The Mana Math for Murders at Karlov Manor

New set, same issues. They give us percentages and counts and then it’s up to us to figure things out for what exactly that means. Luckily, I’ve got years of practice in doing exactly that.

We’ve got a new type of booster to talk about, we’ve got The List, Special Guests, and more serialized cards! So many sweet things to talk about and hopefully make some great decisions that pay off nicely.

Play Boosters are here!

Reminder about The List and Special Guest: “Special Guests and The List cards can appear in non-foil in Play Boosters, while only Special Guests can appear in traditional foil in Collector Boosters.”

Here’s how the odds work: First, only 1 in 8 Play Boosters has any of these cards, and even if you get a booster with one of these, you don’t have equal chances at each. We are given the percentages, and the number of options, and then it’s just division (odds/# of cards) and then take the reciprocal for the number of packs required to open a specific card.

Special Guests(10)
1.56% of boosters
(approx 1 in 641)
The List Commons/Uncommons (30)
9.38% of boosters
(approx 1 in 32) 
The List Rares/Mythic Rares (10)
1.56% of boosters
(approx 1 in 641)
Crashing Footfalls
Drown in the Loch
Field of the Dead
Ghostly Prison
Show and Tell
Tireless Tracker
Tragic Slip
Bishop of the Bloodstained
Burden of Guilt
Cavalier of Thorns
Combine Chrysalis
Consign // Oblivion
Duskmantle, House of Shadow
Enlisted Wurm
Ghost Quarter
Gnaw to the Bone
Goblin Warchief
Hard Evidence
High Alert
Krosan Tusker
Kuldotha Rebirth
Laid to Rest
Leonin Relic-Warder
Maverick Thopterist
Mentor of the Meek
Metalspinner’s Puzzleknot
Mistveil Plains
Mystery Key
Nyx Weaver
Putrid Warrior
Quintorius, Field Historian
Shard of Broken Glass
Spell Snare
Stromkirk Captain
Syr Konrad, the Grim
Treacherous Terrain
Death Cloud
Jace, Wielder of Mysteries
Baleful Mastery
Ixidor, Reality Sculptor
Molten Psyche
Mass Hysteria
Monologue Tax
Ranger-Captain of Eos
Worldspine Wurm
Cavalier of Thorns

Price analysis: Holy hell, it’s going to take roughly 17.8 boxes to nab one copy of a Special Guest or a rare/mythic The List card. You will open one common/uncommon The List card every box (very likely, anyway) and even have a shot at two of them in your 36 packs, but goodness, the rares are rare indeed. 

For those who are worried about Special Guests being in large quantities, put those fears to bed. A playset of the new Crashing Footfalls (nonfoil) will require approximately 71 boxes of Play Boosters. (Want foils? I’ll explain the math in a moment, but it’ll be roughly 111 Collector Booster boxes!)

Sometimes the Collector Boosters have lots of things in lots of different slots, but this time, almost everything we care about is focused in the final slot of the pack:

Of note: the third from last slot, the one with all the Commander cards in Extended Art, will be almost completely nonfoil. Some sets, we get foil EA versions, but not this one. The only foils to be found in that slot will be Foil EA treatment versions of the eight mythics that are the commanders for the decks, and each one of those eight has a 1.06% chance to show up in foil. You have the same odds for nonfoil too.

So let’s have a table with the options for the last slot, of which there are many. The math plays out the same way: The percent chance of a card from a category, divided by the number of options, gives you the odds for a certain card. Then take the reciprocal to get the number of packs required to hit that specific card.

Type/Rarity (# of options)Percent 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
Traditional Foil Showcase Dossier Invisible Ink Mythic Rares (14)8.4%0.6%166.67
Traditional Foil Showcase Magnified Frame Rare (8)9.5%1.19%84.2
Traditional Foil Showcase Magnified Frame Mythic Rare (1)0.6%0.6%166.67
Traditional Foil Guild Leader Ravnica City Mythic Rare (3)0.9%0.3%333.33
Traditional Foil Guild Leader Ravnica City Rare (4)2.4%0.8%125
Traditional Foil Guild Leader in Showcase Dossier Mythic Rare (3)0.9%0.3%333.33
Traditional Foil Guild Leader in Showcase Dossier Rare (4)2.4%0.8%125
Traditional Foil Showcase Dossier Mythic Rares (13)15.4%1.19%84.4
Traditional Foil Showcase Dossier Rares (11)6.5%0.59%169.2
Traditional Foil Borderless Mythic Rare (1)0.6%0.6%166.67
Traditional Foil Borderless Rare (11)13.1%1.19%84
Traditional Foil Special Guest (10)3%0.3%333.33
Traditional Foil Extended Art Mythic Rare (4)3%0.75%133.33
Traditional Foil Extended Art Rare (29)33.3%1.15%87.08
Serialized Double Rainbow Foil Retro Frame (7)<1%See BelowSee Below

The City Frame and Dossier versions of the Guild Leaders add up to make them as common as any other mythic or rare. This is commonly done when there’s extra versions of a card that might cause a problem, because there would be that many more copies of that card out there.

From this list, we can see that the foil Special Guests are a difficult pull indeed. You’ll have the same tough odds for the Guild Leaders in mythic rare, either version. (Remember, together they add up to other mythics!) This tells me to keep an eye on these cards, but preordering them looks like more than I’d want to cough up. If the preorder is too high, then even with these odds, I’d need crazy growth to resell profitably.  The only one close to that is Ghostly Prison, whose preorder price is about the same as the Secret Lair version, making the margins too thin for my taste.

However, it’s worth noting that the foils and the nonfoils might be close in price. It takes 641 Play Boosters to snag a nonfoil Special Guest. The foils require 333 Collector Boosters. We aren’t given precise counts on either type of booster, but we should keep those relative counts in mind as the set goes on and the prices move. 

There are only 1,750 serialized cards out there from this set, 250 each of three mythic rares and four rares. All of them are guild leaders in the City frame: 

Rakdos, Patron of Chaos
Trostani, Three Whispers
Vannifar, Evolved Enigma
Aurelia, the Law Above
Lazav, Wearer of Faces
Niv-Mizzet, Guildpact
Teysa, Opulent Oligarch

We’re told it’s less than 1% to pull any serialized card, so let’s have a table for what the options are.

Our estimate is that there’s between 2 million and 3.5 million Collector Boosters made for a set like this, based on figures for annual revenue and other such sets. So instead of saying ‘Less than 1%’ we’re estimating it to between 0.09% and 0.05%. This means you’re going to hit any serialized card every 1,150 packs to 2,000 packs, or if you prefer boxes, roughly every 96 to 167 boxes. If you want the odds for hitting a specific serialized card, you’re talking 8,000-14,000 packs to get that card, or 667-1167 boxes. 

Given those odds, I wouldn’t be shocked if the prices for these cards started out sky-high. There’s less of these than there were for the Elven Sol Ring, but the play pattern/collectibility for the cards couldn’t be more different. These are clearly meant for folks who want the serialized cards as the Commanders for their decks, and I suspect the first couple of these will sell for very high prices, but it should trickle down to something more reasonable over time. 

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.