Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne offers his initial thoughts on the new card features announced in the next Magic: The Gathering expansion, Throne of Eldraine.

I had an entire other column written until Wizards of the Coast revealed new card and booster formats early Sunday morning.  Although the new booster formats started with the release of the Theme boosters in Guilds of Ravnica and the new foil ratio of 1:45 debuting in Core Set 2020 (meaning a 33.4% likelihood of opening a foil in any given pack), the new set, Thorne of Eldraine, (which has a "Camelot meets Grimm Fairy Tales" theme to it) launches them all.

There are three new frame styles of card:  borderless Planeswalkers, extended art cards, and showcase cards.

Borderless Planeswalker.  Technically, these are not new.  They were introduced in the Mythic Editions of the last three sets.  However, this is the first time players will find them, along with bordered versions of the same Planeswalkers in the standard booster pack, now called a Draft Pack.  They also will appear in the much pricier Collector Booster.

Extended Art Frames.  On these cards, the card art extends to the left and right edges with the normal border remaining at the top and bottom of the card.  The text and art on the card remain the same as the regular card but the extended art cards will only appear in the Collector Booster, with the standard version of the card appearing in the Draft and Theme boosters.

Showcase Frames.  These will feature a frame design that ties into the theme of the set in which they appear. In Throne of Eldraine, showcase frames appear on cards utilizing a new card mechanic debuting in the set.  No word on what the mechanic is yet for this set, but it involves dividing the text area of the card into two separate sections with the showcase frame.  This reminds me of medieval calligraphy that surrounds both the art and text areas.  The showcase frames will appear in both the Draft and Collector Booster packs on common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare cards.

Now, for the new packs.  The Draft and Theme Boosters stay the same, save for the addition of the new frames to the Draft Boosters.  The Collector Booster is where it gets interesting.  These will retail for $20 to $25.  They will contain 9 foil uncommon and common cards, 1 foil rare/mythic rare (any from the set, including borderless), 1 rare/mythic rare with extended art, 3 special frame cards (either borderless or showcase), 1 foil token, and 1 ancillary card, basically a card connected to the set not included in the Draft Booster.  For Throne of Eldraine, this could be one of the cards included in the Planewalker decks, the Buy-a-Box card or one of the cards from the new Brawl decks, a new play format debuting with Throne of Eldraine (but not the alternate art card found in the Bundle).

The other quasi-new pack is a change to the Promo Pack, which released as OP support with Core Set 2020. Three of the cards included in the promo pack remain the same.  However, the promo-stamped land card goes away, replaced by MTG Arena promo card, which good for a booster pack on MTG Arena.

Oh, one more thing. There is a change to the Buy-a-Box promotion.  For Throne of Eldraine, purchasers of a booster box will not only receive a quantity of the Buy-a-Box cards but an equal number of Collector Booster packs to give out to each booster box buyer.  That should really stoke booster box sales!

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of