Due to the COVID-19 quarantine going on in the USA and around the world, and most game stores closing their doors to public events during this time, many of us have nowhere to go to play for Friday Night Magic (FNM).
Entering stage left is WotC, who stepped up to keep all of us Magic players entertained on our weekends. Over the next 3 weeks, they are hosting a new event on Arena to cater to the Friday night crowd. These events are free to enter, and have rewards. What's more, these events actually look interesting!
Prizes so far include 2 random rares for completing 2 wins, and then if you post a screen shot of your event screen to your WPN associated Local Game Store's (LGS) social media outlets, they are supposedly going to message you back a code for digital sleeves in Arena. They state quantities are limited. We'll see how this goes. I am skeptical.
You can see all 3 of the sleeves here: MTG Arena Sleeves Gallery
I have about a dozen LGSs in my area, so I picked the one that I frequent the most, which is Cool Stuff Games in Waterford Lakes, the local brick and mortar store for CoolStuffInc.com.
The first event for March 27, 2020 is the Challenger Deck event. In this event, you get to play with each of the 4 2020 Challenger decks, as much as you like, until the event ends. I won't go into a review of each deck, that has been done many times over on other sites, so I will instead just give my experience of the one deck I played with.
I was excited for this event, as I was considering picking up the Cavalcade Charge deck. It includes some highly played cards for RDW, all in an affordable package.
Unfortunately I realized very quickly how broken this deck was, and I don't mean broken in a good way. Right away I found that they jammed the Cavalcade shell from the Eldraine era together with the RDW shell from the Theros Beyond Death era. This makes no sense.
Sure, Bone Crusher Giant, Rimrock Knight, Runaway Steamkin and Embercleave are highly played cards, but not in Cavalcade. Meanwhile when you do get Cavalcade of Calamity down, good luck getting 1/1 haste creatures out when all you have in your hand is everything that is not a 1/1. What good are the above mentioned cards with Cavalcade of Calamity? Steamkin rarely stays a 1/1, and equipping any 1/1 with Embercleave makes Cavalcade not trigger anymore.
I was a Cavalcade player all through Throne of Eldraine, and then I switched to RDW after drafting all the needed cards during Theros Beyond Death. I know both decks very well, and I enjoy them both very much. This new Challenger deck is trying to do two things at once, and it does not work very well.
The designers appeared to be taking the win-cons from both games and only putting in the best of those cards from each deck. You are then left with a weak deck that doesn't finish as quickly as it could. I was left feeling pretty disappointed.
You can see in the above screenshot from my MTGAHelper logs how much slower this deck is. The top 5 games are my daily Win-4 regiment. I am using the current THB RDW shell without Steamkins (I use Grim's instead). It's a much faster game. The bottom 4 games are the Challenger Event games. You can see how much longer the games take to close out. Granted, this is a very small sample size, and opponents were figuring out what they were doing, as was I, but they took twice as long to play out.
While I do enjoy long drawn out games, I don't enjoy them when playing a deck that is supposed to be a fast deck. They've managed to turn it into a mid-range deck as you are waiting for enough pieces to put one of two win-cons together, rather than just assembling your one single win-con.
While I still had fun playing, I was frustrated with my opening hand options and my card draws. This is a deck I would buy, then split it in half and build each respective deck as they should be. Maybe that's WotCs intention? If so, that's both good and bad. It's good in that I now have two pools of cards that I can fill in with missing cards for 2 full popular decks that I really enjoy playing. It's also bad in that off the shelf, this is not going to be as competitive as it should be. It's too slow.
...Update: I went ahead and pre-ordered this deck from my LGS, CoolStuffInc. The value is excellent and I have enough other parts to finish both decks with.
I don't know how the other decks will play out, I ran into Simic Flash, Golgari Adventures and the Fires deck while playing. I pretty much knew what to expect from each one already, so I was quickly trying to figure out how to salvage this broken RDW deck to compete against them.
My two rare ICRs were Soul Diviner and Temple of Silence.
I hope you all enjoy this event. I feel this is an excellent marketing move for WotC to make this event free, using off-the-shelf products that will be available next week in stores. If you like what you see, these are retailing for about $25-$30 per deck in their pre-order state right now.
You can get them here: 2020 Challenger Decks
An ongoing debate in MTG Arena is how to spend your gold in order to build your card collection. There are opposing sides on the best way to achieve the most glorious collection: Open a bunch of booster packs or do a bunch of ranked drafts.
This is a debate that both sides have feverishly argued over. Up until now, only the draft side has had any solid information to back their side. I decided I wanted to help inject more date into this debate by showing both sides using a small sample size.
So, without further adieu, here is what the data shows so far:
How data was collected
Draft data was collected while I performed my own ranked drafts. As I made each and every pick from each and every pack, I recorded what I picked. This took many hours and a large and complicated spreadsheet to calculate all of this data.
Arena booster pack data was collected much in the same way. After opening each Arena booster pack, I recorded which cards were in each pack. I also recorded all wild cards found in each individual pack as well as tracking the wild cards gained from the wheel.
A user on Reddit contacted me and stated he would share his pack openings with me once he got to 100 booster packs of the current set, which is THB as of this writing. He then videoed himself opening each of these 100 packs one at a time. I was able to capture data from every card in every pack, pack wild cards as well as the wheel wild cards. I really appreciate this individual reaching out, as I would not have been able to open 100 packs on my own due to cost.
Below is a breakdown of where these booster packs and drafts came from.
All of my own gathered data was hand written into a spreadsheet, then double checked using MTGAHelper for accuracy.
While this sample size is extremely small, this data will still tell us something useful.
If you have data you would like to share, please let me know and I will give you details of exactly what is needed so that we can start increasing our sample size.
50 Booster Packs
This data shows what spending 50K gold, or $50 on a pre-release bundle, will get you when opening 50 Arena booster packs.
As we can see, these numbers are close enough that we can get a good idea of what to expect if you open 50 booster packs from a particular set.
Data set 2 is just pure RNG luck with the extra mythics. I would just average these out into the rares from the other two data sets for a more accurate idea of what you can expect from 50 booster packs.
The data shown here is completely stand-alone, having been recorded by hand and calculated in a spreadsheet. Each set of 50 was opened with and without various amounts of drafting that may or may not have taken place before the booster packs were opened. The only reason this is mentioned is that it may effect the number of unique rares and mythics shown due to duplicate protection. This amount of booster packs opened will in no way come close to duplicate protection with gems. Vault progress is stand-alone in that it was calculated via spreadsheet and not viewed from within Arena. You can confidently use these numbers as a good indicator of what to expect when opening 50 Arena booster packs.
100 Booster Packs
This data shows what spending 100K gold will get you when opening 100 Arena booster packs.
Again, these 100 Arena booster packs were opened after doing 20 drafts, but is completely stand alone data.
10 Ranked Drafts and 12 Booster Packs
For those looking to spend 50K gold on ranked draft for collection building, this data will show you what you might expect from your efforts.
I did not play any of the draft games. I collected my cards, quit and started the next draft. I have an article explaining this process for those that don't enjoy playing draft, but want to build their collections using the ranked draft method.
The 12 booster packs are calculated based on the 20% chance of getting 2 packs when you complete a draft after 0 wins. This % chance will increase with the more games you win per individual draft.
20 Ranked Drafts and 24 Booster Packs
For those that saved 100K gold to spend on ranked draft for collection building, this will give you a good idea of what to expect for your efforts.
The 24 booster packs are calculated based on the 20% chance of getting 2 packs when you complete a draft after 0 wins. This % chance will increase with the more games you win per individual draft.
Lets compare the two methods against each other.
I broke these down into 50K and 100K gold sections for an easier way to compare each method of spending your gold.
The numbers highlighted in yellow are the highest numbers of each method. From this we can make a simple comparison between them.
The only real positive from opening packs instead of drafting is that you acquire a lot more wild cards. But, what if you already had all of the previous sets, and you were going to use these wild cards to make up for the fewer cards you got from opening packs?
In the data below, I added in each wild card to each rarity to show what they make up for this particular set.
This data tells a slightly different story depending how much you spend.
For 50K gold we can see this change
For 100K gold we can see this change
Interestingly enough, we have the same number of total Rares with this sample size.
What does this all mean?
What this shows us is that if you want a larger collection, especially at the uncommon rarity, ranked draft is the better method.
If you want gems, ranked draft is the only option.
If you want wild cards you can use for sets other than the set you just opened packs or drafted for, then only opening booster packs is the better method.
The amount of wild cards gained from only opening booster packs does not make up for the large deficit of missing cards from that particular you just opened packs for.
To make the packs-only method worth your while, you will want to be using your wild cards for sets other than the set you just opened packs for. You will also need to be OK with the lack of uncommons you received. Keep in mind you will most likely need to spend some of these wild cards on this particular set for the missing uncommons, should you need those. Doing so brings your total usable wild cards to a lower number to use for other sets since you ended up spending them on this set.
Now, all of that said, uncommon wild cards are the most bountiful and easy to receive of the 4 card rarities. They not only show up at a faster random rate when opening packs, but you receive one from the wheel for every 6 packs you open. If you only open booster packs, this may make up for the deficit of uncommons for your specific needs and you may be OK with this.
I hope you found this data interesting and insightful.
I am not swaying any particular method of spending your gold to build a collection. I will leave it up to you to make your own conclusions on what you want out of the gold you spend.
What I generally see is that if you do roughly 20-22 ranked drafts, you end up obtaining nearly 100% of the entire common and uncommon playset. After this, you will want to spend all remaining gold on opening booster packs if you still seek more rares and mythics.
Personally, I prefer the draft method. I find that most of the interesting cards are at lower rarities anyway, and I can do far more brewing with these cards than with many of the rares and mythics. That is just my opinion for my play style and what I want out of my collection.
Remember that having more rares is not always a good thing, but having the right rares is.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
This page will be a running log of changes to the Arena Current Values when the occur.
Calculations can be found on my shared Google Sheet: Arena Calculated Values
I did not have a March update, since it was so close to the Feb update, and nothing had really changed.
I have a new calculation that I added in. Individual card values.
WotC is selling individual cards via Historic Anthologies I and II. With this, I was able to calculate the cards values. Since there is no actual value on each rarity or card itself, we can only go by a bulk purchase price at this time.
There are 80 cards in Historic Anthologies I and 100 cards in Historic Anthologies II. There are also the special art lands they are now selling, the Unsanctioned full art lands, and Unsanctioned Hidden Squirrel lands. Unlike the Theros Nyx Lands, these particular lands are not being sold as "cosmetic".
Based on this, and the fact that you can use basic lands infinity times, I am going to go out on a limb her and say each land bundle has 20 of each land to help calculate an actual real world price for them.
I figure that most decks have 24 lands, most people use special castle lands or dual lands for most mono or duel colored decks, and then 20 regular basic lands would be the minimum you would need to fill out your deck for a cohesive look.
Based on this, I figure that each land is really 20 lands each, and therefore 100 total lands for the purchase price of each of the two land bundles.
Calculating out each gold and gem value of each bundle, the values come out to 4 different dollar amounts, bringing the average to $.17 per card.
I don't know if I will keep this value or not, as it seems a stretch to add in the lands this way, but it's the only logical way that I see since nobody just purchases 1 single land, and gets to use it 20 times in each deck in a real paper deck, meanwhile the other bundles you actually need and get 4 individual copies of each unique card.
Gold dropped a little. Card styles had even more wacky pricing in the "daily deals" area of the store, making their values drop slightly. Uncommon wild cards went up slightly in value, as did the Gold per Gem exchange rate.
With the release of Historic Anthologies II, the exchange rate will be changing once again.
They have priced this at 4000 Gems or 25,000 Gold. This adds one more different rate of 6.2500, bringing the total number of different rates to 5.
We now have:
This moves the rate from 5.7325 to 5.8359, and thus lowering the $USD value in the game economy.
2/29/2020 Rate Calculation Adjustment!
Going into March, we see more sales happening in the Daily Deals section of the store. I decided to not count these as part of the exchange rate simply because they are sales. But of note, it seems they are keeping the values in the Daily Deals to a 5 Gold per Gem rate, regardless of the wildly changing random prices they are putting on things.
After looking over all the various rates, I decided to change how the Exchange Rate is calculated. Instead of counting every different item I see in the entierty of Arena, and averaging them together, I am only going to average together the different exchange rates found.
For this we have 4 different rates showing:
This averages out to 5.7325 Gold per Gem. This of course will change the values of everything, but I believe this is a much better way to calculate this value going forward.
Today marks the February Update and with that comes new things in the store.
We have the introduction of the "Daily Deals" which I believe is going to wreak havoc on the values of everything with their "sales". Some have new rates we can use for conversions too, which helps, but doesn't help.
I added in the Brawlers Guildhall cost into the conversion rate as well since it seems to be sticking around. I decided that even if it changes the pricing, I will start to include any and all items or events into the conversion rate if they have both a gold and a gem cost listed.
We also have the coveted Theros Beyond Death Full Art Lands, each color bundled with a Nyx basic land. These are being sold for 3000 gold, so basically 2 card styles for that price, which actually lowered the value of card styles this week from $2.26 down to $2.21.
The Secret Lair first bundle of 7 sleeves is also now available. These are selling for 600 gems or 4000 gold each, giving us another data point to use for conversion rates.
The changes are shown below
Today we have a new event that has appeared: Standard Treasure.
The Gem to Gold rates are different for both costs, so we now have yet another item to use for our Gold to Gem conversion rates.
Standard Treasure costs either 500 Gems or 2500 Gold, which is equivalent to $2.90 and
$2.50 respectively (as per previous rates). This averages out to 5 gold per Gem, which is currently the same rate of a Booster Pack.
This changes the Gold per Gem rate from 6.0833 to 5.8667.
I also added a few more data points that I had not previously looked at that will change the average values of everything as well. I included both the Standard and Historic Events (95 Gems or 500 Gold) and Traditional Standard (190 Gems, 1000 Gold). These both come out to the same rate of 5.26 Gold per Gems. Since the Standard and Historic events are the same rate, I only included a data point for a single one.
This changes the Gold per Gem rate from 5.8667 to 5.6942.
I am also starting to track the Traditional Draft costs, as this is one of the few items you can directly purchase via Gems.
The full updated list is as follows:
Previously we had Sleeves at 1200 Gems, with the one lone Gold obtainable sleeve, Liliana Yoshitaka Amano, at 4,000 Gold. This stayed this way for a long time, leading me to believe that that would be the standard Gold price for a sleeve.
As of the previous update, WotC has bucked the trend of sleeve pricing, and we now have new Exquisite sleeves (Cryptic Command and Lightning Bolt) at 8,000 Gold. I feel that this no longer represents a representation of Gems vs Gold because of the direction they are going with premium products, so I removed Sleeves from the conversion chart.
Because of this removal as a data point for Gems vs Gold conversions, this lowered the amount of items available with direct Gem and Gold costs, and thus has changed the values.
This changes the Gold per Gem rate from 5.533 to 6.083.
We also have a Standard Event that costs either
What this has done is lower the values, and thus the cost, of each item in the game across the board.
The full updated list is as follows:
What is Collection Drafting?
Collection Drafting is drafting for the sole purpose of building your collection. This goes beyond Rare Drafting, where you pick the rares each time, but still pick other specific cards in order to build a winning draft deck to play with.
Collection Drafting has no intention of winning any games or really even playing the games, unless you just want to. By playing, there are more gems on the line to win, but your card pool will be left with sub-optimal picks, leaving you with the jankiest of jank to play with. Its often not worth the time. But go right on ahead if you love jank! Just remember the majority of other people probably picked their card pool to build winning decks with. Personally I don't enjoy playing the draft games, so for me, I am perfectly OK skipping the game play.
If you love to play draft games, then this article is not for you. This article is specifically for those looking to build a larger collection for their constructed needs through a more optimal system of obtaining those cards.
How do we get started?
We will need a few things to get started:
First of all you need gold, and lots of it!
If you just started playing Arena, this is still the preferred method of obtaining a large collection quickly, and this article is still for you. This will help you get ahead of the curve when it comes to amassing a large collection and a better card pool to start out with.
Many of us have spent the entire previous set grinding away for gold. For those that have, hopefully you should have roughly 100K gold at this point. For those that don't, this method will still benefit you greatly. I have even broken this down into 50K gold to show you what you can get from even half of that vs just opening up packs.
Unopened Booster Packs
Whenever a new set comes out, you may be tempted to start opening those shiny brand new booster packs. WAIT! Don't open them until you have completed all of your Ranked Drafts.
This will help force even more good rares your way in the end. This will also be your source of wild cards, though waiting until after draft has no bearing on the wild card outcome.
Just know you won't be getting any wild cards in the draft process. They come strictly from the regular Arena booster packs.
You will need to install a tracker that tracks not only your collection inventory, but also shows you the best draft picks for both limited and rare drafting.
One such tracker is MTGAHelper. You can read my guide on how to install and configure it here: MTGAHelper Installation
The tracker will help you keep track of what you do and don't already have in your collection. This helps produce far fewer duplicates. The limited and rare draft pick information will help you pick the stronger cards first, which will be even more important if you have less gold to draft with.
This article will will show MTGAHelper being used as examples throughout. This article is not sponsored by MTGAHelper in any way. I simply enjoy using it for my own needs.
How much did I spend?
I started with only planning to do 20 drafts this time. I wanted to save my gold for any events that came up between now and the next set. I figured at some point the Theros Full Art Lands would be available, so just in case its via an event, or gold, I will have the extra gold. If not, I have saved plenty for the next set.
Also, I was not as interested in this set as the past few sets, so I really didn't need to go for all the rares. 20ish drafts would be plenty for 100% commons/uncommons and at least half the rares. I'm good with that!
How long did it take?
Drafting all of these sets only took several hours, mainly because I was writing down every single card picked for my spreadsheet. You could easily blow through 20 drafts in an hour or so if you hustled through.
I had so much fun picking cards that I ended up doing one more draft for a total of 21. This also gave me the exact amount of booster packs I needed to get data on an even 50 Arena Booster packs I would be opening afterwards and collecting data on too.
I'm ready to collect! Now what?
Now that you have gold and a tracker installed, lets get started! Go ahead and start up your tracker if it isn't already open, and then start up MTG Arena.
By default, MTGAHelper is set to automatically pop up when you start a game or start a draft.
What do we have here? Lots of cool information to use to help you with your collection building.
LSV/Channel Fireball Limited Values
These values are based on Luis Scott-Vargas's (LSV) picks for Limited play, which are the strong cards you will want if you are going to play out your draft games after you have finished drafting your cards.
These values are not necessarily useful for constructed, but can still give a good indicator on power level. If a card is strong in one format, there's a change it may be strong in other formats. If you mouse over the value for each card, you will see a quick description of what LSV says about the card and why he picked it.
You can also go to Channel Fireball's website and read up on LSV's Constructed rantings for each card, which may be of more value for what you are going to be using these for.
For more information on LSV's picks and articles, head over to Channel Fireball.
MTGAHelper Rare Draft Pick
This next indicator will show you what picks are the best for Rare Drafting. I am not fully sure how this is weighted, as it seems to be pulling information based on decks I am tracking on the MTGAHelper Website... of which I am not currently tracking any decks.
On the MTGAHelper website, there is a "Deck Sources" under the advisors drop-down that is letting me track decks from different websites. I have one from Aetherhub selected, so it's possibly it's tracking the top meta decks from Aetherhub and relaying this information back to me in the form of this Rare Draft pick.
Cards in your Collection
This is the number I am most interested in. I want to know how many of these cards I already have in my inventory so I pick only cards I need and avoid as many duplicates as I can.
For MTGAHelper, this number will only update between drafts, so you may want to keep your tracker's website open to make sure you don't grab a 4th copy of a card if you're getting close to 4 copies.
My Collection Picking Method
Now that you have the basics of what you are looking for, I will explain how I make my own picks.
For each and every pick screen that wheels my way, I look at the top few cards to make sure there are no Rares or Mythics that I missed. The first pick of every pack will have your guaranteed Rare, but sometimes the bots will not take the Rare as their first pick, so you may have a Rare show up on subsequent picks. I have seen Rares show up on pick 4 and 5 before, so always check before clicking on a card.
Once I make sure there are no rares on the screen, I look at the LSV ratings on the tracker and pretty much always go for the strongest rated Uncommon.
From here I will keep picking Uncommons until there are nothing but Commons left. After that I will continue to pick Commons based on the strongest LSV rating.
One caveat to this for me is that if there are specific cards I really want to upgrade my daily decks with, I will always pick those first over any other Common or Uncommon. Once I have all 4 of what I absolutely want, I will go back to selecting the strongest LSV rated card.
If you are going to be doing 20+ drafts, you can rest assured that you will get roughly 99% of both the commons and uncommons, so don't worry about passing some over, as they will most likely show up again.
Keep in mind too that after you finished doing your Ranked Draft, you will have a ton of Arena booster packs to open, which will often fill in the rest of the Commons and Uncommons you are missing.
My point is, for 20+ drafts, don't worry about Commons and Uncommons, you will usually get 99% of the full playset of both of them.
Once I have finished picking my cards, if I feel like playing, I might play a game or two. I typically don't since my pics won't really be anything cohesive for winning. I am simply picking them for building constructed decks out of.
After playing or not, go ahead and end the draft, claim your prizes and move on to the next one.
That's basically it. There's nothing complicated to it if you don't plan to play any of the draft games out. You're simply hand picking all the cards you want for your collection.
MTGAHelper Draft Data
After each Ranked Draft, or any time you like, you can head over to the MTGAHelper.com website to check in on how you did.
The screen below shows all of the cards I acquired after my first draft.
The left column shows my inventory changes for each event. From this screen, you can see that I played a few games before doing a draft.
The right column shows all new cards acquired for this particular day.
Looking at the next screenshot, we can see what it looks like after 21 drafts.
If you scroll down the screen, you will see on the left side every single draft you did, and every card you got to keep, how much vault progress you gained, gems earned, booster packs earned and more.
On the right side, you can see every card acquired from all 21 drafts that I was able to keep. It does not show which cards got vaulted.
I waited until the next day to open all of my booster packs. The below screenshot is the results of all the booster packs I opened after doing 21 Ranked Drafts.
On the left hand column, you can see each and every pack that I opened, what I got to keep and what the vault progress was for cards that got vaulted.
Just like with the draft results, the right hand side shows all of the cards I was able to keep from all of the opened packs.
What can I expect to get from Ranked Draft?
I'm glad you asked, as I also just finished my Arena Theros Beyond Death Ranked Draft Data article!
You can find all of this information here: Arena THB Ranked Draft Data
In this article I go into more detail on what I actually drafted. I also break down various amount of drafting from 10 to 21 Ranked Drafts. I also break down what 50 Booster Packs alone will get you if you blow all of your gold on booster packs only instead of spending it on Ranked Draft.
Many people on social media will tell you that opening packs by themselves is the better way to go, and that doing Ranked Draft without playing any of the games is a waste of time, but the math does not lie. Ranked Draft will get you more useful cards in your collection for far less Gold, especially with lower amounts of gold.
What you won't get is a ton of wild cards. You will still get a lot from opening up all your saved booster packs, but not as many as if you had just spent all your Gold on booster packs alone. Of course with only opening booster packs, you also won't get all of the Gems that you get from Drafting.
You will need to decide what is more worth your while:
More Hand Picked Cards + Gems OR Fewer Random Cards + More Wild Cards.
Now, drafting will only take you so far in collection building. Once you get past 20-22 ranked drafts or so, it really starts to get saturated with common and uncommon duplicates to the point where it starts to negatively affect you for card collecting purposes per amount of gold spent. At this point I would advise switching over and spend any remaining gold you were planning to spend on booster packs. This will give you more rares you don't already have along with a ton of wild cards in the process. I never reach this stage though, as I only spend enough gold to do 20-22 Drafts (100K-120K Gold) each set and call it quits from there.
I hope you found this article helpful. I have been using this method for the past 4 sets released with great success.
Below is my collection so far.
These cool screenshots are taken from the Collection page on MTGAHelper.
THB and ELD are the two sets that I spent 21-22 drafts on. Core Set 2020, I did maybe 18? drafts. I don't recall. WAR and RNA I did maybe 10 drafts each as I was working to get out of the New Player Rut. GRN, M19, DOM, RIX and XLN I was not fully back into playing on Arena. I have been playing since Closed Beta and took a long while off before I got back into MTG again.
If you want to know how to get started on saving Gold for the next set, I would advise reading my article: MTG Arena: Stuck in the New Player Rut? It will explain how to get out of the rut of not having any Gold, and how to get ahead of the curve so that you will start to amass a large collection starting with the next set.
Arena Theros Beyond Death Draft Data
Finally, the wait for Ranked Draft on Arena is over with the new Magic: The Gathering set Theros Beyond Death. It's time to spend all of that hard earned gold from the past few months of grinding.
If you're only interested in my spreadsheet data, you can find it here:
THB Draft and Pack Data
For drafting, I used the Collection Drafting method. For a more indepth article on Collection Drafting, please see my article Arena Collection Drafting (THB)
Data on 21 Ranked Drafts + 50 Booster Packs
For the draft process itself, I focused on Rares and Uncommons as much as I could, then picked Commons as a last choice. Doing so netted me pretty much everything I was looking for out of this process.
21 drafts, not including opening the booster packs after, gained me the following cards:
After this I opened all 50 booster packs for THB that I had saved. This data is completely stand-alone, so it will show what you get from 50 booster packs, regardless if you draft or not. This is good information for those that buy the large booster pack bundles.
Combining both the 21 Drafts and the 50 Booster packs worth of cards and calculating in all of the duplication combined, this is what I ended up with for my totals.
From this we can see that I pretty much aquired the entire Common and Uncommon playset and more than half of the Rares.
At this point, the only thing you will be gaining from the draft process is 3-4 Rares per draft and 50 extra gems at a minimum, unless you decide to play it out.
You could chose to Rare Draft and play the games out at this point since you are no logner concerned with commons and uncommons. You can then take your time to build a proper draft deck and maximize winning for the extra Gems rewards.
For me, I got what I came for, so I was satisfied without playing any games.
Here are the few random stats that I received as well from the entire process:
I collected the Wild Card data from each of the 50 Arena booster pack opened as well:
Since the Wild Card wheel rate is published right in the game, it makes it easy to calculate guaranteed Wild Cards per packs opened.
This data shows the wheel rate in action:
Data on 10 Ranked Drafts + 10 Booster Packs
Lets say you just started out, or you have read my article MTG Arena: Stuck in the New Player Rut? and only have 50K gold to spend. What does that get you exactly? We'll I'm glad you have read this far, beacause I also broke that information down just for you!
This is what 10 Ranked Drafts looks like:
Here is what opening 10 Arena booster packs looks like:
And finally, here is the combined data for 10 Ranked Drafts and then opening 10 Arena booster packs after.
Now as an encouraging note, you will most likely get more Arena booster packs rewards than just 1 per draft, but this is the guaranteed published rate. For the first 10 Ranked Drafts that I did, I actually got 12 Arena booster packs, so my total cards and wild cards would have actually been greater than what the grand total shows.
50K Gold Comparison:
Ranked Draft vs Arena Booster Packs
Now for the controversial conversation that everyone loves to talk about. As a new player, should you spend your gold on Ranked Draft or just open Arena Booster Packs?
Well, I'm glad you kept on reading this far, because I also have this exact data as well.
Since typically newer players have less gold to start with, I am only comparing what you can do with 50K gold, since this is a nice obtainable number, even halfway through a set release.
From this comparison we can see:
Also take into consideration that those 50 booster packs are all completely random cards. You may not get anything you need, or you may get lucky and get everything you need. You may also get a ton of duplicates, and thus wasted gold. You never know.
With Ranked Draft, you are able to hand pick the cards you want and need first. You also get more kept cards for your collection.
Unless you just really need those few extra wild cards, Ranked Draft is still the preferred method for building your collection.
Keep in mind too that after a certain point, Ranked Draft will have less return, typically after 22 or so drafts. From this point if you still need to spend more on getting more rares, you should switch over to spending gold on Arena Booster packs, as you will get a better return on Rares you don't have, plus more wild cards.
How does this scale?
This is what nobody seems to have any data on, and I don't have the funds to just open 100 packs to find out.
As Theros continues on, I will keep collecting data on each free Theros pack that I open, but even this will only give me another 30 or so packs to gather data on, rounding out at 75-80 or so packs opened. (For ELD, I obtained 86 free booster packs from the entire season, including draft rewards and everything I got for free from the F2P Mastery Track and free codes. )
If there is anybody out there that has opened 100 Booster packs from a single set and recorded every card opened and every wild card gained per pack, I would love to see that data so that we have something to compare with for further research. Please contact me! If you have money sitting around and would like to donate it to help the community find this out, please contact me! I would love to collect this data to share with the entire Arena community so we can have this data once and for all!
What would 100K Gold get you?
We know what you get when doing Ranked Drafts from multiple sets worth of spreadsheets, not only from myself, but from others.
Speculation for opening 100 booster packs is that the duplicates would start to ramp quickly with no way to protect against this, as you would with the draft process, but you would receive twice the wild cards as shown here with opening 50 packs since that is at a set rate.
I don't want to speculate any further with any kind of projected calculations since it would leave us open to misinformation, which is the last thing I want to inject into the already toxic social media conversations out there. I'll just stick with the facts.
Hooray! A new set is released!
Theros Beyond Death was released today on Arena, and with that another Mastery Tree filled with awesome and exciting rewards as well as another paid Mastery Pass track chock full of even more rewards!
Even though the Mastery Pass has typically been an excellent value for active players in the past, we still like to look into each new pass to see what actual real world value you are receiving from the 3400 in Gems that it costs. Some of you get the pass for free from draft rewards, others fork out $20 of hard earned money. We will discuss what you are getting in return for supporting the game.
How long is Theros Beyond Death?
The length of Theros Beyond Death is a bit shorter than the Throne of Eldraine, clocking in at only 91 days this time. The Mastery Tree is 90 levels total, with level 91 and beyond giving out the uncommon ICRs just like the Eldraine Mastery Pass. Theros Beyond Death runs from 1/16/20 with it's last day being 4/15/20.
For active daily players, we can calculate roughly 1 level per day (per weekly average). At this rate, you should be able to complete the Theros Mastery Tree in 91 days, or sooner, considering they are still giving out the same extra 25xp per win for the first 15 wins of the day.
In fact, to be more accurate, we can use MTGAHelper's excellent Mastery Pass Calculator to figure this out for us. It shows that I should finish at level 106 if I continue to only play my 4 wins per day for the next 90 days. This gives some nice cushion for being able to travel or not being able to play for a short period of time.
Where do the values come from?
All values have been carefully traced back to actual money that you can spend in the game through Gems, or using Gold to Gem conversion rates. Cards themselves have no value, and neither do ICR's. Everything else in the game can be traced back to an actual dollar amount.
For more information on Real World Arena Values, please click on my article HERE.
Free Mastery Tree
Lets start by looking at what is in the free path of the Mastery Tree.
Theros Beyond Death Free Mastery Tree includes the following:
So all of you F2P players are getting $55.04 value for just playing the game. That's a pretty good deal for zero dollars spent!
Paid Mastery Pass
Now, lets see what the paid Mastery Pass gives you this season. Arena has a big label stating you get "$200+ Value when fully unlocked". I am not sure how they are calculating their values, but we can use my real world values to see what you're actually getting for your hard earned time or money when purchasing the Mastery Pass.
Theros Beyond Death Mastery Pass includes the following:
This gives us a combined total of $194.85, which is less than the $200+ stated value from WotC, but does confirm my values are pretty close to what they are using.
Lets say you aren't interested in the cosmetic items. You are still getting $41.87 in value for virtual product from just under $20 worth of Gems. This is still an excellent value for any active player.
Thoughts on the Theros Beyond Death Mastery Pass.
I think the inclusion of a Ranked Draft Token is an excellent reward. This not only gives players a chance to try drafting, but it also is the reward that keeps on rewarding. That 1 draft token is worth 45 hand picked cards, 1 bonus Arena booster pack (with the chance of more), and 50 Gems minimum. If you're good at drafting, this could potentially be worth 950 Gems total.
Also to note, the Eldraine Mastery Pass gave 2000 Gems, while the Theros Pass only has 1800 Gems total in it's reward path. I hope that this stays as a minimum for one reason.
1800 Gems is half of the 3400 Gem Mastery Pass. This means if you continuously get at least 1800 Gems with each pass, you then start to pay only $10 per Mastery Pass for all future Mastery Passes.
If you look at it this way: You get $193 in value for $10... every 3 months. If that's not a reason to support playing a game you love, then I don't know what is.
WotC TAKE MY MONEY!
So is the Theros Beyond Death Mastery Pass worth it?
YES!!! This is an EXCELLENT BUY!
As the set Throne of Eldraine comes to a close, and we excitedly await Theros Beyond Death tomorrow, I wanted to reflect back on all of my data gathered this past set and show you what my experience was in numbers.
I'm a dedicated player, but don't consider myself a hardcore player. I don't play ladders (except to get into bronze for a free booster pack) and I don't play sealed. I rarely participate in Historic or Brawl, though I do enjoy those formats though).
I enjoy collecting cards in both paper and "collecting" them in Arena. I like to build my collection to be able to brew decks of any type with, though typically I stick with one deck during the entire set for daily play to farm gold and rewards with.
After having to leave my beloved Merfolk 4.0 deck behind with rotation, I was forced to find something else equally aggro. I settled in on a mono red Cavalcade build. I picked a basic meta build to start with, but even on Day 1, I scrapped some of it and came up with my own card combo. I modified it twice more to end up with Cavalcade 3.0 for my final build.
I only spent $20 for gems on the Throne of Eldraine Mastery Pass. Thankfully I had enough left over, including what I earned from the Mastery Pass, to pay for the Theros Beyond Death Mastery Pass also.
Due to hand typing in most of this info into a spreadsheet after every single game, and double checking with a couple trackers I use, there are still bound to be some discrepancies from typos or forgetting to enter data. If something just doesn't match up 100%, then chalk it up to a typo, but know it's pretty close, and probably lower than the actual number.
For more information on financial values, check out my article:
MTG Arena: What Does Everything Cost? Real World Values Explained
I explain in depth how I derived these values. All of it can actually be traced back to monetary values.
Pre-Order Season Begins!
It's that time of the season again, Pre-Order time!
With the December 2019 Arena update came two new Pre-Order bundles.
The first bundle is the Ashiok Pack Bundle, which is the typical 50 packs, an extended art Planeswalker, and a special sleeve.
The other bundle, the Elspeth Play Bundle, is something new. It including the Mastery Pass, bonus Mastery Pass levels, and some cosmetic items.
All values discussed in this article can be found HERE
Just how much of a "Great Deal" is that label at the top? Lets find out!
Elspeth Play Bundle
Whats in it?
The Elspeth Play Bundle is $49.99 and includes the following items:
From this we can see that we are getting $66.33 of value... or are you?
What are we really getting?
If you are spending this kind of money already, we should assume you are an active player, willing to get your money's worth and willing to support the game.
That said, if you are an active player, you should easily be able to complete the mastery pass well before the end date. So what does that $14.50 worth of 10 extra levels get you?
Nothing you aren't already getting for the Mastery Pass entry fee. You're getting the immediate first 10 levels at a high cost. Any active player should be able to blow through the first 10 levels in a week.
Ok, say you get 10 extra levels past level 100, or however long the Theros Beyond Death set mastery lasts. Looking at the Throne of Eldraine set mastery, past level 100, you get some random rares and mythics and a little bit of extra gold in those extra 10 levels. Again, not worth anywhere near $14.50.
If we take the 10 extra levels out. We're left with $51.83 in value. This is not much of a savings. You're basically getting the two cosmetic items at a discount, which I guess is still a good deal, but just barely.
Take away the two cosmetic items, and you're now at a loss.
Who is this bundle for?
I would say that this is for players that really want the sweet Elspeth cosmetic items, people that enjoy playing Sealed on opening day, and people that are already going to buy the Mastery Pass.
It's unfortunate they stick those 10 "bonus" levels in there to fluff the bundle. It really hurts the value in a big way. Unfortunately, for now, this appears to be the only way to get the Elspeth extras.
This is not a "Great Deal" at all. It is just "barely" a small savings based on the cosmetics.
Ashiok Pack Bundle
What's in it?
The Ashiok Pack Bundle is $49.99 and includes the following items:
From this we can see we are getting $64.41 in value
We really don't need to break this down too much. Booster packs are worth $1.11/ea, and by buying 50 packs, you can already see you are saving over $5 off that price. The bonus Ashiok Card Style and Sleeve is just gravy on top.
This is a good buy!
Purchasing Both Bundles
Buying Both Bundles will set you back $99.98. For your efforts, you will receive the Kunoros pet for free. This same pet currently sells for $19.32 in the store.
You will need to analyze the Elspeth Play Bundle to see if this bonus pet value makes up for the huge deficit in value you receive in this bundle. If you again removed the 10 bonus levels and combined remaining value, you are at $101.82 in value, barely a dollar more than the purchase price. Of course then you get the free pet for $19.32, bringing the total value to $121.14.
Keep in mind too you're also getting what looks like an Owl pet with the Mastery Pass already. How many pets do we need?
In this article I explain how to calculate out all of the values I am using in my various articles for assigning real world values to all of Arena's virtual in game items.
You may think this is frivolous and silly, but this can be useful for determining if you want to buy certain items in game with real money or not. It helps us determine if you want use wild cards or just buy a package from the store with gems. It helps us figure out how much value we're getting for the money we spend, or how much value we are receiving for those of us who play for free.
Assigning real world value does have a purpose.
I will go through each different in-game item and explain how I came up with it's value.
Everything that has a value has been directly calculated back to gems or gold, and then to dollars. If there is no path back to gems or gold, then it has a value of $0.
The Quick Values List
This is the Google Sheet I used to calculate all of these values.
MTG Arena Calculated Values Google Sheet
All calculations are my own. Thank you to a few folks in Reddit as well as my family for helping me figure the WIld Card values out.
Lets start with the easiest value to calculate, and the base of every other calculation.
There are a few ways to purchase gems directly. There is the Welcome bundle, Explorer bundle and regular store pricing in 5 different quantities. There have been several different rates available at some point in time. For these calculations, I am using the regularly priced store rates only.
To get the average regular priced gem rate, I added up each of the 5 regularly priced bundles in the store, and averaged their rates together.
1 Gem = $.0058
The only method of obtaining gold is through playing the game. Since you can't directly buy gold using gems, we need to look at other comparisons to figure this value out.
Avatars, Sleeves, Booster Packs, Pets and Ranked Draft entry fees can all be purchased using either gems or gold. Using these items, we are able to compare each gem to gold rate, and then averaged them all together.
All of this averages out to 5.53 gold per gem
Once we know this, we can then calculate the dollar value with the gold to gem conversion:
(1 Gem / Avg Gold per Gem) x (Avg $ Per Gem) = $ per gold
1 Gold = $.0011
The value of the 8-card Arena booster pack is relatively easy to calculate.
Booster packs are worth either 200 Gems, or 1000 Gold. We can then add the average dollar amounts of Gems and Gold together to find the average booster pack cost. This does not include one time purchase or other special store bundles. This is calculated using the regular store pricing.
1 Booster Pack w/ Gems = $1.17
1 Booster Pack w/ Gold = $1.06
1 Booster Pack = $1.11
There are two ways to purchase card styles, either with Gems or Gold. With new packages coming out with each major Arena update, this will need to be recalculated with each change in the store to determine the values.
At the time of these calculations (Nov 2019), we could buy card styles for 500 gems. Recently some 600 gem styles have been added to the store. There are also now style bundles with various gem rates (3 for 600, 5 for 1400, 4 for 1800) and now even some with gold rates that were not available before (5 for 3000).
Using the Gold and Gem values, we averaged all fo the different costs together.
1 Card Style = $2.08
Mastery Tree Orbs
Since these are equal to one Card Style, we can safely say their value is equal to the Card Style value.
1 Orb = $2.08
Avatars can be purchased using either gems or gold, each one having it's own dollar rate.
1 Avatar w/gems = $2.92
1 Avatar w/gold = $3.17
1 Avatar = $3.04
Pets used to be $0, since the only way they were obtained were through the mastery pass. While they may have had some value if you broke everything down, there was no direct path back to gems/gold or in the end, actual money. Until now.
With the late Nov 2019 update, we have our first purchasable pet, Dragon Whelp. He is able to be purchased with either gems or gold.
1 Pet w/gems = $17.53
1 Pet w/gold = $21.12
1 Pet = $19.32
Sleeves are another item that can be purchase with either gems or gold. Each has it's own rate.
1 Sleeve w/gems = $7.01
1 Sleeve w/gold = $4.22
1 Sleeve = $5.62
This one is a bit harder to calculate. It is the only item in the game that you can not purchase directly. The only way to obtain wild cards is through opening booster packs.
Since we know the cost of 1 booster pack, and we know the drop rates for each wild card rarity level, we can use these to figure out what a Wild Card is worth.
There are a few drop rates used, one is for the random pack drop rate, and one is for the guaranteed wild card track.
I am using the published rates with the Pity Timer included, as found here: https://mtgazone.com/wildcards/. I feel that if this was important enough to note for more real world numbers in this article, then I should use these numbers in order to calculate a more relevant real world value.
There is also some discrepancy in using the drop rate because you really don't know the true rate that a random wild card may drop. But over time, this should all average out to the published rates. Since creating some kind of formula would be too complicated for this need, I am settling with just using the published rates. If you get more wild cards over time, great, then they are worth less, If you get fewer over time, they are worth more. Lets just stick with the average published rates.
*A note about the rare value: The rare wild card rate and value will be a bit off because every 4th rare will be a mythic. I am not sure how to calculate this every 4th rare not being a rare, so if someone figures this out, please let me know.
Because these rarities have 2 different rates that occur at the same time, we need to add the rates together.
Let's use uncommon as an example. 1 in 5 packs should give you a wild card, but at the same time, you receive a wild card for every 6 packs that you open, regardless of chance. So, for every 6 packs you open, you will get 2 uncommon wild cards. Because of this we will be adding the two rates together to find our values.
1 Common Wild Card = $5.56
1 Uncommon Wild Card = $3.03
1 Rare Wild Card = $4.77*
1 Mythic Wild Card = $14.83
Daily Win Bonus
This one is a simple calculation. Just note how much gold you won for the daily win bonuses and multiply with the average gold rate. If you want to add in the ICR's value in too, then go ahead.
4 Wins = (550 gold x $.0011) + (1 ICR x ?) = $.61 in free value
15 Daily Wins = (750 gold x $.0011) + (6 ICR x ?) = $.83 in free value
Daily Quest Reward
Again, this is easy to calculate. Just multiply the reward amount with the average gold rate.
500 gold Daily Quest reward x $.0011 = $.55 in free value
750 gold Daily Quest reward x $.0011 = $.83 in free value
Using the known amount of items we will receive from the Mastery Tree, we can easily calculate it's total value. The rewards stop at Level 92. If you were able to reach Level 92, you will have received 46 booster packs and 5 orbs.
(46 Booster Packs x $1.11) + (5 Orbs x $2.08) = $51.06 + $10.40 = $61.51
Mastery Tree = $61.51 in free value
For calculating the Mastery Pass, we just add up all the reward, multipy them each with their own values, then add it all together.
Why is this important? It can easily show how much value you get for the gems, and thus money, that you spend obtaining the Mastery Pass. If you purchased the Mastery Pass with free gems, then this shows you how much free value you received in return for your time.
Lets see what all we got for the Throne of Eldraine Mastery Pass:
Throne of Edraine Mastery Pass = $182.40 in value
Individual Cards and ICRs?
I give no credence to anthing in the Individual Card values. These are just ideas I had to calculate their individual values. It would be nice to figure this out so we can figure out what an ICR is worth.
Cards themselves have no value except what you paid for them. Since you can only obtain them via booster packs, you can just add up all the various ways you can obtain booster packs. 14 card Traditional, ranked and limited packs and regular 8 card packs from the store. You get 42 cards via the draft methods, and 8 cards in a regular Arena booster pack. Average all the gems and gold out, and you get $.14 per individual card.
Mythics are going to throw this off since the drop rate for an 8 card booster pack is 1:30, and who knows what it is in the 14 card packs.
Also with Draft and Limited, some sets in the past have 15 card boosters, some of the newer ones have 14 card boosters.
With the addition of a new speciality set, Historic Anthologies 1, this brings the first of actually being able to buy cards. Buying this entire set nets you 80 cards, costing $.17/ea.
So, I am not even going to bother evaluating these at the moment. I will have to figure this out another time.
For now, I will just stick a $.14 per individal card price on them. Mythics be forgotton.
Experience points? Levels?
u/ACWhammy on reddit had an interesting idea: https://www.reddit.com/r/MagicArena/comments/e29ty9/is_buying_mastery_levels_more_time_efficient_than/
Basically take an hourly rate and apply that to how much time it took you to grind out levels. Then compare that against just buying levels.
Purchasing levels will always be more efficient, since there will be zero time spent to skip ahead in time. It's obviously more costly.
While I see this having merit, you need to figure that everyone's time is worth something different, and it's also free time.
I believe the only use this would have is if you played profesionally and were able to put a dollar per hour rate to it. Even if you played professionally, this rate would only apply to each individual since everyone makes different amounts per hour.
You may not feel that anything in Arena has value, but it actually does. Even though you virtual collection is worth $0, this does not mean that there is a cost to obtain all of those $0 items. Keep this in mind as you spend money. The only thing you are getting in return is fun and entertainment.
For some of us without a local game store, this cost allows us to play with our friends remotely, meet new people online and form a community to play with from many places around the world. For others it's a cheap entry into competitive play for a chance to win large prizes at the national and world levels.
These costs and values are many things to many people. It's all worth something.
I hope you found this article helpful and useful. You can use these nubers to help figure out various costs of packages, new events and other items in game.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or email me.
For many new MTG Arena players, building your collection can be a frustrating and daunting task. To build a good collection you will need to go down either the path of spending real money, or by playing for free.
Playing for free is actually very rewarding in MTG Arena. Wizards of the Coast is extremely generous when it comes to player rewards and letting people play for free. This has caused an up-rise in the Magic: The Gathering player base over the past year, leading many people to become top competitors in localized and world tournaments as well as giving people an interest in spending money on their physical products.
With fame and fortune dangling from a stick, many players want this, but many players don't have that kind of money to spend in order to achieve this quickly.
New players are often lost with no ability to get the cards they need, so they quickly spend all of their wild cards and gold earned on opening booster packs as soon as they get earn them. This is a bad use of strategy, and will continue to leave players in a rut of small eclectic collections creating a bad card pool.
The good news is that it is very easy to get out of this rut. The bad news is that it will take a little time and patience to do so.
If you've got time, and enjoy playing for free, this is the advice for you.
The problem here is that new players aren't sure what they are doing, and then often take bad advice about how to get started.
New players are given a small pool of cards to start with, a few wild cards and some gold won by various means. In the excitement to open booster packs and see new cards, new players quickly spend all of their gold and open random packs that won't help them build a usable collection. It's a pure gamble at best each time they open a booster pack or two and when they don't get what they need, they open more.
They then turn to their small collection of wild cards they obtained during the New Player Experience, and quickly craft all their cards for decks that they just can't finish, or craft the wrong cards for what they are wanting to do. Often new players change their minds halfway into a deck build and now they are out of options without spending real money.
Without any good cards, you can't build good decks. Without good decks, you are stuck in the rut of struggling to play the game. When you struggle at anything, your enjoyment is sapped away.
But, there's hope!
The solution is quite simple, yet time consuming. It is available for all of those with patience. It has worked for many people, and all of those that took the patience path have been rewarded with magnitudes of Arena riches and have never been left wanting for cards ever again.
Does that sound awesome? This can also be you if you follow this path of advice, just as I did.
1 - Don't spend your wild cards
Don't spend your wild cards, except when absolutely needed.
It's exciting to craft all those Mythics and Rares. And often there is advice to "craft all the shock lands" and such, but in doing so, you just wasted the most valuable resource you have in the game. You will likely not use many or any of those cards you excitedly crafted.
I've been there, done that. I have multiple copies of Ghalta now, not realizing that Legendary meant that I could only play one of each of those cards at a time. I ended up never using that card in anything competitive. I did this for several others as well, and regret every last one.
2 - Figure out what type of deck you enjoy playing, then stick with it!
Hopefully you've been reading up on popular decks with decent win rates by now. If not, then take the time to join an online community to ask questions, get advice, etc on what you should build. Read blogs. Watch youtube streamers. Get some ideas of what looks fun.
Once you determine what may be the most fun, or best option based on your card pool, see what you can put together using what you already have.
See if you can substitute key cards for similar cards and give those a try. Play a few games and see how you enjoy the deck. You may find you don't like that style of play, so you now don't have to waste wild cards finishing the deck.
Try different styles and themes of deck. Keep building what you can with what you have until you find someting that you really enjoy that you can afford to fully put together with what you have.
If you find one you really enjoy playing, only craft half of the needed missing cards and then check to see again how it plays. If it's better, then try playing it this way for a couple of days to see how it does. You may find it's powerful enoguh to get you by for now.
If you determine you must have those last few cards in the deck to really make it shine, then, and only then, should you craft the remaining cards.
Do everything you can to save your wild cards. You may find you will need them later if you need to change something in your deck.
Once you have something that has a decent rate of at least 50%, or close to it, stick with this for the remainder of the set you're currently playing through. It's going to need to last you.
You're going to lose a lot of games, but that's what it takes. If you end up with a higher win rate deck, you will be ahead of the curve and will struggle far less.
Stick with this deck, learn it inside and out, tweak it, get advice from people on forums, watch online videos, read blogs. Make that deck work for you, even if it has a lower win rate. It's going to need to carry you through for the next month or two.
3 - Stop spending gold
This part is very important, and leads to the patience aspect of getting out of the new player rut.
In order to get to where you want to go, you need to stop spending gold immediately. No matter how much you want to open more booster packs, or want those cosmetic items, don't do it. There will be a far, far greater rewards for you if you simply wait.
I will explain what to do with this saved gold later on in this article.
4 - Play every day
This is the other important piece of the patience game. You really need to play every day if you want to get ahead. At the very least, play every 3 days, so as not to let you Daily Quests back up and go wasted.
Play to win 4 games per day at the very minimum and complete your daily quest.
If this sounds like a lot, hear me out. This is a proven plan that won't burn you out and cause you to hate the game. This is the minimal effort needed in order to gain your success later on.
If your deck even has a 50% win rate, or somewhere close, then stick with the struggle. Again, you will reap greater rewards soon enough, and with much better decks.
If you build something around aggro, your games should go much more quickly, allowing you to get through your daily grind much faster, even with the losses. If you play more of a control style deck, your games are going to take longer to get through. So, keep this in mind when deciding on your play style, knowing you're going to need to play that deck for quite a while to get you by.
If you are still having fun at the end of your 4 wins, go for a 5th win. This will give you the first ICR (Instant Card Reward) for the day, thus giving you more cards to build with. Doing a 5th win per day is an extra 7 cards per week, or 30 cards per month, that you didn't have. Keep in mind they are completely random and are from all sets in Standard, so working for that 5th win may not really benefit you much if you're going for something specific. If you're still having fun, just keep playing. Don't tire yourself out or you will not enjoy the game.
5 - Keep saving that gold!
How much gold should you save? All of it.
How much gold will you be saving? Lets look at some quick math:
4 wins per day + daily quest = 1050 gold minimum per day (averaged out over a week).
With a quick web search, you can find out when the next set will be released on Arena. Knowing this, figure out how many more days you have until the next set is released. Then calculate the number of days times 1050 gold and you should know how much gold you will have to spend.
If you just started playing and entered into the middle of a set release, your amount will be lower to spend, but this is what you need to get ahead, so focus on that rather than what you could have had if you started earlier. Only focus on what you can achieve.
80 days left of a set x 1050 gold = 84,000 gold minimum
50 days left of a set x 1050 gold = 52,500 gold minimum
33 days left of a set x 1050 gold = 34,650 gold minimum
You get the idea...
Even a minimal amount will help get your collection started. Just be patient, or this won't work, and you will always be in a rut.
5 - When a new set comes out, spend that gold!
Wait... wait some more. No, wait for it. OK NOW!
A new set has just been released. NOW you may spend your gold.
When the new set comes out, you have two options to spend your gold on. I would probably focus on one or the other, and not split between the two.
Option 1 - Open a bunch of booster packs.
This will net you fewer cards overall, but you will receive more wild cards in the end.
Option 2 - Ranked Draft
You will need to wait another 2 weeks for Ranked Draft to kick of for the new set, but it's well worth the wait. You'll have saved quite a bit more by then as well.
Ranked will net you more cards vs only opening booster packs, but you will receive fewer wild cards. The other advantages of Ranked Draft are: you get to hand pick all your cards, so you can pick what you want and need to play with immediately. You also get a bonus booster pack on completion, which will start earning you wild cards on top of being extra bonus cards, and you also receive gems on completion. If you want to play some draft games, you will earn even more. If you don't want to play the games, you will still come out ahead on cards, and of course gems.
There are many articles, advice and arguments over these two methods. You choose what you want to do. The main differences to choose from are, do you want a few more wild cards from option 1, or do you want a larger collection (and free gems) to work with from option 2. Both have their merits.
Regardless of the option you chose, look at your gold total before you choose. Only spend that amount. Do not spend any more than what you earned from playing through the last set up until you pick the path you are goign to take.
This is important because now you are fully set up for the next set, which will be the end of your rut.
Regardless of the option you chose, enjoy and use your new cards to upgrade your current deck, or build something new. Keep in mind that saving your wild cards is still very important. Only use what you need. Don't go crazy just because you have more wild cards now. You still need to get through one more set release before you are completely free from the new player rut.
6 - Start saving gold again
Now that you have spent all your gold on Option 1 or Option 2 for this new set, it is time to start saving for the next set, which comes roughly every 3 months.
This will take another large bout of patience, but at least you have more new cards to work with. Just keep at it.
From here you can use your daily gold calculations to figure out what you will have going forward.
Typically it's been 90-100 days between sets. This gives you easily 100K+ gold you can save for the next set.
7 - The Final Hump, You're Free!!!
Now that you patiently waited through an entire full set using what you have again, you should have 100K+ gold when the next new set released if you played 4 wins every day and did your daily quest.
Here is where it all pays off.
Again, choose Option 1 or Option 2 for spending your gold. This time you most likely have double the amount of gold to work with, thus doubling the amount of cards you received the previous time you did this.
Opening 100+ booster packs or running through 20+ ranked drafts should net you most of an entire usable collection at this point. You should be able to get nearly the entire playset of Commons and Uncommons, over half of the rares, and a handful of mythics, and of course more wild cards.
Again, save those wild cards. You will have even more now, probably enough to craft an entire Tier 1 deck if you choose. See what all you have, use only what you absolutely need and start having even more fun than ever before!
Figure out what you want to do with your massive collection now. You should have enough wild cards to go back and craft any cards from older sets now to build yourself the ultimate deck for your play style.
8 - You are free from the rut!
Now that you are free from the new player rut, you can continue to rinse and repeat saving your gold and spending it only on the new set each release for either Option 1 or Option 2.
Should you stick to this plan, you will never want for cards or wild cards ever again.
It takes patience, but if you really want to get ahead in this game, you must do this or your will struggle for a long time, much longer than the time it takes to get out of the rut.
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. Leave a comment below if you have questions or comments.