Is it Worth Buying Wildcards in Magic: The Gathering Arena?

In Magic: The Gathering Arena, wildcards are a kind of currency that sit alongside gold and gems as one of the most important aspects of the game. They help players fill out their collections and build decks by being converted into cards of the appropriate rarity — uncommon wildcards can be turned into any uncommon, rare wildcards into any rare, and so on. As of the recent Brothers’ War set, players can now purchase wildcards directly, a long-requested feature for the game. But is it worth buying wildcards in Arena? Let’s take a look.

How to Get Wildcards in Magic: The Gathering Arena

First, let’s review how players normally obtain wildcards in Arena. The main way to get wildcards is to simply open packs of cards. Every time you open a pack, you have a chance to receive a wildcard in the place of a card of the corresponding rarity. The chances for each rarity are as follows:

  • Common: 33%
  • Uncommon: 20%
  • Rare: 3.33%
  • Mythic: 3.33%

So, your odds of finding a common wildcard in an Arena pack are 1 in 3, your odds of finding an uncommon wildcard are 1 in 5, etc. But that’s not all — there’s also the “pity timer” mechanic that ensures you don’t go long streaks without finding any wildcards. Essentially, every time you don’t find a wildcard of a certain rarity, the odds of finding one will go up until you do, at which point the odds will reset to their base value.

Additionally, you might have noticed the wildcard symbols at the top-right of the screen, which become encircled with lights as you open packs. These two icons — one uncommon, one alternating between rare and mythic — dole out wildcards after fully completing the circle by opening packs. Note that opening packs for drafts does not count towards these, however.

Lastly, there’s also the vault. Obtaining a copy of a card you already have four of will deposit it into the vault. This increases your vault progression, and when it hits 100%, you are rewarded with a few wildcards. This only applies to commons and uncommons — if you would open a rare or mythic you already have four copies of, Arena substitutes it with another card of the same rarity instead. If you get a redundant rare or mythic during a draft, you will receive 20 or 40 gems after the draft, respectively.

Buying Wildcards Directly

Since wildcards are the main mechanic by which Arena mitigates RNG and allows players to build decks, it makes sense that players would want to be able to buy them directly. Wizards of the Coast has allowed players to do this in the past, and once again has with the Brothers’ War set, putting wildcards on sale in the Arena store. Unlike most items, you can’t buy wildcards for gold or gems — you’ll have to make a direct monetary transaction to get them.

Each wildcard bundle includes four cards — rare or mythic — and costs $9.99 or $19.99, respectively. Players can purchase a total of ten each per account. But should you even buy one? Well, maybe if you just need a single playset of a rare or mythic to finish off a deck and time is of the essence, say if there’s a major event coming up. But that’s a pretty specific scenario.

For most players, most of the time, buying wildcards in Magic: The Gathering Arena is not worth it.

Arena‘s environment is unique in that all cards of a given rarity have the same value, since there is no secondary market. In a sense this is good, because it means that cards which are expensive in paper Magic can be acquired for less in Arena. But it also means that putting together a janky rare deck can cost just as much as a tournament-grade meta-ready one. Consider that many Brothers’ War rare cards cost less than a dollar on the aftermarket, and the price of wildcards on Arena starts to seem pretty steep. That said, if you’re grabbing a playset of a $25 mythic for $20, that’s not a bad deal.

Remember, though, that since Arena has no aftermarket, you can’t trade your cards after they leave Standard, if that’s what you play. Then again, many strong cards in paper Magic don’t retain value outside of the Standard environment either.

As it is, the best way to fill out your collection in Arena is still drafting or spending gold on packs to unlock the newly-added gold packs. Directly purchasing wildcards might be worth it in certain circumstances, but most players without unlimited money to burn should use the feature sparingly, if at all.