Arena: ZNR – How Often Do You Need to Play to Complete a Playset?

Are you a Quiet Speculation member?

If not, now is a perfect time to join up! Our powerful tools, breaking-news analysis, and exclusive Discord channel will make sure you stay up to date and ahead of the curve.

Hello, everyone, and welcome to another Magic Arena article! Now that Zendikar Rising (ZNR) has been released, have you tried playing some Sealed or Draft to collect cards? In this week's article, we are going to go through a few things regarding ZNR:

  1. How much time does it take to fully unlock the Zendikar Rising Mastery Pass?
  2. How many drafts do you need to play to collect all the rares and mythics?

As always, keep in mind that the following is written with the goal of playing Arena as budget-friendly possible.

Zendikar Rising Mastery Pass

First, let's evaluate the Mastery Pass, which can be unlocked for 3400 Gems.

This time, the maximum level for Mastery Pass is 130, which is way higher than the one in Core Set 2021. Let me give you a quick breakdown of all Mastery Pass rewards if you reach level 130:

  • 1 Player Draft Token
  • 1200 Gems
  • 4000 Gold
  • 20 Standard-legal packs
  • 10 Mythic Card Individual Card Rewards (ICR) - Zendikar Rising Mythic
  • 35 Card Styles
  • 15 Emotes
  • 2 types of Card Sleeves
  • 1 A-Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients avatar
  • 5 Elemental pets

Let's go ahead and calculate the values of these rewards.

  • A Player Draft Token is worth 1500 Gems. 4000 Gold is equivalent to 2/5 premier draft, which is around 600 Gems. If you use gems instead to buy packs, you can get 4 packs for 800 Gems.
  • 20 Standard-legal packs, assuming you already have all cards available in Standard-legal sets before ZNR, you get at least 400 Gems.
  • 10 guaranteed ZNR mythics! The value here is tough to pinpoint, given that the chance of opening a mythic from a pack is approximately 12.5 percent. If I were to rate this reward, it's probably worth around 3000 - 4000 Gems.
  • Cosmetics - it depends on your interest in these items, but it usually costs several thousand gold or gems to purchase cosmetics.
  • That's a total of about 7000 Gems to more than 10,000 Gems, depending on how you value these contents! Worth the money, I would say.

Now, you'll probably ask: is there enough time for me to unlock all the levels? Let me do the maths for you -
The next set will be released around January 15th, 2021. If we count the release weekends of ZNR, there are 18 weeks worth of XP to be earned. The daily quest is also renewed when ZNR update hits, which means there are roughly 120 daily quests before the next release.

120 x 500 XP = 60,000 XP (60 Levels) (this also gets you 120 x 500 = 60000 Gold at the very minimum)

Next, we have the weekly wins rewards:  250 XP per win, for the first 15 wins weekly. That, multiplied by 18 weeks:

18 x 250 XP x 15 = 67,500 XP (67.5 Levels)

If you did not miss any of the above, that's only 2.5 Levels away from completion! 2500 XP can be obtained through winning 100 games across the 18 weeks. If you do complete your weekly wins, you will get XP from the daily wins anyways, so assuming all 15 weekly wins come together with 25 XP from the daily rewards:

18 x 25 XP x 15 = 6,750 (6.75 Levels)

As Arena players know, we can have a maximum of three daily quests at a time, so we could play as few as three days each week, just to clear daily quests and get some wins along the way. If you play Arena almost every day, completing the Mastery Pass is definitely not a problem for you!

Number of Drafts to Complete the Rares Collection?

For most players, drafting is the ideal way to complete any set simply because opening pack using gems is way too expensive. There are various templates found online to calculate the number of drafts needed to complete sets, but rather than getting into complex formulas, let me share a method I used previously in M21. I maintained a spreadsheet on my draft records as shown below:

The numbers highlighted in yellow means I paid gold for that particular draft - no gem spending while "Net Gems" means the amount I earned after a given draft. These are all records from premier drafts. The reason why I choose Premier Draft instead of Quick Draft is that there's a high chance I will win more than two packs, and it only takes five wins to earn enough entry fee for the next draft, instead of six wins for Quick Draft. Of course, if you are not confident to get more than four wins per draft, Quick Draft is slightly cheaper and you'll lose fewer gems if the draft does not go well.

In summary, for about 5500 Gems, I got to complete 26 drafts and earned 81 packs. I did not record the number of rares picked in each draft, but let's assume I picked three rares or mythics on average. For 26 drafts, I get 78 cards so basically for these drafts, I earn about 159 rare and mythic cards (adding the 81 from packs to the 78 from drafting).

This is an easy way that you can use to track your progress and estimate the number of drafts you'll need to complete a set collection. There are 63 rares in Zendikar Rising, so assuming you keep all your wildcards, you will need roughly 300 packs, minus the number of rares you obtained through drafts.

In summary, for M21, I picked up 159 rares over the course of 26 drafts, spending a total of 5,500 gems (after accounting for prizes). If I'm able to maintain for ZNR the same win rate as I did for M21, which is about 3.8 wins per draft, in order to obtain the 285 packs I'll need to complete the much larger set that is ZNR, I'll need to do roughly 50 drafts, which should cost me approximately 11,000 gems.

So from here, I can break down those 50 drafts over the 17-week period that ZNR will be the latest Standard-legal set, which is just about three drafts per week. As per the evaluation from the previous section, we need to play three days a week minimum to complete the Mastery Pass – we can totally join a draft each of these days along with clearing our daily quests.

Alright, you're probably asking: how about the mythics? The truth is that it is extremely hard to complete a mythic playset without spending mythic wildcards. In general, I suggest picking up a mythic card during a draft if you haven't completed its playset – whether the card will help your draft deck or not! ZNR has 20 mythics, which is double that of M21, so in order to collect the majority of the orange-rarity cards, I suggest mythic-picking whenever possible.

Don't forget, though, there are 10 Mythic ICRs from the Mastery Pass which will help to reduce your grind by 12.5 percent. And for every 30 packs opened, you will be getting a guaranteed mythic wildcard.

I understand that this is a long grind – totally feel you – but as long as you plan nicely through the methods mentioned, you will eventually complete at least 95 percent of Zendikar Rising set, if not 100!

That's all for this week, next week I'll do another article for "Building on Budget" with Zendikar Rising cards. Stay tuned, and if you have any thoughts, let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week!

–Adrian, signing out.

Avatar photo

Adrian Tan

Adrian started playing Magic relatively recently, during Return to Ravnica block. He used to play a lot of paper Magic, but family and work commitments starting at the end of 2016 led to him selling off a large portion of his paper collection to focus on MTGO. He's found speculating on MTGO singles to be a great way to subsidize his gameplay expenses, and he's here to help you go infinite on MTGO!

View More By Adrian Tan

Posted in Arena, Budget Decks, FreeTagged

Have you joined the Quiet Speculation Discord?

If you haven't, you're leaving value on the table! Join our community of experts, enthusiasts, entertainers, and educators and enjoy exclusive podcasts, questions asked and answered, trades, sales, and everything else Discord has to offer.

Want to create content with Quiet Speculation?

All you need to succeed is a passion for Magic: The Gathering, and the ability to write coherently. Share your knowledge of MTG and how you leverage it to win games, get value from your cards – or even turn a profit.

Join the conversation

Want Prices?

Browse thousands of prices with the first and most comprehensive MTG Finance tool around.

Trader Tools lists both buylist and retail prices for every MTG card, going back a decade.

Quiet Speculation