Welcome readers to another MTG Arena Free to Play Guide! This time we’re diving into the Historic-focused special release of Amonkhet Remastered, a melding of Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation. These two sets originally appeared on Arena during the closed beta but have been hiding ever since, waiting to make their Glorybringer return to the game.

This Free to Play Guide isn’t going to be like previous ones, but the theory is still basically the same. I highly recommend checking out the guide for Core Set 2021 to learn how this works, and then come back here and make yourself a copy of this spreadsheet (the M21 article does not include Amonkhet Remastered).

The reason I’m not going to dive into the details of duplicate protection and the rare drafting strategy this time around is twofold. First, the set is going to be extremely difficult to collect for free-to-play grinders with 21 more rares and 16 more mythic rares than a normal expansion. It really is almost two sets in one. Second, with Jumpstart and Amonkhet Remastered we’re starting to see how Wizards intends to add cards to Arena in order to eventually support Pioneer.

Before we get into the cost of Historic and soon Pioneer, I want to give you a warning if you plan on trying to collect Amonkhet Remastered via the drafting/duplicate protection strategy. Please don’t. I think it’s going to be a much more valuable use of your time and resources to save up for Zendikar Rising. The upcoming Standard set will have a huge impact on Standard because of rotation, and likely just as big an impact on Historic as Amonkhet Remastered. Collecting Zendikar Rising, which comes out in a month, will also refill your supply of wildcards which you can then use on the Amonkhet Remastered staples like Thoughtseize, Collected Company, and Pact of Negation.

If you blow all your saved up gems and coins on Amonkhet now, you’ll probably be pretty sore when you have nothing to spend on Zendikar in a few weeks time. That said, let’s talk about the cost of playing and collecting cards on MTG Arena.

First, here is some basic economics on Arena. A pack of cards costs $1.00 USD. This is because you can buy 20,000 gems for $100.00 and that gets you 100 packs. Thanks to duplicate protection, if you buy approximately 220 packs of a Standard expansion, and open them all, you should wind up with four copies of every single rare in the set (depending on your distribution of mythic rares and wildcards). So one can confidently say that for roughly $225 every three months, you can play pretty much every deck in Standard.

So for $900 you get to play all the Standard you want and you can probably easily fund any drafting enjoyment as well. And, every year when the four oldest Standard sets rotate, you can still play them in a format called Historic, where everything ever released to Arena can be played (as long as it isn’t banned).

But then came three events that changed the landscape of Arena’s long-term value:

  1. Jumpstart introduced a ton of new cards to Historic through a very difficult to collect product, requiring Historic players to burn their Wildcards or their wallets to keep up
  2. Amonkhet Remastered set the plans for Pioneer to replace Historic on MTG Arena
  3. Historic was featured as a high-profile competitive event in the Arena Open

Historic sets have proven to be much more expensive to collect than Standard sets. The Historic Anthologies were fairly palatable. For the equivalent of $20 every few months you could add a few dozen cards to your Historic collection. If they released four of these annually your spending goes up to approx. $1,000/year but now you can play Standard and Historic.

Jumpstart was not so affordable. I didn’t see any conclusive results, and while I tried myself to come up with some numbers, the reality is that you’d have to spend tens if not hundreds of thousands of gems playing Jumpstart if you wanted to collect the entire set just by playing the event. While there weren’t too many cards with a huge impact on Historic, that can always change. However, its safe to assume that Jumpstart is more of a unique offering than a regularly occurring product.

Amonkhet Remastered is more affordable than Jumpstart, but less affordable than a Standard expansion. Instead of $225 to collect four copies all of the rares you’re looking at a price tag just north of $300. If Wizards starts releasing Remastered sets to bring Pioneer to Arena then this could start to get very pricey.

There are currently seven potential remastered sets I can see being created to bring Pioneer fully into MTG Arena:

  1. Kaladesh Remastered (Kaladesh and Aether Revolt)
  2. Innistrad Remastered (Shadows Over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon)
  3. Zendikar Remastered (Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch)
  4. Origins Remastered (Magic Origins, Magic 2015 Core Set, Magic 2014 Core Set)
  5. Tarkir Remastered (Khans of Tarkir, Fate Reforged, Dragons of Tarkir)
  6. Theros Remastered (Theros, Born of the Gods, Journey Into Nyx)
  7. Ravnica Remastered (Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, Dragon’s Maze)

At $300 a pop plus Amonkhet Remastered you’re looking at $2,400 to keep up with the journey from Historic to Pioneer, on top of the $900 you’d spend on Standard and the $100 you’d spend on Historic Anthologies, and whatever you decide to plop down on things like Jumpstart or special events.

And while sure, maybe you’re very successful at following the rare drafting guide and you don’t actually spend any cash on Arena. That’s what I’m here to help you with anyways. But, the trade-off is that you spend a lot of time grinding Arena, and as they say, “Time is Money” and you should know what your time is worth.

All of this is to say that, as the Arena Open showed us, Historic and Pioneer are going to be a major part of MTG Arena. But before you commit as a free-to-play user or even someone who spends a modest amount of cash on the game, make sure you know what you’re getting into and what your time is worth.

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