Are Soulbound Reward Cards a Good Idea?



Splinterlands has supply issues. I've been going on and on about these supply issues since before anyone ever pulled a venari heatsmith out of a chest.

They've had wildly over-optimistic expectations, they ignored bots in their projections, and everyone but Weird Beard still has a very poor understanding of what motivates average people.

But, there is hope.

While the game is still buried in inventory of all kinds, they've made several moves to signal they are starting to understand the problem.

So far they've

  • Nerfed ghost cards
  • Shut off the DEC faucets
  • Switched rewards to SPS (a finite token)
  • Instituted the SPS burn for DEC
  • Created DEC sinks and assured the community many more are coming
  • Set ablaze a few million Chaos Legion packs
  • Paid lip service to the idea that future releases should assume bear market conditions
  • Soulbound rewards cards

I'm sure I'm missing some but that's a good start and if they do land right, they could eliminate their supply worries for good.But we're not talking about land today. We just want to talk about the good and the bad of soulbound rewards as I see it.

Soulbound Rewards Cards

You must know by now that on January 31st the old reward cards will cease to be printed and all cards that come from chests will be soulbound. These cards will only be unlockable once they go out of print.

I've seen a lot of discussion about this. Some people think it will thwart bots. Some people are excited by the fact that they have to play the game to get the cards. Some people are mad because they see it as a nerfing of rewards. And some people are really excited about these cards ability to help fix the economy.

So let's address these ideas.

Do Soulbound Cards Nerf Rewards?

If you play this game to just immediately sell everything you get and cash out, this is possibly a nerf to your rewards. If you actually hold any real assets in this game, it's a huge boost to your account.

More is not more when you're oversupplying a market. More rewards destroys the value of what you already have at a faster pace than the new rewards come in. All those 1 cent rewards cards were destroying the value of all of you other cards and of all your dec and even your SPS. Everything you own in this game goes down as more of those rewards cards hit the market.

So if you hold assets in this game, these "rewards" going away is actually a huge win for everything else you hold as well as the SPS you'll still be getting. If you have no assets in the game, you have no stake anyway so it shouldn't be a big deal for you to go find another game to syphon value from instead.

But these cards will eventually hit that market right?

In a few years when these cards are out of print, they will hit the market and there will be a lot of them. And to make matters worse, most players will already have all or most of what they need of them when they do hit the market so there will be no reason to buy them.

This could be a huge blow to the economy but we are being told that in order to unlock them to put them on the market, there will first need to be an offering to the DEC furnace. This matters a lot.

Something that's a little hard to understand is that DEC and cards serve the same purpose in the game. They help you get SPS. Cards are just a mechanism to win SPS. If you don't have the cards but you have dec, you can rent or buy the cards you need. It makes sense that you can burn cards for DEC because they are the same thing.

So, if in order to unlock a card to put on the market you first have to burn a bunch of DEC, the economy is either unaffected or if you have to burn enough DEC, it could even be boosted.

While we don't yet know how much will need to burned or potentially staked on the cards to unlock them, it does sound like it will be a higher amount than the burn value of the card. If it were me deciding I would make way above current burn values of cards.

My Suggestion for unlocking cards

I'm looking at Arkemis the Bear that is currently going for 23 cents as a common card to determine this values. I'm also giving vouchers a 10 cent valuation.

1 common BCX would cost 200 DEC or 2 vouchers to unlock (20 cents per BCX= $80 to max)
1 rare BCX would cost 800 DEC or 8 vouchers to unlock (80 cents per BCX = $92 to max)
1 epic BCX would cost 2000 DEC or 20 vouchers to unlock ($2 per BCX = $92 to max)
1 legendary BCX would cost 8000 DEC or 80 vouchers to unlock ($8 per BCX = $88 to max)

Unlocking enough cards to create one max set of all 43 cards would burn roughly 3.7 million DEC or $3700. Riftwatchers, which has 39 cards costs $4400 to max out right now so these numbers are in line with the current (bear) market and still way cheaper than many rewards cards that came prior to Chaos Legion.

Four more suggestions

  1. Create a guild building where each level in the building would give a 1% discount when unlocking these cards. It would cost 500k DEC per level and they could get up to 50 levels.

  2. I would come out with a new potion that increases the odds of multiple cards showing up in each chest instead of just doing it based on league. This potion would not be buyable but instead would come from guild brawl rewards at first to encourage actual game play and community participation. The ultimate goal though would be to make it the main battle pass reward. Completing levels in the battle pass would give you these potions and that would become the only way to get them.

  3. I would not wait until the end of the run to allow unlocking the cards. I would allow players unlock and sell or rent additional copies once they have fully maxed out their own copies of a card. THis would make it a race to max a card because the first to do it would make the most money on the secondary market. Higher leagues should be able to max out first. Three months after the first card is maxed by someone, this run of cards ends no matter what and the next set of rewards cards comes out. Just seems fun to me.

  4. I would remove the penalty for using these cards when they are below your league. It makes no sense in this regard.

Will soulbound rewards thwart bots?

Bot farms are here to make money. Up until now they've been a double edged sword for the economy. They increased the print rate on rewards cards and they encouraged the team to 10x the CL pack numbers, thus directly leading to the supply glut we now have. Oversupply of cards and DEC has been worse for the game's economy than the bear market.

Bots, and much of the sentiment around them, can discourage some people from playing and this ca nbe damaging.

The other edge of the sword is that bots are the single biggest users of Splinterlands assets. The biggest predictor of value for the entire Splinterlands economy is how useful the assets are in the game no matter who is using them. If there's more assets than there are uses for them, prices of everything will plunge. With all the current oversupply we have, we need bots to hold up the economy. At least for now.

How do Soulbound rewards change the bot equation?

The biggest problem with bots is that they increase the print rate. This was a structural problem with the game more than it was a problem with bots. Soulbound rewards fixes this structure and removes the biggest economic negative of bots. Of course its not perfect because at some time they will be able to unlock them but they will first have to pay to do it.

Will soulbound cards just replace ghost card exploits?

A floating theory is that bots will earn a few of these soulbound cards and then use them to bot the game forever without contributing anything else ever. Just a free SPS drip forever that will be duplicated thousands of times.

If they can do this, it would be really bad for the game but, does it really make sense to do? I don't think they can though.

Why it probably won't work

There are 43 total soulbound cards. Just a few for each splinter. How long would it take for players and bots with larger decks to pick out the few strategies these bots run and shut it down? A week or two?

They'd almost never win so they'd stay low level. Their win percentage would be so low that when they did win it would barely reward them so they'd build up almost no chests to get sps or to level up their cards. Ultimately I doubt it would be worth the computing power or electricity to run a bot farm like that, let alone the cost to buy the spell book.

Then there's the issue with CP or later, sps staking requirements. Even if you're am SPS whale delegating your SPS to your bot farm, wouldn't you rather stake it on someone who will win some games with their ECR than run a bot farm that loses 9 out of 10 times and gives almost no rewards for those few wins? Even if you already have the accounts with spellbooks sitting idle, this seems like a dumb strategy.

Turning exploiters into renters

I think anyone who tried it would quickly realize they need to boost their win percentage to make it viable and the only way to do that is to buy or rent cards. So no change from what we have today.

I do think we will see more bots. I think we're already seeing more bots. But I don't think it will be because of this strategy. And other than pissing people off, I think it will be a positive for the economy unlike what it used to be. This is especially true when we get SPS staking.
Screen Shot 20230124 at 5.28.24 AM.png

Making Rewards More Valuable to Players

Currently you don't need to earn rewards cards to play with them. In fact, to be competitive you have to buy (or rent) them all as soon as possible. Once everyone who wants them to be competitive has them, rewards cards just become low value chests you gloss over when opening.

But if you can't buy them, opening chests that have cards in them will be fun and help your game. Legendary cards will feel like jackpots again.

This is great for engagement. In a time when many serious players just rent their cards out half the season which drives card value down, they will now be more likely to play their own cards and maybe even rent other cards. Even if you're just going to bot your account, it has the same effect.

And since you can use legendary and alchemy potions on your rewards chests now, players will actually be happy to see potions. That's especially true if they intend on opening packs too because suddenly everyone won't be drowning in them. Some might even need to buy the damn things by burning some DEC. Imagine that.

Soulbound reward cards are good for the game

For all these reasons and more I can't wait to see these implemented into the game.

The team right now is obsessed with burning DEC to get the flywheel going. This doesn't matter. At least not yet. Because all assets in this game compete with each other, we need the overall amount of assets in circulation to go down. The game needs to become deflationary until the player growth matches the assets in the game.

In other words, burning DEC for an equal value of cards or burning DEC and vouchers for DEC-B is not going to save this economy. All that stuff is just market manipulation and it will never work. Its taking money from your left pocket and putting it in your right pocket and pretending you're richer now.

To accomplish a deflationary game, they need to make people want to spend on things that don't create new assets (or at least offset the assets they create). Luckily there are a ton of these opportunities right now and soulbound rewards are leading the way. Things like land potions, SPS player staking, soul bound rewards, unlimited staking and burning of cards to improve land production, and card staking on tower defense could work together to change this game's fortune and make your investment worth a lot more in the long run.

Screen Shot 20230124 at 5.29.50 AM.png

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta


I hope you're right. My biggest worry is that all these new cards are going to make many of the ones we now own obsolete. For example, Kelya is now worth much less than Lux Vega just in the Water Splinter alone. That doesn't even account for what it can do in the other splinters. One extra health for the team for only one more mana is huge. Fortunately, Lux is expensive and there's a limited supply so it's not completely game-breaking, but that's my biggest concern. I'd hate to see the value of my current cards get nerfed because there are new-and-improved versions coming out.

Of course, if the game picks up a bunch of users again, that problem goes away. Time will tell.

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta


I think they messed up with Lux Vega. They tried to make it the sister card to archmage arius which is 5 mana. They should have looked at it like they did with these new soulbound summoners where they said conscript is worth three mana and they also all have another ability that other 3 mana summoners have so its 6 mana. Kelya plus 1 life is already 7. Making it neutral should have easily added another 3. Should have been a 10 mana card for sure. But hopefully in time the 1000 copies of the card will be so small compared to the player base that it won't matter.

What I've been thinking for a little while now is the team are looking at cards more as tools than as investments. And it makes sense if you consider that there are probably going to be about 150 cards added to the game each year and they are going to keep having to do things to make them more interesting and more "must have" to the player base. New abilities stronger cards, modern cards that replace the older editions, poor mans versions, etc.

Coming off the 2021 run I think we all have that idea that cards are meant to matter. But what I'm coming to believe now is that every aspect of this game, the Splinterlands company, the platform they're building around it, etc are all a means to drive value to SPS. SPS is all that matters and the rest can be sacrificed.


Well, if SPS succeeds then, yes, everything else can be secondary. But 5 billion tokens is a LOT of tokens to get a handle on to make them all worth $1 or more. Obviously there will be a lot tied up with staking, in the DAO, etc., but that's still a lot of volume that needs to happen each day just to eat up the daily sellers. I think their best bet is going to make the cards the premiere asset and the SPS a valuable access token. People will need SPS to play the game so hopefully they can build enough utility that the game gets a few million users and can ebb and flow with developments. We'll see. I've got both so...not enough SPS yet but I'm getting there.


I hear you. There's a lot of SPS but I don't think it's too much over the long haul if things go well.

The total supply is actually 3 billion. It's still not small but it's better than 5 billion. And 65 million has already been burned so the total supply right now is only 2.93 billion.

The crazy thing is even though DEC hasn't been to peg since they implemented the SPS burn mechanic for DEC, almost 2 million SPS has already been burned for DEC. I can only assume that was from people testing the feature? That's 1/1500th of the supply burned for DEC at a time its detrimental to do it.

Once theres actually a need to burn SPS for DECthings could get interesting. I don't think it will be the rocket fuel that Aggy and matt thinks it will be but a lot of SPS will be burned.

I wouldn't be surprised if by the time we get the entire supply released (4 years), we are actually closer to 2.1 or 2.2 billion. Of course the higher SPS goes, the less of it will be burned to get the same amount of DEC so eventually the burn rate will slow way down.

But looking at that 2ish billion, I think we could lock up 500 million between the DAO, node holders, a few CEXs and DEXs, and probably 3rd party companies staking for access to platform features or running their own games. That leaves about 1.5 billion to go around to hopefully a few million players.

Who knows what the future is but I'm just watching what they're doing and its looking like their ultimate goal is to make the platform and model Splinterlands is built on the main product. Splinterlands is their proof of concept to sell to other companies and SPS is the centerpiece of everything. Cards can't really be that.


This is not the first post of yours I've read and I love your reasoning! I came to roughly the same conclusions when I read this update. Only where are the upvotes? This post is clearly worth more!


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Thanks so much. My reasoning has ruffled a few feathers in the past so I never got a lot of upvotes but now it's been a few months since I've been writing on here so I'm off everyone's radar. It's ok though. I really just wrote this to clear my head. Thanks for the tips and the reblog!



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