advice for a new arena player?

Online Magic forum

Posted on Sept. 15, 2020, 10:36 a.m. by DeinoStinkus

I'm taking the leap and getting an Arena account! I don't know how often I'll be active, but I want to play Arena without spending money.

Any suggestions?


First off put in all of the Redeem Codes for free booster packs to get started.

I made it to mythic without spending money so it can be done.

Mostly just do the daily task each day and use coins on quick drafts and not booster packs. If you master drafting a certain set you can win enough battles to draft that set again for free. This is a great way to expand you collection rapidly.

Don't waste wild cards on random pet cards or cards that are about to rotate but instead save up until you can complete a competitive deck.

Good Luck on Arena!

September 15, 2020 10:55 a.m.

abby315 says... #3

Here's the code list that I used when I first started:

Echoing the advice to keep drafting. IMO Quick draft gets really stale because the bots constantly enable the same strategies, but it's also pretty easy to consistently "cash out." If you're drafting M21, it's all GW counters and BW lifegain, but you can also run with Esper fliers. You can also easily raredraft in Quick Draft without wrecking your draft deck.

Build some shitty decks geared towards doing dailies. Try to get the two daily wins for 350 gold. Wait for ZEN to drop before you build any decks with rare or mythic wildcards, because shit's scarce and you want to make sure you get a deck you can run with for awhile.

TBH I get super bored with Arena because it feels unviable to try out new decks, which is what I like to do, but it's decently fun to draft and play events. Usually I end up as Mythic in draft and Bronze in constructed :P

September 15, 2020 11:20 a.m.

only spend gold on boosters. drafts cost money so i'm not sure why thats being recommended. you also don't need to wait for the next set to use wild cards. ikoria and m21 have great rares and mythics.

September 15, 2020 11:53 a.m.

abby315 says... #5

DragonSliver9001 - You can draft with gold (and you can also get gems without paying money). Unless you go like 0-3 drop, drafting gets you more cards than just buying boosters. You get to keep the cards you draft, plus you get any rewards from wins.

It's not that easy to go truly infinite, where you make your gold/gems back and get "free" cards, but either way it's almost always a better deal to pay 5000 for three packs worth of draft cards + rewards than paying 1000/pack.

September 15, 2020 12:12 p.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #6

I second DemonDragonJ

If you want to build a competitive deck you need to save your gold for boosters only. Opening boosters is the only way to get wildcards, and you don’t get any wildcard progress for drafts.

If you want to build up your collection of commons/uncommons and bulk rares, then go ahead and draft.

Otherwise cracking packs is the fastest way to build a competitive deck with the cards you want rather than the cards you have.

September 15, 2020 1:51 p.m.

Daveslab2022: i think you linked the wrong person lol.

abby315: 5000 for 3 packs is about 1666 apiece. i'll stick to 1000 per pack. i've also never seen an option to draft standard for gold.

September 15, 2020 1:58 p.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #8

My bad lmao I just seen dragon and assumed

You’re still correct tho lol

September 15, 2020 2:08 p.m.

some other advice, you can store up to 3 daily missions and complete them every 3 days instead of every day. you can also earn progress toward multiple missions simultaneously. so if you have a mission for "cast 20 black or red spells" and another for "cast 30 red or green spells", use a mono red deck to complete both.

don't be afraid to use decks made just for daily missions. theres a mission for "destroy X of your opponents creatures", so i have a deck that is nothing but mana dorks and removal that i use in unranked matches.

September 15, 2020 2:12 p.m.

DeinoStinkus says... #10

Cool! Thanks guys!

September 15, 2020 2:18 p.m.

abby315 says... #11

hwhat are you guys talking about? There's a Premier Draft and a Quick Draft right now for M21. It's 5000 for the Quick Draft and 10000 for the Premier Draft (because prizes scale accordingly). They are most often the most current set but also rotate around standard sets (I frickin' hate when Eldraine comes back around).

Whatever; it is up to preference. It's at least indisputable that if you're good at draft, it's better to draft than buy packs. C'est la vie. ;)

September 15, 2020 2:24 p.m. Edited.

Daveslab2022 says... #12

I love seeing condescension on this site, especially when it’s wrong.

Here is an article about the mtg draft system

Here is a quote from that article

Aside from some very time limited events, Ranked Drafts are one of the only ways to get Gems by only spending Gold. As a result, Ranked Draft is one of the worst returns on Gold investment. You can earn gems, but you’ll get overall worse cards than if you had just opened packs and gotten Wildcards

September 15, 2020 2:36 p.m.

abby315 says... #13

It's not condescending if it's true, Daveslab2022 - not that you're bad at draft, but that if you're good at draft, it can have better EV than cracking packs. You, and the article, value draft as if you get zero prizes (except where they mention going infinite, which is just a good occasional side-effect but not the point). That's fair, because it's hard to calculate EV, but it's also leaving out a whole part of the picture!

There's also no evidence to support "you'll get overall worse cards" except for the progress towards wildcards, which are part of the prizes, which are totally disregarded. There's no valuation of the EV of winning or of drafting bulk rares - which works towards your wildcard count because it gets you gems, which can be used to buy packs or entry fees - and that's not to mention being passed a good constructed-playable rare, which increases the average number of rares you have access to when drafting vs cracking packs.

There's also no mention of the value of building up a well-rounded collection vs. focusing all resources on one deck at the expense of the rest of your cards. Again, there's no right answer to that, but some players prefer having more cards over one or two specific decks.

It's literally up to how you want to spend your time. You're the one coming in and claiming that there's only one good option. :P

September 15, 2020 2:56 p.m.

Daveslab2022 says... #14

LOL I never said there was only one good option.

I specifically said

“If you want to build up your collection of commons / uncommons and bulk rares, then draft.

If you want to build a competitive deck then buy packs.”

If you open packs, you get more wildcards. That’s a fact. You don’t open more packs by drafting, because those 3 packs don’t count towards your wildcards.

You can also get wildcards by cracking packs, just from the packs themselves. That can’t happen via draft.

September 15, 2020 2:59 p.m. Edited.

DeinoStinkus says... #15

Please don't start fighting. I'm already drained from drama as it is.

September 15, 2020 3:35 p.m.

DemonDragonJ says... #16

Daveslab2022, I have not posted in this thread, before now, but I thank you for the support.

September 15, 2020 9:52 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #17

Lol...drafting is the best way to net positives on gems. I always do the cheap drafts and typically make a decent return by getting 5 wins + its definitely not a strategy that works if you're new to the game but if you can free roll a few drafts it'll snow ball. The economy on arena is crap; they definitely don't have a safety net for people prone to losing - they wanna make money after all.

September 15, 2020 10:21 p.m.

abby315 buying packs is less gold per pack. drafting is 100% luck. buying packs is better so you can get wild cards.

September 16, 2020 12:09 a.m.

Rzepkanut says... #19

I've been in the app since the closed beta, I've been free to play basically the entire time (since right after the beginning of the open beta when they wiped our accounts the last time). Now my collection always has everything I ever want to play in constructed from every set by the time the next set is being released. Magic has never been so affordable to play ever!!! Here are my tips for you...

  • If you are able to do well at drafting each new set then your best option is keep doing that as often as you can afford to. It's the best way to earn the most important resources in the game: gems and new cards.

  • Log on every day and win at least 4 games a day to earn your daily gold. I often only play to 4 or 5 wins, as the prize quality drops off a bit after that, but they do pay out something for the first 15 wins each day.

  • Click to change any quest that isn't worth 750 gold every day, since you can try it once a day.

  • Don't ever waste resources on any cosmetics.

  • Always try to build decks that are quick to play so you can play the most games possible in the time you have available on the client.

  • I have always been pleased with the value of the mastery pass. I've always earned enough gems to buy it and it seemed like its been a good deal each time so far.

  • Ideally you don't want to open any packs of the set you are actively drafting until you have drafted enough of that set to have naturally opened at least half of the rares and some of the mythics already. I know that sounds hard, but it's very doable. It is occasionally a real challenge to do it for each format every time, but the duplicate protection system helps out big time if you can manage to do it like this. Its worth the wait if you need to be free to play. But it does test your resolve to have up to 100 or so packs of the new set in your account and to not open them.

  • Don't draft the historic only sets if you are just starting out on Arena. Avoid them and just focus on standard releases. Historic is not really a cheap format to play competitively.

  • The daily deal in the store sometimes has free stuff and packs at discount.

September 17, 2020 1:57 p.m.

VampDemigod says... #20

Warning: I just finished writing this. It’s long. Please read the last paragraph at a minimum.

Ok. Word of advice: if you haven’t already started the account, wait 24 hours. Arenas been buggy all day. Once you do start, find the code for the new Zendikar Rising set and use it, as well as the codes “PlayEldraine”, “PlayTheros”, “PlayIkoria” and “PlayM21”. Also, you can look up additional codes that will give you special card art!

If you can, buy or save 3400 gems instead of spending them on packs or card styles, unless you really want the card styles. 3400 gems is enough to buy the set mastery pass, which will give you lots of cool cosmetics, as well as a lot more awards.

You will still get some rewards without the mastery pass, but generally it’s worth it, especially if you plan to play regularly. If you’re only planning to play once or twice every two weeks, then the mastery pass probably isn’t worth it.

Do the color challenges first. They will give you quite a few good cards, and will also give you some cool decks. These won’t be top-tier, but they’re a good jumping off point. Plus, you get bonuses for completing challenges. You can still play matches with humans, but completing the color challenges are often the best way to start.

KEY TIP: Gems may be the “meta currency” (ie the one you can directly buy with money), but you can get them without paying a cent! If you play a live draft or bot draft (10k and 5k gold, respectively), your prizes will be in gems! This can be a great way to save up for the battle pass or card styles!

Final tip: don’t be afraid to ask for help on specific things! If you want more advice, you can make another forum post, or comment on this one! I don’t know about anyone else, but I love it when people @ me! Feel free to @ me if you need help! If you use discord, find a server or two with more experienced players! Most streamers have discord servers you can join, with reasonably friendly communities!

Btw, if you ever want to play a game, just for fun, I’m going to update my profile tomorrow (once I can double check my account id), and you can shoot me a friend request! You can duel your friends (sadly, friendly games don’t count toward quests).

September 17, 2020 9:22 p.m.

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