Last updated on December 22, 2020
If the topic of MTG Arena gems interests you, I imagine you’re probably pretty new to MTGA. Maybe you’re wondering what gems are, or what they’re used for, or how you can get them. Whatever you’re curious about, we’ve got the answer here today!
I’ve covered the topic of gems—in particular spending them and how much they’re worth—in the past, but today we’re gonna go all out and give you everything you could ever possibly want to know about gems in MTG Arena. And probably some stuff you didn’t want to know. We’re not picky.
Gems are pretty simple, at least in terms of what they are. Gems are Arena’s premium currency. You can get them without spending real-world money on them, but you gotta work for it. They pay for special things and are worth more than MTGA’s other currency, gold. We’ll talk about exactly how much more they’re worth in a bit. So, without further ado, let’s just jump right into it.
Gems, gems, gems. That’s not gonna sound like a word anymore when we’re done. Are you ready? I’m ready. It already doesn’t sound like a word to me.
Money Makes MTG Arena Go ‘Round
Funny, eye-catching title aside, you don’t need to buy gems to get them. It’s easier, for sure, and sometimes less frustrating, but it’s possible to get them without buying them from MTGA’s store.
I’ve broken down how much gems are worth in my Welcome Bundle article (also a good read if you’re new—spoiler alert, it’s worth it), so let’s do a quick recap if you’re not interested in checking that out:
Going by gem prices in Arena’s store, we have to average things out. The smallest gem pack comes with 750 of ‘em and costs $4.99 USD, while the biggest bundle nets you 20k gems and costs $99.99 USD. The problem is that the small pack means gems are worth $0.0066533333 while the bigger pack breaks down to $0.0049995 per gem. Averaging the two numbers out brings us to the happy middle of $0.0058264167 per gem.
I grew to hate this number.
I also stole this number for the Mastery Pass article, another good read if you’re new to Arena. We’re just full of advice today, aren’t we!
Gold and gems. Again, I touched on comparing their worth in both the Welcome Bundle and Mastery Pass articles, but those were simplified. I also really didn’t wanna do this math. If you read through the Welcome Bundle piece, you might know what I’m getting at. Hint: it’s drafting.
What a Gold’s Worth
When I did my gold-to-gems-worth comparison, I used packs to find the value of gold. If you don’t spend your gems on packs but on drafts, though, we’ve got a problem, because those two numbers don’t match up. I know, imagine that, right? A fake currency not adding up across the board. Ridiculous.
We’ve got more than just this to cover in this section, though, so I’m gonna speed through it and just give you the end result. If you want me to show my work you can hit me up in the comments. All three draft types—premier, quick, and traditional—have the same conversion with each gold worth $0.000873962505. Using the conversion from packs in my Mastery Pass article gave us a gold value of $0.00116528334. Quite a difference.
Bonus cosmetic conversions:
- Avatars: $0.00097106945 per gold
- Sleeves: $0.000873962505 per gold
So, sleeves actually value their gold the same based on their gem-to-gold ratio, while avatars are a bit more expensive. I’m not touching any other cosmetics like exquisite sleeves or bundles because that’s just too much. No more math from me today, thank you. Moving on to our other topics.
Acquiring (and Spending) Gems and Gold
What about getting gems vs getting gold? Well, you can get both gold and gems from leveling up if you’ve bought the Mastery Pass (see what I did there?). You get gold from completing daily quests and daily/weekly wins, and you can earn both gold and gems from events. What you get depends on the event. Interestingly, drafts are the only reliable way to convert gold into gems (by paying for the event with gold, as you win gems only).
Spending your gems vs gold is another interesting debate. Packs can either be bought with 1,000 gold one at a time, or in bundles of 3, 6, 15, 45, or 90 with gems. Bundles can usually be bought with either gold or gems, though sometimes gems are the only option. Avatars go for either 500 gems or 3,000 gold, and card sleeves are 600 gems or 4,000 gold. Exquisite card sleeves vary, as some are purchasable with gold (4k or 8k) while the guild ones are gem exclusives. Daily deals also vary, while pets are usually either-or.
There’s no way to buy individual cards, not with gold or gems or real money, as the only way to get a specific card is with Wildcards. You can get these from opening packs and opening your Vault when it gets full.
What about spending gold vs gems? Which one is better? Well, that depends on what you want to do with your time in Arena. If you like drafting, then it’s better to spend gold and gems on drafts, as you get packs from that and as long as you’re decent you can usually get what you put into it back by winning. If you don’t really participate in events, you may as well spend your gold and gems on packs or cosmetics (or whatever it is you want to spend them on).
If you’re looking to convert gold into gems, spend gold on drafts. You’ll get gems and packs, the more you win the more you get. If you play often enough, it might be worth it to save up your gems to get a Mastery Pass. Other than that, though, how you spend your gold and gems depends entirely on what you want to buy.
How to Get More Gems
Circling back around to how you get gems, there are a couple different ways. Again, you don’t need to buy gems in Arena’s store to get them, there are plenty of ways to earn them for free. The only thing you need to spend is your time.
If you’ve got the Mastery Pass, you can get up to 800 gems by leveling up. You also get a Draft token at level 15, which will net you at the very least 50 gems. Not a lot but that’s only if you don’t win any games. You’ll also get 10 mythic ICRs plus an uncommon ICR (1:20 upgrade rate) for each level beyond 80, and 50 packs which all go towards completing your collection and hopefully filling your Vault.
You’ve also got duplicate protection for mythics and rares, which means if you’ve got every mythic/rare in that set when you’d otherwise get one, you’ll get 40 or 20 gems instead, respectively.
Finally, you can buy gems in the store. You’ll get more bang for your buck if you get the biggest pack for $99.99, as we’ve mentioned in the past.
As far as getting gems for actual free, no time or effort spent, there are codes which can net you packs and XP (along with a bunch of cosmetics), but nothing for gems specifically. The packs and XP can help you earn gems the “normal” ways, though, which is kind of getting you there with no time or effort.
Getting Gems for Free
In the search for greater value in MTG Arena, nothing goes as long a way as free stuff. We at Draftsim have tried our hand at providing you with some free gems, so we know the benefits like no other.
There are a few ways to get these little nuggets, but all of them take a little bit of effort on your part. By that I mean that you need to keep your eyes and ears peeled for deals and giveaways. Of course, I won’t be leaving you without a few paths to tread so you’ve got a heading. Don’t worry.
In the past, there have been a few other MTG contributors who’ve given away gems. On Twitter, creaYTors was given the chance to give away 100,000 gems back in February 2019.
Over on YouTube, Hello Good Game vowed in May 2019 to give away just under 500,000 gems over the course of his streaming career. Chances to win free gems still pop-up on his channel, so you might want to keep an eye out for that.
Then there’s MTG Arena itself, which comes up with some cooky deals every now and then in which you can exchange gold or gems for… more gems. There have been a couple up to this point, so the chances that they’ll be doing something like this again in the future are pretty high.
If you follow Draftsim on Twitter, you would have seen this daily deal alert:
There are also tournaments that give away gems as prices, but they require you to either win them the event or at least land on the prize-side of it. This obviously isn’t as labor-free as the other options listed above, but it is an option.
Basically, the best way to get your hands on free gems is to keep an eye out for MTG Arena contributors on Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube who give you the chance to catch some shiny stuff for free. Next to that, there are various tournaments that offer gems as prices. Make sure they are free to enter, though, as some require either gold or gems to participate which renders getting your hands on them for free… well, not free.
You now have a few worthwhile paths to follow and know where to lean your eyes and ears to discover free ways to get gems. And who knows, maybe we’ll also dip our hands into giving you some free shinies again in the future.
I’ve just about exhausted everything there is to know about gems at this point. Is it still a word to you or does it sound weird yet? Gems, gems, gems, gems, gems. How about now? No? OK, moving on.
Before we wrap this up, I’ve got some stuff to throw at you. As a new player, this guide to MTGA could prove useful. At least I hope it does, that’s what it’s for. Every question you have should be answered in there, and if not, let us know! We’re always hungry for new topics to cover, and if you’ve got a burning question that we haven’t answered yet, we’d (probably) love to tackle it.
That’s all I’ve got, though. Nothing more for you. Hope this was enough! Have a good day. All right, see ya round. Bye now. Be safe!