sets, and see where we land with this set:

Card/SetCollector Boosters to open one (approx.)Card/SetCollector Boosters to open one (approx.)
Phyrexian Foil Vorinclex (KHM)256Foil Etched Food Chain (2X2)280
Japanese- Language Alternate Art Time Warp Foil (STX:MA)309Red Soft Glow Hidetsugu (NEO)1,828
Foil Extended Art The Meathook Massacre (MID)151Phyrexian Foil Sheoldred, the Apocalypse (DMU)346
Foil Fang Frame Sorin, the Mirthless by Ayami Kojima (VOW)171Phyrexian Foil Ajani, Sleeper Agent (DMU)692
Extended Art Foil Jeweled Lotus (CMR)400The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale (DMU:LL)46,767
Phyrexian Foil Urabrask, Heretic Praetor (SNC)492Foil Alternate-Art Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim (BRO)299
Borderless Foil Ancient Brass Dragon (CLB)352Foil Shattered Glass Optimus Prime, Hero (BRO:BOT)2,520
Phyrexian foil (or foil-etched) Jin-Gitaxias (NEO)544Serialized Double Rainbow Foil Helm of the Host (BRO:BRR)9,009

As always, if you notice things I’ve messed up or overlooked, hop into our ProTrader Discord and tell me what errors I made, so that I can fix them quickly. I hope these odds help improve your buying decisions, and good luck with the packs you open!

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.