Expected Cost for a Day 2 Token in MTG Arena Open: Draft

Event Limited 
By: variancekills - 25 Nov 2021

Today’s announcement from WotC provided details for the MTG Arena Open that’s happening on December 4-5. The Arena Open is a high risk, high reward event where participants can win up to $2500.

The announcement included details of a new prize structure for the event, including changes to both the Best of 1 (Bo1) and the Best of 3 (Bo3) options for Day 1 entry. The new Arena Open will also be slightly more expensive, from 4000 gems ($20) per entry in Day 1 to 5000 gems ($25).

In line with this, I recalculated the expected cost of obtaining the token for Day 2 of the event and make some comparisons between the Bo1 and Bo3 options now, and between options now and those from previous opens. These calculations are estimates only. They are computed by simulation using 10,000 replicates, so they are expected to converge closely enough to the true averages.

Table 1: Comparison across win rates for Bo1 and Bo3 options

As show in Table 1, the average cost of a Day 2 token is quite high even at a 50% game win rate. This means that the average player would, on average, spend as much as about $300 to get a Day 2 token through Bo3 (or stop playing without winning a token if they have run out of money for playing). The average cost is about $50 less in Bo1, but that is still considerable. On the other hand, strong drafters who can manage a 60% win rate versus the rest of the field can expect to obtain a Day 2 token at a reasonable cost of about $80 in both Bo1 and Bo3. I describe this as reasonable since we can consider the Arena Open as a sort of Grand Prix-level event, which does have comparable cost. The best of the best drafters, those who are able to beat the rest of the field 70% of the time, can expect to pay as little as $25 or the cost of one entry, for a Day 2 token, and again this is true for both Bo1 and Bo3. Of course, even then there will be some players of this caliber who will simply be unlucky and fail to get the Day 2 token at minimal cost (or at all).

Finally, it is interesting to compare the expected cost now to that from before. Table 2 shows this comparison.

Table 2: Expected Cost Now and Then

Notably, the expected costs for Bo1 and Bo3 now are much closer to each other than they were before, where Bo1 was more expensive than Bo3. This is mainly due to the new prize structure, in which obtaining the Day 2 token now guarantees at least 5k gems as prize regardless of the choice of event in Day 1. Previously, you can win a Day 2 token on your first try in Bo1 and still not win your entire gem entry back. It is already known that Bo1 provides a slightly higher chance to win a Day 2 token than Bo3, and so this restructuring of prizes makes Bo1 even more palatable.

So, will you be joining the Arena Open? Let me know in the comments and as always, may the shuffler be with us all.

About variancekills:

Hi, I'm Mark. I've won exactly one World Magic Cup Qualifier, one Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier, one Arena Open ($2k) one CFB Pro Showdown (April, 2021), and one Mana Traders Series (Oct, 2021) and I am looking to win more. I've played in almost every Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend. Follow my FB page or my Twitch channel for no frills, competitive Magic. You won't see my face, but I won't hide my gameplay and deckchoice flaws. I play both MTGA and MTGO and stream most of the time when I do. I will lose often, and I will make mistakes, but I try my best to let you know when I do (and I think I will still win a lot more times than I lose).

I'm a dad and husband first, a statistician, teacher, and researcher second (I know those are 3 things but bear with me), a Magic player third, and a content creator only because I am a Magic player. 

So yeah, let's play some Magic and may the shuffler be with us all.

FB page: https://www.facebook.com/deathbyvariance


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