You take another drink as the canvas looms in front of you. A light flickers dimly in the corner. You’ve created countless pieces of art, but never anything like…this. Why haven’t you done this before? It seems so obvious in retrospect. Your friends, critics, business partners—soon, they’ll all see. But something’s still missing…
You look up, startled. That melody… Was that a piano? It sounded just like her… But, no—that would be impossible. She’s gone. They’re all gone.
Have to focus. How long has it taken to get to this point? Too long, but it doesn’t matter. There will be no more distractions. It’s almost finished. You can feel it. Your creation. Your Magnum Opus.
Dare you help paint a true Masterpiece of Fear? Layers of Fear is a first-person psychedelic horror game with a heavy focus on story and exploration. Delve deep into the mind of an insane painter and discover the secret of his madness, as you walk through a vast and constantly changing Victorian-era mansion. Uncover the visions, fears and horrors that entwine the painter and finish the masterpiece he has strived so long to create.
Game Review Scores
Layers of Fear is developed by Bloober Team and published by Aspyr.
Layers of Fear is available for free from the Epic Games Store from Now until Oct 31, 2019.
Grab it here while you can!
Today through Thurs, Oct 31, Q.U.B.E. 2 is available for free from the Epic Games Store.
In Q.U.B.E. 2, players step into the shoes of Amelia Cross, a British archaeologist, who has awoken on a strange alien planet. With the help of fellow survivor, Emma, players must face the challenging puzzles of the Q.U.B.E. in order to try and find a way back home.
Key features stated from Epic Games:
Q.U.B.E. 2 is developed by Toxic Games and published by Ten Hut Games.
You can find it for free on the Epic Game Store this week located here:
Did you get stuck with this tiny window when launching Arena?
If so, the fix is quite simple. Follow the steps below.
Close Arena (or that tiny window)
Press the Windows key + R
Type in regedit then click OK
Navigate to: (screenshot below)
HKEY_CURRENT_USER/SOFTWARE/Wizards Of The Coast/MTGA/
Delete the following items (Right-Click each one individually, select Delete)
Start Arena back up again, it should launch correctly this time.
Recipe PDF here: Creamy Dairy Free Potato Soup
Here is another dish I made for my dairy intolerant wife. She really enjoys cream based soups, but simply cannot eat them. I like them as well, but often after I am also left feeling a bit upset from the heavy creams, cheese, and everything else in them.
This option is pretty stomach friendly. I even ate two bowls while testing recipes, and had 2 bowls and (oink oink) two and a half grilled cheese sandwiches with American cheese and butter for dinner the same evening. My stomach was perfectly fine afterwards. Your mileage may vary after all the grilled cheeses though.
I made a meatless batch for some friends of ours, as well as a meat-filled batch for my wife and I. Both turned out great!
Vegan and Gluten Free Options
Let me get this out of the way so I do not have to keep referring to it in the directions. I will be using the ingredients I want to use, such as meat and cheese, but you don't have to. You do you!
My recipe uses chicken broth. As such, this is not vegan friendly. Instead, use the closest thing you can find to chicken broth. There are some DIY recipes out there you can google for that use common seasonings that are a close substitute. I would try those. I have not tested them myself yet, but they make sense in terms of flavor profile.
Obviously, you will want to ignore the sausage and bacon I use in my own soup. If you use a vegan cheese for a topping, make sure it is something that tastes good on its own, as it is going to add that flavor to your entire bowl of soup.
We are just using chicken broth, vegetables and almond milk and some meat. All of which have no gluten. Just double check the chicken broth you are going to use, some brands add various glutens in for whatever reason.
Let's get started!
The main substitution for this cream based soup is that I used almond milk instead of cow milk. Use whatever other milks you like, even using regular cow milk. It will all do the same thing in the end.
I also like thick and hearty soups, so adjust the veggies and meat to your liking.
Grilled cheese sandwiches are a great pairing with this soup.
TIP: For easier recipe following, you may want to go ahead and get all the ingredients out that you need, chopped, pre-measured and ready to go. I use whatever bowls/cup/etc I have available to put them in. Ingredients you add together at the same time can be combined. For instance, you can put the veggies in a bow, and all the spices in a little cup, etc. Keep the potatoes in their own bowl since they are added later. This all makes it quick and simple to just add each set of ingredients as needed instead of measuring or cutting while in the middle of cooking. Prep as much as you can ahead of time, then cook.
Part 1 - The TL;DR ADHD Version
This help article was written with the intent to help those that may be running into performance issues with Magic: The Gathering Arena. This is not intended to be a fix, this is only to help give some possible improvement in performance, hopefully enough to make some of your experience go from "Unplayable" to "It is tolerable now".
For those that want more info, even if you are not tech-savvy, I will be writing a Part 2 of why this is all happening, what it means, and why it's important in easy to understand wording.
Note that before you start reading this, don't let the legth of the article scare you. Depending on which hardware you have, you will be skipping 2/3 of these sections!
Terms and what stuff does
A few terms to understand while you read this article are:
The CPU thinks about all the stuff behind the scenes, then sends it to the GPU to show you what it's doing. Everything you see on the screen, such as your web sites, your text document or your YouTube video that you're watching is processed by the CPU then sent to the GPU to draw on the screen for you to see.
As far as gaming is concerned, the CPU thinks about all the complex things Arena is doing, such as how the card is moving across the screen and what it's doing, such as making an animated effect, etc. It then sends this information to the GPU which processes it and draws it on the screen. The end result is you seeing a cool card flipping out of your hand onto the battlefield and a big creature animating out of it. They work together to make all of this happen.
Even though cards are a 2D object (they're just cardboard), you need to realize that they are running in a complete 3D rendered virtual environment. This takes a lot of power to make happen. If your computer is not up to the task, it's going to run very slow because the CPU and GPU just can't process all of the data fast enough to make it appear smooth on your screen while you play.
Because of this, it is only able to process and show you only a few frames at a time, and then just skips all the rest in an attempt to catch up. This is what gives you low Frames per Second (or FPS).
60 FPS is what you want to aim for, but I found that anything steadily over 25 FPS seems perfectly playable, albeit not very crisp or sharp looking. The more we can go over 30 FPS, the smoother and more fluent it becomes. My goal here is to get your closer to 25-30 FPS if we can. Anything over that is just icing on the cake for you.
I go much more in depth in Part 2 of this article if you care to read it. If not, continue on to some possible performance improvements.
How To Improve Performance
I am only going to go over a few basic changes that nearly anyone can do.
There are a lot more advanced options out there, but most of it is not really necessary and will only add to your issues. Don't fall down the path of bad advice on the internet and disable and delete half your Windows files. That kind of advice will only make things worse and will not fix your game being slow.
I do this for a living, and see people bringing me computers all the time that won't boot and run slow because they followed bad advice on the internet to attempt to fix their problems.
These quick performance tweaks are quickly reversible with a few clicks and have no permanent ill effects on your computer.
One requirement is that if you are using a laptop is that you absolutely must have it plugged in in order to have maximum performance.
A fair warning, setting everything to maximum performance will really heat up a laptop quickly. Please play on a hard flat surface. If you are on a couch, or bed, please set a large book or magazine or other hard flat object under your laptop. Fabrics will block the vents and cause your laptop to overheat.
Another fair warning is that if any of these GPU driver updates or changes cause your computer to crash, then you have other things going on that are a lot worse than trying to make your game run faster. If this happens, you should seek local help in getting your computer working again.
I take no responsibility for anything that happens to your PC, you have been warned.
This help article will be broken down into 4 sections:
I will only focus on the easy and free options in this article.
Step 1 (0f 5) - Find CPU and GPU Model Number
Lets start by updating your GPU drivers first. There may or may not be any updates for your GPU depending how old your PC is.
You will need to find out what your GPU is first, and maybe your CPU, depending on what you have, and whether your Windows version is 64bit or 32bit.
To get this information without too many clicks, you can hit your Windows key, and type "command", then hit Enter.
It will open a command prompt. At the prompt, type in the following:
This will output two separate lines with the model of your CPU and the model of your GPU. Write these two lines down.
As you can see in the screen above:
Now that we have this information, we can move on to updating our GPU drivers.
Step 2 (0f 5) - GPU Driver Update
nVidia Driver Update
For those with nVidia GPUs, you can click HERE to go directly to nVidia's driver download site.
From here, use the drop downs menus to select your exact GPU model, then click Search
On the next page, you should be presented with a Download button.
Download the driver and install it.
Reboot your PC when it has completed.
Skip down to Step 3.
AMD Driver Update
For those with AMD GPUs, you can click HERE to go directly to AMD's driver download site.
Once here, use the sliding boxes to select your exact GPU model, then click the Submit button.
On the next page, find the correct download for your version of Windows and click the Download button.
Download the driver and install it.
Reboot your PC when it has completed.
Skip down to Step 3.
Intel Integrated Graphics
For those with Intel Integrated Graphics, you may need to do a bit more work to find your driver update.
In the first step above when you looked up your GPU model in the command prompt, if it gave you the exact model number, you can skip ahead and go right to the download instructions.
If it didn't specify a model number, you will need to do a bit more digging to figure this out. Often it just says "Intel HD Graphics" and does not give you a model number.
If this is the case, you will need to look at the CPU Model number you wrote down earlier in Step 1.
The CPU listed here is a Pentium N3710. The first number in the model number will be the generation that it is. In this example the number is 3, so this is a 3rd Generation Intel CPU. This information will be needed in the next step.
Click HERE to visit the Intel Graphics Drivers support page
On this page, scroll down and click the appropriate generation link.
Next select the appropriate driver for your version of Windows.
On the final screen, again look for the appropriate download option for the version of Windows that you have. Typically the top one is the one you need. Note that it says Windows 10 64 bit, this will also include Windows 7 in the same download.
On the final screen, again look for the appropriate download option for the version of Windows that you have. Typically the top one is the one you need. Note that it says Windows 10 64 bit, this will also include Windows 7 in the same download.
Click the Download button.
Download the driver and install it.
If you get a message about you already having the latest driver, then you can cancel the install and continue on to the next step.
Reboot your PC when it has completed.
STep 3 (0f 5) - Windows Power Settings
Now we need to change the Power Plan in Windows.
For the Windows power settings:
On your keyboard, press the Windows Key + R
This should bring up the Run box.
In the Run box, type in control powercfg.cpl and click OK.
It should open the Power Options in the Control Panel.
Note that it defaults to Balanced. You will need to change this to High Performance.
Select High Performance and close the window. You may skip down to Step 3 to change your GPU Power Settings.
If you don't see High Performance in the list of power plans, you will need to create one.
Click the Create a power plan link to the left.
Next select High Performance
Give it a name in the field below. I called mine High Performance, you can call it whatever you like.
When you are finished, click Next, and you should now have a High Performance power plan to select. Make sure your new High Performance power plan is selected and close the window.
WARNING: When you start up Arena or any other program that takes a lot of power to run, if using a laptop, it may heat up very quickly, and the fans may spin up very quickly and run loud. Please make sure your laptop is on a hard, flat surface so it has adequate cooling. Cloth surfaces, such as a bed, couch or your lap, may block air flow to the cooling system under or around the sides of the laptop. This can cause it to overheat and shut down, or cause it to slow down to the point it's running even slower. I take no responsibility for your computer overheating or becoming damaged.
STep 4 (0f 5) - GPU Power Settings
Next we will look over settings to change for the GPU driver software that you have. Remember which one you have, it will be either Intel, nVidia or AMD, and skip to the appropriate section below.
Intel GPU Power Settings
For those of you with Intel integrated graphics, please follow this section. If you have AMD or nVidia GPUs, then skip this section and look for the appropriate heading below the GPU that you have.
Right-Click on your desktop, and select Graphics Properties.
Note that it should have a little blue icon exactly as you see below. Only this specific option will launch the correct Intel graphics screen to edit in the next step.
Next, it should open the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel.
Click on the Power icon.
Select Maximum Performance.
Click the Apply button at the bottom of the window and then close the window.
Skip ahead to Step 5 for Arena Graphics Settings.
nVidia GPU Power Settings
For those with nVidia GPUs, please do the following. If you have an Intel or AMD GPU, then please see the appropriate Graphics Settings sections above or below this section for your specific GPU.
Right-click on your desktop, and select NVIDIA Control Panel
Navigate the menus on the left to find Manage 3D Settings
Scroll down on the main window and change Power management mode to Prefer maximum performance.
Once you have made this change, close the window and skip to Step 5 for Arena graphics settings.
AMD GPU Power Settings
For those of you with AMD GPUs, you will follow this section. If you have an Intel or nVidia GPU, you will need to look for the appropriate section above for your GPU's settings.
Right-click on your desktop and select AMD Catalyst Control Center
If your screen does not look like the one below, then click the Preferences button on the top right, and select Standard View. It should then take it out of advanced mode and show you the more simplistic settings that you will see on the following screenshots.
Change the Plugged In drop-down to Maximize Performance
Slide the Enable Vari-Bright slider to the left to Maximize Quality
At the top of the AMD Catalyst Control Center, click on the green Start arrow button
This will bring you back to the main screen.
Next, click on the link for Gaming Performance, found under the Gaming section.
Next click on Mipmapping
On the Mipmapping screen, slide the slider all the way to the left for High Performance.
Click back on the green Start menu arrow at the top again.
Back on the Main Menu, click on the Image Quality link in the Gaming section.
Next click on Anti-Aliasing Method
Slide the slider all the way to the left to Performance.
That's it for the AMD GPU settings.
Lets move on to Step 5 and change a few Arena graphics settings.
Step 5 (of 5) - Arena Graphics Settings
Launch Arena and go into the Graphics Settings
You can find the settings located in the upper right corner of the screen after clicking on the gear icon.
You will want to test with the same thing on the screen. The game will run slower the further along you get since there are more cards and animations happening. So test either when you keep your hand, or test when you're 5-6 turns in and there's a bunch of stuff on the battlefield. Sparky will time out your game after a while, so maybe every couple of minutes, just click something. I typically Attack All, then cancel, then Attack All again, then Cancel, it keeps the game active while I can play with all of the graphics settings.
Also, turn on this little diagnostics tool from inside MTG Arena. To do so, simply press Left Shift and the Period key. You will see an FPS meter in the bottom right hand corner as seen below.
NOTE: After making a change in the Graphics settings, you will need to reset the average for the FPS meter. To do this, just turn it of, and back on again by simply pressing Left Shift + Period keys for off, then press again for back on. This is important to show the change in average FPS, otherwise it's still averaging your FPS from previous settings which will be incorrect for what you are looking for.
Set everything to the following settings as seen below. Then start up a game in Practice mode so you can play with all the settings.
The above settings should be optimal for many people.
Here's what everything does to help you tweak your own settings.
I saw a 2-5 FPS improvement from doing all of this.
If you start lowering your resolution, you will see in creases from 2-30 fps immediately.
The main improvement on the really slow PCs is just going to be lowering your resolution. Going from, say 1920x1080 down to 1366x760 gave an additional 7fps going from 22fps to 29fps and making it very playable at those settings.
You will need to find the right combo of resolution and windowed vs full screen mode.
Once you find an acceptable resolution, then change Anti Aliasing from Low to High and see if your computer can stomach the extra processing or not. If not, simply turn it back off.
What Else can I do that's free?
Your PC may be running a tun of stuff in the background that's killing your performance too. This is not hard to disable, but you need to know what you're doing first, so perhaps seek help for some of these suggestions.
Disable Arena Trackers
I found that untapped.gg, one of the most popular options, made Arena runs 4fps slower on slow PCs. You may want to turn this off.
Also, if you are running more than one tracker, keep in mind that all of them are trying to read Arena's log data all at the same time, meanwhile Arena is trying to also write more log data. This kills your disk performance, and wastes processing power.
Task Manager Startup Items
Check your Task Manager Startup tab
You don't need 80% of what runs in there to be running all the time.
Disable all the obvious things an reboot.
All of those things will run perfectly fine when you click on their icons. They don't need to be running all the time when you aren't using them. Simply right-click on the Enabled wording after each item, and select Disabled.
Once you've gone through this list, reboot. Your PC will probably boot up noticably more quicker too.
Turn off Streaming Overlays
Apps like OBS, Discord, FRAPS and more are all constantly processing all the data going on all the time while you're playing. These absolutely kill performance. You should be running a powerful computer to be running these while gaming. If you don't have a powerful computer, or even if you do, try closing them all and seeing if things improve.
PC Upgrade Options
So, I only see a few FPS improvement after all that, now what?
Well if that didn't get you much improvement, I am sorry to say, you will need to spend some money next. This will help determine if you should spend any money or just get a new computer.
How much RAM do you have?
If the answers is less than 8GB, you may want to upgrade your RAM.
I saw an average of 4-9 FPS improvement going from 4GB to 8GB RAM. It also cut the game's load screen and match load screen time in HALF!
4GB RAM is anywhere from $10-20 on Amazon, eBay, etc.
Upgrading from 4GB to 8GB was the single largest gain in performance for any of these slow PCs that I tested.
I only tested on Solid State Drive upgrade on one slow laptop. I saw a 1fps improvement across the board, so this really has no effect once the game itself is loaded. Now, the game did load even half as fast as it did with extra ram, and the match load screens were also halved from even the ram upgrade. But once the game started, there was only a 1fps improvement. This is an awesome upgrade for anyone not on an SSD, but not necessary if you're only looking for Arena performance improvement while actually playing the game. SSD's start at $30.
Video Card Upgrade
For those with Desktops using Integrated Graphics (Intel HD Graphics or similar), you will see a significant improvement by adding in a dedicated video card.
WotC's recommended card starts at an nVidia GTX 560, which is still quite old, but can easily be found on eBay for under $30.
GOG, or Good Old Gaming, is giving away The Witcher: Enhanced Edition for free for signing up for their news letter.
The Witcher was the beginning of one of the most popular game game franchises.
Your name is Geralt of Rivia and you are a witcher, that means you kill monsters for a living. You were given special training to be the best at what you do and your body has been enhanced with potent elixirs to help you do it.
Suffering from amnesia you remember nothing of your past. Kaer Morhen, the last remaining keep of the witchers, was attacked by a mysterious organization, just as you were starting to lick your wounds there. The battle is won but the secret recipe for the mutagen, a substance required to create more of your kind, has been stolen. The surviving witchers set out to find and reclaim it and punish everyone involved. Memory loss or not, you are one of them.
Set in a dark fantasy world with a unique medieval, yet somewhat modern, feel to it, The Witcher isn't just another fantasy RPG. With a deep story, complex characters, and tough choices that actually matter, this game will keep you glued to your monitor for days.
You can grab your copy here:
***** IMPORTANT NOTE BEFORE CLAIMING FREE GAME*****
After trying to claim my copy, it stated that I needed to have GWENT in my game library alraedy. This is a card game for The Witcher, much like Hearthstone. GWENT is also free, and it looks like this is a way for them to get more users signed up to play it.
In order for me to get it added to my library, I had to download the GOG Galaxy client (their game launcher, like Steam) and then fully install the game before it would be "added" to my games library. It's a 2GB Download, but was quick and easy to download, then uninstall.
Once I did this, I was able to refresh the free The Witcher page and it let me claim my free game.
You may also want to remove the GOG launcher from your Windows startup as well after doing all this.
Today we have two free games available from the Epic Games Store!
In this brand new standalone experience, Alan Wake fights the herald of darkness, the evil Mr. Scratch! A thrilling new story line, hordes of creepy enemies, serious firepower and beautiful Arizona locations, combined with a fun and challenging new game mode make this a must for Alan Wake veterans, and the perfect jumping on point for new players!
Reviews seem to be mixed on this game, but there's some questionable games that I really enjoy myself that critics didn't like, and visa versa. Play it yourself and see. It's free after all!
You can grab it HERE for free from the Epic Game's store though 10/24/19.
You are Dan Lazarski, an elite neural detective known as an Observer, and part of a corporate-funded police unit whose purpose is to hack and invade suspects’ minds. In this future, anything you think, feel or remember can be used against you in a court of law.
The year is 2084. If you somehow survived the Nanophage, odds are you were killed in the War. Those who live have turned to drugs, VR, neural implants— anything to distract themselves from this new reality. But they can’t hide from you.
Reviews are mixed for this game as well, but it seems to have an overall majority positive review.
You can grab it HERE from the Epic Games Store through 10/24/19.
For those of you that have deleted your New Player Experience (NPE) decks, or other special pre-constructed (pre-con) decks, you may find that you needed them back at some point. Here's a quick list of all of the per-con decks that have been released for Arena.
Please let me know if there are any missing so that I can keep this list updated.
Color Challenge / Rotation Proof Mono Color Decks
Available April 2019 - June 26, 2019
Available December 2019 - Feb 11, 2020
Available for the Magic Celebrity Cup event, 7/11/19-7/18/19. More info HERE
M19 New Player Experience
Closed Beta - 7/12/19
Why is this important? Ranked Draft lets you build a massive set collection using nothing but your F2P Gold! Ranked Draft is typically available two weeks after a new set is released on Arena.
For collection building, there are many opinions on whether or not to open booster packs or waiting for ranked draft to become available with each new set release. For those of us with patience, we wait it out.
Nobody seems to have any solid data pointing in either direction of which method will net you more cards for your collection.
I have been of the opinion that Ranked Draft is the way to go, and is the method that I choose to go each set release. I decided to write down all of my findings and experience this time so that others might be able to see what ranked draft looks like on paper.
I don't like draft, I am New, I am no good at Draft, etc
Many people state that they don't wish to play draft, or they aren't good at it. Many new players are intimidated by drafting as well. Because of this, many people will shy away from this method of collection building and use the more costly method of mass booster pack opening.
The good news is, you can still do the draft process without playing the games afterwards and still reap more rewards than from only opening booster packs.
I will state the obvious here. I could be playing the games and getting wins and piling on more gems. But, I don't want to. I don't enjoy it. Lets move past this. It's my gold, and it's not hurting anyone.
And since Arena players seem to love free things, I gave away all of my wins to 66 lucky people.
So, why draft?
As in paper magic, we have a saying that opening booster packs is for drafting, not building constructed decks.
If you need certain cards for constructed, you would traditionally just buy the singles you need. Since you can't do that in Arena, the next best thing is to pick them individually during the draft process.
Drafting produces fewer unwanted duplicates in your collection while helping you build your collection faster. Drafting lets you individually pick each individual card you want from multiple booster packs.
The general opinion on the internets is that you don't get as many wild cards while drafting as you do from opening booster packs. While this is certainly true true, I will show you why that may not really matter. There are other aspects of the draft process that are often overlooked.
How I Obtained My Gold
Since I drafted M20 in mid July 2019, I have been saving my gold until this very weekend, October 11, 2019. I saved up exactly 110,000 gold. This was enough to partake in 22 Ranked Drafts. I also had 21 un-opened Throne of Eldraine booster packs that I had saved from codes, Mastery Tree progress and returning player rewards.
I play 5 wins per day and make sure that my Daily Quests are all caught up. I don't even flip my Quests for the 750 gold quests unless it's something I really just don't want to do. If I play past 5 wins a day, it's because I just want to play, testing decks, bored, etc. The minimal gold gained past 5 wins a day is not worth grinding for.
I recommend only playing past 4-5 wins a day if you just love playing and are having a good time. Otherwise, you will burn yourself out quickly and your money making machine will slow or stop between sets. You want to strike a nice balance between healthy fun play and maximizing your rewards.
Remember that playing when you are not having a good time is the opposite of what you want to be doing. You play for fun. If you want to have more fun, you probably want more cards and to get those cards requires gold. Obtaining gold therefore adds in a work aspect to the game. You need to put in work in order to build your gold to build your collection.
There will be days where you just can't get those minimal wins in. Simply walk away. Go watch TV, watch YouTube, surf the internet. Just do something else to clear your mind. You can't win when you are upset or angry. Once you have calmed down, jump back in with a clear head and knock those wins out.
I find that playing first thing in the morning tends to be easier. I can often go 5-0 and 5-1 almost every day that I start early. If I wait much past noon, or I play in the afternoon/evening, the games drag out and I win significantly less games. I also think better in the mornings with a fresh mind. Your mileage may vary here, so find when you like to play and stick with that schedule.
I personally play for 5 wins per day. This gets me the gold I need and an extra free card reward each day, which can add up over time.
Don't let the game become a chore. Keep it light and have fun.
4 wins per day minimum (550gold) + Daily Quest (500 gold minimum) = 1,050 gold
~90 days between sets x 1,050 gold = 94,500
You will probably end up with over 100K gold due to 750 gold Daily Quests and those days you play past 5 wins.
M20 Ranked Draft went live July 19. I spent all the gold I had at the time from previous savings and started over at near zero on July 21, when I quit drafting M20. From July 22 to October 11 I was able to save exactly 110,000 gold.
Keep a Log
I also have a column I keep just for notes, such as if I had a bad day playing, what I didn't enjoy, what I did enjoy, what was or wasn't working with my deck. This lets me figure out how to tweak my deck to make it better for more wins.
Booster Packs vs Ranked Draft
Let's look at my experience as an example. What do I get for 110,000 gold?
Booster Packs Only
- 110 x 8-card booster packs = 944 random cards
- no duplicate protection except for the rare slot
- 110 Guaranteed rares
- Roughly 100 wild cards (can't verify, calculating from the 50 packs I opened)
Total Cards = 944
- 22 Ranked Drafts = 66 x 14-card booster packs = 924 hand picked cards
- Pseudo-duplicate protection for all rarities, you pick exactly what you need
- Guaranteed 66 rares, high chance to receive many more
- Guaranteed 1100 Gems
- Guaranteed 22 x 8-card booster packs (176 random Cards), chance of receiving more
Total Cards = 1,100
Now, not all of these cars will be usable. Many will be duplicates lost to the Vault, so you will end up with a smaller number of total usable cards than what you see above.
My Draft Experience
Throne of Eldraine Draft Data (PDF)
Here are my results:
This table shows patience and restraint. In order to do this, you must not spend any gold, and must not open any newly released set packs until after you have finished doing the majority of your drafting.
Before drafting, I received 40 mythics, rares and uncommons from Returning Player Rewards, the Eldraine Brawl event rewards, and through daily ICRs while playing the game. ICR's obviously only include Throne of Eldraine cards. I also crafted 2 Torbrans, which these numbers include, for my RDW to hold me over until Ranked Draft went live.
Eldraine booster packs were obtained from free codes, Returning Player Rewards, Mastery Tree rewards, and pack rewards received at the end of each Ranked Draft process. I ended up with 50 free booster packs when all was said and done.
Lets break down what all I received from my experience.
- 241/249 singles obtained
- 856/996 cards obtained for full playset
As a F2P player, I now have 85.9% of the entire playset, and 96.8% of all of the singles.
This is the first set I was able to save that much gold for and then do this many drafts. I am extremely pleased with the results and what I received.
Lets break this down further and see what I got that is actually usable. Remember, not every card is useful as there are many unplayable and niche cards that add little to no value to your collection. The bulk of your collection will be made up of all the workhorse common and uncommon cards. There are many bad rares, and you should only be concerned with the ones you intend to play with rather than how many you can get.
- 101/101 singles obtained
- 403/404 cards obtained for full playset
Common playsets really hit home for me, as I enjoy the Pauper format and buy these for roughly $20 every set release from my local game store. I also put together pauper playsets, draft cubes and decks and sell them.
I have entire common playsets of most sets going back to the mid 90's.
- 79/80 singles obtained
- 307/320 cards obtained for full playset
Uncommons are where much of the magic in Magic happens.
- 53/53 singles obtained
- 131/212 cards obtained for full playset
I was lucky enough to pull the entire set of rares, though I only have about half of the playset.
While many rares are powerful and can do cool things, I don't typically focus on them. The rares I need in many decks are so few compared to the commons and uncommons.
I ended up getting 4 red rares I really wanted, 1 x Torbran, 2 x Fervent Champion and 1 x Castle Embereth. I was hoping for more Fervent Champions and more Castle Embereths to upgrade my Cavalcade deck with.
I am excited to build some new decks with all of the rares I received. There are a lot of fun new possibilities for brewing now.
- 8/15 singles obtained
- 15/60 cards obtained for full playset
I am excited to brew some decks with a few of these. Questing Beast and Garruk were awesome pulls for things I had ideas for.
Booster Pack Stats
I am more going to look at this as someone buying 50 packs for 50K Gold or spending $50 on the pre-release packs.
These booster packs were all obtained for free via codes, mastery tree progress, returning player rewards and Ranked Draft rewards.
I opened each pack, recorded the cards received, and tallied up duplicates. The numbers on this chart only include the cards opened from these 50 booster packs. This is as clean of a data set as I could get for a snapshot of what opening 50 booster packs looks like.
Even though I opened all of these packs after drafting, the rare numbers should still be the same. This is due to the fact that I still haven't opened enough packs to possibly start getting duplicate rares.
As you can see, 50 packs will get you only 67% of the set, and 37% of the entire playset.
Ranked Draft vs Booster Packs
You won't receive rare duplicate protection while drafting, but the chances of getting more than 5 rares or mythics is pretty, well, rare for this amount of drafts.
You also won't receive as many wild cards while drafting, since those are all obtained while opening regular booster packs en masse. This seems to be the main sticking point for the pro-booster-pack-openers. Looking at the data below though, this may not be a big deal to some people, depending on their goals.
Crack Packs After Draft
Opening all of these booster packs will have rare duplicate protection active. Since you just finished collecting a good portion of the rares while drafting, your rare pool will be smaller, thus letting the "random" rare slot focus more on what you don't alraedy have. This will give you better results as you will now start to fill in many of your rare playsets.
You will also receive a ton of wild cards simply from opening all of these packs. This has nothing to do with drafting, and will happen any time you open a regular Arena 8-card booster pack. It's just an extra bonus to note after you finished all that drafting.
Below is a chart I put together with what you can expect to see when a new set is released. This chart assumes you have zero cards from the new set. I removed all of the cards I previously obtained from these numbers to make it as fresh a start from zero as I could.
- 50 booster packs = 400 cards opened
- 8 drafts + 8 Booster Packs = 400 cards opened
Booster Pack Data
The 50 booster pack opening is the same data from the standalone booster pack opening section above.
50 Booster Packs = 400 Guaranteed cards. I only ended up with 372 cards due to many being wild cards, which is not a bad thing, it can either help complete your set, or you can use them for other sets.
I only ended up with 361 usable cards for my collection, but received 45 wild cards in the process.
Ranked Draft Data
The 8 drafts that I used for this chart were the first 8 drafts that I did, along with the first 10 booster packs earned from rewards. I include the booster packs because they are part of the price of entry for the draft and add to your total collection after drafting. This is meant so show total value in drafting vs just opening booster packs. For zero wins, you are guaranteed 1 booster pack per draft with the chance of receiving two. I received an extra pack on two different drafts, totaling 10 booster pack rewards in all.
Here I ended up with more usable cards, 397 total for my collection, but received far fewer wild cards, only 9.
Note that 2 of my 13 duplicates were my mistake. I picked cards I alraedy had as my draft tracker somehow missed a few cards I had full playsets of already from the Brawl event. The duplicates would have been exactly the same as if opening packs in this case, with 11 total duplicates.
50 Packs = 361 usable cards + 45 wild cards = 406 Total Cards
8 Drafts = 397 usable cards + 9 wild cards = 406 Total Cards
This was surprising to me. It looks like they are exactly the same for total cards received for the new set if you used your wild cards for missing Eldraine cards.
Unfortunately you can't scale this since the randomization of booster packs prevents you from figuring out what duplicates you will or won't get.
If the numbers are the same, why Still draft?
When opening booster packs, think about the sheer number of duplicates you will start to receive later on that you have no control over. These will only go into the main vault, and be counted for very little in the end.
When collection building while drafting, you can keep on picking through each pack to select those last few cards you don't have yet, thus not needlessly wasting common and uncommon slots on useless vault progress. I would rather have the card than gaining .1%-.3% progress for a small handful of wild cards.
I feel that if I have all the cards to build nearly anything I want, then I will have very little use for wild cards, or I can save those wild cards for older sets or just some really special deck build that needs more rares and mythics.
I also enjoy the process of selecting each and every card that goes into my collection. I enjoy looking at the artwork of each card, reading the card. Becoming familiar with the cards that I carefully pick out.
Even if the comparison above shows the same numbers at a lower volume, you will still come out a head when drafting because of the gem rewards.
I don't include wildcards in with my total card counts since they most likely won't be used for Eldraine, and thus can't be counted as Eldraine cards.
The gems will come in handy, and put me 1/3 into the next Mastery Pass. I guess I could look at it this way, I can still get one free mastery pass every 3 sets, even if I don't play any of the draft games for more gems.
Since I didn't want to play out my draft games, I took someone's suggestion and instead gave away wins. I queued up all 66 times and immediately conceded, giving my draft opponent a free win. I hope that helped those folks out on their way to greater riches.
A random stat I forgot to put on a chart was that my rare draft rate was averaged at 3.9 rares per draft. I ranged from 3-6 rares per draft.
Value for Money
Using the same data from the previous section:
- 50K Gold = 50 Packs = 400 cards = 361 usable cards + 45 wild cards = 406 Total Cards
- 40K Gold = 8 Drafts = 400 cards = 397 usable cards + 9 wild cards = 406 Total Cards + 400 gems
The clear winner is by far the Ranked Draft option in my books.
The obvious choice here should be to save your gold for Ranked Draft. The more gold you have, the better the returns for Ranked Draft will be.
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