Last updated on April 22, 2021
No one can deny that the thrill of opening a new pack is sometimes better than playing the actual game. You can’t hold a booster pack and look at the shiny mythic you got from the booster, but MTG Arena tries its best to give its player the closest feeling to that it can. During its beta, MTGA made a lot of changes to its economy, rewards system, leveling, and even regular card rewards. Some of these were well-received, while some almost incurred the wrath of the community.
The Long Argument: MTG Arena Mastery System
With the release of the Core Set 2020, MTGA introduced the Mastery System and caused a small uproar among the community. In the old system, you could win up to five booster packs in a week even if you played on just one day. But when the new system was first introduced, it put a daily cap on winnings and forced you to play every day or pay up for the Mastery Pass to make sure you didn’t lag behind.
The community was rightfully very angry and loudly expressed their concern. MTG Arena is, after all, a free-to-play game and nobody wants a free-to-play game to fall down the proverbial pay-to-win rabbit hole. Fortunately, the commotion was heard by the developers and they returned to the MTGA weekly reset system. With some small adjustments, a balance was established.
How the MTG Arena XP System Works
As the system stands now, you complete daily and weekly quests and win games to earn varying amounts of XP. Aside from the ICR (individual card rewards) and gold rewards these quests provide, you earn a Mastery level and get the corresponding reward for that level for every 1,000 XP you gain.
Players who don’t purchase the Mastery Pass can get up to 57 Zendikar Rising booster packs and five Mastery Orbs. However, if you get the Mastery Pass, you can also get:
- 10 customizable text emotes
- 5 customizable sticker emotes
- 5 Elemental-themed swappable pets
- Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients avatar
- Zendikar Rising card sleeve
- Lithoform exquisite card sleeve
- 1,200 gems
- 4,000 gold
- 20 booster packs (x5 ELD, x5 THB, x5 IKO, x5 M21)
- 35 card styles (x15 common, x10 uncommon, x10 rare)
- 25 Mastery Orbs
- 15 uncommon ICRs
- 10 mythic rare ICRs
- Premium Draft token
- Level 131 and beyond: uncommon ICR (1:20 upgrade rate)
Is the MTG Arena Mastery Pass Worth It?
Before the Mastery System, players could play the game once a week, complete their weekly quest, get their rewards, and play in a more relaxed pace in general. With the Mastery System, players are kind of pushed to playing daily to get more rewards, but the rewards are only diminished a little. Since the level progression is linear, you level up every 1,000 XP. You’ll be able to progress fairly easily and have the free-to-play rewards of the Mastery System as long as you get your weekly win rewards.
When it comes to getting the Mastery Pass for 3,400 gems, you first need to think about how often you play the game. The Mastery Pass doesn’t give you all the rewards mentioned above until you reach the associated level for each, so you still need to play the game and level up while the Mastery Pass lasts. There’s some math here, but I’ll cut to the chase: you’ll get around 7,250 XP every week if you complete all your daily and weekly quests.
Considering new sets are released about every three months, you can reach the maximum level with just a bit of effort if you’re a dedicated player. The effect of the Mastery Pass really shines at the maximum level, so you should make sure you’re getting all the benefits. If you’re able to get there, the Mastery Pass is great and the rewards are awesome. If you’re stuck anywhere below the break-even level, it’s a waste of gems.
A good method here might be to wait for the seasons’ end before buying the pass, since you can get all the previous rewards when you get the Mastery Pass. Seasons end when the next set is introduced to MTG Arena, so you just need to check the release news once in a while to pick the right time to buy it.
Daily and Weekly Rewards
You can get up to 750 gold, 250 XP, and 6 ICRs through the Daily Win Rewards by winning 15 Standard Play, ranked modes, or event matches if you’re an ambitious player who’s committed to playing a couple of hours every day. You’ll get daily quests for either 500 or 750 gold (randomly chosen) and you’re able to re-pick one of the quests with the hopes of getting a better one if it doesn’t suit you.
One new daily quest is added every day, up to a maximum of three at a time. These quests center around a variety of different themes such as killing a certain number of opposing creatures or casting spells of a specific color.
Daily quests are reset at 9 a.m. UTC and each one rewards you with 500 XP plus their assigned gold value (500 or 750) when they’re completed.
When it comes to weekly quests, you can earn 250 XP for the first 15 wins each while playing competitive matches against other players through the Weekly Win Rewards.
You may be asking yourself, when do weekly wins reset in MTG Arena? Well, the answer to that is every Sunday at 9 a.m. UTC.
Other Ways to Get Rewards
If you still want to get more out of the game rewards, you can keep track of the events calendar on the official website to make sure you don’t miss out on any opportunity to participate in release events, themed formats, and various other formats that get introduced every once in a while. There are also some freebies and XP you can get by using promo codes. Check out our Complete MTGA Codes List article to get free XP!
Finally, don’t forget about the hidden vault inside MTGA that rewards you with wildcards for collecting extra copies of cards that you already have.
MTG Arena is actually pretty generous when it comes to rewarding its players. Does it offer more for paying players? Of course, otherwise there would be no point in paying. Is it unfair? I don’t think so. Compared to some other games, MTGA provides a lot of cards for players to build decks and, if you’re committed, you can easily build a competitive deck without paying a dime.