You can do a lot with a $4.99 bundle in Magic: The Gathering, in both digital formats. There are two ways to play on the internet: Magic: The Gathering Arena and Magic: The Gathering Online. You can get pretty far for free, however, there will most likely come a time where that $4.99 price tag will be within your budget. In the current times of 2021, spending five dollars can be a big deal. Magic: The Gathering cards or 1.5 gallons of milk, right? Both online games come with new player $4.99 bundles. Let’s go through your buying options so you can make an informed decision of exactly what you get with each $4.99 bundle and which format is right for you.
Magic: The Gathering Arena
MTG Arena is available on PC and select mobile devices. Magic: The Gathering Arena offers a $4.99 bundle available for a one-time purchase, which gives you 2500 gems along with 5 packs to open. Normally, $4.99 gives you 750 gold, but this bundle will give you enough gems to try out a couple of Draft games, pick up some packs, pick up some card sleeves, or purchase cosmetic alternative art for your decks. You can earn gems in Drafts as well, so a strategic planner can earn more gems! There are also opportunities in Daily Deals to trade up currency or buy digital booster packs for wicked cheap.
Let’s break it down:
5 booster pack (200 gems /pack) = 1000 gems worth of cards + 2500 gems = 3500 gem value = $4.99.
Normally, 3400 gems cost you $19.99.
That’s a good deal.
So what can you do with 5 packs and 2500 gems? A lot. Every time you open a pack, your Wildcard meter increases. These cards are “crafted” into usable Magic cards of the same rarity. You also have a chance to open Mythic Wildcards, which means you can pick any card of Mythic rarity you want. With 2500 gems, the paid currency of the game, there are ample opportunities to use your gems to win more gems.
I was surprised at how much I could accomplish with Arena out of the two $4.99 bundles. It’s no wonder why it’s a one time purchase per account bundle. It’s packed with intense value if you’re looking to get into the Draft or Tournament scene. Even without paying the $4.99 for the welcome bundle, you can do a lot in Magic: The Gathering Area for free, and earning more gems is included in it. It really changes the game in terms of accessibility, if you have something that will run it.
Magic: The Gathering Online
MTG Online is available on PC. It’s technically the bigger of the two $4.99 bundles, in terms of card collection, however, it’s a required purchase if you want access to more cards and playstyles. For the $4.99 price tag, you get two copies of every common card accepted in Standard play and one copy of every uncommon in that playstyle. Combined with your free account, this gives you two copies of every uncommon card and four copies of every common card in play for your starting collection. For those who mostly play Artisan or Pauper, this is an exciting deal and gives you a bigger collection without hoping to unlock the cards you need in booster packs, while in MTG Arena, you have to open the booster packs and hope you get the cards you need for those playstyles.
In order to use the cards in these events, there is a real-world price tag on everything in the store, including the tokens needed to enter events where you require new cards. If you’d like to draft, you need to purchase the booster packs for $3.99 each in the store, similar to paper cards, and pay a draft fee. In these events, you keep the cards you draft. If you’re entering a new player event with the tokens in your bundle, you don’t keep any of those cards, similar to the events in MTGA for lower gem costs. To combat this, though, MTG Online does have a friendlier chat/rematch ability. You can also watch other people play, and challenge or chat with other players you meet. This makes it easier to coordinate with friends and try out decks you built with them.
The events open to play for free do not limit other players within your same context. So while you’re playing a Pauper or Artisan deck, your opponent could have the latest tournament-ready deck that is hard for you to keep up with without that access. In a way, this also limits the MTGO community to those who have access to those funds. The plus side of this is that there is a real-money trading system, so similar to paper card trading, your cards in MTGO have an assigned value, and there are bots available to trade at any time.
No matter where you spend your hard-earned money, don’t forget to brush up on these five new mechanics featured in Kaldheim. Both programs offer new and seasoned planeswalkers the ability to play Magic: The Gathering from their homes, in a capacity that increases accessibility, no matter your playstyle. If you’re not ready to financially commit to either one, you can read on how to play it for free in either program, so you can try before you buy. To see one of the MTG $4.99 bundles, and then some in action, along with some pretty snow-covered lands, check out this video on Twitch.tv where my spouse and I build a snow deck using cards from the new Kaldheim set in MTG Arena.
Which new player bundle are you choosing?