The Math of March of the Machine

Ah, here we are, the dawn of a new set and a whole lot of numbers for me to crunch. Wizards has given us some information, and I can make some good estimates based on research, that combine to paint a pretty good picture of what we should expect in terms of how often the rarest cards drop.

A gentle reminder that this is statistics, not certainties. You might open two serialized cards in the same box, beating the odds. You might open two hundred CBS and not see a single serialized card.

Let’s get to the math, shall we?

Here is the official link for Collecting March of the Machine: That’s got all the information we need for most of this.

Serialized cards: There’s 65 Multiverse Legends, 500 of each. In the next slot, there’s a spot for the five Praetor-Sagas to show up serialized. Then after that, a slot which could contain a serialized Uncommon from the set of 65. For any serialized card, you’re estimated to get one every 142.8 packs.

The serialized cards overrule whatever else you were going to open in that slot. We know that you’re less than 1% to open one, even with it being in three slots. There will be a total of 35,000 serialized cards to open, and given all the data we have, I’m estimating that it’s more like 0.07%, or one in 143, to open any serialized card of any rarity. Uncommon or Mythic, that’s your odds. If you want a specific card, you’re looking at 70x as many packs, or 10,010. Good luck!

Theoretically, you could open a pack with two serialized cards (one ML and one PS) but that’s something like .7% times .7%, which would be one in 20,408 packs. I would expect to see that a couple of times if I were watching every CB be opened. Three in a row? Sure, that’s only 1 in 2,915,452 packs. Possible, but incredibly unlikely. We estimate that there’s around 5 million Collector Booster packs printed per Standard set. If you get better information, please, reach out to me in the comments, on Discord, or Twitter.

I also want to talk about your odds of pulling a MUL card in Draft Boosters. Every Draft Booster gets a card from that subset. The ratio has traditionally been three uncommons for every one rare and for every .5 mythic rares. Means now it’s 6:2:1, and given the number we have at each rarity level, the pool you pull from for a MUL card is 15 mythics (1 of each), 60 rares, (2 of each), and 120 uncommons (6 of each). Total of 195, and that’s how many packs you’ll need to open to get a nonfoil Ragavan. Only six boxes!

We have a handy graphic for what’s in a Collector Booster, thank you Wizards:

Let’s work from the top of the image downwards (This would also be from the last card in the pack forward, whichever terminology works for you.)

We are given this ratio in the Collecting article for Collector Boosters, and each version has its own collector number: 

Traditional foil in 75% of boosters

Foil etched in 14% of boosters

Halo foil in 10% of boosters

Serialized double rainbow in < 1% of boosters

This first (last) slot is only rares and mythics, and we’re also told that there are 20 uncommons, 30 rares, and 15 mythic rares. The uncommons will be in a different slot, so we get to focus on the rares and mythics. Wizards likes a 2:1 ratio for rares and mythics, so the pool of available cards will be 75 cards deep. Your chances of getting a specific rare are 2/75, or 1/37.5. Specific mythics are 1/75.

However, that’s for any version. We have no less than three foil treatments to choose from here. Given the ratios, we can figure out that for every Halo Foil Ragavan, we’ll get 1.4 Etched Foil and 7.5 Traditional Foil versions of the same card. In execution, this means we have to roll for a card and then roll for the version, not counting serialized versions because those are just miracle pulls. Let’s have a table for this slot only, so no uncommons:

Rarity of cardCBs to get any version of a specific cardCBs to get a specific Traditional FoilCBs to get a specific Etched FoilCBs to get a specific Halo Foil

This is a clever trick by Wizards to make new rarities of a card without extra frames or art direction. It will add both a lot of traditional foil copies for those who like shiny things and at the same time, give high-end collectors something to chase that isn’t the serialized version.

The next slot is more of ‘everything else jammed in here’ feeling from the main set. This has all of the following, all rares and mythics in traditional foil. We’ve established that Praetors are around every 142.8 packs, but let’s count up what numbers we’re looking at for these cards.

# of rares# of mythics
Planar Booster Fun from March of the Machine1810
Extended art from March of the Machine312
Extended art from March of the Machine Jumpstart5
Borderless art from March of the Machine3
Extended art from March of the Machine Commander4212

Important to note that these are foil pulls, and so there will be FEA versions of all the Commander cards. Other sets, there have been occasional foils, or EA only with no foils, and here we get the full FEA. 

Our pool in this slot is 219 cards, which is lower than a lot of other sets have been if you compare them. ONE was every 326 for Phyrexian planeswalkers, and BRO was every 299 packs for FEA mythics. The big difference in MOM is that we don’t have multiple versions of the same card, aside from the Praetors. 

I’m expecting a LOT of these cards to be out there, given the chase for serialized cards and the way players go after lotto tickets like this.

RarityPercent chance for any card of that categoryPercent chance for a specific card of that category# of CBs to open one specific card from that category
Planar Booster Fun from March of the MachineRare16.4%0.9%109.5
Extended art from March of the MachineRare28.3%0.9%109.5
Extended art from March of the Machine JumpstartRare4.6%0.9%109.5
Borderless art from March of the MachineMythic1.4%0.45%219
Extended art from March of the Machine CommanderRare38.4%0.9%109.5

The MUL uncommons get two whole slots to themselves: one for Halo and Etched foils, plus the serialized versions, and then a slot dedicated to traditional foils alone. With 20 uncommons in that subset, you’ve got this set of odds over those two slots:

RarityPercent chance for any card of that categoryPercent chance for a specific card of that category# of CBs to open one specific card from that category
Halo Foil Uncommon from MUL subsetUncommon25%1.25%80
Etched Foil Uncommon from MUL subsetUncommon75%3.75%26.7
Traditional Foil Uncommon from MUL subsetUncommon100%5%20

With all this in mind, let’s put the data together and get some outcomes for different cards we might be after: 

RarityPercent chance for any card of that categoryPercent chance for a specific card of that category# of CBs to open one specific card from that category
MUL Traditional FoilUncommon100%5%20
MUL Traditional FoilRare50%2%50
MUL Traditional FoilMythic25%1%100
MUL Etched FoilUncommon75%3.75%26.7
MUL Etched FoilRare9.3%0.3%267.9
MUL Etched FoilMythic4.6%0.18%535.7
MUL Halo FoilUncommon25%1.25%80
MUL Halo FoilRare6.6%2.6%375
MUL Halo FoilMythic3.3%0.13%750
MUL or MOM SerializedAny0.7%0.0001%10,010
MOM Planar Frame Rare16.4%0.9%109.5
MOM Planar Frame Mythic9.1%0.45%219
MOM Foil Extended ArtRare28.3%0.9%109.5
MOM Foil Extended ArtMythic0.9%0.45%219
MOM Jumpstart FEA Rare4.6%0.9%109.5
MOM Foil Borderless Mythic1.4%0.45%219
MOC Foil Extended ArtRare38.4%0.9%109.5
MOC Foil Extended ArtMythic5.5%0.45%219

And finally, let’s look at examples of the rarest cards:

Card/treatment/setApprox. number of CBs needed to find one copy
Serialized Foil Double Rainbow Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer (MUL)10,010
Traditional Foil Planar Frame Sheoldred, Whispering One (MUL)100
Etched Planar Foil Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice (MUL)535.7
Halo Foil Niv-Mizzet Reborn (MUL)750
Traditional Foil Borderless Wrenn and Realmbreaker (MOM)219
Traditional Foil Extended Art Guardian Scalelord (MOC)109.5

There’s a lot of numbers here, and I’ve tried to clarify what is going on in each, as well as explain my math. If you want to discuss this, or point out my mistakes, please reach out on Twitter, in the Discord, or the comments below! 


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.