Strixhaven: School of Mages released last week on MTG Arena and Magic Online (MTGO) and once again, issues with Arena’s economy are at the forefront of discussion. Various Magic: The Gathering content creators and personalities went to social media to discuss the issues with the client.
Although Wizards of the Coast claims MTG Arena is free-to-play, there are so many hoops to jump through to get what you need. As a result, it’s causing frustration in players since they can’t play with the cards they want.
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The Issue With Magic Arena’s Economy
Saffron Olive (MTG Goldfish) has invested in Strixhaven boosters to try and acquire all the Mystical Archive cards. Even with around $350 invested, Saffron Olive doesn’t have every Mystical Archive card in his collection.
It’s a shame Magic Arena doesn’t take inspiration from Hearthstone which gives you the ability to recycle Wildcards to use in the latest sets. Either way, you have to invest a bunch of money to get something you may want in return. Honestly, it’s borderline predatory and something needs to change.
The Mystical Archive Economy on Magic Arena
It doesn’t end there, the new Mystical Archives can only be crafted at the relevant rarity which is causing complaints from players who want to play Historic. Magic Arena‘s exclusive eternal format. PleasantKenobi invested €100 ($120) into Magic Arena to see how many Wildcards and Mystical Archive cards he could acquire.
Unsurprisingly, PleasantKenobi didn’t get a huge amount with that €100. Going further, he opened plenty of the Common and Uncommon Mystical Archive cards which are already in Standard. Cards such as Eliminate, Village Rites, and Strategic Planning he opened a bunch of, which he already owned from previous Standard sets. Surely it would make more sense to open the cards you don’t already have copies of from previous sets. By doing this, it means you feel some progression when filling out your collection, instead of the opposite.
For example, if you want to craft Faithless Looting to play Izzet Phoenix in Historic, you have to use Rare wildcards which is the corresponding rarity in Strixhaven: School of Mages. Unlike in previous tabletop sets, Faithless Looting is a common. Surely by that default, the rarity should reflect on Magic Arena? Apparently, that isn’t the case. It’s almost like Wizards of the Coast know players want to play with Faithless Looting and want to make as much money as possible from it.
What compounds the issue further is that Rare wildcards are difficult to acquire without buying packs or forcibly filling out your collection with gems. You usually have a bunch of Common and Uncommon wildcards given how many they are, but it doesn’t solve the problem.
Solving the Problem
There are a few ways Wizards of the Coast could solve the issue which would encourage players to play the client. You should be able to trade a certain amount of Uncommon Wildcards to upgrade into Rare ones. Or even, having Wildcard tokens in Draft or Set Boosters would be an excellent way to bolster the economy also.
Pokémon already offers a code in their booster packs to play the cards online that you opened. It’s such a simple process that should be featured in Magic: The Gathering boosters. Let’s hope something changes soon as it’s becoming more and more difficult to play the game on Magic Arena.
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