Following their reveal during The Brother’s War’s preview livestream, the newfangled Gold Packs in MTG Arena were somewhat of a mystery. While understood as essentially free value, which is always a good thing, the long-term implications remained an enigma. Would MTG Arena’s Gold Packs really be the economy-saving fix that MTG Arena so sorely needed? Now that the dust has settled, it appears that we finally have an answer to that pressing question. Thankfully, that answer seems to be positive, as, yes, MTG Arena’s new Gold Packs are absolutely worth it.
The Free-to-Play Dream
For the longest time, while MTG Arena has technically been free, players are heavily incentivized to spend money. Whether it was spending money on packs to complete their collection or purchasing gems for draft events, MTG Arena wasn’t entirely free to play. Admittedly it is possible to play MTG Arena for completely free. However, this approach requires a substantial time investment. Previously, one successful fast track to free-to-play success was being good at Draft events and able to go infinite. While effective, this method ultimately had a massive barrier to entry since players need to be skilled at drafting. Thankfully, thanks to the introduction of Gold Packs to MTG Arena, relentlessly drafting isn’t the only avenue for success.
Highlighted by Reddit user u/youdumbn, MTG Arena’s new Gold Packs are as effective as Drafting for most players. Specifically, u/youdumbn notes that “buying packs for coins is about the same as playing Premier Draft with [a] 50% win rate.” User u/Different_Recover765 pointed out that this is a “great move for people who don’t like drafting [as] they no longer feel like they need to do it for the collection.” Limited Draft events may be arguably one of the most enjoyable formats. However, not everyone has the time to Draft.
Backing up their statement with cold hard facts, u/youdumbn explained that “for 40K coins, the expected return from Draft* is 30 drafted rares + 36 packs = 66 rares (plus five wildcards from the pack wheel) => 71.” That’s provided that players experience a consistent 49.99% win rate and pick three rares per Draft. Through the introduction of Gold Packs, simply buying packs is now able to offer equivalent value. As u/youdumbn detailed, when buying packs, “it’s 40 packs + 24 golden rares = 64 rares (plus seven wildcards from the pack wheel) => 71.”
A Truly Free-to-Play MTG Arena
While opening MTG packs fundamentally features a degree of randomness, Gold Packs might finally make MTG Arena genuinely free-to-play. According to an analysis by Reddit user u/ShadowDragon523, “you can [now] be rare-complete in standard only through buying packs.” While their extensive math indicates this to be accurate, it doesn’t come without a significant time investment. In their summary, u/ShadowDragon523 notes, for instance, that to achieve this feat, a free-to-play player must “win nine games every day, hit Platinum in constructed every month, and participate in every Midweek Magic.” Should this be achieved, u/ShadowDragon532 claims that a free-to-play player can earn 1016 Rare cards in a year. This is a healthy margin over the roughly 960 rares that should be released over the course of the year.
While some users claimed that u/ShadowDragon532’s math is spotty due to partly relying on Individual Card Rewards, and there were concerns about the time required to pull this off, for the most part, MTG Arena players were actually appeased for once! User u/TheCatLap, for instance, stated, “It might have some issues, but in general terms, your analysis shows that gold packs are good for this game’s economy. I can finally praise Wizards for once. They did a good job.” The only remaining concern for many players is if Gold Packs will stick around for longer than The Brothers’ War.
What Are MTG Arena Gold Packs
If you’ve not heard of them before, as their name suggests, Gold Packs are a new type of pack that will be available to open on MTG Arena following the launch of The Brothers’ War on November 15th. Unlike regular MTG packs, these unique digital-only packs contain six cards, all of which are rare or mythic rare. Each Gold Pack will have at least one mythic rare card, and at least two of the cards will be from the latest Standard-Legal set. Gold Packs will not include Alchemy rares or mythic rare cards, and the packs feature duplicate protection.
How to Earn MTG Arena Gold Packs
Unlike traditional MTG Arena packs, the new Gold Packs cannot be purchased on their own. Instead, to earn Gold Packs, MTG Arena players must purchase The Brothers’ War Booster Packs via the MTG Arena store. A player will earn one Gold Pack for every 10 The Brothers’ War Booster Packs purchased. The Brothers’ War Boosters can be purchased with either gold or gems. Additionally, any type of The Brothers’ War Booster may be purchased. To track the progress toward earning a Gold Pack, a new UI element has been added to the store. Gold Packs may also be obtained by pre-ordering the Mishra Pack Bundle. Priced at $49.99, this bundle features 5 Gold Packs, alongside plenty of other rewards.