I recently recovered a treasure trove of "lost" cards.

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(If you're physically recoiling at the thought of all those warped and potentially bent cards, I'm right there with you)

They run the gamut from Portal (1st) to Odyssy Block to Zendikar Block to M10 and M11, and who knows what else. I'd like to catalog them eventually (I estimate about 5,000 cards, including land), but in the meantime, a friend suggested I use these to set up a draft!

Which, in retrospect, might be hard to realize.

There's a couple of issues at play here - the cards are obviously not in packs at this point, and while the rarity makes it pretty easy to compose boosters of 11 commons, 3 uncommons, and 1 rare/mythic, the cards are not sorted per set -- are there any considerations to be made regarding to mixing sets? (At this point, I'm not even sure the full list of represented sets)

If so, which sets might be "better" for drafting? Part of the appeal of this box is the size of the timegap between the early and later cards, so I'd like to mix in as many sets as possible.

In terms of numbers, each player getting 6 "packs" of 15 cards is usually how my friends and I draft -- is there a benefit to using more "packs" due to the set disparities? Any other thoughts or considerations I may have missed?

  • 2
    Are you familiar with cube drafting? That's a better option than trying to reassemble boosters packs set by set.
    – jwodder
    Aug 13, 2014 at 0:38
  • @jwodder Certainly a good suggestion, though if there are enough cards here to make enough packs per set (hard to say for sure from the estimate), I'd say "different", not necessarily better. Putting together a good cube isn't trivial, and block drafts have their own appeal.
    – Cascabel
    Aug 13, 2014 at 0:51
  • @jwodder I actually looked into that. However, the problem is that I don't currently know what cards I have available, so I have little clue as to what kind of cube I could make. Aug 13, 2014 at 1:14
  • 1
    By your description ("each player gets 6 packs"), it sounds like you are describing the "sealed" format and not draft. Which do you mean? Aug 13, 2014 at 1:21
  • 1
    I've played Rejected Rare drafting a couple of times (everyone brings his or her 45 crappiest rares, then boosters are created from the pool). From that experience I think you only need to make sure each color appears equally often (roughly) and that you have at least 70% creatures. I think you can ignore rarity.
    – john_leo
    Aug 13, 2014 at 6:10

2 Answers 2


I made the assumption that you trust your friends not to steal your cards.

Two formats are relevant to your situation.

Repack Draft

Drafting with boosters made from already opened cards is known as a Repack Draft. My local game store runs these all the time for a much discounted price. I sometimes help out with the setup. We value cards according to B.R.E.A.D.

  • Make color coordinated piles of Bombs, Removal, Evasive creatures, Attackers, and Defenders. There are also the oddball special lands and other things that don't fit. Fill 15 boosters with cards from these piles. Bombs should be sparse. Removal should be somewhat sparse. Attackers should be plentiful.

Some cards are simply broken outside of their respective sets. Others seem all but useless. The useless cards are no fun to draft. The broken cards should just be considered bombs. If you don't know how to judge the power level of a card, then you shouldn't expect a balanced draft the first time around.

Just a tip - put your own spin on the packs. We once added a Terramorphic Expanse to every single booster. It was well received by the players.

Cube Draft

This is the same as a Repack Draft with two exceptions: you get your cards back. With this in mind, you can put a lot more thought into selecting cards. You can make sure the colors are more even (or not). You can make a removal heavy cube, a bomb heavy cube, or even a cube made entirely of rares and mythicals. You get to be the designer.

I strongly suggest you read How to Begin Your Cube by Evan on CubeDrafting.com.

The nice thing about cubes is that if you misjudge the power level of a card or group of cards, you can just adjust it after the draft.


I'll extend my comment to an answer.

I would do the following: Sort the cards according to their color, plus one pile for multicolored, artifacts, and nonbasic lands.
Then make sure that each pile (except for the land pile) has around 70% creatures. If the color piles are of very different size, then I would randomly remove some cards (or you could fill up the other piles with cards from your collection). From the non-creature spells, try to keep removal and avoid silly situational cards like Mudhole. Then make booster packs of 15 cards that roughly contain an equal amount of cards of each color. With those booster packs you can then continue to create the limited format of your preference.
Personally, I would ignore rarity completely.

  • Sounds like decent advice. Any thoughts on mixing of the sets? (I.e., should each "booster" be from the same set, or should the cards truly be mixed all willy-nilly) Aug 13, 2014 at 11:39
  • I think I would also ignore sets. It might be difficult if you have a very large amount of cards from a set that has rather intrinsic synergy (e.g. Arcane from the Kamigawa block or graveyard/Threshold synergies), but generally I would also ignore sets. It's the drafter's quest to find interset synergies!
    – john_leo
    Aug 13, 2014 at 11:45
  • And each booster should have one rare and three uncommons. But I guess it's hard to know which are which in those early editions without colored edition symbol.
    – Rumplin
    Aug 13, 2014 at 14:18
  • @Rumplin I think I would disregard rarity completely. So what if one pack contains three rares and the other none. Don't forget that in Limited cards like Lightning Bolt or Doom Blade are very powerful.
    – john_leo
    Aug 13, 2014 at 15:04

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