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 looks at the many promotional cards for Dominaria United.

Wizards of the Coast released information about the support they are providing to help stores sell more (higher priced) packs and decks of Dominaria United (see "Wizards of the Coast Will Raise Prices"), and my staff said the sheer number of different promo cards offered made their heads hurt.  Given that stores will be able to sell boxes of Draft, Set and Collector boosters, how much longer before Bundles are made available for sale at the prerelease (see "Dominaria United Release")?

Starting off, we have the box topper, which is not a single-type of box topper; we have 20 different box toppers, meaning that collectors will have to shell out even more to collect the entire set.  I understand that WotC wants to sell more boxes of boosters, but 20 different cards?  That is a lot of variation for a promo card.

Then we have the Lost Legends cards.  One in every 33 Collector Boosters will contain an original card from the Legends set of Magic: The Gathering, which released back in 1994 (see "'Dominaria United' Collector Boosters").  If my math is correct, customers will have to purchase three booster boxes of Collector boosters for a chance of getting one Legends card.  Of course, as WotC has indicated in the past, there is no guarantee of that one of the Legends cards would appear in those three boxes of Collector Booster.  Still, the chance of picking up a Moat or Nicol Bolas is pretty enticing.

It also looks as if stores will receive the first three of thirty promotional cards to use to encourage players to attend the Dominaria United prerelease: Serra Angel, Ball Lightning and Fyndhorn Elves (in German).  Stores are to give them out during the prerelease, in addition to the prerelease kits.  They can be used as incentives to get people to sign up early or just given out randomly during the event.  This is gonna be a whole lot of promotional cards to hand out over the next eight prereleases.  Some sort of promotional poster to hang in store showing off the cards would help build excitement.

But wait, there’s more! We also have new promo packs and Welcome Boosters.  The promo packs can prove useful as an option when prizing weekly Magic events, but most of our customers prefer the 15-card draft packs instead of the promo packs.  Welcome Boosters, however, are rather useless.  Someone brings in a new player wanting to learn about Magic, or a new player comes in by themselves wanting to know more about the game, but instead of having a small deck we can use to demonstrate the game and let them keep, we give them a Welcome Booster, which does not offer enough to let them play.  I keep hoping WotC will bring back its Welcome Decks, which were the best tool the company ever created to get people into Magic, but am not holding my breath.

What do you think?  Are Welcome Packs a good idea?  Maybe WotC has data showing they are but I have never heard one store ask for more of them.  Are all of these promos going to make the 30th Anniversary a huge event or are they too much of a good thing?  Email with your thoughts.

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