MTG Arena: Are Split Wildcard Bundles Better Now?

Economy MTGA 
ChrisCee · November 20, 2022 · 3 min

So, as of The Brothers’ War update, we now have smaller wildcard bundles of $19.99 for four mythic rares, and $9.99 for four rares, and each has a purchase limit of ten. On paper, this does considerably alter the dynamics of their value compared to getting regular wildcards from opening packs.

But are they really worth it now?

 

Judging by Real-World Value

Martina Pilcerova via Wizards of the Coast

If “worth” means effective purchasing value, then it would depend on your particular situation.

Those finding rares, for instance, would usually find the bundles a terrible deal, even if they’re trickier to get due to their higher variability in a single pack. As of this article’s publishing, the actual cheapest rare in BRO, Artificer's Dragonimage costs $0.33, and the average value of all rares in the set is about $0.80. Multiply that by four and you’d still get nowhere half the cost of the $9.99 rare wildcard bundle.

Mythic rares, on the other hand, can be a fair deal in terms of averages. Even though In the Trenchesimage will only net you $1.03 in real-world value, on average BRO mythic rares will cost you $9.00. Multiply again by four, and you would most likely get considerably worth more than the $19.00 you paid for, unless you get totally unlucky with the pulls.

Of course, this super oversimplified economic analysis openly ignores the intended use of wildcards: crafting any copy that you need for any set, for any format, even if the card is unobtainable via packs. In that case, the argument shifts to the perspective of how active the players are by default.

 

Judging by Time Investment

Matt Stewart via Wizards of the Coast

Anybody investing regularly in normal packs would still eventually accumulate enough wildcards and Vault progress points. So with a natural pace for game progression, card completion, and keeping up with new sets, wildcard bundles will matter much less. The mean value of the bundle deal at any given moment effectively becomes irrelevant. This is especially the case if you dominantly play in Limited formats like Draft or Sealed.

That being said, it can be more likely that less frequent players could find the deal much more reasonable, or those who build specific-themed decks, disregarding set completion. After all, at a minimum, you are still investing about an hour or so to grind most of the dailies in MTG Arena. A sizable bulk of the cards obtained in that time won't be useful to these types of players.

For example, new players who want to quickly dump funds to focus only on a single deck in Constructed formats like Historic or Explorer may not find opening random packs as efficient. Picking a mythic rare wildcard bundle deal as they go then becomes a potentially better alternative.

WotC did hinge somewhat on such use cases when reintroducing the promo, at least when it comes to the "building a specific-themed deck" part. As per the State of the Game post's own words:

"This is not designed to be a substitute for building a collection, nor is it designed for building a deck from scratch, but rather as a way for players to quickly grab the last few cards they need for a specific deck."

 

An Artificial Plane Devoid of Trade

Lars Grant-West via Wizards of the Coast

Previously, the comparison was for the original $49.99 wildcard bundle against directly buying 46 packs. It was an easy win for the 46 packs, of course, and the entire community universally condemed the idea. With the current wildcard bundles for the post-BRO update, things are… actually more or less the same. Players still generally think they’re a terrible deal, and for the most part, they’re absolutely right.

From a purely digital perspective, any investment that sacrifices money for time (as most F2P games tend to offer) towards creating high-value decks in MTG Arena may ultimately be of less worth. Because unlike Paper Magic (or even MTGO), there is no trading system. Cards don’t have any inherent value. You can’t store them as assets. You can’t sell them later to recoup your previous investment.

So TL;DR, wildcard bundles are still bad, even if you’re a brand-new MTG Arena player. Thankfully, there’s no strategic Compulsionimage to purchase them, meta or no meta. As one player stated, “having the option [for wildcard bundles] is theoretically never worse than not having it”.

Unless…. these wildcard bundles are actually introduced to make regular packs look better?

Hmm, Nah.

About ChrisCee:

A witness since the time the benevolent silver planeswalker first left Dominaria, ChrisCee has since went back and forth on a number of plane-shattering incidents to oversee the current state of the Multiverse.

"Target bird is no longer available. Please leave a message after the last bounce."

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