MTG: Arena - Best Way To Spend Gems

mtg arena best use of gems
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Gems is the resource that is hard to obtain and easy to spend

How To Spend MTG Arena Gems Wisely

There is not a bigger headache then how to spend your two most valuable resources - time and money - when you start getting obsessed with a brilliant game. 

You have probably faced a headache like this as soon as you’ve seen two different in-game currencies, and a small portion of starter decks s as a starting point. You have no idea what to do next.

Of course, you can look for some deck guides online. But since you can’t buy individual cards,but rather craft them from the wildcards you get when you buy booster packs, it may take a while for you to make a formidable deck.  

Luckily for us, Arena has a pretty generous rewarding system, and if you play it smart with the economy you can enjoy playing a game with a limited budget. There are plenty of players who are enjoying the full potential of the game without paying a penny. 

If you, on the other hand, decide to spend some of your real-life money to buy gems and you are not quite sure if it’s worth it, or how much exactly is it worth it - this guide is for you. In this article, we will try to briefly analyze what are the best ways to spend this in-game currency and try to squeeze out the most possible benefit. 

Deconstruction of virtual and real-life numbers

If you analyze the worth of gems, one thing will come to mind - it is not consistent. Since the game offers you a chance to buy more gems for more money - the cost of a pack per gem will get lower. At first, this difference doesn’t seem much:

  • 750 Gems: $4.99
  • 1,600 Gems: $9.99
  • 3,400 Gems: $19.99
  • 9,200 Gems: $49.99
  • 20,000 Gems: $99.99

Take note - you can buy a pack for 200 gems, or you can buy a pack for 1000 gold, or you can enter a limited draft for 750 gems. A sealed deck format requires you to pay 2000 gems. Paying by gold is not possible for the 3 most important formats - competitive (or best-of-3) draft, constructed and sealed. You can only pay 1500,1500 and 2000 gems respectfully.

By knowing the prices, you will know now that the first option of spending 5 bucks for 750 gems may not be the most economical option. On the other hand, you maybe don’t want (or have) a hundred dollars to spend right away. 

Once you test the game a little bit, you may want to rethink your investment. If you believe you will stick with this game for some time, and you want to invest and compete and play competitively without the need to grind out gold or gems - buying the biggest bundle is a no-brainer. 

When you buy the biggest bundle - one pack will cost you exactly $1. So for the biggest bundle, you will be able to open 100 packs. The entry fee for the tournaments will be cheaper, and if you play well enough, you will be able to recoup your gems quickly.  

Buying a Welcome Bundle - A one-time investment (that is totally worth it)

When you first enter the game, you will be offered a chance for a one-time buy that you shouldn’t miss if you have any aspirations to spend some in-game money. 
Why is it good?

  • Costs $5 dollars (a price equivalent of 750 gems)
  • You get 5 booster packs
  • You get 2000 gems (!) 

You don’t need to be a genius to see how this one-time offer is an amazing way to start your career. You will get 4 times value for money and if you manage it wisely you will be one happy player.

Once you spend your money on a Welcome Bundle, you will be able to allocate your gems however you believe is worth it. 

Spending gems on Constructed 

Constructed play is a world of its own. If you want to play competitive constructed, you will need to brew good decks. If you want to make good decks, you will need a big card pool, which means buying packs with gems or golds and also crafting necessary cards from the wildcards you get in the process. 

If you opt for Constructed, but you are looking for a return of gems, then spending an entrance fee for this in gems is not the best idea. It is very easy to get enough golds from quests and wins to pay up a 500 gold fee for BO1 or 1000 gold fee for BO3 match and the return of investment is basically all in gold and extra cards so the math is simple.

If you have gems to spare and you are out of gold to grind for the day and you just like to spend time in Constructed Arena, then spending gems is not such a bad thing.

Let’s analyze the Constructed

  • Entry fee best paid in gold
  • Gold and card-based rewards, no gems as rewards for winning
  • In BO1 you need 5 wins out of 7 while losing no more than 2 to match the 95 gem entry fee (500 golds)
  • In BO3 you need 2 wins to match the 190 gem entry fee (1000 gold), but you get a rare or mythic card two which is sometimes looked at as kind of a replacement for another pack
  • Very low return rate for gem-spending, not for an economy player 

Verdict: Since constructed is, as its name says, a format based on constructing a deck, paying gems for entering this competition is definitely not worth it. You should focus on obtaining cards and packs that will make you craft some meta decks, and it is better to spend gems on filling your playable card pool. Save gems for something else.

Spending gems on packs 

If you’re a constructed player and if you are interested in playing constructed first and foremost, spending gems on packs is probably the best way to improve your card collection. It will help you play various decks and craft the cards that you need. 

You get more needed resources from packs than playing draft when you just spend your money on packs. The point being - when you draft, yes, you will get more packs in theory. Unfortunately for someone who cares about his collection, the packs you open while drafting will not be included in your bar for potential wildcards. So when you open a pack while drafting, you will never get a wild card, which is very important for further constructing your deck.

Here’s a statistic for when you buy $100 worth of gems: 

  • You get 100 packs ($1 per pack)
  • You will get 100 mythic/rare cards 
  • You will get 200 uncommon cards
  • You will get 500 common cards
  • When opening packs you will fill your wildcard bar
  • You get additional 10-15 rare and mythic wildcards
  • Around 35 common and 25 uncommon wildcards

So, for about $100 you will probably be able to create around 3-4 tier 1 decks of all types and formats and with a bit of skill and luck as any MTG player needs, you will then always be able to enter some Constructed competition by gold (or gems if you’re in a desperate situation). You will then be able to collect enough golds for more packs and rewards cards to fill your pool further and when the time comes for a new set you will have enough resources to swiftly craft new decks.

Spending gems on Limited 

If you manage to do some calculations and you tested out some formats, you will notice that the best and the most rewarding experience in MTG is playing limited. This is the case in paper magic, as well as in the digital version of it. 

When you enter the Arena, you will have 3 types of limited play - Quick Draft, Traditional Draft (competitive or best-of-three) and sealed. 

By playing a draft game - you will have everything: the return of investment, competitive play and learning the game, and amazing and fun experience.

Let’s analyze the quick draft:

  • Entrance fee costs 5000 gold or 750 gems
  • You get 3 booster packs (3000 gold or 600 gems) to draft from, you keep the cards
  • There is a chance for some nice rare-drafting and you may end up with 4-5 rares or mythics which is almost the same as 5 booster packs
  • You play best-of-one matches until you reach 7 wins or lose 3 times 
  • If you win 7, you get 950 gems and 2 booster packs
  • If you win zero you will get 50 gems and booster pack
  • Gem reward increases as you win more
  • You get gold by playing daily quests and winning certain amount of games
  • Opportunity to earn gems by not paying a dollar

So if you opt for spending 750 gems on quick draft, you will get an equivalent of 4 boosters (3 to play with and 1 as a reward no matter how many games you win). If you only want to buy 4 packs, you would need 800 games. Minus the fun. Minus you learning the set better by drafting. Minus you maybe winning enough games to profit from your investment and getting more gems than you paid for to enter. 

If you want to spend z.e.r.o dollars on this game, you can grind gold with daily quests. Most of the quests don’t require winning the games so you can test some of your own decks and brews. You grind 5000 gold, enter a quick draft, and you will at least end it with 50 gems and 4 boosters in your pocket. Acouple of drafts, you have enough games for even more drafts, your card stockpile grows, your gems may grow too, and you will have enough for next-level limited.

Let’s analyze the Traditional Draft

  • Entrance fee is 1500 gems
  • You get 3 booster packs, same as quick draft, but you also draw a 15-card sideboard that will be able to help you in best-of-three matches
  • You either win all 5 best-of-threes or you lose 2 and you’re out
  • Winning 2 games returns you 800 gems and you get 3 additional packs (10 packs altogether - so you’re in a profit)
  • Winning 3 games returns you 1500 gems and four packs - big profit
  • Winning 5 games gets you 2100 gems and six packs 
  • When you put everything on the paper, if you think you are a decent player and your win rate may be around 50%, which is an average statistic, you will more often than not end the traditional draft with a lot more than you invested into. This is undoubtedly the best fun + benefit MTG: Arena experience.

Let’s analyze Sealed 

  • Entry fee is 2000 gems 
  • You get 6 booster packs and you make a 40-card deck out of them
  • Winning 7 best-of-ones without losing more than 2 gets you 2200 gems and three packs 
  • Winning 0 gets you 200 gems and 3 packs
  • You need just 2 wins to feel your investment returned with 600 gems and 3 packs, with 6 packs already gained, it would be like you’ve spent 1800 gems on packs and got 600 more.
  • Winning all 7 gets you 2200 gems and 3 packs which is great but game-for-game not worth it as much as traditional draft

Sealed deck is one of the better formats to play when the set is relatively new, as it is almost an exchange for a prerelease event in real-life, and if you want a great experience with solid rewards, it is a good way to spend gems.

Verdict: Traditional Draft is the best way to spend gems in Limited Play, but overall - limited format as a whole is a great investment if you are looking for skilled play and return of investment
 

Final Say

Other ways to spend games include special events, but I wouldn’t advise you to do this, since they are mostly fun formats that don’t require a lot of gold for entrance, and the rewards are usually much worse. Some of these formats are based 100% on luck, so if you spend gems to play them, you will probably be twice mad when an RNG goes against you.

In conclusion, always spend gems on limited - especially traditional draft, and if you’re a constructed player, look to spend gems and gold on packs, to improve your pool. Never spend gems on fun events, and you will be all set for a long and successful career of climbing up the Mythic ladder. Have fun! 

 

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Doing my best to plant a creative seed of writing between constantly flooding himself with mana, and trying to make his small-town football team a champion of Europe.
Gamer Since: 1998
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: MTG Arena, Football Manager 2019
Top 3 Favorite Games:Football Manager 2016, Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine , Dragon Age: Origins
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