Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines | Illustration by Martina Fackova
All Will Be One brought us plenty of new things. New versions of our favorite characters, the different layers of New Phyrexia, and the true form of Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. I wasn’t expecting her to present us with a new kind of preorder pack, but that’s what I get for presuming anything about the all-powerful Praetor, now, isn’t it?
What exactly does Mother have for us today, you ask? Bow down and praise her reverence; it’s time to pay our respects and find out!
What Is the Pass Bundle in MTGA?
MTGA’s new Pass bundle is a preorder bundle that comes with a few Elesh Norn-fronted cosmetics and the ONE Mastery Pass. It’s probably only appealing to you if you’re a Mastery Pass lover. Or, you know, a devout follower of the Mother of Machines.
What Comes in a Pass Bundle?
The MTG Arena Elesh Norn Pass bundle comes with:
- 1 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines card sleeve
- 1 Flensing Raptor pet
- 1 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines depth card art style
- 1 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines card
- Phyrexia: All Will Be One Mastery Pass
Pass Bundle vs. Play Bundle vs. Pack Bundle
While we’ve seen the Pack and Play bundles in previous sets, this is the first time we’ve been offered a Pass bundle. It was split out from old Pack bundles that offered both a collection of packs and the Set Mastery. The Pack bundle offers, well, packs (go figure), and the Play bundle comes with Limited Play tokens and some Play-In points.
They’re all pretty self-contained and don’t have a lot of overlap. But, realistically, if you’re a well-rounded MTGA player you’ll probably see a little value in all three.
Why Do They Exist?
The “why” of Wizards often, unoriginally, comes down to their bottom line. What makes them the most money? How do they keep their customers happy while still squeezing them for every last dollar they can? Offering bundles that technically give you more than you pay but only just barely is one way, I guess.
The less cynical answer is that these new preorder bundles each cater to a different kind of Arena player. Which is the angle WotC was probably going for, sure, but they’re maybe getting a little too specific.
Can You Buy More Than One?
You can only buy one each of the three preorder bundles, but you’re more than welcome to get all three if it suits your fancy.
Are Pass Bundles Worth Buying?
Eh, sort of? The Mastery Pass costs 3,400 gems if you buy it straight from the Arena Store, which is equal to about $17. Elesh Norn’s Pass bundle costs $15, so you’re technically getting more than you pay for right off the bat. Then there’s the card and cosmetics to consider.
If you know you’re going to get the ONE Mastery Pass, there’s no harm in getting it for a little cheaper with some aesthetic bonuses thrown in. You know, if you’re into the whole bone-and-sinew look.
Alternatives to Pass Bundles
Buy Codes at MTGACodes
If all you really care about are the Elesh Norn aesthetics on offer here, you might get lucky buying cosmetic codes from MTGACodes. There’s nothing that officially says the card sleeve and style are preorder exclusives, so it’s possible (if not probable) that they’ll be up for grabs again sometime in the future.
If nothing else you might find something else that catches your eye or get lucky and find just what you’re looking for.
Buy the Mastery Pass
Aside from cosmetics, the only other way to get the contents of the Pass bundle is to buy the Mastery Pass. There’s nothing else to get from the bundle and there’s no way to get the Set Mastery than to just buy it, so. That’s that.
You can buy the current set’s Mastery Pass from the Arena Store for 3,400 gems.
Should the Price for Pass Bundles Be Lowered?
Honestly I’m less concerned with the price for the Pass bundle and more concerned with what’s on offer. It’s just ever so slightly more bang for your buck, sure, but it’s just so boring. The Mastery Pass and a handful of cosmetic items? That’s it, Wizards, really?
This bundle would make a lot more sense and maybe even be worth splitting off from the Pack bundle if it offered something like a +10 level boost or a limited XP bonus.
Elesh Norn | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve
I’d love to say that Mother has blessed us with something great, but, well… not everything can be a winner, right?
What do you think of Elesh Norn’s Pass bundle? Do you think splitting it out from the Pack bundle was a good move, or a stupid one? Would it be worth it with some extra levels or an XP boost? Let me know in the comments below or take your complaints to the Draftsim Discord.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to finish building my Monument to Mother. All hail Phyrexia!
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