Don’t Squander Your Freebies
As you get started, MTG Arena showers you with some coins and incentives for accomplishing some not-so-noteworthy accomplishments. It’s easy to take this windfall and squander it on booster packs in the store. I’ll urge you, as a first step to building your collection, do not do this. Packs are a dead-end investment, if you’re serious about building a collection on a budget. Horde coins and gems like a greedy dragon in the Misty Mountains.
Determine Your $ Budget
This might be $0, or you may have a few bucks you’re willing to pitch into the game to maximize your enjoyment (and collection building). I’ll urge you here, don’t buy gems at full price, and if you’re serious about your collection, also steer clear of the eye candy (sleeves, card styles, avatars, etc.). Assuming you have a budget, when I started playing, the intro bundle was $4.99 and they gave me 2500 gems and 5 booster packs. Currently gems, at the best price tier, are 20,000 for $99.99, or 200 gems/$1. With the intro bundle, you’re getting 500 gems/$1 and booster packs. It’s a great deal. I’ve only purchased gems otherwise when they had another special offer with reduced gem prices. At the time of this writing, I’ve spent $20 on gems and have cobbled together collection that allows me to build most competitive decks.
Setting Collection Goals
While having every card in MTG Arena would be nice, most players just want to build competitive decks. If that’s your goal, focus on building decks with which you think can win competitive constructed tournaments, I’ll discuss why later in this article. Focus on versatile & powerhouse cards when redeeming your wildcards. Don’t burn through your them building your home-brew that’s completely untested and likely to leave you stuck with some garbage rares.
Getting Started Building Your Magic Arena Collection
Now you have some coins and possibly some gems in your account. You’ve completed the tutorial and unlocked the free decks. As stated earlier, this is where many people take the wrong path and immediately invest their rewards in booster packs in the store. Build your collection by entering competitive drafts. Why? You might ask. Simple, after earning 5,000 gold, you can, instead of buying 5 booster packs (with 8 cards each), enter a competitive draft with 3 booster packs (with 15 cards each). To start, you get 5 more total cards, but more importantly, we all know there are some garbage rares, and often in a 15 card pack, there’s a playable uncommon to draft instead. I mean, which of these cards would you rather have in your collection?
On top getting more cards and being able to pick the best cards from the packs, you now get to enjoy playing the limited format and have the potential to win gems and booster packs. Earn 750 gems and you’re in another draft, collecting more cards!
Daily and Weekly Quests
To ensure you have the gold and gems you need for limited events, try to keep up with your daily/weekly quests. I usually try to trade in my 500 gold quests for 750 gold quests. Also, with a few wins each day you can quickly earn another 500+ gold from the daily rewards pool. Needless to say, winning 15 games/week to get the 3 free packs is also essential to speed up your gathering of Magic cards into your MTG Arena collection.
Low on Gold and Gems?
A real staple for me during times I’m low on gold and gems is playing competitive constructed. If you have a strong deck that you can pilot fairly well, these events are a great way to win some extra gold and potentially pick up a couple of rares. Once you’ve got all the commons and uncommons, this is basically the same as winning 2 packs, since the rares are likely the only cards you’re missing. For me, the ranked rewards for monthly prizes are too low to invest a great deal of time playing ranked constructed. I’ll usually play to gold-level to get the booster packs, but the leap from gold to platinum, even with a reasonable win-rate, isn’t worth the time investment to get 1 extra pack.
What About the MTG Arena Vault?
If you’re not familiar with the Vault, MTG Arena has a completely nerfed system for duplicate cards, after you’ve collected a full playset of that card for that set (4x). Each additional card contributes toward opening the vault, but commons and uncommons mean so little that, if you’re not buying and ripping packs on the regular, you likely won’t see the benefits of the Vault adding cards to your MTG Arena collection more than every few months. I actually prefer the 5th card draft trade-in where they reward you gems for drafting the 5th rare/mythic card, which is also the policy if you happen to own playsets of the entire set.