Best Magic: The Gathering cards

Hobby & Collectibles

Around 20 million players play Magic: The Gathering, making it the most widely used trading card game ever.

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Which Magic: The Gathering cards are best?

Magic: The Gathering is a strategy-based card game that’s been around since the early 1990s. Created by Wizards of the Coast, this fun, unique trading card game is played by millions all around the world. As of 2019, there were over 24,000 different Magic cards. Each card features a spell or creature that fights on your behalf as you battle your opponents. Cards are sold in a variety of packs, including booster and preconstructed decks.

The best Magic: The Gathering pack is the Rivals of Ixalan booster box. This 540-card expansion pack is centered around vicious dinosaurs.

What to know before you buy Magic: The Gathering cards

Booster packs

Booster packs are large sets of cards from one particular expansion. Each one features a different theme, including different spells and creatures. Each pack of cards within a booster pack is sealed with random cards inside. Think of it as buying a pack of baseball cards. You never know what exciting card may come out next! If you’re lucky, you may get a rare card that represents two spells you can cast against your opponent.  


Magic: The Gathering releases hundreds of new cards each year. These new sets are known as expansions, just like a video game that releases a new update. Developers do this to keep fans and players interested and provide new content. After all, playing the same game over and over can get boring. Introducing new expansion cards to the game shakes up the card pool and puts less emphasis on the older, legacy cards. 


MTG cards come in four different rarities: common, uncommon, rare and mythic rare. Common cards are the easiest to understand for new players because they contain fewer words and rules. That said, they also have the least amount of impact on the game. Their effects are limited, and they only feature certain types of spells. Uncommon cards add a little more complexity, some added rules of engagement and a few more spells. You can see the trend from here. Rare cards have big effects and include spells or creatures that some may never see in the MTG world. Mythic rare are the most complex cards available.

What to look for in quality Magic: The Gathering cards

Mythic cards

Mythic cards are the rarest cards found in Magic: The Gathering sets. There are two types of mythic cards known as mythic and mythic rare. By purchasing a booster set you will likely come across dozens of mythic cards out of the hundreds included. With mythic rare cards, the creators will use a certain skill or effect and expand it in an unbelievable way. These cards have a huge impact on the game and can win almost any battle.


Magic is very clever with how they integrate cards. Bundles are a good example of this because they mix multiple adventures. These adventures include different characters that have various abilities. Just lie booster packs, bundles allow for unique themes. For example, the latest bundle, called Magic: the Gathering Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, is a crossover theme with Dungeons and Dragons. That’s right, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons have teamed up for an impressive 62-card bundle!

Core sets

Core sets are the base sets of cards that are designed to get new players interested in the game. They are less complex and include easy-to-learn mechanics. Players that are new to the game will appreciate the subtlety for what’s already a pretty complex game. These packs also include unique artwork. The latest 2021 core set features thematic card frames, alternate art and special treatments.  

How much you can expect to spend on Magic: The Gathering cards

Magic: The Gathering cards can cost anywhere from $14 for a booster pack to $200 for booster boxes and full expansion packs.

Magic: The Gathering FAQ

How many MTG cards are needed to play one game?

A. A minimum of 60 cards are required to play one game. Within that stack should be no more than four of each card type. This helps keep the game fair and balanced for all players.

How many people are needed to play one game?

A. A minimum of two people are needed to play a game of Magic: The Gathering. Four players is ideal, but two will suffice if that’s all you have. There is also a special MTG format called Star that can be played with five players.

What’s the best Magic: The Gathering cards to buy?

Top Magic: The Gathering cards

Rivals of Ixalan booster box

Rivals of Ixalan booster box

What you need to know: This unique booster box is stacked with a massive 540 cards and features epic killer dinosaurs, pirates and jungle explorers. 

What you’ll love: With a booster box of this size you are likely to receive over 25 mythic rare cards. This can add big value to your overall collection.

What you should consider: Booster boxes like this are among the most expensive sets you can buy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Magic: The Gathering cards for the money

2021 Arena starter kit

2021 Arena starter kit

What you need to know: This starter kit gives you all the cards you need to learn the game from scratch. By opting for the bonus pack, you can receive a convenient player handbook.

What you’ll love: Not only is this starter kit great for beginners who are still learning the game, but it’s very affordable, making the initial investment worth it. 

What you should consider: This starter kit is not ideal for players who already know the basics of Magic: the Gathering. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Kaldheim Commander deck

Kaldheim Commander deck

What you need to know: This ready-to-play Commander deck includes 100 cards in a Viking- and elf-inspired theme.

What you’ll love: Included in this newly released 2021 deck is one foil (glossy) Commander card and a deck box that easily holds your cards while you’re playing. 

What you should consider: This deck does not feature an MTG Arena code, which, if included, would provide free stuff for the purchaser. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan Beliles writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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