Kaldheim releases tomorrow! Hooray!
Zendikar was the set that made me quit playing Standard. I was so bored of the same decks every day, and I refuse to play tier1 control or any of those other controlish long game 3+ color decks. Thanks Triomes, thanks a lot. I don't find these decks fun to play against. I also don't see the fun in just denying my opponent from playing the majority of the game while I do nothing but wait until I have enough lands to play my one big thing. It's just boring gameplay to me. I was also bored of mono red, as I played two complete set releases with mono-red. I wanted something new with more action, so I started playing Historic.
Welcome to Historic! The land of opportunity and limitless fun.
Or so I thought...
Historic, I realized quickly, was also the same 4 decks over and over again. But, they're different decks! It was new and fun for a while, then turned into the same thing I hated standard for. Most days it's either U/W control, Rakdos Sacrifice or some combo of 3 color deck that all does the same thing, which is counter all your spells and board wipe you on turn 4 every game. They're pretty easy to play around because they're all exactly the same. It just comes down to luck of the draw and if you get to go first or not. I quickly started conceding after a turn or two after I saw what was up.
I love playing magic, but if I don't get to actually play the game on my end, then it's no fun, so I concede and find the next opponent, hoping they don't have one of these specific decks, or that my hand is better this time, or the opponent misses a land drop or card draw or something to give me the edge.
Despite all of that, I had more fun. I think it's because I was able to play a deck architype that was competitive that I enjoyed playing. I went with Historic Elves. It's all creatures except for a set of Collected Company, which a large majority of the time is really just equal to two more creatures. So basically a 100% creature deck.
I love the synergy of the elves. They either give themselves mana or buff themselves. Some duplicate themselves to make more elves or more buffs. My finisher for a while was Craterhoof Behemoth, until later on I switched over to Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Ghalta was just easier to cast early on, especially since the last month of gameplay has been a large majority of just U/W control, so I was never able to get Craterhoof out anymore. Ghalta can be dropped as early as turn 3-4, hoping to miss the big board wipe or a counterspell early on.
So with all that said, I started with Zendikar standard on the Arena release day, playing Mono White Lifegain then changed to Mono White Enchantments for a week. By early October I switched to Historic with my old Historic Merfolk deck and finally by mid October I had crafted the Historic Elves deck and have been tweaking it ever since.
I really, really enjoy the Elves deck. So much so, I built a commander deck out of it for my weekly gaming group. I'm also considering buying the new elves commander precon for Kaldheim.
Well, you came here for stats, so here's my Zendikar Rising Gameplay Stats.
All stats recorded via hand after each match and double checked using MTGAHelper. My customized spreadsheet then calculated the rest and all of the running totals.
My only goal was 4 wins per day, and keeping the daily quests from backing up.
I completed every event, including FNM @ Home and all other extracurricular free events that were offered.
Gameplay dates range from 9/17/20 to 1/27/21.
We can see here I played Historic Elves for the majority of the duration of the Zendikar Rising set. Since my weekly play group started playing in-person again over the late summer, we stopped playing direct play games online, so that's why that one has zero games.
Historic Elves did pretty well IMO, with a 58% win rate, and I even enjoyed many of the losses or quickly conceded and moved to the next game, so really not much time loss there for that kind of rate.
The only other stats I didn't show here was my ranked play rank. My best Standard rank was silver 4. My best Limited rank was bronze 1. I'm not much into the grindy nature of ranked play, so I stick to the casual queues and play out my daily 4 wins each day.
I wish I could say I had fun with Zendikar Rising, but as soon as I switched to Historic, I rarely saw a ZNR card. We'll see what this new set brings. I am looking forward to more new Elves and a Viking theme. That new Kaldheim showcase art is stunning!
Last week started preview season for the new Magic: The Gathering set Kaldheim.
As with past sets, WotC has released pre-release bundles on Arena prior to the new set launching. Are they a good deal or not?
Just like with the previous bundles, they are offering a bundle purchase of both bundles and throwing in another pet. I will go into depth on each bundle separately, and then discuss both bundles combined at the end.
Pricing and value information is all found on my main Arena site. All values shown are as of 1/12/21.
I really didn't change much in this article at all. It appears the pack and play bundles have stabilized in their offerings and have been the same going on 3 sets in a row now.
Kaya PACK BUNDLE: $49.99
What's in it?
The Kaya Pack Bundle is the same as past pack bundles, with a slight discount on bulk packs plus some fun extras thrown in for "free".
From this we can see there is $60.49 worth of value here. If you don't care about the cosmetics, you still get a small discount on booster packs as well as the single inclusion of the Kaya the Inexorable card, still totaling at least $54 in value.
Is this a good buy?
Yes, if you're one who buys at least 50 virtual booster packs for real world money.
Niko PLAY BUNDLE: $49.99
What's in it?
The Niko Play Bundle appears to be keeping it's increased value that was raised in the last two bundles by adding more draft tokens. This is a good trend to see.
From this we can see there is $66.20 worth of value here. If you don't care about the cosmetics, you're still coming out ahead with $59.71 in value if you were going to be purchasing these items anyway.
Who is this bundle for?
I see this bundle targeted to those who don't have a lot of gems or are just starting out in the world of drafting.
I would think that if you draft a lot, and you're one to purchase the draft tokens with gems, then you are typically able to keep the gem rewards going, even on a bad run of luck. That said, you are probably someone who has enough gems saved up to get the Mastery pass and draft for free from your previous set's gem winnings. If this is you, then this is probably not a bundle you need.
Is this a good buy?
Yes, if you're one who buys the mastery pass and draft tokens each set release.
No, if you already have enough gems banked from the previous set release.
BUY BOTH BUNDLES: $99.98
Are both bundles worth it?
If you are planning to buy the pack bundle already, and want the play bundle too, then this is an excellent buy.
If you only want the booster packs and don't need the draft tokens or mastery pass, or you can get those for free with your gems, then don't bother with the play bundle.
I hope you found this helpful and informative and it helps with your purchasing decisions.
I was kind of excited for Zendikar Rising, but barely a month into Standard, I realized I couldn't stand the format any longer. I love Magic, but seeing the same few decks over and over again, I needed a change. So, I moved to Historic.
Now in Historic, I thought this may be different, but I quickly found that I see the same few Historic decks over and over again... but it's somehow different. I think the difference is that I am able to build what I want, and not be confined to a format of cards that don't care how I want to play. I don't play control, I don't care about killing all your things, I just want to be as aggro as possible and play a bunch of creatures. It's what I like. So, I gravitated towards one of my favorite tribal groups, Elves!
With the move to Historic, I kind of lost the interest of collecting the new set, knowing that I already have a powerful enough deck, one of which didn't even use any cards from the new set. I used my premium draft token from the Mastery Pass, and I did about a dozen quick drafts total. This was down significantly from the 20 or so I have been doing for the past year's worth of sets.
I was taking it kind of slow this set. Since I don't draft to win but instead draft to collect, I didn't always have a very good pool of cards to build a limited deck from. I played what I could, or just conceded the draft after picking out all my cards if I had nothing to really build a deck out of. Either way, I gained a lot of gems from some of my wins and a few extra prize booster packs in the process too.
Zendikar rotated out of quick draft, and by the time it came back, I had completely lost interest in getting any more cards via Draft. I had enough gems for the next two set's worth of Mastery Passes, and I had enough wild cards to not care about not having all the new cards anymore.
Flash forward to when I finally hit the last booster pack from the Mastery Pass, it was time to open all those packs I had been saving. I decided to just open them all when I had all the free ones that I was going to get to make it easier to keep track of. I didn't need anything from the packs, so I just let them sit.
After drafting and opening packs, I cleaned up and added some new calculations to the spreadsheet. I am working towards automating as much of it as I can. My goal is only to plug in the draft and booster card counts and my daily play info, and the spreadsheet will calculate the rest across the various sheets into a nice neat easy to read dashboard of interesting stats. As crApple likes to say with product revisions, "This is the best one yet!"
I manually track everything and double check my data using MTGAHelper.
Gameplay Stats will be my Arena Post ZNR Gameplay Stats article that will be written shortly before the next set release.
*There may be some discrepancies or calculation errors, I found a few cells while moving everything over to Kaldheim this week that were off. It's close enough. Fixing the screenshots as I go.
So, after 12 ZNR drafts and after opening 82 free ZNR booster packs, here is what I ended up with. Keep in mind all of this was free, I only spent gems for the mastery pass (which I obtained from previous draft winnings) and gold was spent on drafts, cosmetic items and the gold/gem daily deals. I did not buy any packs with gold.
ZNR Booster Packs
All booster packs were free, earned through set mastery, mastery pass, codes and draft rewards. I did not purchase any packs this set.
These packs were tracked independently from the draft, so all numbers reflect what can be expected if you only opened 74 booster packs for the current set and nothing else.
ZNR Draft Stats
I completed 1 Premium draft with a token from the Mastery Pass, and 11 quick drafts using gold.
I did not include the ICR count or ICR vault progress in these stats, realizing that I need to add that data into another dashboard from my daily play sheet. But the majority of those cards are not from the current set anyway, so the increase would be quite small.
Wild card data also includes the additional 20 non-ZNR packs obtained via the Mastery Pass.
I didn't get around to messing with the Cards Kept vs Dupes data points since I didn't do much drafting this time. We'll see how I feel when Kaldheim comes out. There's quite a few cards in there that I would like to use for Historic.
I will also be adding some more daily gameplay dashboards to use with my Post Gameplay articles. This will help display more interesting data points of how much goes into playing this game.
As of now, I am just maintaining the sleeve gallery and adding up my stats. I'm not going to say I'm bored of Arena, I enjoy waking up and getting my morning games in, but I am not as excited as I once was. We'll see where the year takes me.
I am excited for Kaldheim. There's a lot of elf cards that I will be adding to my new elf tribal commander deck, as well as other elf decks for modern, historic, etc.
... that viking etched showcase art! Can't wait!