Magic The Gathering Arena Playing Competitively As F2P

Magic The Gathering Arena Playing Competitively As F2P by streamofmight

Hi all

I love MTG, started playing paper during Mirrodin and stopped around end of Darksteel period as it was too expensive a hobby as a teen. Loved it though.

Recently, read that MTGA exited closed beta, tried it and I am having a blast.

I am such an addict to MTG that I find myself checking this subreddit multiple times a day when I’m working, commenting on posts just to feed my addiction. What I noticed is that many players encounter difficulties in building a collection while remaining F2P.

I have played for 3 weeks so far and I have a fully fleshed out Golgari, RDW and Izzet Drakes deck. If you are interested on how I did it, please read on and maybe it will inspire you to do the same.


  • You have dropped $5 on the welcome pack to support the developers.
  • You like MTG and want to improve your game and increase your w/r
  • You have to invest time in the game. You either invest time or money. You can’t do neither and expect to have a competitive deck. That just doesn’t sound logical.
  • Track your games. It helps you make decisions as to which formats to play and how to tech your deck against common match-ups.


  • Go to Figure out which of the decks in standard really resonates with you. It is important to really find a deck that you find fun to play with, because you are going to play A LOT of that deck. The cheaper the deck is, the faster you can start playing competitively. I chose Mono Red at the start.
  • At the start, use the starter decks (I recommend the merfolk/vampire (BW) one and do your dailies, preferably for 15 wins. Minimally do 4 wins, which gets you (1050 gold – 500 + 250 + 100 x 3).
  • Buy packs that are in the same format as the cards you require. Overtime, your deck should slowly come together and you can use wildcards to craft those you lack. Took 1 week for me to get a full Mono Red deck.
  • Test your skills in ladder, but don’t spend too much time on it. Once you get how your deck works, and get a flavor of what decks other people play and your game plan against them, start playing Constructed Event (CE). It’s this format that you pay 500 gold to enter and you play until you get 7 wins or 3 losses. The higher your wins, the more gold you get back, and at the end of your run, you get 3 cards (ranging from uncommons to rares, depending on your number of wins).
  • Keep doing CE. I average about 64% w/r on CE, which is about 5 wins. Takes me an hour to finish all 8 games (5-3) and get 2 uncommons and 1 rares. I play about 2 hours a day on average and overtime you will get better and your w/r increases. With a higher w/r, you get even more gold and more rares, which really help with your collection.
  • Any spare gold goes into buying packs as that gets you wildcard progression which is the key to getting the (next) deck that you want
  • Overtime, once you get better and more confident with your deck, consider going BO3 Competitive Constructed (CC). Based on my analysis, stick to CE if you can get 6 wins on average. Otherwise, check your CC w/r. If you can get 3 wins on average for CC, do CC. If you can’t do either, stick to CE. I will provide my argument in a separate paragraph.
  • If you do this consistently, you will end up with a lot more gold, a lot more card rewards, which will all contribute to your collection and get you the cards that you need. My current deck status:
  • Also, don’t be in a rush to complete 500 gold quests as you can re-roll to 750 gold the next day if you get a 750 gold quest the next day. Every gold counts!

CC or CE?

  • This was a question on my mind at the start. For starters, just do CE. It has a low cost of entry (500 gold) and at 50% win rate, you get 3 uncommons at the cost of 100 gold, which is not bad. If you can get 57% w/r or 4 wins, you get 2 uncommons and 1 rare/mythic for no gold loss, just time invested. This 4 wins should be your first target to hit consistently. Improve in your piloting and you should hit this in no time.
  • Next milestone is to hit 5 wins consistently. Once you are there, start trying CC. 5 wins in CE is 62% w/r, getting you 1 rare/mythic and 2 UCs. 3 wins in CC is 60% w/r, getting you 2 rare/mythic and 1 UC. So CC is better if you can get 60% w/r. Granted, CC games take longer, but the gold profit is also higher. 5 Wins on CE gets you 100 gold profit but 3 wins on CC gets you 500 gold profit.

I have done the analysis and I recommend the below. I have taken into account time spent into my analysis

  • Play CE if you can only get 4 wins or below on CE.
  • Play CE if you can get 5 wins on CE but 2 wins on CC.
  • Play CE if you can get 6 wins on CE but 3 wins on CC.
  • Play CC if you can get 5 wins on CE but 3 wins on CC
  • Play CC if you can get 4/5 wins on CC.
  • If you can get 2 wins on CC and 3 wins on CE, it is tricky. 1 game takes about 7.5 mins. Assume BO3 to be 2.5 games on average and a 2-2 CC game will take 75 mins. 3-3 CE will take you just 45 mins and 3 UCs. A 2-2 CC gives you 1 rare and 2 UCs. So it all depends on whether you want to sink the time to get that rare upgrade.
  • Play CC/CE rather than buying packs even if your w/r is <50%. At 33% w/r for CC (1-2), you get 1 rare and 2 UC for 500 gold, which is better than 1 pack for 1000 gold. However, the other cost to you is time.

That was a long text but I hope it is useful. I won’t touch on draft because by now, it is clear that if you want to make a specific deck –> buy packs and not play draft. And if you want to build a general collection and vault progress –> play draft. If you love to play draft –> play draft.

Other Tips from Comments

  • At some point, your collection will be like so huge (80-90%). When that happens, it might be worthwhile to save the gold in preparation for the next expansion.
  • Let your current collection decide what you build. You want to get the ball rolling in CE as soon as possible, and fortunately standard has a lot of viable decks at the moment, so just pick one of the top decks that you are closest to completing.
  • Once you have most of the GRN cards you need, stop buying GRN packs. You get 3 per week for free, so start opening from other sets you need cards from.
  • Where possible, avoid crafting that 4th copy of a mythic/rare unless you absolutely need it for a deck to function. I’ve avoided completing the 4th shock and check lands for most decks. Yes, your deck will be a little off in terms of mana, but there are guild gates and the other tap duals you can substitute. Even important cards like your major threats and bombs can be subbed out for one different card. Avoiding 5th copy rewards is a big deal when starting off because every 5th copy is essentially a wasted Wild Card.

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