When to buy packs from the store vs. the marketplace or, how much is an airdrop point worth?


In my most recent post, I talked about whether to buy CL packs from the store or from the marketplace. I concluded that the breakeven point was around $2.50 marketplace price for CL packs, anything above that meant buy from the store, and anything below that meant buy from the marketplace. In making that determination, I mentioned the value of a voucher = ~$1.2, but didn't really describe where I got that number. This post will dive into some detail on that number.

I left out some of the variables in my calculations: 1) the airdrop value from holding packs and 2) the possibility of GF airdrops. I ignored 1 because it involves two variables (price of SPS over time and total number of airdrop points in circulation), neither of which I am particularly confident in making predictions about. I ignored 2 because I wanted a floor value for airdrops; GFs are 4%, and they will certainly inflate the value and it is something I didn't want to give people overly optimistic numbers. In this post, I will address 2), but I'm still going to ignore 1); there is too much uncertainty around that for me to have any confidence in numbers.

So without further ado, below is an in-depth calculation for what I think airdrop points are worth under a few different scenarios.

Okay, a little ado

Before I dive into that, I want to first address some housekeeping.

  1. In that same last post, here and on Reddit, I got a surprising number of people asking me if I really expected marketplace packs to be <$4. I didn't even justify that assumption because it seemed so obvious to me, because the packs in the marketplace are strictly worse than packs from the store, so value must be less. I didn't know how much less, but I knew it would be less. I hope people have seen the current prices and understand why the price is lower.

  2. A HUGE hat-tip to @casey30 for this post. SO MUCH of my thinking about airdrops have been possible because they collated all the Untamed airdrop info into one helpful post. If I could keep upvoting it, I would.

  3. Also based on my previous posts, I am going to assume you're buying packs in multiples of the number for a guaranteed airdrop. Getting that many increases the expected airdrop value by 30%. This does mean this post is only really relevant for people buying >=350 packs. If that isn't you, I'm sorry. But you should be buying the singles you need.

Base value of airdrops

I first want to get out of the way the math that will be common across all the following scenarios.

Value of legendary summoners: The 6 legendary summoners that will be airdrops will all be highly valuable (I think the optimal time to open packs is right after they are all airdropped but before other legendaries are). Currently, Queen Mycelia and Quix are ~$25. Given how good and in demand the summoners will be, I'm going to assume they're all going to start out at about twice this, or $50 each.

Value of other legendary airdrops: Because we already have some data on Uriel and Baakjira, this is less guesswork than it was a few weeks ago. They are currently the 3rd and 5th most valuable, and later ones will likely be slightly more valuable due to less supply coming from pack opening. I'll give these a bit of a boost and call them $25 each. How many will there be? From Untamed, there were only 2 legendary non-summoner airdrops, and we're already at 4. So I don't think there will be more beyond the two spoiled for the first 24 hours of the general sale.

Value of non-legendary airdrops: That leaves 3 non-legendary airdrops. We'll assume they will be epic, have drop rates of 1/75, and are worth $5.

Value of GF airdrops: Chances of a GF legendary will be 4%, so there will be ~1/25th as many, so from that we'd expect an inflation of 25x. In the market, we see a value of close to 20x, so to keep it realistic, we'll say a GF airdrop is worth 20x as much as a RF.

What will the 3rd airdrop of the first 24 hours be? We know the first two airdrops, but we don't know whether this next one exclusive to the first 24 hours will be. I'm going to assume that the legendary summoners are not ready, and that the third one will be an epic.

Scenario 1: Buy in the next 4 hours and get all 11 airdrops, ignore GF

Under this scenario, the airdrop chance from one pack is equal to $1.27.

Scenario 2: Buy in the next 4 hours and get all 11 airdrops, include GF

When we include GFs, the airdrop chance of one pack is equal to $2.24.

Scenario 3: Buy after the first 24 hour window and be eligible for 8 airdrops, ignore GF

When we exclude the 2 known airdrops and the presumed epic from the first 24 hours, the value ignoring GFs drops to $1.04.

Scenario 4: Buy after the first 24 hour window and be eligible for 8 airdrops, include GF

Finally, when we include GF in this, the value of the airdrops is an average $1.83.


Below is a graph showing the different values of airdrops under the different scenarios (and it makes a nice TL;DR image for the front).


Obviously, buying packs in the first 24 hours is very beneficial. Even in the best-case scenario and the 3rd airdrop is a lowly epic, the value of an airdrop drops 18% as soon as we hit 24 hours. If you can buy packs in the next 3 hours, do so.

In thinking about whether to buy packs from the market vs. the store, even in the most pessimistic scenario, buying packs from the store is better as long as the price in the marketplace is at least $3, which it is so far.

GF airdrops increase the expected value by a huge amount: 76%. But unless you're buying a TON of packs, counting on getting even one is, I think, tantamount to gambling and will lead to bad decisions and bad feelz. My advice is pretend GF airdrops can't happen, and so you're super surprised and excited when you get one, and not super bummed if you don't. Under this logic, don't buy packs from the store if marketplace packs are under $2.75 for the next few hours, then don't buy from the store if the marketplace has them under $3.

One final point: as a reminder, this ignores the value of airdrop points from a pack. If you buy X packs but could buy x*1.25 packs for the same price from the marketplace, those extra packs may give value of SPS that makes them more worth it. So the numbers above really shouldn't be taken as gospel, but as a benchmark for how you value them. You can plug your own numbers in for SPS values to see if it makes sense for you. As for me, I am no longer buying store packs and selling them on the marketplace for airdrop points; the differential is now too great for me.


If you like this kind of content, and want to get in on the fun, use my referral link below! If you DM me, I'll send you card to keep (worth ~$1), and I'll delegate you a starter bronze deck for your first season.



Wow, what a useful breakdown of airdrops and how best to utilize them! I always just assumed buying packs was a good idea if you wanted the drops, otherwise don't worry about it. Thanks for taking the time to explain the value of the 24hr purchasing window :)



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