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Expected Numbers of Specific Cards in Shadows over Innistrad Limited


Shadows over Innistrad has 297 cards, 25 more than most large expansions, presumably to accommodate double-faced cards. Fifteen of the 297 are basic lands, and there are 105 Commons, 100 Uncommons, 59 Rares, and 18 Mythics. Of these, 33 are double-faced cards: 4 Commons, 20 Uncommons, 6 Rares, and 3 Mythics. Individual double-faced cards appear at roughly the same frequency as regular cards, but are distributed differently across packs.

Each booster pack contains a double-faced Common or Uncommon, nine regular Commons, three regular Uncommons, and one Rare or Mythic. In addition, one in every eight packs contains a Rare or Mythic double-faced card in place of a regular Common. These packs contain two double-faced cards and two Rares/Mythics. One out of about every six packs also contains a foil card, which replaces a Common, so you can actually end up with three Rares/Mythics in a pack if you're extremely lucky. 

  Contents Common Uncommon Rare Mythic
Booster Pack 8 7/8 Commons, 3 Uncommons, 7/8 Rare, 1/8 Mythic 0.09 0.04 0.017 0.008
Fat Pack 9 booster packs 0.79 0.34 0.15 0.075
Booster Box 36 booster packs 3.16 1.35 0.59 0.30

If double-faced cards had exactly the same frequency as regular cards, we'd end up with 39.65 Commons plus Uncommons, and 4.47 Rares plus Mythics in a box, instead of the 36 and 4.5 that we'd expect. Using knowledge about the print sheets for double-faced cards in Innistrad and Dark Ascension, I believe each booster box will have three copies of each double-faced Common, 1.2 copies of each double-faced Uncommon, 0.6 copies of each double-faced Rare, and 0.3 copies of each double-faced Mythic. Using this information, here's how many copies we can expect to open at each rarity in a booster pack, fat pack, and booster box.

  Contents Common Uncommon Rare Mythic
Booster Pack 1 double-faced Common or Uncommon, 1/8 double-faced Rare or Mythic 0.08 0.03 0.017 0.008
Fat Pack 9 booster packs 0.75 0.30 0.15 0.075
Booster Box 36 booster packs 3.0 1.2 0.6 0.3

These numbers are similar to those in the previous table for regular cards, but it does mean that you're 5% less likely to open a specific double-faced Common than a specific regular Common, 12% less likely to open a specific double-faced Uncommon than a specific regular Uncommon, and 1% more likely to open a specific double-faced Rare than a specific regular Rare. The chance of opening a specific Mythic is identical for double-faced and regular cards.

For regular cards, you're about 2.3 times as likely to see a copy of any given Common as you are to see a copy of any given Uncommon, 2.3 times as likely to see a copy of any given Uncommon as you are to see a copy of any given Rare, and 2 times as likely to see a copy of any given Rare as you are to see a copy of any given Mythic. For double-faced cards, you're about 2.5 times as likely to see a copy of any given Common as you are to see a copy of any given Uncommon, twice as likely to see a copy of any given Uncommon as you are to see a copy of any given Rare, and twice as likely to see a copy of any given Rare as you are to see a copy of any given Mythic. Since the set has four double-faced commons and 20 double-faced uncommons, two-third of the cards in the common/uncommon double-faced card slot will be uncommons, which matches my experience with the set so far.

Now let's apply this information, along with the numbers of packs used for each Limited format, to determine how likely we are to encounter copies of specific cards at each rarity in various Limited environments. I will use this information in subsequent articles to determine how viable various draft archetypes are, how strong some cards are in draft, and whether certain situational spells are playable maindeck in sealed.

Draft

An eight-person Shadows over Innistrad draft uses a total of 24 packs and will, on average, contain:

  • for regular cards: 2.1 copies of a given Common, 0.9 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.4 copies of a given Rare, and 0.2 copies of a given Mythic.
  • for double-faced cards: 2.0 copies of a given Common, 0.8 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.4 copies of a given Rare, and 0.2 copies of a given Mythic.

Sealed

Individual sealed uses six packs of Shadows over Innistrad, so each player has access to a quarter as many copies of any given card as in an eight-person draft. A sealed pool will, on average, contain:

  • for regular cards: 0.53 copies of a given Common, 0.23 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.10 copies of a given Rare, and 0.05 copies of a given Mythic.
  • for double-faced cards: 0.50 copies of a given Common, 0.20 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.10 copies of a given Rare, and 0.05 copies of a given Mythic.

Team Sealed

Three-person team sealed uses twelve packs of Shadows over Innistrad, so each player has access to half as many copies of any given card as in an eight-person draft. A team sealed pool will, on average, contain:

  • for regular cards: 1.05 copies of a given Common, 0.45 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.20 copies of a given Rare, and 0.10 copies of a given Mythic.
  • for double-faced cards: 1.00 copies of a given Common, 0.40 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.20 copies of a given Rare, and 0.10 copies of a given Mythic.

Two-Headed Giant

Two-Headed Giant sealed uses eight packs of Shadows over Innistrad, so each player has access to third as many copies of any given card as in an eight-person draft. A Two-Headed Giant sealed pool will, on average, contain:

  • for regular cards: 0.70 copies of a given Common, 0.30 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.13 copies of a given Rare, and 0.07 copies of a given Mythic.
  • for double-faced cards: 0.67 copies of a given Common, 0.27 copies of a given Uncommon, 0.13 copies of a given Rare, and 0.07 copies of a given Mythic.

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