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.
Standard 2020 Bundle: Is it Worth It?
There is a new bundle available on the MTG Arena Store. It seems like a good deal, and many players are purchasing it. So, is it a good deal? Should you buy it?
Lets see what's inside:
Standard 2020 Bundle
Using real world dollar calculations, we previously determined the values of each of these items:
Using these numbers, we see that for $9.99, you are getting $11.11 worth of booster packs, so basically you get one free pack... and you still get gems! At the current average gem price per dollar, we get $5.80 worth of gems.
So for $9.99 you are receiving $16.90 worth of virtual goods in return. That's a savings of $6.91.
This not a bad deal and I would recommend this purchase if you are planning to spend some money in Arena.
Who knows how long it will last, so grab it while you can.
Note: All paper values noted in this article as of 11/14/19, and are mid-trading prices.
The Historic format is finally getting some love from Wizards of the Coast in November's MTG Arena Historic Rollout article. The Internets are abuzz with questions regarding the cost of the 20 new curated cards that were introduced to the Historic format.
While you may craft each card individually using wild cards, you also have the option to purchase the entire play set of these cards, totaling 80, for 3400 gems. This new package is being called Historic Anthologies 1.
Let us take a look and see what we are getting in this collection. Values are mid-trading prices for the paper versions of these cards. Paper prices are only being listed for reference and fun, and have no correlation to Arena.
Historic Anthologies 1 contains 4 copies of each of the following cards:
In paper, a full set is $70.64, with a full play set totaling $282.56.
There are 6 common, 5 uncommon and 9 rare cards in this collection.
Note: I'm counting Captain Sisay as a rare because it is using the Invasion set symbol as a Rare and not the From the Vault Mythic symbol.
Using the Wild Card values, we can figure out how much this would cost you if you used all wild cards to craft the entire set of 80 cards.
Wild Card Values:
From this, we can see that we would be using $365.76 worth of wild cards if you were to craft this entire play set. The inverse is that that $375.04 is worth roughly 63,062 Gems.
If you want to just buy the entire Historic Anthologies 1 directly from the Arena Store, you would need to spend 3400 gems. Using the average gem price of $.0058/gem, this comes out to $19.72. The Regular price for 3400 gems from the first package in the store is $19.99.
It is therefore cheaper to spend gems for the entire 80 card playset than it is to use your wild cards.
If you have a metric ton of un-used and un-needed wild cards, by all means use these. It's free after all... or is it? It just depends what you are going to do with them. This will be up to you. But you can add the dollar value to them to figure this out if you're looking for value.
If you happen to have a ton of extra gems with nothing to spend them on, this is an obvious choice for a good buy and you shouldn't hesitate to snap this up if you plan to use the majority of these cards.
Most of us won't need many of these cards, so I would just suggest crafting only what you need, when you actually need it. Otherwise, if you must have them all, it's better to use gems than to spend all of your wild cards on them.
I hope you found this article helpful in figuring out what the value of this new collection is worth and the best way to go about acquiring it.
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