First Look at How You Buy Cards in Magic: The Gathering Arena

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By Jake Vyper | More Articles MTG Writer/Streamer
January 17, 2018  02:40 PM

Photo: Magic: The Gathering Arena

Wizards of the Coast's Hearthstone-esque Magic: The Gathering Arena is a new way of digitizing the popular trading card game, but players will still have to spend money, or in-game currency, to acquire trading cards. Today, the company has revealed how the economy works for Magic Arena

In a blog post shared on WOTC's website, principal game designer Chris Clay explains how spending money and collecting cards will work in Magic: The Gathering Arena

MTG Arena economy:

Gold: This currency is earned in MTG Arena by winning games, completing quests, and wins in events.

Gems: These can only be purchased for real money from the in-game store.

Both gems and coins are equally useful as both forms of currencies can purchase new cards and special events. Just like other games' loot box systems, gems are offered as a way for players to "bypass earning gold to speed up gameplay." The plan is to have exclusive cosmetic items only available to purchase with gems, but there will be gameplay content that players can access with coins. 

The best way for players to collect cards is of course, by buying as many virtual card packs as possible. The game offers different ways to collect virtual cards: 

Booster packs will be eight-card boosters containing 5 commons, 2 uncommons, and 1 rare or mythic rare. The cost of purchasing boosters with gems purchased with real-world money is still being determined, but the developers say it will not be tied to real-world booster pack prices.

Draft packs will contain 14 cards mirroring tabletop drafts (the basic land has been removed). Drafting will also add cards to your collection, as any card you draft will be automatically added to your collection.

Individual cards will also be earnable through play. Devs are testing a system where for every match win, players will receive one card in MTG Arena, up to 30 per day.

Wildcards are special cards that have a chance to appear in the place of each card at any rarity in every booster players open. Wildcards have their own rarity of common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Players will be able to swap Wildcards for a card of their choosing of the same rarity.

The Vault is a special mechanic that rewards players for opening boosters, as well as an interesting way to deal with duplicate cards. Every time the player opens a booster pack or collects what would be the fifth copy of a card in their collection, it feeds a Vault meter. Once full, players will be able to open the Vault for a reward—currently Wildcards. It’s a simple way of avoiding the dusting and crafting system seen in similar digital card games.


Clay said that they aim to "players' valuable time as fun as possible." so they designed the game to make sure players are having fun with the time they spend with the game. 

Front-Loaded Rewards: In Closed Beta, we're trying out a daily session where most of the rewards come in the first hour or two. While you can always play as long as you'd like, we wanted to make sure that even people with limited time can have fun and feel like they are being rewarded. For example, we're testing a system where the first win of the day gives you your biggest single-game gold reward.

Daily . . . or Not: Playing every day is a great way to keep MTG Arena fresh and fun, all while maximizing rewards. Each day brings a new quest that varies in difficulty and reward, and each day you can cycle out one quest for another. Play every day to maximize your first wins, or play a couple times a week to save up quests. Since quests don't always require wins, they are a great way to earn gold just for playing.

When You Want to Play More: Of course, sometimes, you just want to keep playing. And we wanted to make sure we supported that. So, we're testing out a system of rewards based on total wins in a week. As you win two, five, and ten games over the course of a week, you can earn Wildcards. Stack this with a couple daily quests and individual card rewards, and you'll have an amazing 3- or 4-hour session set up.

Magic Arena will also give players the opportunity to be rewarded with a variety of cards as the game grows. These fun ways to collect cards will motivate players to grind more. 

The game's economy is still being tested so it's possible that it will get adjustments before the full version is released. You can sign up for the closed beta at Magic Arena's official website. To learn more about Magic: The Gathering Arena and its economy, tune in to the game's Twitch channel at 6 p.m. EST, January 18. 

You can watch the demo of the game below: 

Read more: Magic: The Gathering Head Designer Fires Massive Shot At Kamigawa Design Team

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Jake Vyper is a Fantasy & Sci-Fi Author, Social Media Manager, and Founder of
@Jake Vyper | [email protected]