New MTG Arena Mastery System

Updated July 11th, 2019

Revamped Mastery System

Wizards heard the masses who were crying like infants who’d crapped their pants and made changes to the Mastery System. Gone are the daily XP caps, gone is the 200 XP for 3 daily wins, and returning is the familiar 15-win weekly rewards. These numbers below assume you are not purchasing levels, but earning them through game play.

Before

  • 800 XP for daily quest
  • 200 XP for first 3 wins per day
  • Capped at 1 level/day (1000XP)
  • Weekly limit of 7 levels (7000XP)

After

  • 500 XP for daily quest
  • 250 XP for first 15 weekly wins
  • Weekly limit of 7 levels (7250XP)
  • Now you don’t have to play every day to still achieve the max weekly XP in the Mastery System (just every 3rd day, as long as you finish your quests)

Updated July 3rd, 2019

Initial Impression of the New MTG Arena Mastery System

After some technical difficulties getting connected, I was able to get on and play a few matches around 8PM ET on July 2nd. Unfortunately, the launch did not go as smoothly as I’m sure Wizards had hoped. Mixed with people’s apprehension about the new Mastery System, it was not a banner day for MTG Arena.

Mastery System Pros

  • I can get all the rewards I would earn for the Mastery Pass, even if I don’t buy it until later (I don’t have to commit to buying the pass now)
  • It appears they hope to account for missing XP needed to get to level 100, starting with a promo code LevelUp, which gets you 2 free levels. They also plan to have special events that reward XP. If these are regular/reasonable events, that could be cool, but if they’re higher-priced events, or “special” (RNG) events, like Omniscience draft, this becomes a “Con”.
  • The overall feel of the system is pretty polished, it makes me want to play and unlock things

Mastery System Cons

Almost every one of the “Pros” from above, unfortunately has a counterpoint in the “Cons”.

  • Too slow! As stated above, I’m excited about unlocking all the things and getting cards, boosters, etc. I’m not excited about doing it tomorrow…when I’m too busy to play. I hope to get some time to play each day, but I’m probably going to miss XP rewards.
  • The feeling of being “finished” after a few games. Last night, I played 5 games and had achieved everything I could in the Mastery System. Sure, I could have won a few uncommons and a bit more gold in dailies, but I didn’t have time for a draft/sealed event, and wasn’t interested in playing more constructed with my pre-M20 deck, so I just called it a night and watched Roseanne on Pluto TV.
  • If you’re like me, and you get a chance to play Arena every couple or few days, the system just feels like a clingy girlfriend/boyfriend. It’s like, “Sure, we had fun tonight, but we don’t have to make plans for tomorrow before the end of the date”.

In short, I don’t think the weekly reward system was better. I actually like the Magic Arena Mastery System, what I did like better about the weekly rewards was being able to mow through 15 wins when I had time to play, and what I don’t like about the Mastery System is feeling like I need to force time to play every day to get the same rewards.

From a Business Standpoint for Magic

Firstly, I was once a “whale” (a person who spends loads of money) in paper Magic. I’d easily buy 3-4 booster boxes per set, along with fat packs, drafts, sealed events, etc. Like Arena, my only real interest was the cards. Sure, I’d win a playmat or something from time-to-time, and I would use it, but I didn’t buy them. As you can imagine, immediately unlocking the pet cat, wasn’t a motivator for me to buy the Mastery Pass. As a result, I didn’t buy the pass yesterday, as I’d originally intended. When the system was first announced, I envisioned unlocking level after level and earning boosters and card rewards immediately. The way many of us mowed through the first 10-20 levels in WoW when rolling a new toon.

As stated, I’d fully intended to buy the Mastery Pass. Now, it’s likely, since I’m very busy right now, I won’t progress enough levels to make purchasing the pass worthwhile at the end of season. So, interestingly, in a bid to increase monetization, Wizards may have actually relegated me more to being a F2P player for this expansion.

Original Post

Probably the biggest change in the upcoming release of MTG Arena for Core Set 2020 is the introduction of the Mastery System/Mastery Tree, which will replace the weekly reward system of 3 packs for your first 15 wins.

What We Know About MTG Arena Mastery System

Mastery Levels in MTG Arena
Screenshot of Mastery Levels page 1/10 from the developer update video

Of course, this is assuming all the data presented in the video is accurate on release date:

  • Replaces weekly rewards (not daily)
  • There will be items you can win by playing for free
  • Completing levels earns rewards, apparently collecting XP completes levels. The official video indicates that “XP can be earned by completing quest and events”
  • By purchasing a “Mastery Pass”, which apparently come in 3400 gem and 5400 gem varieties, you can win additional prizes
  • The 3400 gem model lists a maximum attainable value of $200 (more on this in the “What We Speculate About MTG Arena Mastery Tree” section
  • The Mastery Pass apparently comes with a pet, which, it seems, everyone has been clamoring around the Wizards castle with torches and demanding. Meanwhile, I recently made fun of the concept and referred to how useless my World of Warcraft pets were.
  • The Mastery Tree provides some rewards by placing “mastery orbs” in sockets. From the video, we know at least one of those rewards is a card style.
  • Updated July 1st – Based on early access streamers XP can be earned at the following rate
    • 800XP for completing daily quests
    • 100XP for first daily win
    • 50XP for 2nd and 3rd win
  • Updated July 1st – 1000XP is one level
  • Updated July 1st – Levels can be purchased for 250 gems From an official Magic Article from Wizards, this feature will be available until the release at the end of this month, then it will be removed.
  • Updated July 2nd – Use promo code LevelUp to get 2 free levels (once you are able to login to the game)
  • Updated July 2nd – There will be other free codes and XP-earning events to-be-announced

What We Speculate About MTG Arena Mastery System

  • Most forum posters are speculating that you can mow through all the items in the Mastery System and collect all the rewards at your pace.
  • Some users have calculated (based on 100 levels in the Mastery System) that the 3400 gem Mastery Pass would, if you earned all the rewards, be worth
    • ~2000 gems
    • ~20 mythic rares
    • ~10,000 gold
    • ~20 booster packs (from standard sets)
    • various cosmetics
  • Some players are also speculating that free prizes end at level 60, and that’s why the video only showed the first 6/10 pages.
  • The graphic for the 5400 gem Mastery Pass states that you get “+10 Levels”, but lists the same “$200+ Value at Max Level”. Not sure what all the extra gems, coins, etc. in the exciter graphics indicate, but hopefully there will be more clarification before purchase date.
Mastery Pass Prices from Magic Arena
  • Mastery Tree orbs will be earned by winning with certain color combination decks
Mastery Tree from MTGA

What We Don’t Know About MTG Arena Mastery System

  • Most notably, we have no guarantee of what any of the rewards are. R&D might even change up from what’s shown in the developer update video.
  • Can a Magic player complete all the Mastery Levels at their own pace, or will they need to play every day, or on some schedule to receive all the rewards?
  • If a Magic Arena player completes some levels, then purchase the Mastery Pass, can they still earn those additional rewards?
  • Who in the name of Mindless Null was asking for pets?

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