Another day another three wins and another 200 experience points on our seemingly never-ending quest to discover the true value (and cost) of the Core Set 2020 Mastery Pass on MTG Arena.

Yesterday I decided to pick up my wins by jumping into a War of the Spark Ranked Draft event. It got me wondering if the ranked draft is really worth the investment (5,000 gold or 750 gems). So today I want to talk a bit about the ranked drafts and whether or not you should spend time on them.

Before I get in to deep I’ll say this: I love to draft. It is by far my favorite way to play Magic the Gathering and nothing else comes close except for Momir Basic which is a distant second. So for me, it isn’t really a question of value. As soon as I get to 5,000 coins I pretty much pull the trigger on a ranked draft. Also, I’m a spike, so for me there’s no option other than ranked drafting.

So you’ve been grinding for a few days, finished a bunch of quests, and now you’ve got 5,000 gold in your pocket. What do you do with it? You can join a constructed event (500 gold for Best-of-One or 1,000 gold for Best-of-Three, a.k.a. Traditional). You could buy packs for 1,000 gold a pop. For 3,000 gold apiece you can pick up the Huatli and Angrath avatars. For 4,000 gold you can get yourself some sweet Liliana artwork sleeves. And for 5,000 gold you can do a ranked draft.

Aside: That’s literally all you can do with gold in this game. That seems like a topic for another day.

So what’s the value of a 5,000 gold ranked draft? At a minimum you will get three 15-card packs, one 8-card pack, and 50 gems (1/4 of a pack). At best, if you pick up seven wins, you’ll get three 15-card packs, two 8-card packs, and 950 gems (4.75 packs). If you can average four wins each time, you’ll get three 15-card packs, one 8-card pack (with a 30% chance for a bonus pack), and 450 gems (2.25 packs).

Thinking of it in terms of packs, here’s the value breakdown by result:

  • 0 Wins: 4.45 Packs
  • 1 Wins: 4.72 Packs (+0.27)
  • 2 Wins: 5.24 Packs (+0.52)
  • 3 Wins: 5.76 Packs (+0.52)
  • 4 Wins: 6.55 Packs (+0.79)
  • 5 Wins: 7.60 Packs (+1.05)
  • 6 Wins: 8.65 Packs (+1.05)
  • 7 Wins: 9.75 Packs (+1.10)

So purely in terms of pack value, if you can win at least twice every time you draft, you’re doing better than you would if you bought five packs from the store, with one caveat: The three packs you draft don’t build up wildcards. There are no wildcards in the packs and they don’t count towards the number of packs you need to open in order to get free wildcards.

If your goal in MTG Arena is to get specific cards in order to build constructed decks, then ranked drafting may not be the right format for you unless you can consistently get to five wins (7.6 packs). But even if you could, you’ll likely stick to the constructed queues and just open packs to get wildcards. If your goal in MTG Arena however is to collect everything then you might want to draft because you’ll quickly complete sets of commons and uncommons.

From the perspective of raw value in the number of cards opened, ranked drafting has a lot of value (when you spend 5,000 gold) compared to the other options for spending that resource. That said, if your goal is building specific decks then it’s likely not the right format for you.

Lastly, here’s the really weird four-color mid-range deck I drafted. I’m currently 4-2 with it and hopefully I can pick up my three wins tomorrow by simply finishing the event 7-2. Wish me luck!

And here’s a recap of how much “value” I’ve gotten from the Mastery Pass so far:

Free Stuff (Pack Value: 1200 Gems, Cosmetic Value: 600 Gems):

  • 6 Packs of Core Set 2020
  • 1 Mastery Orb

Premium Stuff (Cost: 3400 Gems, Pack Value: 1100 Gems, Cosmetic Value: 3300 Gems)

  • 1 Pack of Core Set 2020
  • 1 Pack of War of the Spark
  • 1 Pack of Ravnica Allegiance
  • 1,500 Coins
  • 200 Gems
  • Chandra Avatar
  • Elemental Cat Pet
  • Chandra Art Sleeves
  • 1 Mastery Orb
  • Mythic Cards: 1x Mu Yanling, Celestial Wind, 1x Chandra, Awakened Inferno
  • Card Styles: Gorging Vulture, Boreal Elemental

Mastery Tree Card Styles Unlocked (Total Value 1,800 Crystals, Free/Premium Split 33/67): Raise the Alarm, Apostle of Purifying Light, Hanged Executioner

Are you also embarking down the Mastery path? Let me know how you’re finding it so far by leaving us a comment on Facebook or hitting us up on Twitter!

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