For MOST players, buying singles is a better strategy than buying packs
As we hit the final stretch before the general sale, if you're like me, you're planning on buying a fair few packs of Chaos Legion once it's available. I've looked in wonder at the $50 Untamed packs which cost just $2 to buy, and mentally drooled at the thought of turning a $4 pack into $100.
Unfortunately, for most people, that is not a good strategy, particularly if you're looking to play and have fun in the game (which is sort of the point) rather than just invest (there are probably better investment vehicles out there). So I'm gonna take some time to describe why. This is interestingly a redux of my first post ever on PeakD, and I've learned a few things since then that will hopefully help more people read this.
The value of buying (a lot) of packs
I see a lot of posts about people buying 10s of packs. Often the posts are about a great pull in those packs. But these are not representative of all packs. People are more likely to post a dope pull than a crap pull. So people reading Hive might think the chances of a sweet pack are greater than they are in reality. And they'll see the EV of a pack on splintercards.com is currently greater than the cost of a pack. "Great!" this hypothetical person will think, "I can buy 10 packs for $40, and sell the contents for $50, and create an infinite money machine!"
This will likely end poorly for my person made of straw. Yes, the expected value of a pack is greater than the cost, but if you only open a few packs, you're opening yourself up to variance. Unless you open >1000 packs you've got a decent chance of not getting a single GF legendary, where so much of the value is held.
Below is an image of simulating opening the stated number of packs 100 times. You can see the huge variance in value with low numbers of packs, but once you buy 10,000 packs, you can pretty much know exactly how much they'll be worth on average. Coming from MtG, this is exactly how game stores work. They don't care about luck. They buy an assload of packs, and they KNOW they're going to get at least a few copies of every card. This is the equivalent of buying >1,000 packs in Splinterlands.
So there is a subset of people for whom buying, cracking, and reselling makes sense, and these are the whales (or whatever sized marine animal you wanna use that is appropriate for the amount of $$$ I'm talking about). But that is not the vast majority of the splinterlands playerbase.
The value of buying singles
Compare buying 10 packs to buying $40 worth of singles. Yes, the expected value of those 10 packs is ~$50 (at current prices), but you're more likely to get <$40 of cards from those packs. And it might not be cards you want (bad cards or cards outside your favorite splinter). So you go to sell the excess, and you lose 5%.
But if you buy singles, you don't lose 5% to market fees, you benefit from discounts (either 3.25% on cardauctionz or some % by bidding on peakmonsters), and you get exactly the cards you want. All strong reasons to get singles instead of packs.
The big counterargument is that buying singles isn't fun. And fun is what this game is about. So if you get fun from opening packs, even if it is somewhat suboptimal, don't let me or anyone else stop you.
As with all things splinterlands, you need to identify what makes the most sense for your budget, what you want from the game, and whether you'll enjoy what you've done. Hopefully I've helped with that thinking!
If you like the sound of the game and the choices around investing and buying cards, use my referral link below! If you send me a DM I'll send you a free card to keep, and I'll delegate you some cards for use in your first season.