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The Expected Value of Modern Horizons 2

I've been writing expected-value articles for a long time. In fact, posting expected-value breakdowns on Reddit is how I first met Richard and ended up working for MTGGoldfish. However, all of my past expected-value articles had one big problem: they were a snapshot of a set's expected value at a specific point in time. As we all know, card prices change fast, and doubly so when a new set is released. While knowing the expected value of a set at a certain point in time has value, the old expected-value calculations quickly became outdated as prices change. 

Thankfully, we've found a solution to this problem: an expected-value calculation that updates in real-time as prices change and will always be relevant! Along with letting players know how much value they should expect to open in a box on any given day, this will also allow for some interesting research on how prices (and expected value) change throughout a set's life! Currently, Strixhaven and Modern Horizons 2 are live on the site, and we'll be adding future sets as they are released and hopefully backfilling at least some older sets, eventually. You can find the expected value of a set by going to the Prices page and scrolling to the Sealed Product section of the set. If you click on any of the booster products, you'll see an expanded version of the expected value that shows how much each slot is adding to the total expected value of the pack.

One of the biggest changes to Magic over the past couple of years has been the addition of two new types of booster boxes, with collector boosters and set boosters joining traditional draft boosters. We have an expected value for them all, which should make it easier to decide which of the three booster-box products is right for you! While part of the reason why I wanted to write this article was to show you where to find the new real-time expected value, I also wanted to talk a bit about the expected value of Modern Horizons 2. Currently, it's off the charts.

Modern Horizons 2 Draft Boosters

Currently, Modern Horizons 2 draft booster boxes are selling for somewhere between $250 and $275 a box, which is an extremely high price compared to past products, although with an expected value of $687, it still seems like a reasonable deal. Of course, we're still in the presale period for Modern Horizons 2, and prices likely will drop (and based on these numbers, drop a lot) over the next month or two as the set is opened. Remember, Modern Horizons 2 isn't supposed to be a limited-print-run set (although there are rumors that there might be a shortage of some types of booster boxes initially). Traditionally, when a set is printed to demand, the expected value of a box will fall until it is somewhere around the price of a box. We saw this with Strixhaven, where collector booster boxes had an expected value of $650 just before the set was released but is currently just over $300, slightly more than the cost of a box. Assuming that Modern Horizons 2 doesn't have any surprise supply issues, it's pretty safe to say that the value of the cards found in draft boosters (so, normal printings, primarily) will lose at least half of their value, on average, over the next couple of months. This means that if you are planning on buying singles, you should not be buying them now, at preorder prices. You should be able to save a big chunk of money if you wait a few weeks for the set to be released officially, people to open boxes, and cards to trickle out into the market.

As far as the actual expected value of a Modern Horizons 2 draft booster box, there really isn't a ton to see here. The rare and mythic slot accounts for more than 75% of the set's EV at the moment, adding $534 to the value of a box. The second most valuable slot is the new-to-Modern reprint slot (you'll get one each pack), but it only adds $75 to the EV of a box. Foils, commons, and uncommons add a pretty minimal amount. Basically, if you're opening a draft booster, you're hoping to open good rares and mythics because that is where the bulk of the set's value is found.

Modern Horizons 2 Set Boosters

The expected value of Modern Horizons 2 set boosters is pretty absurd, checking in at over $900 at current prices, even though you can buy set booster boxes for the same prices (and, in some cases, cheaper) than you can buy draft booster boxes. If you aren't planning on drafting and are trying to choose between the two products, set boosters are clearly the right choice from a value perspective.

So, why are set boosters so much more valuable than draft boosters? Well, as we talked about a moment ago, most of the value of Modern Horizons 2 is concentrated among the rares and mythics. In a set booster, you are guaranteed to open one, just like you are in a draft booster, but thanks to the wildcard slot and the "foil in every pack" slot, you have a chance at opening up to three rares or mythics in a single pack (and technically four, thanks to the new-to-Modern reprint slot). As a result, the wildcard slot and the foil slot combine to add an extra $360 in expected value to a set booster box, which accounts for basically all of the difference in value between set boosters and draft boosters.

One slot that doesn't have a meaningful impact on the expected value of set boosters is "The List." Even though "The List" contains some expensive reprints, the odds of opening a good one are minuscule. Because of this, "The List" adds just $8.10 to the $904 expected value of a set booster box; less than 1% of the expected value. While this doesn't really matter much for Modern Horizons 2 specifically—the rest of the set is strong enough that boxes offer good value, and The List is just a random bonus lottery ticket—it is going to matter in the near future, once Wizards starts using "The List" as its primary reprinting spot for unique Secret Lair cards. "The List" simply doesn't offer enough supply to count as a meaningful reprinting. Even though Wizards has said Secret Lair reprints will show up more often than other cards on "The List" will, for this plan to work, these cards are going to have to show up way, way, way more often. Basically, the numbers show that "The List" is basically a marketing gimmick, rather than a meaningful way to reprint cards. Marketing gimmicks are fine, but Wizards should know better than to act like sticking unique Secret Lair cards on "The List" is going to solve potential supply issues or do much to minimize the risk of printing unique cards in time-limited, potentially low-supply products.

Modern Horizons 2 Collector Boosters

Collector boosters have proven to be a somewhat controversial product, mostly because they cost a ton. Currently, a single 12-pack collector booster box of Modern Horizons 2 will set you back somewhere between $390 and $425. For comparison, you could buy four 36-pack draft booster boxes of a Standard set like Strixhaven or Kaldheim for the cost of a single 12-pack Modern Horizons 2 collector booster box. The good news is that while the upfront cost of a collector booster box is insane, the expected value is equally insane, coming in just under $1,300. 

Why are collector boosters so valuable? The answer is that you are guaranteed to open not only four rares / mythics each pack but also four special printings, with each collector booster pack offering one foil-etched rare or mythic, one alt-frame rare or mythic, one sketch or borderless rare or mythic, and one extended-art rare. These special printings are worth, on average, roughly double a normal non-foil printing. 


Here's the TLDR on the expected value of Modern Horizons 2: all of the booster products offer insane value at current prices, but current prices aren't all that meaningful because the set hasn't been released yet, and prices will drop in the coming weeks and months. They have to. Most of the set's value is concentrated in the rares and mythics. Draft boosters offer the worst value since you're likely to open just one rare or mythic per pack (with a small chance of opening one in your foil slot). Set boosters have better value since the foil and wildcard slots give you higher odds of opening multiple rares or mythics per pack. Collector boosters offer the best value since you don't just have a chance to open multiple rares or mythics; you are guaranteed to open four rares or mythics, all of which have a special treatment that makes them more valuable than a normal printing. 

However, when you take into account the cost of buying a booster box, it's actually set boosters that are the biggest winners from Modern Horizons 2. Look at it this way: a draft booster box costs $275 (all prices approximate since it varies a bit from place to place), and the expected value is $687, which means the EV is 2.5 times the cost of a box. A set booster box also costs $275, but the expected value is $905—3.3 times the cost of a box, which is way higher than draft boosters and a little bit higher than collector boosters (cost: $400, expected value $1,286, 3.22 times the cost of a box). So at current prices, if you're thinking about cracking some Modern Horizons 2 boxes, set boosters offer the best value. Things become more questionable in the long ter, and my guess is that collector boosters will end up winning because all of the rare special printings that aren't found in set or draft boosters are more likely to maintain their value than normal printings are. 

Anyway, that's the expected value of Modern Horizons 2. Currently, prices are insane but should be at least a bit less so once the set is released and prices start to fall. If your plan is to buy singles, wait for prices to drop. If you plan is to buy boxes, don't buy draft boosters—both set boosters and collector boosters offer way more value, with set boosters being the most valuable currently and collector boosters likely to be the most valuable in the long term. Speaking of the long term, make sure to check out the price page for the most up-to-date expected-value calculation over the next weeks and months to have the most up-to-date information. 

As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at

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