WizKids Minis Booster Sets Demystified
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
Collecting prepainted miniatures is confusing! This article is your one-stop shop to answer every question you have about WizKids booster sets.
WizKids is a company that makes, among other things, lots of miniatures. They're a subsidiary of NECA, which is a huuuuge toy company.
WizKids makes popular games such as HeroClix, Dice Masters, and Attack Wing. They also make unpainted miniatures under brands such as Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures and Deep Cuts. They even make My Little Pony miniatures.
This article is concerned with their randomized prepainted miniatures. There are two main product lines at this time:
Icons of the Realms for Dungeons & Dragons 5e
Pathfinder Battles for Pathfinder 1e and 2e
What's a booster set?
A booster set consists of blind booster boxes which look like this:
Blind means you don't know what minis are inside the box.
The picture depicts a booster box from the Icons of the Realms line. The set is Storm King's Thunder.
Each set has a pool of miniatures that could be in the box, but each box will only contain four of those possible miniatures.
The number of total miniatures in a set varies. Not counting variants (we'll get to that), a set usually has 44, but the largest set, from Pathfinder Battles, had 60.
How do I see what miniatures are in a set?
There are three main resources you can use:
MinisGallery is a website with galleries containing photos of every miniature in a set. MinisGallery is the most comprehensive resource as they currently have photos for every Icons of the Realms and Pathfinder Battles set.
WizKids has a listing of all their sets but they do not usually show all the minis in the sets to maintain mystery and excitement for those who don't want to know what they're going to get out of a box.
What are my options for buying from a set?
There are four ways to buy miniatures from a set:
1. Buy booster boxes individually. This option is not recommended unless you really don't care what you get.
2. Buy a brick of 8 booster boxes plastic wrapped together. Bricks are assembled in a way to minimize duplication. Of the 32 miniatures you get this way, only 3 should be duplicates, meaning you'll get 29 unique figures.
3. Buy a case which is 4 bricks or 32 booster boxes. In theory, you should get every mini in the set in a case, with a few exceptions (see the next section).
Cases come in a cardboard box sealed with WizKids-labeled tape. The box will contain 4 separate bricks, which is why it is important that the cardboard box arrive sealed because once it is opened, it is possible for the contents to get mixed with other bricks that aren't part of the case.
4. Buy singles, or individual minis, on the aftermarket. Prices fluctuate significantly so do your research whether this makes more sense for you. We'll have a section dedicated to buying singles later.
What cases do not contain all the figures?
As you may have guessed, the distribution of minis is not fully random. There are many rules that govern what minis go in any given box, brick, or case. The rules make it extremely likely that a case contains every painted sculpt in a set, with a few exceptions:
1. Icons of the Realms: Rage of Demons was simply designed in a way such that it was impossible for a case to contain every numbered sculpt. There were 49 figures in Rage of Demons but a case would only give you 45 of them, leaving you to get the remaining 4 from the aftermarket.
2. Icons of the Realms: Monster Menagerie III was a set where you got every number (1-44) in the set but some of the numbers had variants (for example, 34A and 34B). These variants were almost identical but the figure may be holding a different spell effect or weapon. A case would be missing four of the variants (so you would get either 34A or 34B but never both in a case).
3. Sometimes the factory makes a mistake and puts the wrong 4 bricks in a case. Strictly speaking, there is no legal obligation for anyone to compensate you for this mistake—WizKids has disclaimer language stating the case does not guarantee all figures. We are not aware of WizKids fixing cases with these errors but it never hurts to ask. You can contact WizKids via the instructions at this link: https://wizkids.com/product-support/
Note: You can also try contacting the distributor who sold you the case (online retailer or local game store), but be aware they are NOT responsible for the error and will likely respond accordingly.
What are rarity distributions?
WizKids makes more of some minis than others. Rarity affects what minis you get out of any given box, brick, or case. Rarity will also affect the price of single figures on the aftermarket.
There are three main types of rarity that affect every set:
Common figures are the most common. They are the lowest numbered figures in a set (usually numbers 1 through 13) and tend to be quite cheap on the aftermarket. In a case, you will usually get 3 to 5 of each common. On some aftermarket sites, the figures will be labeled with a [C].
Uncommon figures usually make up numbers 14 through 32. In a case, you will usually get 2 to 4 of each uncommon. On some aftermarket sites, the figures will be labeled with a [U].
Rare figures usually make up numbers 33 through 44. In a case, you will only get 1 of each rare. When something goes wrong with a case, you usually end up missing out on 3 rares and getting 3 duplicate rares instead. On some aftermarket sites, the figures will be labeled with a [R].
Some sets have other figures that affect rarity. These figures are considered Ultra Rares and may be labeled [UR] or [VR] on some aftermarket sites:
Invisibles appear in some D&D Icons of the Realms sets. They are unpainted clear plastic versions of some of the existing prepainted figures. They are labeled with the same name as the figure they are replicating with "Invisible" appended to the label. They may use the same number as the replicated figure or be given a unique number.
You do not get every invisible in a case but you should not get duplicate invisibles in a case. We do not usually include them in our full set videos. Some sets may give you 1 or more invisibles per brick while other sets may only have an invisible every 2 bricks.
Many people dislike invisibles because they do not have a well defined use and WizKids has indicated they may no longer be including them in sets. You could paint them, but that defeats the purpose of buying a prepainted set. You could use them to denote the last known position of a figure that has gone invisible or vanished from view, but those are edge cases.
Set dressing pieces appear in some Pathfinder Battles sets. They are typically environmental objects or props that can be used to decorate a battlemap or terrain build. They do not have the circular bases that the regular miniatures have.
For sets that include set dressing pieces, you should get two unique ones per brick. You should get every set dressing in a case and since there are less than eight unique set dressing figures in a set, you actually get duplicates of a few of them.
In a booster box, the default distribution is 2 commons and 2 uncommons. If the box contains a rare or an ultra rare, you should never get more than 1 in a box unless the factory made a mistake. The rare or ultra rare figure replaces a common unless it is large sized, in which case it serves as the one large figure in the box (see the section about size later in the post).
In a brick, you should usually end up with 12 unique commons, 14 unique uncommons, and 3 unique rares. For numbers with variants (see next section), you get only one of the variants. This assumes a set of 44 miniatures. For sets with more than 44 miniatures, you may end up with more unique rares or ultra rares and fewer unique commons or uncommons. For example, Pathfinder Battles: Skull & Shackles had 54 minis and 17 rares. You still got all the figures and bricks had anywhere from 3-5 rares rather than a fixed 3 per brick.
What are variants?
Variants are miniatures with the exact same sculpt for the creature depicted but they may vary in:
Having a different paint scheme
Having spell effects
Wielding a different weapon
There are two types of variants which affect how many of them you may get.
A/B variants are variants that are considered the same number, such as the 5A and 5B Nobles or the 32A and 32B Ogres shown above. The #5 mini is Common rarity so you would get 3-5 total in a case. That means you might get 2 of the 5A Noble and 3 of the 5B Noble. The exact distribution could be anything, like 1 of A and 4 of B, as long as the sum falls within the expected range for their rarity. Likewise the #32 mini is Uncommon rarity so in a case you would get 2-4 of them total. You might get 2 32A's and 2 32B's. It is possible to have more than 2 variants, such as A/B/C.
Number variants are variants that are assigned different numbers and considered different sculpts. In these cases, one of the variants is usually Common rarity while the other is Uncommon. That means you'd get 3-5 of the #6 Tortle AND 2-4 of the #16 Tortle Druid in a case.
For a booster box AND a brick, you shouldn't get both the A/B variants. You should only get one of a given number. You can, however, get both number variants. Not only could you end up with both the Tortle and the Tortle Druid from a brick of Volo's and Mordenkainen's Foes, they might come out of the same box.
Except for Monster Menagerie III, you only get A/B variants on Common and Uncommon rarity figures. When you buy a case, you are supposed to get all the Common and Uncommon A/B variants. Monster Menagerie III from Icons of the Realms was the only set to have Rare A/B variants and in that situation, a case only contained one of the variants. There was pretty significant backlash to that decision and it is unlikely we will see Rare A/B variants again.
Why are minis different sizes?
Since the minis are intended to be used with tabletop role playing games, they reflect the stat blocks provided for the creatures they represent.
Dungeons & Dragons and Pathfinder have similar size categories. While the height and girth of a creature tend to scale with size, when it comes to miniatures size really only defines one thing—how much space the creature takes up on the battlefield.
On a gridded battlemap, a 1 inch square is the default grid size and represents 5 square feet in the game world. All miniatures are on circular bases and their size determines the diameter of the base and thus how many grid squares the creature takes up.
Miniatures may have the following sizes:
Tiny—a base smaller than 1x1
Small—a base smaller than 1x1
Medium—a 1x1 base
Large—a 2x2 base
Huge—a 3x3 base
Gargantuan—a 4x4 base
There is significant variation in height for each size category though a medium miniature is usually around 30-35mm in height.
There are more creature sizes than those listed above but the miniatures created by WizKids have thus far only ranged in those categories.
However, note that WizKids' base sizes do not always match the stats presented in the respective games. Sometimes this is done for practical reasons such as the packaging being unable to fit larger sculpts/bases or Tiny creatures being given Small bases because realistically no one is going to be able to tell the difference anyway. Other times the reason is somewhat inexplicable such as creatures which are sized correctly in proportion to other miniatures but given the wrong base.
Size is important because there are rules governing what sizes appear in boxes.
Every booster box guarantees one Large or Huge figure. The Large or Huge figure is always Uncommon or Rare rarity as there are no Commons bigger than Medium.
Most sets only go up to Large size. In the Icons of the Realms line, some sets come in larger packaging that supports having Huge figures. None of the Pathfinder Battles sets for Pathfinder 1e contain Huge figures in their normal sets, though Rise of the Runelords sold Huge figures in separate booster packaging containing only 1 figure in each booster. Starting with Legendary Adventures, the first set for Pathfinder 2e, it has become possible for Pathfinder Battles to have Huge figures in their regular sets.
Gargantuan figures are never included in the regular sets but may be sold separately (see next section).
What are Case Incentives, Premium Figures, and Premium Sets?
They are all names for the same thing.
Every set has an extra product associated with it that is sold separately. This product is always something that cannot fit in the regular booster boxes, either because it is too big or it has too many parts.
Historically, the extra product was called a Case Incentive because it could only be bought with the purchase of a case, incentivizing people to buy a case. No, it didn't come free with the case—buying the case only granted you the privilege of being able to buy it.
Realistically, however, game stores and other retailers always ordered their stock in cases and broke the cases open to sell the individual boxes. They would order the case incentives along with these cases and sell them individually. After a while, WizKids lifted the restriction from their distributors and just allowed the case incentives to be sold as separate products.
As a result of this change, the products are now called Premium Figures or Premium Sets depending on what is in them. If the case incentive is a single figure (typically a Huge or Gargantuan creature), it is a Premium Figure. If the case incentive contains multiple things, such a set dressing, it is a Premium Set.
Often times, the numbering scheme for the set continues up through the premium figures. That is why you may see numbering like 44/45 on the base of the last figure in the booster set—45/45 is the premium figure sold separately. Lately though WizKids seems to be shifting toward not numbering the premium figures at all, further separating the premium product from the booster set.
Is everything sold in random blind packaging?
No. Both Icons of the Realms and Pathfinder Battles contain products with fixed contents and transparent packaging that lets you see the figures within. These can be anything from player character minis to themed sets of monsters to spell effects and set dressing.
WizKids also sells other product lines, both unpainted and prepainted, which come in fixed packaging.
WizKids almost never resells their prepainted booster minis in fixed prepainted products. However you may see some unpainted sculpts resold as prepainted figures in fixed packaging or you may see some of the booster minis sold in the unpainted line.
Can I use Pathfinder and D&D minis interchangeably?
For the most part, yes. Because Pathfinder branched from D&D 3.5, its first edition shared a lot of the same monster stats with D&D. They have the same basic rule sets and the miniatures have the same sizing scale. There may be some art and size differences in creature stat blocks that are reflected in the mini designs, but many people buy from both lines and mix the minis together.
A minor stumbling point in finding the right creature across lines may be that Pathfinder and D&D sometimes call the same creature different names, though this can be a problem internally within the same property as well. For example, aboleth and alghollthu are basically the same thing in Pathfinder. In D&D, kyton and chain devil refer to the same creature while Pathfinder calls them kyton or velstrac.
If you really must know, the most obvious differences in appearance between the lines are:
Pathfinder Battles giants are significantly smaller than Icons of the Realms giants.
Pathfinder dragons have different distinguishing characteristics than D&D dragons. For example, D&D gold dragons have tendrils coming off their faces while Pathfinder dragons do not.
Goblinoids are a lot more cartoony in Pathfinder, with the difference even more pronounced in 2nd edition.
What do I do if I unbox a damaged mini?
Minis may come out of a box bent or broken. Most damage is actually fixable.
Common types of bending include: entire figure is tilted, a weapon is not straight, or extended parts of the mini, typically large wings, are folded awkwardly.
When the figure or parts of the figure are bent, you can run the figure under hot tap water until the plastic becomes flexible, gently bend the figure into the desired shape, and then dunk the figure into ice water to set the plastic again.
The same can be done for bent weapons but those are usually made of a softer plastic that does not set as rigidly. Some deformation will likely remain.
If a mini has a part broken off, you can superglue it back on. We use Loctite Gel super glue, which is commonly available at crafts stores, but other options exist as well. Note that the parts need to be held together for up to ten minutes for the glue to set so prepare to rig together some sort of holding contraption or be very patient.
Sometimes the mini is broken into too many parts or the broken parts are so small it is difficult to put back together. Sometimes the broken part of the mini cannot be found in the box (we got a headless Volo once!). In these situations, use this link to request a product replacement: https://wizkids.com/product-support/
With Volo, we mailed the broken figure back to WizKids and received a replacement in the mail several weeks later.
Where should I buy booster boxes/bricks/cases?
Be aware that if you are in the United States, you should never have to pay full MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price) for booster cases. Most of this section only applies to the United States. We recommend asking on the MinisGallery forums for price and retailer recommendations if you live in other countries and are not sure what to do.
While it isn't abnormal to pay full price on individual boxes and get minor discounts on bricks, it's pretty normal to get around a 10% markdown on cases unless stock is super limited and the set hasn't been reprinted in a while.
If you are patient, most sets will get reprinted and the prices will drop. To date, the only Icons of the Realms set we haven't seen new cases for is Elemental Evil. Old Pathfinder Battles sets can be harder to track down, with the following sets basically out of print for cases: Heroes & Monsters, the Huge boosters for Rise of the Runelords, Wrath of the Righteous, Reign of Winter, Dungeons Deep, and Crown of Fangs.
Internet retailers will usually have the lowest prices and we generally recommend holding out for prices around $400 USD for a case and use free shipping. See the bottom of this article for a not-comprehensive list of online retailers we've bought from. If you want new cases on release day though, local game stores are your best option by far as expedited shipping prices for online retailers get out of hand extremely quickly.
For Pathfinder Battles cases, if you are planning to buy all cases down the line, Paizo's subscription is a great deal and you usually get the case early too. The subscription only applies to the most recent and future releases though. However, having an active subscription applies a discount—30% at the time of this writing—to purchases of older figures or sets from Paizo's web store.
We do encourage you to support your friendly local brick and mortar game stores if it is within your budget to do so. They are usually able to offer some sort of discount on cases and the amount may surprise you (as of this writing, paying around $470 USD for a case and the case incentive is not unusual, and the case incentive usually retails $50-$70 USD by itself, though they may drop as low as $30 after a few months if they are not popular). Establishing a strong long-term relationship with your game store is good for the community. The stores provide meeting spaces for groups to play and bring new players into the hobby. They may also offer other discounts that end up evening out what you pay.
Do not pressure local game stores to match online prices or slash prices beyond what they are comfortable. Online retailers usually operate on razor thin margins that they make up in quantity and those prices are not sustainable for local stores. In our experience, store proprietors are already trying to give you the best deals they can. Be polite and respectful.
How do I buy singles on the aftermarket?
Some friendly local game stores may buy and sell singles, though they need to see pretty significant volume to do so.
For the most part, the aftermarket is online. See the next section for a list of retailers we've bought from.
In terms of pricing, singles fluctuate depending on the rarity distribution, quality of the figure, popularity of the creature, availability of the set, and how many of the creature type have been released. Playable race minis, especially of common races like humans and elves, tend to be cheap. Popular monsters like illithids, beholders, and liches tend to be very expensive.
What are good online retailers?
BIG DISCLAIMER: We highly encourage you to look and ask around for options. The MinisGallery forums are again a good place to ask for more information. This is a United States list and not definitive by any means. If you have no idea where to start, we want to provide this list so you have some options. Being on this list just means that either we or someone we trust have bought from them and received a product with no problem. It is not an endorsement.
Note on monetization: We do not earn any money from any of these links, nor do we have any financial relationship with any of the retailers at this time. Troll & Toad has sponsored videos on our YouTube channel in the past but is not currently an ongoing advertiser.
Miniature Market — Tends to have the most stock of bricks and cases of older sets. Is usually a good benchmark for online pricing. Make sure to check their "Daily Deal" as WizKids miniatures or booster boxes can show up there.
CoolStuffInc — Tends to only have the most recent bricks and cases in stock. If you are part of their loyalty program, though, you may get good deals on singles and they offer 99 cent shipping for singles.
Troll & Toad — Tends to have singles that are out of stock or hard to find elsewhere.
Noble Knight — Tends to have products that are out of stock elsewhere.
eBay — A good baseline for singles prices or to find products that are out of stock elsewhere. If you buy through eBay, don't forget to go through an online portal like TopCashback or your credit card or airline shopping portal of choice for cash or rewards points on your purchases.
Auggies — Tends to have good prices for rare singles.
Beholder the Bargains — D&D singles, very small operation.
Atomic Empire — A reputable North Carolina game store that also has a large online operation.
Sun City Games — A retailer that also lists on eBay where we've occasionally found good deals on old case incentives and singles.
Amazon.com — Does not sell cases and tends to have poor stock of singles but may have good prices on bricks, boosters, premium figures, and fixed products.
Special thanks to Theo Thourson, David Hunter, and Commander BB Shockwave for providing feedback to improve the contents of this article.