Many of you would have noticed the event Trial of the
Planes (TotP) which appears on weekdays and is restricted to only one colour
for each day. You will also have noticed that it has a 60 Crystal entry fee and
may wonder whether the rewards are worth the entry fee. This guide will work
out the math for you.
(For the side question of whether Across Ixalan is worth joining, see this
(For a summary, scroll to the tl;dr at the end of this
TotP was an event introduced shortly after the
introduction of Mana Jewels to the game. Mana Jewels are the currency
designated by the developers for end-game players to have an easier path to
pursue the Mythics and Masterpieces available in-game. They are used mainly for
purchasing packs from the Masterpiece Collection although there are
occasionally special offers available for purchase in Jewels as well.
The event consists of 4 nodes, each with 3 charges.
Winning in the first node unlocks the second node, winning in the second
unlocks the third, and winning in the third unlocks the fourth and final node.
There are no secondary objectives for the nodes; just aim to win. Unlike the
other events, you are allowed to change your planeswalker for each node
in-between matches and you can use the same planeswalker for multiple nodes if
Each node except the first will also have their own special
rules making the matches more challenging than normal. The special rules
benefit the AI player only. The effects for each node are:
Second Node (Hard
Node): Opponent is Enraged (deals double damage to you) from the 5th
Third Node (Heroic
Node): Opponent is Supercharged (mana gains before mana bonuses are doubled) from the 5th round
(Legendary Node): Opponent is Enraged, Supercharged and draws 2 cards per
turn from the 3rd round onwards.
Each win earns you 5 points whereas Progression caps out
at 40 points and there are no Ranking rewards. So at 4 nodes of 3 charges each,
you have a buffer of 4 games to earn maximum rewards in each Trial of the
Planes event. If you manage to lose 1 game or less, you can avoid the Legendary
node entirely and still hit maximum Progression.
TotP was introduced as an avenue for players to have a
regular means of earning Jewels (though at the expense of a Crystal entry fee).
TotP is the second best non-coalition event to partake in (after Across Ixalan)
if one wants to earn Jewels quickly. But bear in mind that is a separate issue
from whether TotP is worth joining for you
at your current stage of MTGPQ. To evaluate that, we first need to determine
the extent of one’s card collection. Do note that as of 2.9, TotP will always
give a 5-card pack of the latest set.
Fresh: These are players who have barely
collected any cards in the latest set. For simplicity's sake we will assume
that most Bronze and some Silver players fall into this category.Intermediate: These are players who have the majority of the Commons
and Uncommons, some of the Rares and maybe a handful of Mythics. We will assume
that some Silver, Gold and Platinum players will fall into this category.Incomplete: There are players who have essentially all the Commons,
Uncommons with likely a majority of Rares and are primarily hunting the Mythics
(and masterpieces if applicable) in the latest set. We will assume that many Platinum
players fall in this category along with some high-performing Gold players.
At all levels of the game, a major appeal of MTGPQ to
players is getting new cards.
When you have no or few cards in a set, the best way to get new cards is
through opening new Premium Packs. This is because you stand the chance to loot
new cards from all rarities: Common, Uncommon, Rare, Mythic, and Masterpiece
(if the set has Masterpieces). When a new set is released, it is the same
situation for everyone. However, as a player collects a greater and greater
percentage of the set, the odds of getting a new card decreases. Nothing
some point, the player gets such a high rate of duplicates (ie. such a low rate
of procuring new cards) that one ends up primarily getting Orbs instead of new
cards from Premium Packs. With the different rarities, inevitably the bulk of
the yet unobtained cards will be from the Mythic (and/or Masterpiece) rarity.
For instance, if one owns all the Common and Uncommon cards in a set, each card
pull only has a 6-7% of being a Rare/Mythic/Masterpiece card and hence the
chances for a new card from packs become really low.
And that is where Jewels come in, as a resource for more
targeted attempts at Mythics and Masterpieces. Especially as of 2.7.1, Mythic+
Packs (the 400-Jewel ones) will guarantee a new Mythic or Masterpiece. That
makes it the best means of obtaining Masterpieces and of obtaining new Mythics
in a set which is still unavailable for Booster Crafting. So let’s see whether
TotP helps one to have a higher chance of looting new cards.
In order to simplify our calculations, we will assume
that the player will always achieve maximum Progression rewards. As TotP has an
entry fee in Crystals, we will compare it against the typical best option for
spending Crystals on to obtain cards: the Premium Pack. For parity in cost (300-320
Crystals), we will compare playing a week of playing Trial of Planes to a
This helps us to figure out the opportunity cost of
participating in TotP. What could one otherwise have spent the Crystals on? We
aren’t comparing to purchasing planeswalkers for Crystals as the decision to
spend Crystals on cards or planeswalkers should already have been made before
moving on to decide which option to spend on to procure more cards.
Now the opportunity cost is different for players from
each category due to the differing expected gains from a Premium Pack as well
as the different rewards for different Mastery Tiers. Let's look at Incomplete
players for the most straightforward example.
Non-Origins Standard Premium Pack: This option gives you approximately
a 30-35% chance of drawing 1 or more Mythics or Masterpieces, plus a guaranteed
Rare which is likely to be a duplicate. Opening 2 non-Origins Standard Premium
Packs gets you a 53-59% chance of drawing 1 or more Mythics or Masterpieces. On
top of that, the guaranteed Rare has a high chance to be a duplicate for an Incomplete
player. In short, Premium Packs are terrible value for Incomplete players.
Trial of the Planes: This gives you the same
number of cards as a Premium Pack, hence giving you the same odds for drawing a
Mythic or Masterpiece as a Premium Pack. So, the difference is the guaranteed Rare
versus the other rewards which for 5 x Trial of Planes are:
Jewels & 150 Crystals
This is 25% of a Mythic+ Pack from the Masterpiece
Collection and a 50% rebate on the Crystal cost. Not only do you get 25% of a
guaranteed new Mythic or Masterpiece (so 1 Mythic+ pack per month purely from
TotP), you halve the price of your purchase with the Crystal rebate. All this
at the expense of losing a guaranteed Rare which is likely to be a duplicate
(100 Orbs) for an Incomplete player anyway.
Alternatively, if you re-invest the Crystals earned back
into a second week of TotP, your 300 Crystals nets you 200 Jewels and 10 latest
set 5-card packs. That is 50% of a guaranteed new Mythic compared to a single
guaranteed Rare. Or if you spend your Jewels on 120-Jewel Rare+ Elite Packs
(which I don’t recommend), you still have a surplus of 80 Jewels over just
purchasing the Premium Pack. Don’t forget that you are also pulling double the
number of cards compared to a Premium Pack since you earned 10 x 5-card packs
to 25 cards in a Premium Pack.
Gold: 75 Jewels
& 3,750 Runes
This is 18.8% of a Mythic+ Pack and a negligible number
of Runes. So playing TotP gets you a guaranteed new Mythic or Masterpiece in 5 ½
weeks. You’ll be devoting somewhere in the range of 3 to 5 hours each week to
earning this advantage. Being also in the Incomplete category, your trade-off
is the loss of a guaranteed Rare which was likely to be a duplicate (100 Orbs) anyway.
Put another way, you will be trading your time and 5.5
Rares for 1 Mythic+ Pack (and some Runes). Whether the trading in of the Rares
is worth it depends on how many of the uncollected Rares one wants. Consider
also that crafting 1 Mythic costs the same as crafting 5 Rares. Hence time
aside, the guaranteed Mythic is probably worth the loss of 5.5 Rares pulls
since these still have the chance of pulling duplicates. As long as 1 of the
5.5 Rares was a duplicate, the player has earned less from the option than a
guaranteed Mythic when calculating in terms of Orb cost.
All in all, TotP is the best option for Platinum players with
an Incomplete collection. And Crystals permitting (see the Major
Considerations section), it is a viable option for Gold players who are willing
to spend more time and effort on the game to build up their Mythic/Masterpiece
Premium Pack: A Premium Pack is likely to
give a Fresh player 5+ to double digits of new cards. So lots of new
cards and a guaranteed Rare too.
Trial of the Planes: Bear in mind that this
gives the player an equal number of packs and hence an equal number of new
cards as the Premium Pack excluding the guaranteed rare. The additional
benefits reaped are:
Jewels & 6,250 Runes
As a Fresh player, a chance to loot Rares matters still.
So we look at the Rare+ Pack for which 50 Jewels is 41.7%. Those proportions
aren't exactly close to the guaranteed Rare from the Premium Pack. 50 Jewels is also 12.5% of a Mythic+ Pack which
put another way is sacrificing 8 Rare draws for a single Mythic/Masterpiece. That translates to a two-month wait
to accumulate enough Jewels for a Mythic+ pack solely from TotP, in which time additional
new Rares could have helped to round out a player’s collection and possibly
improve their Event performances for greater rewards.
Jewels & 7,500 Runes
For a Fresh player in Bronze, the numbers become 25% of a
Rare+ Pack or 7.5% of a Mythic+ Pack. It’s a sacrifice of 13 Rare draws for a
single Mythic/Masterpiece which is a three-month wait to
accumulate enough Jewels for a Mythic+ pack solely from TotP. So the effect is
As for the Runes, they are actually negligible because
the player has to win 40 matches of TotP to obtain all the Progression rewards
for 5 TotP events. With 100 Runes per win on top of the Progression rewards,
that's 11,500 Runes for the Bronze player and 10,250 Runes for the Silver
player. If the player instead chose to play and win 40 matches in Story Mode -
Heroic Encounters, they would earn, at 250 Runes per win, 10,000 Runes at no
risk. That additional 1,500/250 Runes from picking TotP hardly matters.
Hence TotP doesn’t look too good for a Fresh player unless they are
desperate to earn more Jewels for some reason.
The main difference between this category and the
previous ones is really that the Intermediate player still has decent chances
of looting new cards from opening typical packs and still has some chance of
the guaranteed Rare from Premium Packs being a new card.
While this does not change the conclusion for
Intermediate players in Silver or Bronze (don’t play) and Platinum (play
if you have the time and Crystals), Intermediate players in Gold have to think
whether the gradual build-up to a guaranteed Mythic/Masterpiece is worth the
trade-off of looting less guaranteed Rares.
Yes! The most immediate consideration is whether you want
to open any more cards of the latest set. If you don’t, then spending the
Crystals on TotP may be less favourable as you are diverting Crystals away from
opening cards in another set which you might desire more. The most common case
is when one decides to start saving Crystals for the next set instead of spending
on the current one.
Which leads into our other big consideration whether one
has the Crystals to keep playing TotP while having enough Crystals for other
needs in the game including purchasing new planeswalkers, opening Premium Packs
for various sets, and saving up Crystals for the upcoming set.
If a Platinum player plays all Training Grounds, Across
Ixalan and TotP events each week, they would be earning a net of 15 Crystals
over the week. Without TotP, this would be 165 Crystals per week. Of course, this
is before adding in the Crystals earned from the other events in the week which
can add anywhere from 100 to 300 Crystals depending on the week’s event roster.
But it is important to compare the difference in baselines and consider whether
one is saving Crystals at a quick enough rate for whatever they are planning
If a non-Platinum player plays all Training Grounds,
Across Ixalan and TotP events each week, they would instead lose 315 Crystals a
week! This unfortunately makes TotP an unsustainable event to participate in
for non-Platinum players. One possible way of considering when to play TotP is
that if a non-Platinum Incomplete player was considering purchasing a Premium
Pack, they could instead play TotP to squeeze that bit more out of their
Once in a while, the developers may have a special
discounted week of Trial of the Planes going at a 30 Crystal entry fee. Under
this special case, TotP is worth playing for all tiers. Even for Bronze, 150
Crystals for 5 x 5-card packs is a good discount on a Premium Pack at the
expense of a guaranteed Rare. Any additional wins are just a bonus.
and Silver players should stay far far away from TotP. Gold players with fairly
complete collections of the latest set should play TotP instead of opening a Premium
Pack. Platinum Players who still want to open cards from the latest set should
learn to budget their Crystals properly and keep playing TotP. Remember,
400-Jewel Mythic+ Elite Packs now give a guaranteed
new Mythic or Masterpiece.
Another aspect to consider is the no dupe rule is gone for Mythic packs, so the value of unobtanium has arguably decreased. That said, I’m Platinum and still playing.
As I am currently in gold, I really appreciate the advice - I'll stay away from it for now!
That being said, when it was half price I played it and enjoyed it.
I think it's a waste of time and gems, across the Ixialan is a better value and less frustrating because your opponent gets all of the advantages in trials of the plains
I think adding a line at the beginning mentioning the new rule of no dupes in the mythic+ pack (and that the rare+ pack has no such rule) would be a good idea. Most of the people using the forum now probably know, but there's no announcement that will stay up for new visitors, and this is the question they would have where it becomes relevant.
@span_argoman, I did see those. I was thinking more that it would be nice to have a short guide at the start with a few important points. Something like "Bronze and Silver players probably shouldn't bother with this event, Gold players with solid collections might want to, Platinum players it's usually worth it if you have the time. The booster pack is nice, and jewels will get you elite packs. Rare+ can give you a card you already have, but Mythic+ is a guaranteed new card!"I'm the sort who reads the whole thing, I don't know how likely the average player is to do so.