How to Build an MTGO Collection for FREE: A New Players Guide (Part 2)
Welcome to part 2 of our “How to Build an MTGO Collection for FREE” series here at the Magic Online Society. If you have not read part 1, we highly recommend that you take the time to do so by clicking on this link: How to Build an MTGO Collection for FREE: A New Players Guide (Part 1) (magiconlinesociety.com). So at this point, we are going to assume you have your CardHoarder free 5 tix rental account, you are ready to get involved in some free online tournaments with prizes. The first tournament circuit you are going to begin with is Penny Dreadful!
Penny Dreadful is a budget MTGO specific format, it is truly one of a kind. The basis of this format is simple, each legal card cannot cost more than .02 cents. Yeah, you heard that right, the max the deck can cost at the beginning of its season (which occurs with standard rotations) is 1.5 tix. This means that with the free rental account, you have access to the entire format, 100% for free. More information on what PennyDreadful is can be found at PennyDreadfulMagic.com. This format can be tricky; it has a pretty wild metagame that fluctuates rapidly at the beginning of the season and settles as time goes on. As these cards become more desirable, their price begins to rise, thus at the next rotation, removes them from legality, so it's a pretty genius idea and one we can thank Silasary for. The best part about Penny Dreadful as a MTGO format, is there are a lot, and I mean A LOT of tournaments to participate in. Each tournament is free to enter and all offer prizes. There are 6 Penny Dreadful events that happen on a weekly basis over at www. Gatherling.com. So you will need to head over there and create an account. In order to participate in these events, head over to Gatherling.com and register for an account. Once you have completed that, you can enter into the PennyDreadful tournaments that happen. Now you have to win in the tournaments to obtain prizes, so the best place to practice is in the PennyDreadful Leagues, which are free to play and you can register over at https://pennydreadfulmagic.com/league/. The PD league is a free place to practice the format, while earning prizes!
Let's talk about the average expected value from these free PD events. Now CardHoarder sponsors all of these tournaments, so once again, we thank them for their continued support! The prizes are as follows in ticket credit towards CardHoarder bots and are below 1st - 4 tickets 2nd - 3 tickets 3rd / 4th - 2 tickets 5-8th - 1 ticket. If you were to play in approximately 3 tournaments a week and come in top 4 in all of them, you would win anywhere from 12 - 16 dollars worth of credit per month. Now that scales with how many tournaments you play in. It should be mentioned that these tournaments have a lot of players in each, roughly 20-30 players in each event, so you really have to practice this format, understand the matchups and pick the right decks to pilot. This is all free, so play as much as you want and you never actually lose any value at all. So this is the best place to begin playing for free. With time, grinding these tournaments can move you up to the next tier of tournaments we will talk about, Pauper! Pauper
Ok, so you are starting to move into the big leagues now. You have grinded PD and we are moving up formats. Pauper is a format that is present in both paper and MTGO. This format is “commons only” , meaning that only cards printed at common rarity are legal. You can find the exact definition and information on the Pauper format here: https://magic.wizards.com/en/game-info/gameplay/formats/pauper . This format has a lot of support on MTGO. There are now other free Private Run Tournaments that you can enter to grind in addition to PD. It should be mentioned that you should still be playing PD as much as possible as it has the most free tournaments of any other format and quite possibly, the best EV.. On MTGO, this format is relatively cheap with average decks costing around 20-50 tickets. Meaning that in 2 - 3 months of grinding PD tournaments, not only have you played a lot of MTGO for free, but you are beginning to build that collection. At this point in addition to Gatherling.com we will begin utilizing other tournament sites, namely MTGMelee. This is another Private Event site that organizers use to host tournaments. On this site there are many free to play MTGO tournaments, namely “The Magic Online Society”. We offer a free weekly pauper event that gives prizes to the top 4! So you now have roughly 30 - 50 credits to spend. Let's talk about purchasing a deck now. The best place to find deck lists is going to be through MTGGoldfish.com. Selecting the pauper format will give you an idea of where decks sit in the metagame. We recommend that when you purchase your first deck that will actually be yours, select carefully. You need to understand what type of player you are and what types of decks you like to play. Once you have selected your deck to play, now let's talk about tournaments. There are a few tournaments that we recommend right off. That is the Pauper Classic Tuesdays, which is held on Gatherling.com and The Magic Online Society Pauper FNM, which is held on MTGMelee. These events are both free to participate in and offer prizes.
Pauper Classic Tuesdays
Pauper Classic Tuesdays is where the big money starts to roll in. This event is sponsored by MTGOTraders and the prize payout is really good for the Top 4. It is hosted every Tuesday at 8PM EST. The prizes are awarded as bot credits towards MTGOTraders Bots and are as follows: 1st - 7 bot credits
2nd - 4 bot credits
3rd / 4th - 2 bot credits 5th-8th - You pick a card from the allotted prize pool. So as you can see, this event offers a pretty good prize payout. It does cut to a top 8, so be aware of the extra rounds you may have to play, it's worth it!
Magic Online Society Pauper FNM
The Magic Online Society Pauper FNM is hosted on MTGMelee every Friday at 2PM EST. This event is designed to be exactly what it says it is, a free to play FNM event. This event is just 4 rounds with no cut to top 8. Prizes are awarded to the top 4 of each event and are as follows 1st - 20 player reward packs
2nd - 15 player reward packs
3rd - 5 player reward packs
4th - 5 player reward packs
Door prize - 5 player reward packs
This is the first time you will be introduced to sealed packs as prizes. The player reward packs can either be opened or sold to a bot. Selling to a bot will get you roughly .10 bot credits per pack sold. So if you come in first place, you are looking at 2 tix worth of value. You can also roll the dice and open the packs, hoping to hit some of the high value cards inside. For the purposes of this guide, we are going with a straight EV. So in reality, take the number of packs and assume you will get .10 for each pack.
The Magic Online Society also offers other pauper events, such as the Monthly series, which gives it prizes out in secret lair cards. These secret lair cards can either be kept to add value to the collection or sold to bots to purchase cards needed for other decks. You can find more information on these monthly events by joining the MOSMTG discord: https://discord.gg/CtgF88f. The EV from these vary, so check what current secret lairs are being offered in their discord.
If you were to play in every event and assume you get top 4 in each of them, you can expect roughly 8 - 36 bot credits per month. That seems like a large gap from floor to ceiling and it is. This format requires a lot of practice, knowledge of matchups and sometimes can be metagame dependent.
Let's say you do this for approximately 3-6 months months and you accumulate approx. 60-120 credits to apply towards your next deck. I say this with the knowledge that you will not always win prizes If you do this in conjunction with PD events, you could even accumulate 200+ credits in 6 months. This is a substantial amount of credits when you start with nothing but a free rental account.
This will conclude part 2 of this series, stay tuned for part 3 of the series, where we will discuss how you move forward onto more constructed formats, Modern and Legacy!