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Magic The Gathering Arena (MTG Arena): Free-To-Play Player Guide

Edited art from MTG- Nicol Bolas

Magic The Gathering (MTG) is probably the oldest and most popular trading card game in the world. What makes MTG really fun is that it hits the sweet spot in terms of game complexity – MTG is really easy to learn and play and extremely difficult to master making it really accessible and competitive at the same time. One of the largest barriers in playing MTG though is the cost. The cards are quite expensive hence playing in person is only sustainable if you can afford it. Fortunately, since a few years ago, we get to play MTG for free on MTG Arena! This article is a guide to help newer and older players play for free on MTG Arena and get the best bang for your buck for your time spent playing and grinding.

Summary of Currencies in MTG Arena

MTG Arena has 3 core in-game currencies: Gold, gems and wildcards. Gold is the non-paid for game currency and is obtainable by completing daily quests, winning games up to 10 wins daily and as prizes from events. It is used as entry fees for events or buying booster packs. Meanwhile, gems is the paid for game currency and is obtainable by direct purchase with real money from the store and as prizes from events and are used for virtually every purpose (entry fees, booster packs, cosmetics etc.) except for crafting particular cards. 

Lastly, we have wildcards which are obtained through opening packs and opening the Vault (more explanation in the article below). They have 4 different rarities: Common, Uncommon, Rare and Mythic which may be traded for any card of a similar rarity. To become a F2P player, one needs to efficiently collect gold, use the gold to join events to obtain sufficient gems and wildcards to meet your personal objectives – whether to collect every card, build multiple Tier 1 decks, buy cosmetics, anything you want! Let’s get to some tips to follow.

F2P Tips

1. Finish Daily Quests

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance

Everyday at 9am UTC a daily quest worth 500 or 750 golds spawns. Only 3 daily quests can be stacked up at any one time. Therefore, if you already have 3 available when 9am UTC comes around, you will miss out on a new daily quest spawning. Daily quests are not based on wins but are based on casting certain colour of spells, attacking with X creatures, killing X creatures, etc. They are general objectives which you will naturally achieve as you play most games of Magic. Because of this, it is the easiest and most important way to collect free currency in the game. 

A daily quest can generally be completed within 10-20 minutes. Hence, for those of you with limited time for games like me, I’d recommend finishing at least 1 daily quest whenever you have 3 stacked up to allow a new one to spawn the following day. You also can reroll up to 1 quest a day by clicking it if you want to change one of your current quests. For maximum efficiency, reroll any 500 gold quests for a chance to get a 750 gold one if you are lucky! Also try leaving a 500 gold quest on your quest stack daily to get a reroll on it the following day.

2. Collect Daily Win Bonus

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance

For every game win in MTG Arena up to the 15th win daily, players get rewards based on the table below:

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance
Source: https://mtg.fandom.com/wiki/Magic:_The_Gathering_Arena

*ICR stands for Individual Card Rewards and represents a random card of typically uncommon rarity.

Based on my experience, wins are much harder to obtain on MTG Arena compared to completing daily quests (unless you are a Magic pro!). Hence I would recommend trying to get only the 1st win bonus of 250 gold if you are limited on time and leave the 2nd to 4th win bonuses only if you have time to spare. If you are a beginner player, I would suggest for you to build a casual deck and play games in the casual queue (screenshot below). For maximum efficiency, build one which helps you complete your daily quest. For example, if you have a quest for casting green or white and green and red spells, build a mono green casual deck.

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance

3. Check Store Page and Key-In Free Codes

The store resets daily and sometimes offers free gold and gems from time to time. For example, in the screenshot above, the deal was to get 500 gems for a cost of 400 gems, giving you 100 gems for (essentially) free.

Also, do check online from time to time for free redeemable codes. Just type in the code in the store page to get em’ goodies! Examples of websites you could refer to for free codes are like https://draftsim.com/mtg-arena-codes/ and https://mtgazone.com/codes/.

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance

4. Play in Midweek Magic Events

Every week on Wednesday and Thursday, there will be Midweek Magic events on MTG Arena which showcase a multitude of new formats – Pauper, Artisan, Brawls, Standard Shakeup etc. Entry fees are free and the first 2 wins reward you a rare wildcard for each win! The 3rd win rewards a free cosmetic item.

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance

5. Play Quick Drafts, Premier Drafts and Events

The best way to convert your hard earned F2P gold into gems is by playing draft. Draft is the most popular limited format in MTG where 8 players open packs, make picks and pass the remainder of the pack to the neighbouring player to make their pick. Passing and picking goes on until there are no more cards to pass. This process is repeated 3 times for a player to form a draft pool of approximately 42 cards. From their respective draft pools, players need to form decks which they would use to play against each other.

On MTG Arena, Quick Draft is a draft format in which the player drafts against bots (AI) but plays matches against other humans. The entry fee for Quick Drafts are 5,000 gold with the rewards for playing and winning being gems! You also get to keep all the cards you drafted (unless the event has the word “Phantom”). Hence, you may want to pick those rare or uncommon cards to fill up your collection and/or the Vault.

The Vault is a form of duplicate protection in MTG Arena. Instead of collecting a 5th copy of a card, players are awards a small percentage of Vault progress. Once the progress reaches 100%, players get 1 mythic, 2 rare and 3 uncommon wildcards. For more details, visit the following site: https://magicarena.fandom.com/wiki/Vault

Screenshot from MTG Arena to provide guidance

As for beginners, I would suggest Quick Drafts as a way to convert gold into gems as there is no time limit and the entry fees are more accessible. For intermediate or veteran players with at least a 50% win rate, you can try your hand in Premier Drafts where the entry fees are 10,000 gold but the rewards are reasonably better.

For intermediate or veteran players, you can also try the Standard/Historic/Alchemy/Explorer Events once you have a strong deck with which you an average a 50% win rate to generate more gold to fund em’ drafts!

Summary

The above are the best 5 tips for an F2P player to start building a collection on MTG Arena efficiently and without cost. I started off with only a $10 investment but have been an F2P player ever since and have plenty of wildcards and gems to boot so its not impossible to play this amazing game for free if you invest around 10-15 mins a day into it. I wish you well into your F2P journey and until next time dear player!

About the Author

Ram is a long time Magic The Gathering (MTG) player here to help newer players to either learn the game and improve at it mostly via Magic The Gathering Arena (MTG Arena) which is a fan-made free to play, digital version of the tabletop card game.

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