Magic: the Gathering is a hard game to get into, not just because of the complexity of rules, the enormous card pool, or that the price of booster packs (where you get cards) are increasing.
With MTG Arena – the online version of paper Magic – packs are paid with Gems, a premium currency bought with real money. It all seems like Magic is another pay-to-win (P2W) game transported into the digital realm.
But there is truly a way to be a free-to-play (F2P) Magic player on Arena. It costs $0 and our results don’t lie – over 450,000 Gold and 40,000 Gems built up over 2 years. Card collection is also at a healthy 70% with plenty of (over 200 Rare and 100 Mythic Rare) Wild Cards available to use when needed.
If you love the game of Magic but don’t want to pay exorbitant amounts just to have fun and appreciate, then this guide will illustrate step-by-step how you can play Arena for free!
1. Hit Just 4 Wins Daily
Why 4 wins? Because these first 4 wins each day represent the best return of Gold for your time.
Your 1st win earns 250 Gold, followed by 3 winnings of 100 Gold each. This equates to free 550 Gold per day.
From the 4th to 15th win (the daily maximum), you are either netting 50 Gold or a random card each win. While the random card could be a Rare or Mythic Rare, there is a higher chance of landing an Uncommon. For the time that you are investing in these extra wins, we figure the rewards aren’t worth it.
The best part about these wins is that you can earn them through any event available, be it on the ranked or unranked ladder, regardless of format.
However, player-versus-player (PVP) games will not count, so for example 2 friends cannot meet online to trade wins.
2. Complete a Single Quest Daily
Apart from daily win, a new Quest also appears each day, with a reward of either 500 or 750 Gold.
The Quests are relatively straightforward, either involving playing a certain number of Lands, Creatures, or coloured spells.
Many times, pursuing your daily wins will also coincide with fulfilling these Quests. And even if they don’t, it’s alright as you can have a maximum of 3 quests concurrently ongoing. (Beyond the 3rd, new ones don’t get added in so make sure to complete at least 1 before then)
Quick tip: You can refresh a quest once each day. Hence if you have a 500-Gold quest, hit the refresh button and you might get a new 750-Gold one! At the very least, another 500-Gold quest will appear, so you don’t lose out.
3. Use Gold to Play Drafts and Grow Card Collection
With your Gold earned over the days, you could use it to buy card booster packs (1000 Gold per purchase), but what we really recommend is to play the Quick Draft events (check out Arena’s upcoming event schedules).
Quick Drafts cost 5000 Gold (or 750 Gems) to enter, and you will effectively receive 3 booster packs, picking cards and building a deck to play in the event.
But doesn’t 5000 Gold get you 5 booster packs, which is more than 3 from the event?
That’s correct! But the Quick Draft event provides even better rewards. In short, you can easily be netting more than 3 Rares throughout the event, plus at the end of it you will earn Gems plus an additional 1 or 2 booster packs.
Overall, you earn more value by entering Quick Draft events! If you’d like to see a full breakdown of the numbers, we have it here:
4. Use Gems From Drafts to Buy Mastery Passes
While growing your Gold and card collection through daily wins, quests, and Quick Draft events, at this point you’ll be slowly growing your stash of Gems as well.
Again, you could use these Gems to buy even more booster packs – perfectly fair value. But to go beyond and to grow your Arena card collection even faster, purchasing a Mastery Pass will promise at least 50% over what you’re putting in.
A Mastery Pass is a reward system for just playing, and by spending 3,400 Gems for a season pass, you receive additional rewards in the form of Gold, more Gems, Draft tokens, card styles, booster packs, and more.
Just like valuing Quick Draft, we crunched the numbers for the Mastery Pass as well:
Each Mastery Pass costs 3,400 Gems, so you’ll have to run through several Quick Drafts before you have enough saved. If you’re missing one out because you don’t have enough Gems, just remember this is a long game and there’s no need to shell out real cash to get the Pass now.
There’ll always be new Mastery Passes in the future, and you’ll be able to benefit if you put in the effort to earn Gold and do Quick Drafts.
End Step and Some Important Points:
- To get 4 daily wins each day, it could be anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour of play time, which we felt is reasonable and not excessive. (Everyone should enjoy the world outside!)
- You don’t have to play Quick Drafts immediately once you save up the 5,000 Gold entry fee. Our average was one Draft every 2 weeks, which means you’ll be saving up on Gold as well.
- This takes time and consistency. Our collection of 450,000 Gold was built over at least 2 years of consistent play.
If you’re someone who plays once a week, which is completely fine, then this strategy will likely not work. On the other hand, we also don’t recommend spending excessive amounts of time playing to go beyond 4 wins.
- However you play Arena, have fun in the gathering!