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Mythic is the new Rare

I’ve quit playing Magic a couple of times. Once was when they introduced “mythic rare” cards like Lotus Cobra, or the Superfriends deck with loads and loads of mythic rares. It was being presented as a new rarity above rare, more rare than rare.

It took me years to realize that mythic is just the same rarity as rare used to be, and “rare” now is, hmm, we would’ve called it “R2” back then.

A rare (these days) are twice as common as a mythic. So the change made many cards more easily available, not less. I quit for a bad reason.

“Whaddayamean, Sandra? Mythic rares are one-in-eight, everyone knows that.”

In the olden days, there was a common sheet, an uncommon sheet, and a rare sheet. That’s still how it’s done today, and rares and mythic rares are printed on the same sheet, each rare being printed twice.

(At times there have been a basic land sheet or a double-faced sheet and also foil sheets etc.)

Tenth edition, a pre-mythic set, had 121 rares, each printed once.
Shards of Alara, a mythic set, had 15 mythic rares, each printed once, and 53 rares, each printed twice. (53 + 53 + 15 = 121.)

So, Time Stop, a rare from tenth edition, is as rare (relative to the overall print run of the set) as Lotus Cobra, a mythic rare from Shards of Alara. Knight-Captain of Eos, a regular rare from Shards of Alara, is twice as common.

This should also explain the one-in-eight thing: 53 + 53 ≈ 15 × 7. So there are seven rare cards overall for every one mythic rare. But there aren’t seven Knight-Captain of Eos for every Lotus Cobra—there are two. It’s just that there are more rares (three and a half as many) as there are mythic rares.

Now, this might still lead to mythic rares being more expensive now than old rares like Necropotence or Masticore used to be. I don’t know why. I can think of three reasons: groupthink, overall print runs, and more of a chaff factor. Let’s say in the past, enough boosters were open (and resold as singles) to make a rare card cost $X. Now, fewer boosters are opened (relative to the much larger current player base) which makes a mythic cost more than $X. Great for Jennies who wanna explore underrated jank rares. Not so great if there are pay-to-win must-haves printed at mythic.

(None of this is to defend Magic as a whole, which has its fair share of problems as a game, hobby, and community. Just trying to set the record straight on this one thing which I mistakenly let kill Magic for me, for a while.)