A recent post released by Wizards of the Coast addressed many issues the community had with Magic: The Gathering Arena. Among these issues was what has been dubbed “the 5th card problem.” In the Arena client, a person may only ever own four copies of a card since decks are only allowed to have four of each card (not counting basic lands). So what happens when you open your fifth copy of a card?
For the past few months, opening the fifth copy of a card has been terrible because that fifth copy just disappears, and in exchange you get a very tiny fractional amount of progress towards opening the Magic: The Gathering Arena Vault. The Vault, once opened, awards players with one Mythic wild card, two Rare wild cards, and three Uncommon wild cards. This sounds reasonable, except that the number of fifth copies needed to open this vault is astronomical.
Because of this, many people shied away from spending money in MTG Arena. They didn’t want to spend a lot of money, get a ton of duplicates, and have all those duplicates (and therefore some of their money) go into the mysterious vault that rarely opens.
However, in the post linked above, Wizards of the Coast has finally addressed the issue in a real way. On Jan. 17, an update will be pushed to MTG Arena that will fix the issue entirely. Opening the fifth card of a Rare or Mythic will be less punishing because, after this update, that fifth copy will be swapped for another random card of the same set and rarity. For example, if I open my fifth Vraska, Golgar Queen, then MTG Arena will swap her for a Mythic I don’t already have from the same set, like March of the Multitudes. Additionally, if you own all the cards of that rarity for the set, you will get Gems instead (20 for Rare, 40 for Mythic).
It should be noted that Draft or Sealed events will give you gems for your duplicate Rares and Mythics and Vault progress for your duplicate Commons and Uncommons, but only after the event is over.
This is good news for the Magic: The Gathering Arena community, as it means that spending money on the game will no longer be a risk. Your money is now guaranteed to get you cards, not just Vault progress.