My goal when it comes to Magic Arena and especially when it comes to writing Arena because the community is maximizing efficiency when it comes to spending gems and coins on packs, bells and whistles that Wizards of the Coast constantly dangles in front of you. While my focus tends to be on the “free to play” side, there are many players who spend money on the game but want to maximize their efficiency and many players who spend virtually nothing on the game but when they want the most for the game. their proverbial dollar.
Let me introduce you to the pre-release bundles for the upcoming Brothers’ War expansion.
With each new Standard expansion a Arena come two bundles available for several weeks until the release of the set. In this case, the two bundles are available until November 15, a week from now, when Brothers’ War officially goes online for the masses on the platform (the set will be available in physical stores on the 18th for what it’s worth).
The first package is the “package” package which this time features Mishra, the brother that Gix has corrupted. The second package is the “game” package which this time features Urza, the brother who waged a centuries-old war against Yawgmoth. Each package costs $ 49.99 and is worth considering if you play Magic Arena.
Let’s start with the Mishra bundle, which includes the following elements:
- Cosmetic items
- Mishra sleeve
- Mishra, claimed by Gix Card Style
- Phyrexian Dragon Engine card style
- Individual cards
- 1 Mishra, claimed by Gix
- 1 Phyrexian Dragon Engine
- 50 Brothers War Packs
- 5 gold packs
Immediately after, a deck of cards Arena costs a base price of 200 gems. 50 packs would then cost 10,000 gems, which, at the best available rate, cost about $ 50. So, for value alone alone, the 50 Brothers’ War packs make up the bulk of the $ 50 cost of the pack. The added bells and whistles are where the unique value of the package comes into play. One card pack, two mythic card styles, and two mythic single cards are nothing to scoff at. Even with a hefty discount, a mythical style of rare cards will cost around 750 gems. But if these don’t intrigue you, let’s talk about the Golden Packs.
These packs are new to Arena and you can read all about them in the original Wizards of the Coast announcement. Essentially, each pack has one mythic rare and five rares, each of which has a 1 in 8 chance of becoming a mythic rare. Each card will come from a Standard legal set, and two are backed by Brothers’ War. The cards have double protection, which means that unless you have four copies of every single rare and mythic rare from all six Standard legal sets, you’ll get cards you don’t already have.
But what is their added value to the package? Anything. The way you get them is at the exchange rate of one free Golden Pack for every 10 Brothers’ War Packs you purchase from the shop on Arena. (Sorry, packages you win in drafts don’t count). So, since the Mishra pack counts as buying 50 packs, you get 5 gold packs. So, again, the $ 50 value is essentially the same as if you bought $ 100 worth of gems and used half (10,000) to purchase 50 packs of Brothers’ War.
So should you do it? If you like the cover and think the Mishra cards can be used (these are the two that merge in Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia), then it might be worth it. There is a small bonus here as you only have to spend $ 50 instead of spending $ 100 on gems to get the correct value for purchased packs. That said, if you’re not too keen on just buying packs, you can also skip this pack and buy your packs the old-fashioned way (or win them in events).
So what about the Urza package? What does a “play” package involve?
- Cosmetic items
- Sleeve Urza
- Urzan Sentinel Pet
- Urza, Lord Protector Card Style
- The style of the Mightstone and Weakstone cards
- Individual cards
- 1 Urza, Lord Protector
- 1 The strong stone and the weak stone
- Play tokens
- 3 Player Draft Tokens
- 1 sealed token
- 5 game points
- Brothers War Set Mastery Pass
Again, an impressive display, but let’s see how it stacks up to the 10,000 gems your $ 50 might otherwise rack up for you. First of all there is the Mastery Pass which costs 3,400 gems. Whether or not you think the pass is worth that cost is a topic for a separate article (look for it next week!), But for now we’re looking for another 6,600 valuable gems from this pack.
Premier Draft have 1,500 gems to insert and Sealed events have 2,000 gems to insert. The tokens for four events add up to 6,500 gems bringing us a total value of 9,900 gems across all those entry fees plus the mastery pass. The last 100 gems give us all the cosmetics, two mythic cards and five game points. If you’re not familiar with game points, you can hand in 20 to get around the 20,000 gold / 4,000 gem entry fee on qualifying play-ins that are part of the Arena Organized Play system.
So once again it looks like we’re pretty much getting value equivalent to if we just shelled out $ 99.99 for 20,000 gems, spent half on 50 packs and the other half on the Mastery Pass, three Premier Drafts, and a sealed event. If you’re waiting for a catch there really isn’t one. Basically there are just a few reasons to shell out the money for the packages themselves instead of making the purchases directly:
- You like cosmetics and aesthetics in Arena and want to add Urza and Mishra card sleeves and styles to your collection. If that’s the case, then you should rest easy knowing that the $ 100 you’re spending gives you equivalent value in packs and tournament entries, and that the non-playable portion of the pack is essentially an add-on just for you!
- You like to be technically correct that packs cost $ 99.98 while 20,000 gems cost $ 99.99 and you’re saving 1 cent by purchasing packs, in which case that’s okay, idiot, enjoy your saved penny!
- You are a very competitive player and those five game bonus points are easily worth 100 gems
These are the main reasons for buying these bundles. Otherwise it might be more worthwhile to buy 20,000 gems, or buy zero gems and just follow my free-to-play Brothers’ War guide (coming out next week!) On how to build your collection without the benefit of the 50 packs, four mythic rares, mastery passes and tournament entries that the package offers you.
On a final note, I want to mention in passing that $ 100 per standard set should be all that is required for anyone to fully enjoy. Magic Arena when it comes to playing Standard. As long as you’re not necessarily looking to get into Alchemy, Historic, or Explorer, the contents of these bundles, plus the determination to grind all 80 levels of the Mastery Pass should get you where you need to be to play almost any Standard deck. I’ll cover this concept more in next week’s free guide.
Finally (I know I said the last note, so sue me), for those of you who have been longtime readers and are wondering if all this means the spreadsheet could come back, yes I can say that the sheet calculation is coming back. It will look a little different than before, and will only include Brothers’ War to start with, but I’m already working on filling Dominaria United. For those wondering where I’ve been, my youngest daughter just turned a year old a couple of months ago, and those of you with kids can probably fully understand why I haven’t grinded. Arena in the past 18 months or so.
I’m back? I’m thinking maybe I’m back.
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.