Splinterlands General Sale: What's the right move?

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(Note, all images are from my Splinterlands account unless otherwise noted)

As everyone is aware, I'm sure, #Splinterlands is finally going to be done with the #VOUCHER requirement for the Chaos Legion packs starting in 3 days. That means no more trying to decide whether its better to sell your vouchers and stack the money, or use and potentially buy more of them to get in on the promo airdrops. It's now just $4/pack and there's 12 million of them on the line.

So the question is: what's the right play here? Do you jump in and buy the packs as soon as possible to maximize your airdrop potential for the next 12 drops? Or do you take the monies you'd spend on the packs and use it to buy up cheap cards on the market when all those packs start getting opened?

Welp, there's pros and cons to both. I'll make the case on both sides and then I'll tell you what I'm planning on doing at the end. (I'm sure you can't wait... :p)

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Buying Packs Outright

  1. First of all, who doesn't love opening packs!! #Splinterlands does pack opening right. There's a whole production as you move the pack to the open portal and then when the cards are there, the excitement of watching it shake when you hit a legendary is extremely cool. Then, if you're lucky enough to get the little "razor" sound (that's what it sounds like to me), you get to watch it turn gold and Woohoo! Jackpot!chaoslegiongflpack 20220113 133516.gif
  2. Buying packs qualifies you for the free promo card airdrops. These cards have a much more limited supply and they're also usually unique and powerful cards so they tend to be worth quite a bit, even if they're not goldfoil.
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  3. Your return on investment can be much greater if you get lucky enough to hit a couple goldfoil legendaries. For example, if you buy 100 packs and manage to get a couple GFLs, they can pay for your entire purchase right there. Plus, as I said above, you then qualify for the airdrops which can add even more value to your purchase.gfemaginecrosi 20220113 133810.gif
  1. Buying a pack only nets you five cards for $4. Granted, you are guaranteed one rare or better, but there are and will be a LOT of cards that can be purchased on the market for pennies. Not only that, but you actually need hundreds of these cards if you want to max out your league level. 100 packs gets you 500 cards. For example, the Fire Splinter has 5 commons, 5 rares, 3 epics, and 2 legendaries from these Chaos Legion packs. To reach level 5 (Sliver League) on the common you need 60 cards; you'll need 25 rare, 10 epic, and 3 legendary. That's 300+125+30+6=461 cards total, just to max out ONE Splinter. Multiply that times 5 for Earth, Fire, Life, and Death and you're at over 2300 cards needed, not even counting Dragon, Neutrals, or the Rewards cards. That's $400 for 500 cards and you need over 2500 to max out everything. Still a long way to go.

  2. The promo pack airdrops are NOT guaranteed. They say the odds are about 1/300 that you get a promo card if you buy one pack. Obviously those odds go up if you buy more but...still not great odds for getting that added value. I've already heard some great success stories but, for every one of them, I'm sure there are a dozen more unlucky draws we don't hear about.

  3. Your return on investment can be mediocre at best if you don't pull any GFLs. Obviously the more you buy, the better your chances of getting one, but if you don't, you may end up spending that $400 on packs and only getting a couple hundred dollars worth of cards. It's definitely a gamble.
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Using the money saved for packs to buy cards from the market

  1. There's a very good argument for just using the money you were going to use to buy packs to simply buy the cards you actually want and need from the open market. First of all, chances are most of them will get really inexpensive for a while. Prices on some of these commons have been below $.05 in many cases and that's with only roughly 3 million packs sold (not even opened as some people are saving them to sell later). When another 10-12 million packs get opened, I would expect the prices may get even cheaper on many of the commons and rares especially. Probably the epics and legendaries too. There will be a legitimate chance you could buy up all the commons (25 cards through 5 Splinters) for 4 cents per card. That means that if you are Silver League, $2.40 could buy you the 60 cards you need to upgrade it to level 5. You could literally max out all the commons for $60 and still have $340 left over from your $400 saved for packs. Rares will very likely be $.10 or even less in some cases (excluding the summoners), so again, $2.50 could max one of those, multiplied by 20 (5 are summoners), so $50 maxes them all. We're up to $110 spent and we've got 45 of the 75 total cards maxed.
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  2. Or, you could just use the $400 to buy summoners. To compete all around, you need to have summoners from each splinter. There are 5 rares, one from each splinter, and a legendary from Dragon. If they all trade for around $4 give or take, it would cost roughly $100 to max each one. You could basically max 4 of them and then whittle away at leveling the 5th (and possibly Quix) while at the same time leveling your regular cards as money allows. $20 here and $10 there can go a long way when the cards are 4 cents. Buying the summoners at $4 a crack though can get expensive in a hurry.
  3. Another pro is you don't have to waste money on cards you'll never use. While every card in this deck has been well thought out and they all have their uses, the fact is that a few of them are really only good in very specific situations and rulesets. There are probably a good dozen cards you can live without so you can use that money for other things you actually use and need. Like summoners and/or epics and legendaries.
  1. Basically the Cons of doing this are the opposite of the Pros from buying packs. Namely, you don't get the excitement of opening new packs and potentially hitting the jackpot.
  2. You won't have access to any of the airdrops for promo cards.
  3. You get what you pay for. There will be no paying $400 for cards worth $600 or more by pulling some GFLs.

So, there are a few of the arguments for one side or the other. It really is up to each individual on how they want to approach it. The pack side has more risk, but a chance for higher rewards. The market approach is definitely safer but you miss out on the excitement of opening packs and potential high value cards and airdrops later as the packs sell out.

I do want to point out a couple more things about the above. First, I based this all off of Silver League. If you are trying to go to Gold or higher, the numbers get even more crazy. For example, instead of needing only 60 cards to max out commons, you need 220 for Gold and 400 for Diamond/Champion. Almost four times as many for gold and over six times as many to max the card. That's a LOT of cards you'll need to purchase, regardless on how you do opening packs.

Second, as I said above, I didn't include Dragons, Neutrals, or any of the Rewards cards in any of the math. There aren't as many of those but they tend to be more expensive because they can be used in more rulesets. Something to keep in mind as you're contemplating your strategy.

Finally, what am I going to do?

Welp, as you can see from the above, I've definitely thought about this quite a bit. I'm trying to build a max Gold League deck and it is definitely not cheap. I've made a lot of progress since July when I started but I've still got a long way to go.

My plan is to do what I did on the first two presales: namely a hybrid of the two above. I bought 52 packs in the first presale and 125 in the second. I couldn't justify paying too much for the vouchers I'd need to get any more. I had to purchase about 25 total vouchers as it was. But, I wanted to be involved in the promo drops and I wanted the chance to hit the lottery. :-)

Mission accomplished. I managed to open cards worth more than the money I spent in both cases. Overall, I think I'm "up" like $300 from what I put in. That said, there is a very real chance I'll drop back to even or possibly even lower if the prices on the market come down a bunch with all these new packs flooding the market.

So I'm planning on using about half of the money I have set aside for this to buy packs, and then the other half will be used to scoop up cheap cards once I know what I need. I just think the market opportunities are going to be too good not to have some dollars ready to use. Some of the Beta and Untamed cards have been getting cheaper as well, as people are selling them to max out their Chaos decks. There are and will be some great buying opportunities available once this all gets going, but you have to be ready to take advantage of them because they probably won't last long. With these new packs will come a whole new generation of players once some of these bulk purchases get distributed. There are going to be a lot of hungry card-hunters out there by the time this is all over, so I think people need to be prepared to get what they want while they can.

Whatever you decide to do, it's exciting times. It's great that this is all happening on #HIVE and I think it gives ample cause for optimism about the future of #HIVE, #LEO, #OneUp, and the rest.

Good luck with your pack-opening! May the Force be with you! :-)

I'd love to hear other peoples' thoughts and strategies in the comments if you care to share. Thanks for reading!

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