The 10 Best Magic Booster Boxes
10. Return to Ravnica
9. Amonkhet Plane
8. Dragons of Tarkir
7. Kaladesh Realm
6. Eldritch Moon
5. Avacyn Restored
4. Origins Compilation
3. Shadows Over Innistrad
2. Conspiracy: Take The Crown
1. Gatecrash Collection
Before Magic, Magic
When talking about the history of Magic: The Gathering, most people think of Richard Garfield, the award-winning game designer who invented the game in the early 1990s. But anyone who's played the game, Garfield included, knows that magic itself has a much richer history than a mere deck of cards at a tournament table.
Before Gandalf, before Harry Potter, magic was the providence of what we now call scientists (a term originally coined in 1834 as an insult meaning "know-it-all"). Natural philosophers, many of which honestly believed that words and things shared common essences, dedicated their lives to studying Nature (with a capital N, of course) by studying the words and symbols that described it.
What those natural philosophers called natural magic included what we now call biology, zoology, mineralogy, botany, and even philology. What they called alchemy we now call chemistry. But the one thing these philosophers had in common that modern scientists do not was their penchant for enigmatic language, puzzling puns and esoteric symbolism--not unlike that found on many Magic: The Gathering cards.
Despite the decline of their ideas at the hands of Modernity, natural magicians and alchemists' strange approaches to symbols carried on. Revivalists of the late 19th Century, such as Madame Blavatsky and Aleister Crowley, built enviable careers around insisting ancient secrets need not be secrets. By virtue of their vices, magic became magick (with a K) in an attempt to differentiate modern rituals from what many considered to be misguided practices.
Needless to say, all attempts to differentiate fell short. Blavatsky fashioned herself an untrustworthy medium and Crowley fashioned himself a so-called "beast" in the eyes of London's media.
Not only did Blavatsky and Crowley enjoy role-playing in their own little ways, but they also enjoyed playing games with cards, so much so that Crowley went so far as to design his own deck, which he called the Thoth tarot.
The Magic of Magic
Unlike the tarot, to which modern playing cards are quite closely related, Magic: The Gathering is not limited to a standard deck with specific suits and characters. Doubles, triples, and even quadruples are allowed and there is no upward limit to the number of cards you can have.
By combining the social aspect of baseball trading cards with the strategic aspects of complex card games such as Hearts, Richard Garfield, a PhD in combinatorial mathematics, devised the world's first collectible card game (or CCG).
First published in 1993 by Wizards of the Coast, Magic was initially intended to keep people occupied during periods of downtime at gaming conventions. In just a few short months, however, the game acquired an enormous following, resulting in the development of expansion packs and numerous clones, including Wizards of the Coast's own attempt to compete with itself (kind of like how Tide, Gain, and Cheer are all made by Procter & Gamble).
Heavily inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, Magic is more than just a card game. It's also a role-playing game. Players, called mages or planeswalkers, specialize in up to five types of magic, though typically no more than three in an attempt to conserve mana, traverse the various planes of the multiverse and engage each other in no-holds-barred combat.
Planes determine types of terrain, types of terrain determine types of magic, and types of magic determine which sorceries you can cast and which creatures you can summon.
One Plane, Two Planes, Red Planes, Blue Planes
The trick to choosing a booster pack depends entirely upon which color of magic you want to focus on. Unlike the schools of magic in table-top role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, in which one might be inclined to roll a chaotic evil, glass-cannon necromancer with an abjuration allergy and extremely low charisma, the colors of magic in Magic are defined not by one's ability to summon three Wicked Akubas, but the extent to which the strengths of one color compensate for the weaknesses of another. You can, of course, play with a mono-black deck, in which case you would want to opt for a mono-black booster box.
However, because most planeswalkers prefer to walk most planes by building multiple decks with various color combinations, investing in a mono-color booster box is typically reserved for players hoping to enhance a single deck within a collection of decks. Players looking to boost their entire collection of decks simultaneously will want to invest in one of the many, and most popular, multi-color booster boxes.
Alternatively, you could always revive an old tradition from the Nineties and gamble away your best cards. Despite being banned at officially sponsored tournaments, playing for keeps tends to be far more exciting and nerve-wracking than opening thirty-six packs in your living room.