Gifts Given: A Gift Buying Guide for a Magic: the Gathering Player

 So you decided to buy a gift for the Magic player or players in your life and need help finding the best fitting gift for them. Buying gifts for Magic players can be difficult since we're either super picky, indecisive, or just outright don't know what we want. It's hard to generalize Magic players because of the wide spectrum of wants from singles, accessories, or sealed product. Newer players will usually be easier to accommodate than enfranchised players who have more specific wants, though most people will appreciate any gift. If you are interested in catering to that player, then the information below will be of use to you.

Gifts Ungiven by David O'Connor

Reconnaissance (Gathering Data)

To start, figure out what kind of Magic player they are. This will get you a better approximation of what gifts are best suited. Most players will fall into one of these categories or maybe multiple. Talking to them is the best way if you don't understand Magic at all as their is a lot of jargon and community speak. For the experienced, use playtime and snooping around their collection to inform your judgment if you want to surprise them.

New Player/Casual

These players generally are the easiest to please due to their current experience or approach to the game. They normally will not have as many Magic related things as a more enfranchised player and so most things Magic related is good for them. If they just started, products like booster packs and bundles are a solid fit to help them grow their collection. Playmats, sleeves, and deckboxes are also great as gifts well as they add to the playing experience. Other products are solid too but the ones mentioned are a better fit for this category of player.


These players are enthusiastic about a Magic format called Commander of EDH, in which you pick a Legendary creature card and build around it. This is becoming, if not already, the majority of Magic players. The format offers a ton of personal expression in game and is played in a multiplayer setting. These factors contribute to why the format is so popular and influences what kind of gifts are preferred. They are typically more experienced players and are generally looking for specific cards or special products and accessories.


These players curate their own "cube" which is similar to creating a board game using Magic cards. Much like the commander players, their cube is an expression of the player. These are one of the more difficult players to find a gift for as their desires become more specific as time goes on. You might be looking at getting accessories or limited time products.


These are the hardest type of players to get gifts for as it depends on whether or not they are looking for function over fashion products. Most of these players look for the most functional version of everything since they need to be able to swap cards and decks without it being an issue. Playmats and deckboxes are the best way for these players to express themselves in game if anything at all.

Well of Ideas (Products)

Once you have a better understanding of what kind of player they are, here are some ideas for what kind of product you get them. Each product does have different emotional weight tied to them, so take that into consideration. This isn't a complete one size fits all situation and it is dependent on the players attachment to the game.

Sealed Product

Booster Packs/ Bundles/Booster Boxes- These are a staple of the magic products and make a great and safe gift if you do not know much about Magic. They are 12-15 card packs that contain cards at varying rarities. Most players enjoy cracking packs in hopes of getting the high of pulling a sweet card. I personally dislike boosters as a gift as they are difficult to connect with emotionally since the emphasis is on value, though they can create good memories if your players pulls something amazing. WotC has created a variety of booster packs with different packaging methods for different types of players at varying budgets.

  • Draft Packs are 15 card packs that are designed to be played with. This is great for players looking to go beyond just opening packs. If your player enjoys playing limited, draft, sealed, or prerelease, these will be a good fit. Each pack will contain 1 rare/ mythic rare and 3 uncommon with the rest being common and the occasional varying foil card. A box of draft boosters will contain 36 packs. These suffice if they are just looking to open packs, but there are better options for this. 

  • Set Packs are 12 card packs designed to be open. The packs are set up so that you can experience the flavor and mechanics of the set. Unlike draft packs which are completely randomized, set packs contain cards from the set that complement each other. These packs have a higher probability of containing more rares and uncommons than a draft pack. They also contain more of the extra flavoring that accompanies the set such as art cards and special cards. These packs come in both the  bundles and gift bundles as well as their own booster box containing 30 packs. The price point for the opening experience is solid.

  • Collector Boosters are the premium experience for when it comes to opening up booster packs and come with a hefty price. Each pack comes with 4-5 Rares/Mythics that have varying levels of premium treatment applied to them. These cards tend to have and hold a higher value and the experience of opening them feels way better. These are suited to players looking to open the most premium version of cards with every version of the set's cards and the hidden bonuses are available in these packs. These packs come in the gift bundles as well as their own box, which contains 12 packs. The packs can contain the highest value cards in the set, however they generally cost 3-6 times the cost of a draft booster making them expensive to buy.

Gift Bundles- These are box sets that are a variation of regular bundles. It contain boosters, a dice, promotional cards, basic lands, and a storage box. This is awesome for newer players who can use all of these things. For more enfranchised players, you might have to gauge whether this or straight boosters is better.

Precon Decks- These are preconstructed decks that you can buy and play them right out of the box. The decks are typically 60 card decks with the deck comprising multiple copies of certain cards. These are solid for introducing new players to Magic or to newer players looking to better understand the game. Commander decks fall into this category, but deserve their own section. There's a ton of variety with these decks, but most of these are fine for people looking to get into a format or play fun games. If buying for people to play with, I'd recommend getting decks from the pioneer challenger deck series since these will be a good starting point for more competitive play, but fun games can be jammed right out the box. The decks can be played in pioneer events, without worry of deck legality.These deck can also be upgraded and adjusted to your recipient's preference.

Commander Decks- These are decks are a variant of precon decks. They are built for the commander format and meant to be played in a multiplayer environment. They can be played right out of the box without a supplemental product. These are great for all Magic players with the only exception being those who do not play commander/refuse to play commander. The decks are 100 cards singleton, meaning that These decks are generally the more interesting Magic product to play with since the decks are designed better than the average Magic product. If you're buying gifts for multiple magic players at once, these decks will be an awesome addition to the occasion since the recipients can immediately open up their gifts and start playing them against each other. The only downside with the product is that they can be complex for new players. This present can potentially go the distance as players can go on the journey to refine and upgrade the decks over time. These are a perfect present if you want to create memories while remaining on a budget.


Card Sleeves- These are protective covers for your cards. These can have artwork on the back or a plain color. This is one of the ways players can customize their game experience outside the actual game. Sleeves with artwork have traditionally had questionable quality so do be careful. This can be less of a concern if you also buy sleeve covers, which are sleeves for your sleeves. I prefer Dragonshield brand sleeves, but I have also heard good things about Katana sleeves and UltraPro Eclipses. (Nov/2023: Reexamining this statement a year later, I recommend just sticking with Dragonshield, they have been the most consistent for me) This gift is good for players looking to build new decks or as an addition to a precon deck you got them.

Playmats- These are giant mouse pads that are designed to be played on. They are good for keeping your cards off dirty surfaces. These are normally the better accessory to have artwork on since most playmats I've encountered are decent to good quality. You can also get custom art on a playmat a service. These are great for players who don't have too many mats or not a personalized one. The price point for these have always been fair and affordable.

Deck boxes/Storage Box- These will help keep decks organized and allow you to carry them around to wherever you want. The man concern is to get a deck box that can fit the sleeves you intend to play with. Proper storage of cards, not only keeps them organized, but it also protects your cards from the elements. I'd recommend a sturdy plain color deck box, but their are art ones available. The art will fade over time from use. I've mostly use UltraPro's deckboxes, however Ultimate Guard and Legion have been good to me as well. I'm not too familiar with other brands, but Dragon Shield sleeves have been an issue since the sleeves are bigger and make it incompatible with some deck boxes. Solid gift choice otherwise.


Single cards are one of the best gifts to enfranchised players. You have to know your recipient well to figure out the perfect single. There is a ton of emotional weight that comes with single cards. You can also get custom artwork through commission, or do it yourself if you feel up to the task. In my 10years of playing, these are my preferred Magic gift nowadays because of how special these can be.

Secret Lairs/ From the Vaults/ Spellbooks/ ETC- These are a box set of 3-8 cards that have different artwork or are unique cards themselves. This is a sealed products that contain singles. These are great for the invested layer looking to either get certain cards or stylized the cards they already have. The main problem is these are hard to track down and find since these are a limited product, which can also make them expensive. You also have to really know if your recipient will appreciate this, which can be difficult. I'd avoid buying this product unless you know the recipient well.

Final Thoughts

This short read is intended for anyone buying Magic related presents for someone. As I've gotten more settled into Magic, I realized that I am getting harder to please when it comes to MTG gifts. When I first started, simple gifts like the bundle and boosters would have been cool, but now I just have too much product. I want Magic related things, but it's hard for me to care when I can't differentiate between gifts and what I purchased for myself. This made me realized that finding the perfect gift can be difficult for a Magic player and it really comes down with how well you know your player. Most people will appreciate any present you get them, so don't fret too much over getting the perfect present.

If you are still hung up about getting an amazing present, I'd recommend going into a local game store (LGS) and talking with an employee. Most stores will have a Magic guy to help inform your decision. Also please don't buy a different card game thinking it is the same as Magic, unless the recipient is interested in other card games.

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