After plenty of, surprisingly brief, hype and anticipation, the latest batch of Anthology Sets on MTG Arena has been spoiled. With now only a week until release, in theory, MTG players should be tremendously excited about these upcoming sets. Unfortunately, however, this time around, this isn’t so much the case, especially for Explorer Anthology 3.
Rather than being packed full of playable and highly-requested cards, Explorer Anthology 3 is a rather dismal letdown. With only a meager handful of cards that see substantial play, it seems Wizards is deliberately delaying Pioneer’s implantation. As you might expect, this has caused mass outrage among the MTG community who’re sick of waiting for disappointment.
Thankfully, the other Anthology set being released next week is a different story. Without as much of a focused direction, Historic Anthology 7 has been able to delight players with awesome, if somewhat outdated, iconic cards. Thanks to this, it’s safe to say that the reaction to recent MTG Arena spoilers has been somewhat mixed.
Ultimately, despite the delight and dismay online, one question remains lingering in the back of players’ minds. Are Explorer Anthology 3 and Historic Anthology 7 actually worth it? Somewhat remarkably, the answer appears to be yes, however, it’s not quite that simple…
Is Explorer Anthology 3 Worth It?
On the surface, there seems to be a very obvious and easy answer to the question above. Surely Explorer Anthology 3 isn’t worth it since the majority of its cards aren’t Pioneer playable. White this is true, the answer to this question isn’t quite as easy as that since Anthology sets are remarkably generous.
When purchasing an Anthology Set, MTG Arena players don’t just get one copy of each card. Instead, players purchase an entire playset, allowing them to get right to deckbuilding. Thanks to this, technically, Anthology Sets need very few actually playable cards to be worthwhile. So much so, in fact, that Explorer Anthology 3 could actually be a good deal.
As pointed out recently by MTG personality Fireshoes on Twitter, only two cards from Explorer Anthology 3 see substantial play. These pair playables are Thespian’s Stage and Sylvan Scrying, which are both used in Lotus Field Combo decks. Unfortunately, without Hidden Strings this deck is far from feature complete, however, these cards are nevertheless worth owning.
Outside of these two cards, and Prairie Stream which is useful in Azorius decks, Explorer Anthology 3 has very little going for it. There are a few niche cards that will be fun to play and brew with, but Pioneer staples they are not. Despite this, however, Explorer Anthology 3 is outstandingly still worth it.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
As the majority of MTG Arena players will know, rare and mythic rare wildcards are not easy to come by. So much, in fact, that Wizards has previously sold bundles of these wildcards for $9.99! Giving players four rare wildcards (or four mythic wildcards for $19.99) this bundle sets the price of wildcards at around $2.49 apiece.
Unfortunately, Explorer Anthology 3 falls short threshold by only having two rare cards you might want to play. By providing four copies of Thespian’s Stage and Prairie Stream, you’re effectively paying 4000 Gems (approximately $25) for eight rare wildcards. This is just under the wildcard bundle’s value proposition.
Thankfully, Explorer Anthology 3 is at least very close to being worthwhile, as the value threshold is incredibly low. So long as you want ten copies of any of the rare or mythic rare cards, this Anthology Set is worth it. Since Worldspine Wurm seems a small amount of play, it’s easy to make the case for Explorer Anthology 3.
At the end of the day, unlike past Anthology Sets on MTG Arena, Explorer Anthology 3 isn’t a must-have. Instead, if you’re only wanting to play a single deck, you’re likely better off crafting rather than buying. If you want access to as many cards as possible, however, then it will obviously be a better investment.
Alongside Explorer Anthology 3’s impact on Pioneer, it’s important to consider the cards are also playable in other formats. Subsequently, if we were to consider all the 16 rare or mythic rare wildcards, Explorer Anthology 3 looks like an absolute steal. Thanks to getting four copies of each card, in total your 4000 Gems saves you from using 44 rare cards and 20 mythic rare cards! In theory, this effectively means each Wildcard is only worth 39 cents, which is a fantastic deal!
Is Historic Anthology 7 Worth It?
Judging by what we’ve said about Explorer Anthology 3, Historic Anthology 7 may seem like a slam dunk for value-hungry MTG players. Thankfully, this is absolutely the case, regardless of whether or not you’re a Historic or a Brawl player!
Unfortunately, while Historic Anthology 7 is definitely jam-packed with iconic Modern all-stars, not all of the set’s cards are relevant today. Vendilion Clique for instance, barely sees any play at all, despite once being a staple in the format. Alongside this, there are also cards such as Tooth and Nail, which have never really seen any play.
Thankfully, Historic Anthology 7 isn’t just niche iconic cards, as there are cards that see a good amount of Modern play. In theory, these cards should also be great inclusion and new staples in the Historic format. If you need examples, look no further than Primeval Titan and Giver of Runes.
Played in Amulet Titan and Hammer Time decks, both these cards should excel in Historic. As a result, you understandably may well want to own a playset of these cards. As if that wasn’t enough, however, the five lands from Modern Horizons each see good play in Modern. Once again, this likely means these lands will be Historic staples that are well worth crafting or purchasing.
With seven cards you might want to craft a playset of, Historic Anthology 7 is definitely worth the cost. After all, it surpasses the threshold we established earlier which sets the bar surprisingly low. Thanks to this low bar, even when looking at Historic Anthology 7 from a Historic Brawl perspective, it’s still worthwhile.
Use Your Wildcards Wisely
At the end of the day, when using Wizards, admittedly expensive, Wildcard costs, both the Anthology Sets are worthwhile purchasing. This is true even when only considering the current format Staples in Pioneer and Modern. Looking beyond these cards, there’s a non-zero chance these Anthologies could get even better in the future once more sets release.
Unfortunately, there’s currently no guarantee of this happening as we don’t know yet what future sets will have in store. Despite this, however, many MTG players have been suspecting unusual future-proofing from Wizards. This expectation follows the reveal of Accorder’s Shield for Explorer Anthology 3.
Seeing absolutely no competitive play at all, this reprint is efficiently useless for MTG Arena players. So much so, in fact, that many players suspect Wizards might be preparing for an upcoming breakout deck! Alternatively, however, Wizards may just be appeasing a minority of players who love this unusual card.
Ultimately, thanks to MTG being an ever-changing game, it makes sense to have as many powerful and potentially useful cards as possible. As a result of this, purchasing both Anthology bundles is a great choice, if you have Gems to spare. Should this option not appeal to you, thankfully, you’re not out of luck, as crafting is always an option.
While rare and mythic rare wildcards are unfortunately rather hard to obtain, you can at least be selective. If you only need two copies of Primeval Titan for instance, you only need to craft those, saving your recourses. With this in mind, if you only want a few cards and copies, it may be better to get crafting.