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Are you new to MTG Arena? Do you ask yourself “what the heck are these Wildcards I keep getting”? Are you building your first deck and want to know the best way to use these Wildcards? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you’re in luck! We’ll be tackling everything from explaining what Wildcards are and how you can get them to strategies on the best ways to use them, as well as a step-by-step walkthrough on how to redeem them. We’ve got quite a bit of ground to cover, so buckle up and let’s get to it!
We’ve touched on them a bit in the past, namely in our Vault article, but today we’ll be focusing solely on them: Wildcards! So, what are Wildcards and what do they do? If you’re familiar with them, Wildcards are to MTG Arena what Arcane Dust is to Hearthstone. If that means nothing to you, then read on to find out more!
As you can see above, these beautifully designed Wildcards come in Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Mythic Rare. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? You can trade-in—or “craft” as it’s called in MTGA—Wildcards for any available card of the same rarity. This means that you can trade-in a Rare Wildcard for any available Rare card, an Uncommon Wildcard for any available Uncommon card, etc. The Historic format had a bit of a back-and-forth when it comes to Wildcards before it was sorted out, but we’ll get to that a bit later. First, let’s dive into the history of Wildcards, shall we?
Wildcards and their purpose were first mentioned on January 17, 2018 by Chris Clay in his article on the MTG Arena economy. In it, he said that Wildcards were created to mimic the tabletop version of trading. As MTGA (currently) doesn’t have an option to trade with other players, something that MTG Online and IRL play does offer, Wildcards are WotC’s way of making sure that you can still collect the cards that you need.
All this without having to invest money in a lot of packs or play endlessly to collect packs for free with the hopes that the specific card you’re looking for is in said packs. As mentioned, this is similar to Hearthstone where you use Arcane Dust to “craft” cards you want in your collection.
Now that you’ve had your history lesson, it might also be handy to know where you can actually find the Wildcards you’ve collected. First, find the lotus icon on the top bar in your MTGA client, a bit right from center. Then hover over the icon with your cursor and a small pop-up will appear that shows you your Wildcard inventory. Check out this quick demonstration video that we whipped up for you:
Well, now we’re up to speed on Wildcards and how they work. Hooray! Let’s get to the important part: how you can get your hands on them. If you’re thinking “Psh, easy! All I’ll have to do is spend a little gold or gems and I’ll be set!”, well, think
How to get Wildcards in MTG Arena, you ask? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it! You can’t just buy them in the store like most everything else. The best way to get Wildcards is to open packs. And yes, technically you can spend your hard-earned gold buying those, but why buy packs when you can get them for free!
Around every fifth match-win, you’ll have amassed enough XP to snag a free pack as a reward. You can take a look at our Win Resets and XP article for more info on level progress and level-mastery. From level 26 onward, though, you’ll win a pack every other level-up until you get to level 92, after which you won’t win any more packs through level-ups.
Another way to earn free packs is by winning events and drafts. This will earn you both XP and packs, which makes it a double whammy. Before you know it, you’ll be raking in the packs by the bushel!
Another option (that you totally didn’t hear from us) is to use
cheat promo codes. These will let you jump levels and get you packs from different sets available on MTG Arena. Check out our Promo Codes article for a list of all the latest codes for your viewing pleasure.
So, why are you trying to get all these packs, exactly? To put it simply, every time you open a pack there’s a chance that one (or several) of the cards will be a Wildcard. They basically act as a substitute for a card from that pack in the equivalent rarity.
Every Wildcard rarity has a specific chance attached to it of how often it will appear in packs. Kind of like a drop rate, except instead of killing a monster in a video game and picking up leveled loot, you’re opening a digital pack of cards in a simulated card game. The more packs you open, the faster you run through those chances, and the quicker you get Wildcards!
Here’s a breakdown of how often you can expect to see Wildcards in the packs you open along with the percent chance that you’ll see the associated rarity:
|Rarity||Drop Rate||% Chance|
By this logic, you can puzzle out how many Wildcards you can expect (probably) every time you open a pack if you keep track of every time you get one. Or, if you’re opening a bunch of packs, how many Wildcards you’ll probably get by opening all of them.
How many Rare Wildcards from 45 packs in MTG Arena, I hear you ask? Well, let’s do the math. Don’t worry, it’s pretty simple. Since Rare Wildcards are expected to drop once every 30 packs opened, you’ll probably end up getting just the one with one Mythic Rare, nine Uncommon, and 15 Common Wildcards. If you’re incredibly unlucky, though, don’t worry! There’s a system in place to help you.
Called the “pity timer”, every time you don’t get a Wildcard of any rarity when opening a pack, the drop rates for that rarity will increase. Once you get a Wildcard of the increased drop rate’s rarity, the drop rates go back to normal. This keeps probability—which can be a fickle, fickle thing—from keeping those coveted Rare and Mythic Rare Wildcards out of your hands because of a silly little thing like bad luck.
OK, so opening lots of packs will inevitably get you some Wildcards. But what if I told you that opening packs itself also gets you closer to earning Wildcards through the Wildcard Track? “The what?”, you ask. These beautiful things right here:
Every time you open a pack, a bar on each Track will light up until you’ve got six lit bars. At that point, you’ll get a Wildcard of the associated rarity from the completed Track and it’ll reset to zero. The smaller of the two Tracks gives you Uncommon Wildcards every time it’s completed, while the bigger of the two Tracks alternates between giving you Rare and Mythic Rare Wildcards. You’ll get four Rare Wildcards the first four times you complete the Track and then it’ll switch and give you one Mythic Rare Wildcard before restarting and cycling through again.
As a side note, MTG Arena draft packs do not count for Wildcards. You won’t get Wildcards in the packs and opening them doesn’t count towards the Wildcard Track. The same goes for other limited formats like sealed.
There’s also the Vault to talk about. This one is also pretty simple: once you’ve collected four copies of a card, each extra one that you get will go into the Vault (unless the card in question is Mythic Rare, then you’ll just get a different Mythic Rare card from the same pack). The Vault will open once you’ve gathered enough card duplicates and give you a reward in the form of three Uncommon, two Rare, and one Mythic Rare Wildcards. Check out our article on the Vault (again) from earlier this year if you want some more info on it, how it works, and how to see your progress.
Here’s what we’ve gone over so far:
- Every pack you open (whether you buy them or collect them for free) has a chance to contain any rarity Wildcard
- Every pack you open progresses the Wildcard Track which gives you a Wildcard every six packs opened
- All card duplicates after four copies go towards your Vault progress which gives you Wildcards once full
Basically, the best way to get Wildcards is to just open packs. It’s really that simple! Unfortunately, there isn’t really a fastest way to get Rare Wildcards in MTG Arena, short of getting as many packs as possible to open.
Now that we know how to collect a ton of Wildcards and what you can trade them in for, it’s time to find out how to trade them in.
Let’s say you have a bunch of Wildcards saved up and you want to build a deck to play in MTGA. You’ve done a bunch of research and found the deck you want. This Golgari Food deck, for instance:
Whatever deck you’ve settled on, here’s how to redeem Wildcards in MTG Arena if you’re looking to craft in bulk (if you’re looking to craft individual cards instead, follow these steps until it tells you to head over to Part Two):
- Open your “Decks” tab and then click on the white plus icon to start a new deck
- Before you do anything, click on the Advanced Filters button
- Click “Not Collected” to ensure that cards you don’t have (and may want to craft using your Wildcards) will appear – make sure it’s highlighted and then click away to return to the main deck building screen
- If you’re looking to craft individual cards instead of bulk cards, go to Part Two now – otherwise, carry on
- Select the format that you’re building your deck for
- Use the search bar on the top right of the screen to find a card and then click on the card to add the needed amount to your deck, repeat for each (cards in white are owned, cards in red that are faded need to be crafted)
- Open the Sideboard tab and then repeat the steps for adding cards here
- Return to the Deck tab to return to the main deck and then click “Craft All”
- A pop-up will appear showing how many Wildcards of each rarity it will take to craft your deck – click “Finish Deck” to craft all the cards and complete your deck, or “Cancel” if you’ve changed your mind
Here’s how to use Wildcards in MTG Arena one by one if you’re looking to craft individual cards instead of bulk cards:
- Follow the steps of bulk crafting above until you’ve selected “Not Collected” from the Advanced Filters options
- Click “Craft” at the top right of the main deck building screen
- Find the card you want to craft using the Search bar at the top left and then click on it
- A pop-up will appear – select how many of this card you want to craft using the icons directly below the card and then click “Craft”
It’s important to note that you can’t craft beyond the number of Wildcards you have available to you in each rarity (can you imagine, though?), so make sure to choose wisely when deciding on what deck or cards to craft. Conveniently, this segues nicely into the next topic to talk about: how to get the most value out of your Wildcards.
If you’re still new to MTGA, you’ve probably played a couple of games. You’ve unlocked the free pre-con decks, opened a few packs, and have seen a couple of Wildcards go by. You might be asking yourself, what should I spend my Wildcards on? It might be tempting to get a couple of new rares for that favorite pre-con that you like playing with so much.
Our advice is to stop that urge and don’t fall for that trap. As useful as pre-con decks can be when you’re just starting out, they’re not worth upgrading a ton. There are better decks out there that will stand their ground much better on the MTGA battlefield.
It pays to save up your Wildcards until you know a good investment to use them on, like a top Standard deck. Here’s a bunch of pointers to help you get the most out of your Wildcards:
- Don’t just trade-in for random cards: It might be tempting, but it doesn’t help your decks or progress. They might have some cool art or seem like a fun card, but if you can’t properly use it then it’s a waste of your Wildcard.
- Use Commons and Uncommons to improve your pre-cons and get deck building experience: The Common and Uncommon Wildcards are the most abundant and the easiest to get, so try to tinker around with those to get some experience in deck building and crafting cards.
- Save up Rare and Mythic Rare Wildcards: Almost all Standard decks require a high number of Rares and Mythic Rares, so saving Wildcards up until you’re able to invest in one of those decks and get it in one go is well worth the wait.
- Prioritize Rare and Mythic Rare (dual) lands: Any MTG deck gets a lot better when your land-base is good, and nothing helps that more than high-rarity dual lands or fetch lands. You can use them in all your decks, and they’ll last throughout the Standard period.
- Don’t invest in cards right after rotation: We know it’s tempting to get that crushing deck that jumps to the top of the meta right after rotation, but chances are that the format is still adjusting and it won’t last. Wait until things have settled down a bit before trading in your Wildcards.
- If trading individual cards, trade-in for cards that can go in multiple decks: This is similar to the reason for Rare and Mythic Rare dual lands. Go for cards that show up in a multitude of decks so that you can switch if you’re not happy with your choice. This way you won’t have wasted the Wildcard and can still use the card you traded it for.
- Research the meta before committing to a deck: There are plenty of sites to help you make your choice of a good deck. We tend to use MTG Goldfish, MTG Arena, MTG Decks, and Aetherhub.
- Don’t invest in cards that will be rotating out soon: You won’t be able to use cards that are soon to rotate out for very long and it could be a bit of a waste for the coveted Rare and Mythic Rare Wildcards. It’s better to bide your time and wait until the new meta has settled.
With these pointers in mind, you’re well on your way to successfully navigating to great card and deck choices using your Wildcards with little to no regrets. Which is exactly where you want to be, we imagine.
In the end, it’s all about having fun. If you get great kicks out of building goofy decks, then by all means throw all these pointers to the wind and have a blast! If you’re more about competitive play, then these guidelines will definitely be of service.
All right, now let’s get down to Wildcards and Historic. Before we dive too deep into anything, let’s start with some backstory on what we’re even talking about.
Wizards of the Coast said it best here: “Historic is a non-rotating format where you build decks and play using cards in your collection from all sets currently available on Magic: The Gathering Arena as well as curated cards from across Magic’s history.”
Basically, you don’t have to worry about standard rotation and can use any card you have in your MTGA collection (mostly). If you’re looking for more in-depth info on Historic, we’ve got an article all about it coming to you soon. But, how do Wildcards fit into all this? Wizards has gone back and forth on this a bit so let’s clear the air for us all.
When Wizards first mentioned the Historic format going live in the August State of Beta announcement, they also addressed how trading Wildcards for Historic cards would work. At the time, they announced that the trade-in cost would be 2:1. This would’ve meant that all Historic cards would cost 2 Wildcards of the relevant rarity. You can imagine what happened next: Riot. Rightly so, might we add.
Not too long after the original message (just over two weeks later) Wizards came out with an update on Historic. In it, they stated: “Historic, the non-rotating format coming soon to Magic: The Gathering Arena, is meant to be a fun digital experience for players looking to play with cards beyond Standard. Since we announced the format’s specifics, we’ve had time to reflect on our previous announcement about Historic and consider feedback. Today we want to present our new plan for Historic that addresses the 2:1 issue and how we will handle events and rewards in the format.”
It’ll probably come as no surprise that the first thing they corrected was the trade-in for MTG Arena Historic Wildcards, switching it to be the same as any Standard card, 1:1. This goes for all sets that have been rotated out of Standard. They planned to add 15 to 20 new Historic cards each month with different ways to get them other than Wildcards, though this is a bit up in the air as of now. Here’s a recap of the September announcement:
When it comes to digital gaming, one thing that we always have to contend with is bugs and glitches. Some can actually turn out to be funny or entertaining, while others are just headaches to deal with. Luckily, the Wildcard system has stayed pretty bug-free, but we did find one potential issue that you might run into.
A few players have had issues with the trade-in of Wildcards not working. The animation would play when trading in Wildcards, but the new card wouldn’t be added to their library. Thankfully, the Wildcard also didn’t disappear into the void. Small victories. The fix for this bug is easy, all you have to do is restart the client and try again and you should be golden.
If you do happen to run into any trouble when dealing with Wildcards—or any other bug for that matter—you should report it to Wizards’ support site.
Wildcard Wind Down
With that, we’ve given you all that we can on the topic of Wildcards. Hopefully, the info was helpful to you and you’ve got a better sense of how to go about collecting and using these cards.
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