Some tips on how to amass a ridiculous amount of gold, gems, cards in MTGA

Economy MTGA 
By: variancekills - 23 May 2021

One of the major challenges that people tend to have with Magic Arena, whether they are new to MTGA or new to Magic: The Gathering in general, is having the freedom to use whatever deck they want. This article attempts to share some insights on being able to do this consistently and provides some tips that can help both beginners and experienced Magic players.

Why listen to me?

First things first. Why should you believe what I have to say on this topic? Well, the tips I am sharing are the same ones I have been using for the past 29 months that I have been playing MTGA (I have been playing MTG for a lot longer). The following screenshot shows the in-game assets that I have at the moment. 

Note that I did buy the welcome bundle and the $100 gem bundle during my 3rd month of playing, so my actual in-game accumulated gems should be 23.5k less than the displayed number. Nonetheless, you can see that I have almost 880k gold and over 39k gems accumulated from the game (excluding what I bought). In addition, I have a large collection of rare and mythic wild cards and have almost all the rares across standard sets starting from Guilds of Ravnica up to Strixhaven. This gives you a good idea of how much you can accumulate over time following these tips.

Tip #1: The resource gathering system of MTGA is both a skill-based and time-based system

This first tip is an overarching theme for the rest of the tips I will enumerate. Basically, you have two tools at your disposal in accumulating resources in MTGA, these are your available time playing and your skill at playing Magic: The Gathering. You will need both to be able to follow the other tips. As you will see though, this does not mean you need a considerable amount of both. Also, while there is a cap to the amount of progress that you can get relative to your available time, there is no practical cap with regard to the amount of progress that you can get relative to your skill. I believe this sets Magic Arena apart from other online collectible card games in the market that seem predatory in that it does not matter how good you are at the game, you need to spend either a ridiculous amount of time or considerable money in order to get ahead. Essentially in MTGA, the better you are at the game, the easier it will be to gather resources and the less time you need to spend doing so.

Tip #2: Grab that free daily gold, but you only really need the first 4 wins and the daily quests

It is critical to grab the gold from your daily wins and quests. Winning games and completing the quest gets you about 1k gold a day. However, it is important to note two things. First, you just need the first 4 wins. The rest of the rewards are not really that significant. If you have the time and you want to play more, go ahead, but the 1st 4 wins are enough. Also, you don’t need to focus on doing the quest. You can have up to three active quests and from my experience, you can just play what you want to play, and you will just happen to complete quests doing so. You can also reroll quests once a day. Some people advocate rerolling quests until you get one that pays 750 gold and this is ok, but in the bigger scheme of things is not something you should focus on since the quest allocation is random.

Now, an interesting thing to note here is that assuming I followed this rule and actually got 1k gold each day in the past 29 months that I’ve been playing (doubtful as I certainly did skip some days), then that means the amount of gold i should have, if I was not spending it on anything, should be about: 29 x 30 x 1000 = 870000. This is, in fact, similar to my current gold (879000). However, it is clearly the case that I do spend gold somewhere. Otherwise, how would I have gotten my collection to be almost rare complete? In addition, where did the excess of 39k gems come from?

Tip #3 Draft to build your collection

This tip answers the question from the previous one. I do use my gold/gems to draft, particularly at the start of a set’s release in order to start building my collection. This is where skill plays a considerable factor, because you cannot use this tip without knowing how to draft competently. Fortunately, you do not need to be a draft god. I myself am far from an excellent drafter. My win rate hovers at around 54% to 58% but this is enough to do considerably well in the Premier Draft event. To give you an example, in Strixhaven I did 17 Premier Drafts. My win rate was 54%, which is a bit on the low end of my typical performance. However, the 17 drafts cost only 8400 gems because of the gems I won which offset some of the cost. In addition, I won 42 packs and pulled 83 rares from these drafts. The 42 packs alone would have cost 8400 gems if I had bought them. Thus by drafting, I got 2 extra packs and 83 rares “for free.” This partially explains why I still have so much gold, I spend much less to build a collection by drafting than I would from buying packs.

It is also worth noting that while you need a 54% win rate in premier draft to make it better than just buying packs, you need only a 30% or better win rate in quick draft to do the same. However, the rewards in premier scale much better with your win rate. So, if your true win rate is less than 54%, it would be better to do quick draft but if it is at least 54%, then premier would be better.

Tip #4 Do the Metagame Challenge to build your collection  

The Metagame Challenge is a constructed event that is made available about a week after a set is released in MTGA. It is only available for a few days. It costs only 2k gold to enter but can reward a considerable number of packs based on performance. While you only need to have a better than 50% win rate to make playing this event more lucrative on average than just buying packs, you really need a much higher win rate in order to make it worthwhile. if you are a strong constructed player, then you should definitely play the challenge. My average win rate for the metagame challenge has been around 68% to 74%. For Strixhaven, I did the challenge 18 times with a win rate of 73.4%. This meant that my total cost for those 18 runs was just 2k gold. Yes, it only cost me the price of one run to do the event 18 times. How many packs did I win from 18 runs? A total of 92 packs. This meant that through the challenge, I practically “bought” 92 packs for 2000/92 = 22 gold per pack instead of 1k gold a piece. That's a ridiculous discount. This considerably reduced my cost for completing Strixhaven such that I now have 258 out of 276 rares of the set, but instead of spending 258k gold, only spent 44k gold based on the combined costs from draft and the metagame challenge. Thus, I saved more than 200k gold. Together, Tip#3 and #4 show almost a complete picture of why I have so much excess gold and gems. If I spend so little per set to complete it, then the daily gold I get just accumulates without needing to be spent. The same is true for WCs and the vault, which is currently at over 2000% progress with no real incentive for me to open it.

Tip #5 Just starting out? You have a choice: Wait or Spend.

Obviously, in order to be able to join drafts 10+ times and metagame challenges 10+ times, you need to have resources already stored up. For this issue, you have two options. You either go completely free to play, or you spend money on some gems to speed up your progress. Either is actually viable, and it depends per person on what is the “better” option. For myself, I initially thought of buying the $100 gem bundle and then buying more if my resources run out. However, as it happened, the resources never did run out and just grew considerably over time.

If choosing the entirely FTP option, it is still quite viable. Remember that my set completion activities for STX cost a total of only 44k gold, and you can actually accumulate at least 60k gold for two months. Thus, it is entirely possible to save up gold before the release of a new set for use in drafting that new set. This does present a problem for older sets though. For example, if you started playing in Kaldheim, you can accumulate gold to draft for Strixhaven, but not for both STX and KHM. There is no way to go around this problem from a FTP perspective. What you can do is focus on completing sets from STX onwards. By rotation, most of the sets you do not have will not matter anymore for standard because they have rotated out already, and you can use the wild cards you accumulated to craft the cards you need from the sets you were not able to draft. Patience is important here if you want to play completely for free. On the other hand, buying a bunch of gems upfront like I did does help a lot if you want to skip most of the wait.

Tip #6 These tips are for Standard, Historic is trickier

The goal of these tips is to enable you to play Tier 1 standard indefinitely. Historic is a different beast altogether since it has a much larger card pool (among other things which I will talk about another time). The best advice I can give you in relation to playing Historic with limited resources is to be as frugal as you can. If you can build a tier 1 deck with minimal cost and you really want to play the format, go for it, but I suggest just playing around and using whatever you have on hand until you've accumulated enough resources to make completing sets for standard easy.

Tip #7 There are other tips not explained here

The tips I detailed are the important ones that explain why I have a ton of in-game resources. Certainly, there are other tips that contribute. Off the top of my head, some of these are as follows:

1.)    You should draft all you want first before opening any prize packs to maximize dual protection

2.)    You should spend gems instead of gold for drafts if you can because it is cheaper

3.)    You should always buy the mastery pass if you can complete it

I hope these tips help you to maximize your ability to gather in-game resources, and in so doing let you have access to whatever decks you want to play in Standard. May the shuffler be with you!

Reminder: The Strixhaven College Cup is still ongoing. Me and my team, The Horde are supporting Witherbloom and in line with this, I am raffling away 1k gem codes to those who choose to support the school with us. Check out this article for details: Support Witherbloom at the College Cup for chances to win 1k Gem Codes!

About variancekills:

Hi, I'm Mark. I've won exactly one World Magic Cup Qualifier, one Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier, one Arena Open ($2k) and one CFB Pro Showdown (April, 2021), and I am looking to win more. I've played in almost every Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend and made Day 2 four times (so far). Follow my FB page or subscribe to 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).

The challenge for me every season is to find the best decks and make the most use out of them before they're no longer the best decks, or they get banned. I play a ton of limited when a set is just released in order to complete most of the rares for the set within a short timeframe. With the availability of Premier Drafts and the Metagame Challenge, I've spent as little as 2000 gold completing a set's rares. I'm currently sitting on over 800k gold and over 70k gems but have spent a grand total of $105 in the game.

I produce occassional video articles about the game that cover things that interest me, such as how to know when your rank is safe for a month's MCQW slot, how much you need to spend to get to Day 2 of an Arena Open, or how MDFCs affect Arena's Bo1 shuffler. I also mythbust a ton of crap about the game that you've no doubt heard or read about somewhere.

Finally, 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.

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@TheThinWhiteDuke. I agree. The events are good especially when you are starting out. I used to play them a bit as well. As you accumulate more resources, the rewards from them become less significant that you may want to use your time doing something else.
I definitely agree with what you have listed here, but I'd like to add that you can use the Standard Event for similar results during the 12 weeks between Metagame Challenges. 500 gold, where you're guaranteed to have 50 of it back (even if you lose EVERY game), and you get at least 3 uncommons, which means you move toward the vault 82% as much as a pack would move you at only 45% the cost. That means you're operating at 182% efficiency over just buying packs.
Great article. Kudos, Mark.
Excellent article, even for vets there's a lot of good info.
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