The Math of Commander Masters

Another set, another set of calculations. Thankfully, this is a bit easier than some other sets have been. No super-mega-rare serialized cards, no funky subsets or weird collations. Commander Masters has extra-expensive booster packs, though, so let’s get into the types, the frames, the foiling, and what your chances are when you crack open a fresh pack.

Please keep in mind that I’m working with the best data possible. I’m confident in this set of outcomes, given what I have, but if they change things or have big mistakes, I’ll update this as best I can when I can.

This may seem overly obvious, but more expensive packs means more expensive singles. These Collector Boosters have trickled down in price, and are now around $50 each, and the variance on these can be very swingy indeed. It’s pretty amazing that you’re guaranteed very little for the cost of your Collector Booster, it’s even just one of the retro frame lands in foil! 

Most of my information comes from the Collecting Commander Masters article, and let’s start with the two small variants we get in this set: Textured Foils and Borderless Framebreak. The Framebreak is part of being Borderless, so don’t be surprised when Framebreak is left out of the posts.

Textured Foil (Profiles + Lotus)Traditional Foil Framebreaks
UncommonSol Ring
RareFierce Guardianship
Deflecting Swat
Deadly Rollick
Obscuring Haze
Flawless Maneuver
MythicThe Ur-Dragon
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
Kozilek, the Great Distortion 
Morophon, the Boundless
Urza, Lord High Artificer
Mikaeus the Unhallowed
Neheb, the Eternal
Omnath, Locus of Mana
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
Jeweled Lotus
Balefire Dragon
Demonic Tutor
Finale of Devastation
Smothering Tithe
Jeweled Lotus

Note that Lotus can show up in the final slot twice. Once as a trad foil framebreak, and once as a textured foil framebreak. Usually, Wizards alters numbers in circulation so that no one card is more numerous than others, total copies should be the same from mythic to mythic. A few less traditional foil, but that many textured foil added in. Also worthwhile to note that the foil Framebreak Sol Ring will pop up in one of the middle slots, about every 38 packs. That won’t be a super-rare pull.

Here’s the official list of what’s in a Collector Booster, with the top line being the last card in the pack.

One thing that I’ve learned over the years of calculations is that Wizards is generally going to put two rares out there for every one mythic. So when I’m calculating how many options there are in a given slot, I take the number of rares times two and then add the number of mythics. For example, in the Foil-Etched slot, there’s 135 rares, times two is 270. Plus the 35 mythics and that’s my pool of 305 cards. For any specific mythic, you have a 1/305 chance, and a 2/305 for any particular rare.

There are two additional pieces of data in the article that have direct bearing on the math I’m doing. First is that the textured foils are only 4% of pulls from that last slot. With ten options, we know that any given textured foil card is therefore 0.4%, or if you take the reciprocal, one out of 250 packs.

The other important piece of information is that for the third slot, with the EA and FEA cards, we’re outright told that you’ve got a 20% chance of pulling a foil card from that slot, and I’ve built those numbers into the table below. Feel free to check my math and reach out in the Discord or on Twitter.

Here’s the table with the odds for each of the last three slots in a Collector Booster, where the bigger money cards should be.

Type of Card (number of possible cards)RarityPercent chance for any card of that categoryPercent chance for a specific card of that category# of Collector Boosters needed to open for that card
Textured foil (10)Mythic4%0.4%250
Borderless traditional foil (9)Mythic15.7%1.7%57.2
Borderless traditional foil (23)Rare80.3%3.5%28.6
Foil etched (35)Mythic11.4%0.33%305
Foil etched (135)Rare88.6%0.66%152.5
Extended-art nonfoil (7)Mythic8.89%1.27%78.75
Extended-art nonfoil (28)Rare71.1%2.54%39.375
Foil Extended Art (7)Mythic2.2%0.32%315
Foil Extended Art (28)Rare17.78%0.63%157.5

That’s some impressive numbers, especially as you consider that the retail price for a single Collector Booster is around 2-3x the price of regular Standard sets. One Textured Foil Jeweled Lotus represents about $12,000 in product. 

It’s worth noting that the rarest pulls are not the textured foils, but are instead the FEA mythics. It’s good to know what’s hard to pull, but we also need to know what’s going to show up a lot, and in this case, it’s the borderless rares, including the free spells. I wouldn’t buy any of these early, because we’re about to get a surprising number of these. Opening these packs means hitting any borderless rare in just under 8 of 10 packs, and getting one of the five ‘Commander = free’ spells every 8th pack or so. If you only care about Fierce Guardianship, that’s about every 29 packs.

Some cards needing 250 or even 315 packs sounds like a lot until you take a look at how the books were cooked in previous sets. Keep in mind the much higher price point for Commander Masters, though: 

Card/treatment/setApprox. number of CBs needed to find one copy
Elven Sol Ring (Serialized xxx/300) (LTR)11,111
Dwarven Sol Ring (xxx/700) (LTR)4,762
Human Sol Ring (xxx/900) (LTR)3,704
Surge Foil The Party Tree (The Great Henge) (LTR)3,846
Ring Frame Foil Tom Bombadil (LTR)120
Borderless Scene Foil The One Ring  (LTR)103.45
Halo Foil Planar Frame Sigarda, Font of Blessings (Rare) (MAT)180
Halo Foil Planar Frame Sarkhan, Soul Aflame (Mythic Rare) (MAT)360
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

And with that in mind, let’s look at some example cards from Commander Masters:

Card/treatment/setApprox. number of CBs needed to find one copy
Textured Foil Jeweled Lotus (CMM)250
Borderless Traditional Foil Grave Pact (CMM)57.2
Borderless Traditional Foil Fierce Guardianship (CMM)28.6
Foil Etched Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger (CMM)305
Foil Etched Flawless Maneuver (CMM)152.5
Extended-Art Nonfoil Narci, Fable Singer (CMM)78.75
Extended-Art Nonfoil Rise of the Eldrazi (CMM)39.375
Foil Extended Art Sliver Gravemother (CMM)315
Foil Extended Art Ondu Spiritdancer (CMM)157.5

If you have further questions about these results or my methods, please feel free to hit me up on Twitter or in the ProTrader Discord. Good luck with your packs!

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.