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Un’Goro Buyer’s Guide: How Many Packs Do I Have to Buy?

by - 8 months ago

Introduction

Blizzard recently announced the new priced for the EU region for PC, Mac and Android. Now, packs are equally priced throughout all platforms. Priorly, pricing on iOS systems was around 10% higher than on the other three operating systems. This development and the new expansion’s imminent release drove me to recalculate prices to write an updated “Buyer’s Guide” for the Journey to Un’Goro.

Important note: The article is written with forming a competitively viable collection in mind that will enable you to compete in tournaments and build ALL meta relevant decks – not just one or two. If you are aiming to just create a few ladder viable decks, the amount of money you have to spend will significantly lower than what I proclaim in this article!

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Basics

Discounts on Packs

You can buy packs either directly from Blizzard via the game client on PC and Mac, or on iOS and Android devices which have their distinct stores in place. Discounts for the 60 packs bundle is exclusive to PC/Mac. On Android devices, you have the option to by Amazon Coins at a discount the more you buy. On iOS (iPhone/iPad), you can sometimes grab reduced iTunes gift cards with a saving of up to 20% (rarely more). Apple sells packs generally with a 10% higher price in the US which should be included in the calculation when buying via iOS devices. With the recent price increases in the EU region, all platform are priced equally in Europe.

A detailed guide to why buying with Amazon Coins is good value in the US can be read here. Keep in mind, that for the EU region this calculation may not be up to date anymore. Depending on the discounts you get for iTunes gift cards, buying on iOS may be equally attractive compared to Amazon Coins in Europe. Atop, discounts of Amazon Coins in Europe different to those in the US with lower discounts for smaller amounts of coins (compare Figures 1a and 1b below). I made the math myself for individual pack prices which can be found below in the ‘How Much Is A Pack Worth – Money’ paragraph further below.

Amazon Coins Price [$US] (discount)
500 4.90   (-2%)
1.000 9.70   (-3%)
2.500 24.00   (-4%)
5.000 47.50   (-5%)
10.000 92.00   (-8%)
50.000 375.00 (-25%)

Figure 1a: Amazon Coin prizes for the US.

Amazon Coins Price [] (discount)
500 4.90   (-2%)
1.000 9.70   (-3%)
2.500 24.00   (-4%)
5.000 46.00   (-8%)
10.000 78.00 (-22%)
50.000 375.00 (-25%)

Figure 1b: Amazon Coins savings, EU (€) store

amazon-meanstreets-ad

Rarity Distribution

Legendary cards render acquiring a complete collection expensive and Epics do this to a smaller extent. If we compare Arcane Dust (AC) cost for each rarity slots, the difference becomes apparent. On the one hand, AC cost of all Legendaries is almost as high as for all other cards in the set. If we sum up the dust value for Epics and Legendaries, the amount needed is more than  5-fold compared to all Rares and Commons. On the other side, Commons and Rares account for more about two-thirds of the whole set (compare Table 1), not taking into account that Legendaries are non-duplicates.

Table 1: Card count in MSG vs. dust cost.

Table 1: Card count in MSG vs. dust cost.

Figure 2: Comparison of relative rarities in all Hearthstone expansions. The distribution in between the sets is almost identical. TGT and MSG share the same numbers.

Figure 2: Comparison of relative rarities in all Hearthstone expansions. The distribution in between the sets is almost identical. TGT and MSG share the same numbers.

Figures 3: comparison of relative absolute rarities in all Hearthstone expansions. Legendaries amount for 20 in all expansions while there are only minor variances in Commons, Epics, and Rares.

Figures 3: comparison of relative absolute rarities in all Hearthstone expansions. Legendaries amount for 20 in all expansions while there are only minor variances in Commons, Epics, and Rares.

Most importantly, if you are not a completionist, you do not need each and every Legendary. There were a lot of crappy subpar Legendaries released in the past expansions as well as a comparable number of “fun/tech” Legendaries that would not see any tournament play. The first category is 5-9 per set; the latter are 3-8 more. These counts signify that 8-16 of the 20 Legendaries per expansion already released are not needed to build the majority of ladder decks. This number significantly dropped with every expansion though and reached the lowest in Whispers of the Old Gods.
The same holds true for Epics. Unplayable Epics accounted for 5-6 so far and fun/fringe playable ones for 10-13; totaling up to 15-18 of non-necessary Epics for competitions. Atop, some Epics are only played as a ‘one of.’

So far, quests look attractive and a good number of the Legendary minions do too. Quest could inflate cost for the Journey to Un’Goro (JtUG) set to an even higher level we saw in Whispers of the Old Gods and Mean Streets of Gadgetzan which on their own were above those of previous sets due to better card design.

To conclude, for serious deckbuilding, we only needed approx. 45% of the Epics and about 40% (25-60%) of the Legendaries. Overall, the playable high cost cards increased with each expansion due to better design.  Anyway, not needing to craft the useless cards cuts costs by a huge margin if you just want to obtain meta-viable cards.

Chances to Draw Cards of A Certain Rarity

We know from this article the chances to draw cards of different rarities from a pack. I will quote most what you see below regarding draw probabilities from this article. Although the chances for Legendaries are at a mere 5.37% per pack and a 1.10% chance total, there is a pity timer that guarantees to draw one Legendary at least every 40 packs. Relevant probabilities are displayed in Table 2 for rarities and for golden cards compared to ragular ones in Table 3. For more information on the topic, please take the time and jump to the source article over at the Gamepedia Hearthstone Wiki.

Table 2: Probabilities to draw cards of different rarities out of a Hearthstone pack. Included studies: Steve Marinconz (June 2014), E. R. Kjellgren (August 2014), Amaz (February 2015), HearthSim (August 2015). Total sample size of 27,868 card packs with 139,340 cards in total.

Table 2: Probabilities to draw cards of different rarities out of a Hearthstone pack. Included studies: Steve Marinconz (June 2014), E. R. Kjellgren (August 2014), Amaz (February 2015), HearthSim (August 2015). Total sample size of 27,868 card packs with 139,340 cards in total.

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Table 3: Probabilities to draw golden compared regular cards. Note: data for golden cards gathered before TGT showed significant differences from later expansions. For this reason, the information is from the HearthSim study only: HearthSim (August 2015) which included 15,109 packs.

How Much Is A Pack Worth

Arcane Dust (AD)

There is a very thorough study on that topic. TLDR: A single card has a mean value of 19.65 arcane dust and a pack 98.25 AD respectively; taken into account, that you do not disenchant every single card. If you would do so, the value would rise to 108 AD per pack.

Gold

100 Gold per pack, no discounts, no nothing.

Money

US Region ($) – (Updated April 6th)

A pack costs in between $1.495 and $1.167 if bought on the desktop client (PC or Mac) depending on the bundle you choose. The 60 pack offer is for PC/Mac only and not available on any other platform. The pre-purchase (buyable only once) is also PC exclusive and cost $49.99 for 50 packs ($1.00/pack). Other discounts can be applied to this reduced price.
If you buy the biggest bundle of 40 packs with Amazon Coins (AC) at a 25% discount. Formerly, it there was a 21% discount for the 10000 AC ($79) which is not available any more. Atm, the benefit is a meager 8% which significantly dropped the value of buying with ACs. It is worthy to note that this is without counting for coin rewards, which sadly are not available in the EU region. Sales tax are charged atop, please keep that in mind. If you are insane enough to invest for the full 25% cost reduction (50,000 AC; $375) costs are down to $0.938/pack. If you compare that to the 50 packs of the pre-purchase these with a price per pack of $0.999 each, it is still a good deal. The 8% discount offers still a slight benefit compared to the 60 packs bundle of the PC/Mac client with a pack price of $1.149 (2 cents chepaer).
Buying packs on iOS are the 10% more expensive by default but if you are able to grab a high discount promotion for iTunes gift cards (up to 25%) it may be favorable after the Amazon Coins price hike.

Conclusion: The PC/Mac client remains the most expensive option, even for the 60 pack bundle. Buying packs with Amazon Coins on Android devices or an emulator is the cheapest way to obtain packs in the US with as low as $0.94 but you must be willing to invest $375 upfront. Using these kind of advantages to result in prices even up to 6% cheaper than buying the pre-purchase bundle (bought regularly). Of course you can buy the pre-purchase with AC also which would be the overall best option. If you do not want to invest that much, grabbing an iTunes promotion might be favorable.

EU Region (calculated in Euro because this is the biggest market)

Buying the 60 pack bundle on the PC/Mac Client costs €69.99 resulting in a €1.167 price per pack. The pre-purchase is still €44.99, this devided by 50 packs results in €0.899/pack (!). This one time offer can even be reduced by up to 25% if you buy it with Amazon Coins setting in to as low as 0.675€/pack.
Android offers up to 25% discount in the EU too if you buy 50000 AC for €375 giving you an individual pack price of €0.938. Buying 10000 AC will get you a 20% discount resulting in a total of €80 or €1 flat.
Raw prices on iOS are now the same in the EU region. It comes down to the amount of discount you are able to get from promotions to be comparable to Android. You will be able to grab those around festive days regularly with discounts raging in between 5-25% with 10-20% being the usual. Generally, if you have the liberty of choice regarding the platform, iTunes gift card promotions are better for investemnts of less than 100€ and starting that threshhold, Amazon Coins are most likely the better deal.

Conclusion: In EU region, Amazon Coins and iTunes promotions may result in the same price, depending on the amount of money you are willing to invest at a time or the availability of iTunes gift card promotions with the lowest price being€0.94. The more comfortable option seems to be AC because the discounts are present always. Atop, new customers may grab an additional discount e.g. saving another 15€ (expample).

The Un’Goro pre-purchase offer is best in EU/US, but is only buyable once. For all our readers from the United Kingdom, the same applies for you with the exception that AC have a maximum of 20% discount.


Ok, with all that out of the way, let’s get back to the initial question.

How Many Packs Do I Have To Buy?

To answer this question, you have to know first what you want to get as a result. Do you want a full collection with all cards, only cards that you need for being competitive on the ladder or something in between? Therefore I constructed four five scenarios with the fourth being listed more for fun. Tbh, there are only a handful of people willing to spend thousands of  in cards, right? All these assume that you have no Gold and Arcane Dust left.

Scenario 1: just laddering (added April ,6th by popular demand)
You do not want to have everything right away, but just enjoy some ladder paly with competitive decks and maybe reach Legend sooner or later.

Scenario 2: competitive only
You only want to all play ladder/tournament viable decks – not just a single one but all tier 1 and 2 decks to be able to participate in tournaments. Therefore you need max. 60% of all Epics and 50% of the Legendaries*. For Epics the number is kept that low as you will play some Epics only as single copies in a deck. You will obtain all Commons and Rares, though. You have no interest in golden cards. Because of the studies mentioned above, dusting crap Legendaries, etc. is not accounted for. I assume that you get some you some you want and some you don’t. Therefore I apply a penalty of 5% to the “needed” cards accounting for additional crafting atop of dusting the worthless cards. Packs are bought the cheapest way possible (see above paragraph) by spending pre-purchased Amazon Coins in the appropriate chunks.

*Clarification: This number seems high at first glance but I think the new set has a lot of potential and even more playable cards than WotOG and MSoG. For just one or two tier one decks this number is lower by a huge margin. You can check out figures 4-6 to determine your sweet spot.

Scenario 3: competitive and fun, no crap
All the above mentioned but you also want the playable, fun Legendaries and Epics resulting in 75% Epics/Legendaries needed.

Scenario 4: completionist (non-golden)
You want it all. Every single card matters and is worth trying out. These cards can be either golden or non-golden.

Scenario 5: completionist (golden)
You want every single card all in shiny gold disregarding that you may spend a fortune obtaining them. Probably, if you are even considering this path, money isn’t an issue for you.

 

Crafting Strategy

According to an article of PCGamer, the average result from the pre-order will give you 91 Commons (93% of all Commons), 46 Rares (64%), 11 Epics (20%) and 3 Legendaries (15%). This amount is not enough for all the scenarios we painted. There are two studies that try to answer the exact question this article asks. One for Whisper of the Old Gods (Old Gods study) and the other for The Grand Tournament (TGT study). Rarity distributions in between Old Gods and TGT compared to JtUG are not totally equal but in the bigger picture both studies deliver a more than acceptable approximation.

The Old Gods study gives an exact value of a mean of 380.453 packs for 100% completion of your collection with a minimum of 258 packs and a maximum of 507 in 10,000 runs performed in this simulation. There are some not so slight nuances regarding the strategy of HOW to obtain those cards. For this, let’s take a look at the TGT study: Will you complete your collection by investing the dust in missing Commons or Rares first or do you start at the top end with Legendaries? In the case you plan to get >100 packs, the recommendation is to start with the precious orange crystals first to get the most value out of every single booster opened. With an investment of 150-200 packs you will most likely get all Commons and Rares anyway. The argument behind this strategy is mainly drawn from the three figures below (Figures 4-6) which belong to the TGT Study.

Figure 4: Completion by starting with Commons

Figure 4: Completion by starting with Commons

Figure 5: Completion by starting with Rares and skipping Commons

Figure 5: Completion by starting with Rares and skipping Commons

Figure 6: Completion by starting with Legendaries.

Figure 6: Completion by starting with Legendaries.

Percentage-wise, you will complete your collection faster up to a certain point by starting with Commons because the Legendaries account for very few cards. By doing so, you will have to dust more cards reducing the overall value. Figure 7 shows an accumulated graph of completion for all rarities combined depending on crafting strategies. In the end, the difference will be just a few packs, but why waste any value if you are aiming for a ≥ 70% collection.

Figure 7: Completion strategy comparison Commons vs Legendaries first.

Figure 7: Completion strategy comparison Commons vs Legendaries first.

Brute forcing the completion of the set is not a good idea, meaning not dusting any card and just waiting until you get all cards. Completing the set will take >1000 packs in comparison to approx. 380 boosters when dusting unnecessary copies (compare Figure 8).

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Figure 8: Comparison of completing the set with and without the use of arcane dust.

Conclusion

Finally! We now have al prerequisitess to the answer the question of how much you and I should invest for each stereotype proposed. I mainly base the statements on Figure 6 out of the TGT study. In the costs listed, I choose the most reasonable way with as little as possible overinvestment, e.g. For scenario 1, we buy the pre-purchase and 3 times 40 packs with an additional 7 packs (total of 177), all with amazon coins.

Scenario 1: just laddering: approx. 50-100 packs (thank you for all the feedback on reddit  🙂 )
US: $50-100
EU: €45-90

Scenario 2: competitive only: 175 packs on average
US: $180
EU: €150

Scenario 3: competitive and fun, no crap: 240 packs packs on average
US: $265
EU: €210

Scenario 4: completionist (non golden):380 packs packs on average
US: $375 (approx. 3500 Amazon coins left if bought with the 50.000 AC bundle)
EU: €375 (approx. 8000 Amazon coins left)

Scenario 5: completionist (golden): approx. 1,000 Packs
US: $940
EU: €845
Note: Brute forcing 155,600 dust for all golden cards would cost you 1,440.74 packs.

In 1,000 packs you can only expect 3.5 golden Legendaries and 9.5 golden Epics, therefore crafting most of it seems the only valid strategy of obtaining a full golden set – which very few will ever do (compare Tab.4).

golden

Table 4: Chances to get at least one golden card off a pack. Percentages sorted by rarity and total.

Finally, are you interested in a mere “I will get x% of my collection done by y number of packs? Below, you can find the average number of packs you have to invest for the given percentage of the set (according to the TGT study; also compare fig.7+8):

  • 50 packs ≈   50% complete
  • 100 packs ≈ 75%
  • 150 packs ≈ 85%
  • 200 packs ≈ 90%
  • 380 packs ≈ 100%

Final Thoughts

(thanks for the huge number of comments on Reddit on my last article related to MSoG)

In order to just successfully play the ladder, less than the above mentioned 175 packs are needed because you will need only 1-3 viable laddeer decks. 50(-100) packs is a perfect start for everyone not playing tournaments regulary. In most cases this means buying the 50 pre-purchase boosters and dumping the Gold amassed over the last weeks in additional packs is enough, but only if the Gold was not spend during the heroic tavern brawl 😉 . This way, investment decreases significantly from the “shocking” prices mentioned above.

This concludes my article. I hope I saved you some money. If so, I would be happy if you could spread the word to other players of our community. As always,  please comment below or tweet me @OtakuMZ1978 .

Yours,

OtakuMZ

blingtron


Martin "OtakuMZ" Z.

Real life physician and afterhour card battler. Martin "OtakuMZ" contributes to the Hearthstone team of BlizzPro since late 2015. Additionally, he contributes analytic articles for Hearthstone and Gwent as a member of Fade2Karma and in his collumn on the Gwentlemen site. He is best known for his infographics which can be accessed at a glance at https://www.facebook.com/hsinfographics and https://www.facebook.com/gwentinfographics