Magic the Gathering: Arena |OT| Now in Open Beta

Oct 25, 2017
2,658
Er, I've heard about "the fifth card problem" for a while now, but I don't actually know what it is. I can infer, but can someone explain it to me?
If you open a 5th copy of a card, all it currently does is give you a tiny bit of progress (like less than a percent, typically) towards an arbitary "vault" that has a handful of wildcards. It's not ideal and there's currently not really ingame visibility towards the vault even existing AND there's hardly anything in the vault, so it's just a band-aid and they say they want a better system.

Hearthstone manages this by turning extra cards into "dust" that you can use to make the cards you actually want. In theory it's the same in Arena, but incredibly slow.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,915
If you open a 5th copy of a card, all it currently does is give you a tiny bit of progress (like less than a percent, typically) towards an arbitary "vault" that has a handful of wildcards. It's not ideal and there's currently not really ingame visibility towards the vault even existing AND there's hardly anything in the vault, so it's just a band-aid and they say they want a better system.

Hearthstone manages this by turning extra cards into "dust" that you can use to make the cards you actually want. In theory it's the same in Arena, but incredibly slow.
Ah thanks. Yeah that sounds like a weak solution that I hope changes soon
 
Er, I've heard about "the fifth card problem" for a while now, but I don't actually know what it is. I can infer, but can someone explain it to me?
It's a problem not in how the system is designed, but instead how it feels. Other F2P card games have dust systems where you can trade in cards for a fractional value of another card. For instance, in Hearthstone you can dust a legendary card to get 400 dust, and can craft any legendary card for 1600 dust. So in Hearthstone, you can trade any four legendaries for one specific legendary. That's how you get the cards you really want.

In Arena, this is functionally built into the game using wildcards. Arena is more generous as, when you open packs, you get progress toward wildcards (and can open them as well) without having to dust your cards. So while, yeah, you might pull a bad rare, you still made some progress. The values don't 1:1 compare with Hearthstone, but to build top-tier decks entirely with wildcards/dust, it takes about the same amount of time in each game. Except in Arena, you still have a large collection of potentially good cards while in Hearthstone, you had to destroy your entire collection to target one specific deck.

But it feels bad to people because Hearthstone and paper Magic have conditioned people to think they should be able to exchange unwanted cards. 5th cards feel especially bad, because they're literally worthless as opposed to a 3rd card which is "eh, bad but I guess maybe one day I could play some weird deck for fun." So people complain because they feel like they should be able to get something more, even though on average they're already ahead of the comparable systems they think are "better."

But the reality of it doesn't matter. People are upset and Wizards has promised to fix it. They will. And when they do, they will nerf the other ways we currently have to get cards as they simply must. The game is balanced around encouraging us to spend a certain amount of money, and if we can more easily get stuff for free, it hurts their revenue. So we just have to hope this 5th card problem's solution doesn't ruin the carefully balanced economy in a way that is bad for all of us.
 
Oct 25, 2017
431
There was a Limited Resources episode a few weeks ago where someone who used to work on Arena straight up said (paraphrased): the amount of stuff you will get for free is a fixed number that's been decided by business people. The dev team can shift these rewards around, but any change to the 5th card problem is not going to significantly increase the overall rate of card acquisition.

Removing duplicates will probably mean that collection acquisition early on is made slower, with the improvement being that collection acquisition in the upper percentiles (50%+ where you start seeing duplicates) is faster. In a certain sense it will be a regressive shifting of value away from new players towards established players.
 
Nov 1, 2017
4,221
UK
Removing duplicates will probably mean that collection acquisition early on is made slower, with the improvement being that collection acquisition in the upper percentiles (50%+ where you start seeing duplicates) is faster. In a certain sense it will be a regressive shifting of value away from new players towards established players.
I don't think there'd be an issue with toning down early-game acquisitions, as far as new players are concerned. The preconstructed decks are pretty generous as is, and while more experienced players might doubt their value in a competitive sense, I think they're varied enough to give new players a taste of different strategies and which colours are best placed to make use of them.

As for more experienced players, I expect the slower early-game acquisitions won't be as big an issue as they'll be more likely to buy-in with real money to fill out their collection and will have a better idea of the cards they want to get in the first place.

Though I assume they won't reset all progress when it comes out of Beta, right?
 
Sep 14, 2018
194
That was fast, WotC probably doesn’t want bad word of mouth while it’s being compared favorably to Artifact, we already went through this during closed beta, unsurprisingly they jump right into the same pitfall yet again.

As far as the ladder thing goes they’d do well to remember all the praise standard has been getting lately is due to the bo3 meta not the unbalanced mess that is bo1.
 
Feb 16, 2018
576
the "traditional draft" label is used for drafting against bots and playing against random people who drafted from completely separate pools just because the matches are best-of-3

what clowns. they'll probably never put real traditional drafts in the game at this rate
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,832
I mean, how would you ever practically handle this? There isn't a way in-game to track how many 5th copies you have gotten, they just vanish and you get micro-percentage points on your vault
It was mentioned on the state of the beta.

https://amp-reddit-com.cdn.ampproje...y_problem/?amp_js_v=0.1&usqp=mq331AQGCAEoAVgB

Just because there isn’t a way in game doesn’t mean they don’t have a way to track on their back end.

For example, you can’t see in game which cards have been created using wild cards or gotten from packs or ICRs. But WOTC tracks what cards are created using wild cards and uses that data for the strength based matchmaking of decks they previously used.

Compensation can also take a variety of forms. For example, you’re at 60% vault progress, you get 600 gold (just making numbers up). You’ve opened two vaults and are at 50% progress, you get 2500 gold. Pretty lame to just offer nothing though. Especially for people who’ve spent a ton of real money on packs.

Packs after the 5th copy change will just be flat out better than packs opened before the change (unless they do something else like making the packs not guaranteed a rare or something).

But there’s no reason not to hold off on opening packs until the 5th card solution is implemented. Especially for sets where you already have most of the cards.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
431
But there’s no reason not to hold off on opening packs until the 5th card solution is implemented. Especially for sets where you already have most of the cards.
The average number of packs of GRN to open to get a single fifth copy of a rare/mythic is 74. To get to a rare/mythic cumulative wastage rate of 5%, the average number of packs of GRN to open is 121.

You can open a lot of packs before the 5th copy problem really starts to hit you, so saying it's not worth opening any packs at all is a bit overblown. If you are F2P, you can go most of a set without getting to a 5% cumulative waste rate. Over 121 packs you will also accumulate over 20 rare WCs.
 
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Oct 26, 2017
1,832
The average number of packs of GRN to open to get a single fifth copy of a rare/mythic is 74. To get to a rare/mythic cumulative wastage rate of 5%, the average number of packs of GRN to open is 121.

You can open a lot of packs before the 5th copy problem really starts to hit you, so saying it's not worth opening any packs at all is a bit overblown. If you are F2P, you can go most of a set without getting to a 5% cumulative waste rate. Over 121 packs you will also accumulate over 20 rare WCs.
But why risk it unless you need wildcards immediately. Opening a pack now there’s a chance you’ll get duplicates. Maybe not duplicate rares or mythic rares, but definitely duplicate commons or uncommons.

Opening it after the fix you won’t get duplicates (depending on how they implement it). Currently your compensation for those duplicates is a meaningless amount of vault progress.
 
Oct 25, 2017
431
But why risk it unless you need wildcards immediately. Opening a pack now there’s a chance you’ll get duplicates. Maybe not duplicate rares or mythic rares, but definitely duplicate commons or uncommons.
Perhaps I'm unusual, but I will take 95% of my value now over 100% of my value an unknown time in the future, especially when that value is what's keeping me from playing a sweet card game that I want to play.
 
Oct 26, 2017
1,832
Perhaps I'm unusual, but I will take 95% of my value now over 100% of my value an unknown time in the future, especially when that value is what's keeping me from playing a sweet card game that I want to play.
Why is it keeping you from playing though?

For me I just won’t be opening my weeklyh GRN packs or spending gold on packs, but I’ll still be playing.

If your main mode is draft than yeah you’d get more value playing a month than now, but not enough to stop playing altogether until then.
 
Packs after the 5th copy change will just be flat out better than packs opened before the change (unless they do something else like making the packs not guaranteed a rare or something).

But there’s no reason not to hold off on opening packs until the 5th card solution is implemented. Especially for sets where you already have most of the cards.
They want acquisition rate to stay the same as it is right now, so as soon as that solution is implemented, we're losing something else. I'd assume it's going to be a decrease in random wildcards or something like that. So you'll probably break even, but you may get screwed and lose out if you wait if they don't balance it right. Considering how little we'd really gain even if all remained the same, might as well just open them now to get immediate value unless you're truly fine playing the same decks over and over again.
 
Oct 25, 2017
514
But why risk it unless you need wildcards immediately. Opening a pack now there’s a chance you’ll get duplicates. Maybe not duplicate rares or mythic rares, but definitely duplicate commons or uncommons.

Opening it after the fix you won’t get duplicates (depending on how they implement it). Currently your compensation for those duplicates is a meaningless amount of vault progress.
because once you start examining the situation rationally, opening them now and being able to play with potential new cards and getting orders of magnitude greater benefit from common/uncommon vault progress is almost certainly going to be better than waiting anywhere from 6-16 weeks
you can always do the math yourself based on your collection and how you value rares/mythics, but short of having opened thousands of packs of GRN already, it's probable that your decision-making is clouded by bias
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,658
The new animation system is super mega annoying. You have to drag a card sufficiently far from your hand to play it (I don't like double clicking since that could get me in the habit of accidentally playing cards). However, the card then does a really disorienting flash back to animate play from your hand instead of the current card position. I wonder if I'm in a minority on that.

*edit* Wow, you can't turn off the stupid phase marker either. Even with the game option off, it pulls up that obnoxious distracting overlay in the corner as soon as you need to confirm something.
 
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Oct 25, 2017
505
New York
This is the deck I built for for the Big Monsters event. It seems to just rip through everything. (not pictured 2x Detection Tower)

4 Ravenous Chupacabra (RIX) 82
5 Swamp (RIX) 194
4 Llanowar Elves (DAR) 168
6 Forest (RIX) 196
3 Druid of the Cowl (M19) 177
3 Beast Whisperer (GRN) 123
2 Carnage Tyrant (XLN) 179
3 Golgari Findbroker (GRN) 175
3 Cast Down (DAR) 81
1 Moment of Craving (RIX) 79
3 Vraska's Contempt (XLN) 129
2 Find // Finality (GRN) 225
4 Overgrown Tomb (GRN) 253
4 Woodland Cemetery (DAR) 248
2 Memorial to Folly (DAR) 242
2 Adventurous Impulse (DAR) 153
1 Doom Whisperer (GRN) 69
3 Gift of Paradise (M19) 184
2 Detection Tower (M19) 249
3 Thrashing Brontodon (RIX) 148
 
i have the suggested amount of land cards in my deck and and i keep losing cause in the last 5+ turns i just pull land cards and i have nothing else to play :(
Depending on how wide the color spread of your deck is and how heavy it is (how much mana your costliest spells need and how many of them you're running) , you can usually run fewer lands than "normal". Mono-Blue Tempo usually runs only 20, for instance, and I've been running 18 or 19 without losing much consistency in the opening hand, but it's a super lightweight mono deck.
 
Hows that combo work?
When you apply damage from a creature source it gains the on damage effects of the creature, this is the basis for the classic spark mage + basilisk collar combo where sparkmage gained deathtouch and then could murder anything on the board by pinging it for 1.
In this case the paladin gains lifelink through squire's devotion which means whenever it deals damage through the granted ping ability from the wand you gain that much life, which in turn untaps the paladin and lets him tap to ping again. And again and again and again.
 
Oct 25, 2017
8,252
When you apply damage from a creature source it gains the on damage effects of the creature, this is the basis for the classic spark mage + basilisk collar combo where sparkmage gained deathtouch and then could murder anything on the board by pinging it for 1.
In this case the paladin gains lifelink through squire's devotion which means whenever it deals damage through the granted ping ability from the wand you gain that much life, which in turn untaps the paladin and lets him tap to ping again. And again and again and again.
Oooh thats neat. Seems like a relatively easy and cheap combo too.