Hello and welcome to our latest installment in our MTG Arena Free to Play Guide series! Our guide today—for Kaldheim which comes to Arena tomorrow—is going to be a bit shorter than previous guides. This is because unfortunately my personal commitments both in my day job and for Hipsters of the Coast have necessitated that I step away from being able to write regularly. However I know that these articles are very important for the community as is the tracking spreadsheet and so I wanted to make sure I made time to do a quick update at a minimum.

Now that that’s out of the way let’s get to the meat and potatoes. If you’ve been through this before, feel free to scroll down to the what’s new section to just update your existing tracker. If this is your first time here or you’re looking for a refresher, then stick around and I’ll briefly explain how you, yes you, can collect every card in Kaldheim for free (or close to it)!

Let’s cut right to the chase. Thanks to the way duplicate protection works on Arena, and the various costs of packs and different events, the best EV (expected value) in Arena is drafting. I’m not going to get into too much detail on the actual mechanics because you can check that out in the Free to Play Guide for Zendikar Rising. My general plan is to provide an in-depth walkthrough of the process only once a year when Standard rotates, because its the best time to get started. For the remainder of the year I will provide incremental updates and refer back to the older articles.

I’ve used this method successfully going back to Throne of Eldraine. Since I can afford it, I always buy the two bundles before a set releases. This gives me a nice head start thanks to the free drafts and the mastery pass packs. For Zendikar Rising it took me about three weeks to collect the entire set starting with just the $100 (+tax) I spent on the bundles and then playing about 20 premier drafts.

The Zendikar Rising article covers this in much more depth, but you will need to do your own calculations to determine if you’d be better off doing premier or quick drafting. The general idea however is that you are taking a risk when you premier draft because you can end up in negative value territory if you average fewer than three wins. In quick draft there is only positive value (the rares you acquire will always be cheaper than if you bought packs) but the ceiling on that value is much lower.

As one last note before I share a link to the spreadsheet, because I think this question comes up a lot nowadays but it isn’t covered directly in the Zendikar guide: What do I do if I am reading this guide but I already opened a lot of Kaldheim packs, can I still do this?

The short answer is that it depends on how many rares you already have. This process is premised on drafting rares you don’t already have. If you already have a lot of the rares in the set, then drafting doesn’t yield as many new rares for your collection. My general rule of thumb is this: If you already have 30% of the rares in a set then you will be running a 50/50 risk on ending up with negative value and you’ll need to win more matches to make up for it. If you have 50% of the rares in a set, then you’re going to be getting very close to almost always having negative value, and you’d be better off opening packs directly.

What’s New

Now that that’s all out of the way, here’s the latest version of the tracker spreadsheet.

If you’re new to this, then click on that link, and then Make a Copy. I know some of you aren’t listening and will try to edit the sheet even though it’s locked. This will fill my inbox up with requests for access but that’s okay because it just reminds me how much you all love me.

If you already have a previous version of the sheet, I think how you want to incorporate this into your own existing sheets is entirely up to you. You can either copy the Introduction and KHM tabs from the new sheet and add them to your existing sheet, or make a copy of the new sheet and just copy your tabs for other sets you’re tracking into it.

I do want to point out that while I am trying to make some time to add Kaladesh Remastered and Jumpstart I have not been able to do so. Kaladesh is next on my list because it’s actually trackable. Jumpstart isn’t actually high on my priority list because without duplicate protection for those packs it isn’t really reasonable to try to collect the whole set for free. It doesn’t lend itself to this methodology.

Last but certainly not least I want to thank each and every person who has reached out to us directly with feedback on the spreadsheet, both positive and negative. I always appreciate it and while I am not able to make time to respond to every single email directly I do read them all and appreciate them deeply.

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