The new ranking system is out on MTG Arena and everyone wants to climb up those ranks, some people find themselves stuck in a certain rank and after I dipped into it I want to share some of the experiences I made with Best of 1 Guilds of Ravnica Limited, take a closer look of what you can expect in general and give some advice to get you further ahead on the grind.
The Features of Best of 1 on MTG Arena
Some things you need to know when playing Best of 1 (Bo1) on MTG Arena is that your starting hand is not completely random, you will get the better spell/landratio out of two different openers.
This little adjustment makes sense when you only have a single game to decide a winner, so you want to minimize the games where someone does not get to play the game by going down to 4 cards and/or missing their second landdrop.
Another difference is the way you draft, the cards which you are getting passed are generated by an algorithm and are not the leftovers from other drafters.
Keep those two things in mind when it comes to selecting your archetype and your cards for the battle.
How Long Does It Take to Get to the Top Ranks?
You better be prepared, because even if your win percentage is above 60% overall it will be a hell of a grind to get to the top.
Let’s take a closer look of how much dedication is needed to get to those sought after ranks like “Diamond” or even “Mythic”. Expected number of matches to rank up from “Gold” by win%:
This shows the expected number of games you need to play to reach a certain rank when you just hit Gold 4 depending on your win percentage. This means it takes you around 240 games to get from Gold to Platinum when you win 55% of your games and around 800 games to get from Gold to Mythic.
When you are ranking up you will usually get paired against players in the same rank as you are, so playing at higher ranks will automatically decrease your win percentage which will make it even harder to climb. Ranking up from Diamond to Mythic will be way more challenging this way than ranking up from Platinum to Diamond even though the same amount of wins are needed for both milestones.
What is the Best Guild to Rank Up?
As always, this depends on the cards you open and the cards you get passed which will determine your choice of Guild, but there is more than that.
When you take into consideration how your starting hand is randomized and how many games you need to grind for your desired rank you will come to the conclusion that aggressive strategies which are able to play 16 lands and finish the game quickly are superior. The Guild I am speaking of is of course the Boros Legion. Boros is usually built with a lower curve, so playing with 16 lands is less punishing with the new opener than before. I played 17 lands in Boros more often than not but especially for Best of 1 Arena Matches you should be fine with 16 most of the time.
You know where Boros is good at too? Exactly, it is the best Guild to finish your matches quickly. This might be the most important factor if you consider ranking up to the top while saving the most time as possible.
There are multiple discussions and articles out there about which Guild performs the best in Guilds of Ravnica (GRN) Draft or has the highest winrate overall and I do not want to get into this too deeply. For me personally Boros has been the best performing Guild besides Dimir and Golgari, but the time factor gives Boros the edge here. I try to stay away from Selesnya and Izzet unless the payoff cards are flowing because it always feels like hit or miss and I rather go with the more constant option.
Furthermore the Set which is available to do ranked Bo1 Drafts rotates to Ixalan Block with the next shift on January 4th, so I do not want to go into details with Guilds of Ravnica.
Are There Differences in Deckbuilding in Best of 1?
As it is in Constructed, the same goes for Limited Bo1 – the Deck archetypes stay basically the same but the card evaluation is a bit different than you are used to. You won’t get to sideboard and some archetypes will be more popular in Bo1 based on the Draft algorithm and the points I already mentioned talking about Boros.
For example in GRN Draft you will see more 《Mephitic Vapors》 being maindecked in Dimir and multiple copies of 《Cosmotronic Wave》 in aggressive Red Decks due to the numerous 1 toughness creatures being played. For example a card like 《Healer's Hawk》 can be an absolute allstars in Boros or Selesnya which is not a mystery anymore and people like to pick them up early. In Arena Drafts it is not uncommon to collect multiple copies of the bird in the mid stages of the pack.
As people are adapting to the rules of the Draft, so should you changing your card evaluation a bit and maybe play this 《Vernadi Shieldmate》 over your third copy of 《Fresh-Faced Recruit》 to avoid the maindeck sideboard cards people will have ready for you. As a general rule, keep an eye on the cards people will play as the format evolves and adapt accordingly – it may sound obvious but people tend to play the same cards over and over again without thinking about their options even if the cards they are facing slightly change.
I am Ready for Ranked Play, Should I Start with Limited or Constructed?
Limited is just the best way to accumulate a collection for Constructed as the cards you have drafted will be added to your collection.
There is always the option of buying packs in the shop and open them but if you do not want to pay a lot of money on Gems this is the best way to start your journey. Once you reached the limited rank you worked towards, you will most likely have picked up enough cards for constructed to build any tier 1 Deck of your choice combined with the Wildcards you got along the way from opening price packs which will make the perfect transition.
General Thoughts on the Ranked System
I really like the introduction of a ladder system where you can slowly climb up the ranks, it will keep players motivated to improve their game and eventually reach their goals.
As a professional magic player I am not a big fan of Bo1 matches in general because it takes away a big aspect of the game by removing your ability to sideboard and adapt to the game plan of your opponent. Another issue which comes with Bo1 is that it weakenss some archetypes which bet on post sideboard games by switching their game plan and strengthen others with a strong game 1. Being more vulnerable to sideboard cards like situational sweeper, counterspells or 《Duress》 is less important which can lead to a more onesided meta.
Although after playing Bo1 ranked a little bit I have to admit it seems like the perfect fit when you are looking forward to play hundreds or thousands of games. You can literally feel how drawn-out a Bo3 match can be if you are used to the fast pace of Bo1. I am still not a big fan of the system in competitive terms, but for the ladder system it might work out just fine.
What I am really missing are the proper rewards for hitting the higher ranks, at the moment you get 1000 Gold and 1 to 5 packs which isn’t even enough to pay for a single Draft. I am certain that WotC is about to work out an appropriate price structure for this and it will be interesting what will come next, even qualification slots for bigger tournaments are a possible option.
New Attempt on 2019
As for me, I am looking forward to the Magic Pro League this year and I am excited for everything that will come along with it. Some people asked me about my plans regarding streaming MTGO and MTG Arena going forward and I am happy to announce that I will go live in a few weeks from now when I have everything set up and share with you my own journey to Mythic on Twitch (sponsored by Wizards of the Coast).
Enjoy the grind & Happy New Year everyone! I think this will be an exciting one for the game we all love.