The Magic Arena The state of the game is generally not a source of shocking news. The article comes out with each version set in place of the regular weekly announcement blog. This is normally where Wizards highlights how the new mechanics in Arena will work or how the returning mechanics have (hopefully) improved their interfaces.
And this announcement included a good chunk of that, including some nice screenshots of how prototypes, melds, and unearth will work, as well as some tweaks to auto touch, putting cards on top and bottom of your library, and Oracle updates to the mechanic of the game. surveillance and landing place. But this announcement also highlighted an interesting new concept under the title “Evolving MTG Arena”.
Before I get into that, I want to highlight the best and worst parts of the Arena state of the game’s announcement. First, the best part, which was the preemptive decision to ban Mishra’s Bauble from the historical game. This card is annoying and would instantly be a card with automatic inclusion in virtually any deck, but it would be particularly annoying in combo decks. If you thought your Goblin opponent was hitting Muxus on turn 3 too often now, just wait for them to add four copies of Mishra’s Bauble to the deck. So kudos to Wizards for fixing this.
On the other hand, meld cards will not be twice as big as regular cards. Are you kidding me, wizards? The central point of the Arena are the bells and whistles. Bells and whistles for which you charge a nice penny in the shop every day in the form of avatars, pets, sleeves, and card styles. But can’t my combination of Mishra, Urza and Titania be double in size ?! What is the point of all this Arena customer then. I should get back to paper Magic for the sheer excitement of merging these cards together.
Do better. Please.
Let’s move on to the “Evolution” stuff. Longtime readers of mine Arena content knows I’ve been a firm believer that, due to duplicate protection, editorial is the most efficient way to create your Standard collection. Well, apparently Wizards of the Coast might include some of my longtime readers as well because they have addressed this point quite bluntly in the state of the game.
Okay, “feeling obligated” seems a little strong. I’m not forcing anyone to write anything. I’m not forcing them to use a spreadsheet I’ve meticulously put together to track the progress of their draft to make the most informed decision on how to maximize the number of gems they’re spending for each rare they add to their collection. Nobody is obliged to do a damn thing. You created the game, if anything you are forcing people to write.
But they are right. Draft and Sealed are not just “an effective way to create a collection”, they are the most effective way to create a collection. If you join a quick draft for 750 gems (the cost of 3.75 packs) and drafts every rare you open, you are given at least 4 rares for about 3.5 rares. Getting in, drafting, and exiting fast drifts is mathematically a more efficient way to build your collection than opening the packages you buy in the store.
And so Wizards created the gold package for address this problem directly. I’ll dive into the math specs in the next week The War of the Brothers Free to Play guide, but for now we can simply consider the example above. Consider having 15,000 gems. This nice round number will give us some great numbers that are effective for telling a story. For 15,000 gems you can enter 20 quick drafts. In each of these drafts, you can choose the three rares you open, never see another rare, and then leave the event without a win. You would then have another 1,000 gems that you could use to insert another draft and do the same. You now have the 63 rares you chose (25%) of the set, the 21 packs you won and 300 gems to your name. Statistically, those 21 packs should produce 18 rare and give you 3 rare wildcards (every six packs open). You can purchase another pack with your gems and you will have up to 22 rare / rare wildcards plus the 63 you have chosen. 85 total rares for 15,000 gems.
What if I just bought packages? Thanks for asking! 75 packs will give you 66 rare or rare wildcards plus you will receive another 10 rare wildcards (every six packs opened except every fifth time you get a mythic wildcard instead). So you just got 76 rares for 15,000 gems. You are 9 rare less than what you would have achieved with just a rare draft and premier deletion, and this is based on the at worst for Quick Draft rewards and the number of rares you draw per draft.
But what if I also had gold packs in the second scenario? Not only did you purchase 75 packs, you also received 7 Golden Packs. There are 14 other rare ones! Huzzah! It is now more convenient for you to purchase the packs from the store instead of joining and ditching the quick drafts.
This “Evolution of MTG Arena”, as they called it, was framed as a way to satisfy everyone’s gathering desires. For other groups this was easy enough. Wildcard packs, anthologies, remastered sets, and alchemy have all been vehicles for creating meaningful arena experiences for other demographic groups of players. But for the Standard grinder who wants to pick up the last set as fast as possible, he wanted a way to incentivize the purchase of packs (aside from the fact that buying and opening 75 packs takes about 15 minutes while drafting. 21 times will take days).
It remains to be seen if the gold packs will solve this problem or if there is also a problem that needs to be fixed. The numbers I’ll look into next week still show that if you have a reasonable amount of skill, limited play will be more efficient than buying packs, especially early in the life of a set when people are still learning the metagame, and many marginal rare will be distributed allowing you to quickly build your collection.
But for now, the state of the game is that people have different desires, and Wizards is trying to find ways to compensate for everyone, especially players who just want to set aside $ 200 and buy 150 packs to kickstart their collection. Arena is still, by far, a free friendly experience if you just want to play Standard. If it weren’t, and the release of new products for people who spend money would generate more backlash.
Although there is still time for the gold packs to generate their own backlash.
Rich Stein (he / he) has been playing Magic since 1995, when he and his brother opened their first boxes of Ice Age and I thought Jester’s Cap was the coolest thing ever. Since then the greatest hits of him in Magic it was the only time he beat Darwin Kastle to Spiral of time Grand Prix sealed and the moment when Jon Finkel blocked him on Twitter.