Splinterlands Card Airdrop Math - Should You Be Buying Packs?

Image from Gyazo

Lots of people who are getting into Splinterlands for the first time are super excited about the card airdrops we get every million packs sold. I am too!

There's lots of confusion on the expectations though, so this post is going to work through some of the math involved. Please note, I am not representing what Splinterlands will actually do here. I am just trying to help people understand how the calculations are influenced.

Let's get started

OK, so the fundamental thing to understand is that the goal of the airdrop is to introduce a new card to the deck and make it playable. This means that the population of the airdropped cards after the airdrop should be roughly equal to other cards of the same type.

So far, all the airdrops for Chaos Legion have been Legendary.

Image from Gyazo

We'll ignore Blight since that was a presale special and not a regular airdrop. Other than Dr. Blight, we have 21 Legendary cards. As we close in on 7 million packs sold, how many of each Legendary card should we expect?

Bottom End Projection

If we assume no Legendary Potions were used, we would expect the number of Legendary Cards to be:

7,000,000 packs x 5 cards/pack x 0.008 (probability of legendary) = 280,000 Legendary Cards

Then we take 280,000 and divide by 21 to get the expected number of BCX per card.

280,000 / 21 = 13,333 BCX poplation per Legendary Card

Top End Projection

If we assume every pack was opened with a Legendary Potion then the probability changes from 0.008 to 0.016. So instead of 280,000 total Legendary Cards we get 560,000 total and 26,666 BCX population per card.

Airdrop Equivalency

So, if we are getting a 22nd Legendary then we need enough airdropped on pack buyers to get to an equivalent population of cards. In other words, roughly 13,333 BCX of the new card should be airdropped.

7,000,000 packs / 13,333 airdrops = 525 packs per airdrop

or if we assume the top end projection, we get

7,000,000 packs / 26,666 airdrops = 263 packs per airdrop (note: mancer has said they don't take potions into account)

Complications

Of course, it's not going to be that simple. Only about 1/3 of purchased packs have been opened. If they airdrop at the full rate, that will create way more of the newly airdropped card in play than other populations of Legendary Cards.

Looking at the Legendary Cards that were available from launch, their populations are all around 12,000, below the 13,333 with no potions and way below the 26,666 with potions.

Ifrit Rising Population

And we see that is what has happened to Iza:

Iza the Fanged Population

So packs opened after the Iza airdrop are able to increase the population even more, so it's likely that the number of Izas will continue to be about 50% more than the population of launch Legendary Cards.

Adding to this complication is the community expectations set by making the first 3 airdrop cards have a guaranteed airdrop per 350 packs. So now the mental anchoring is in that ballpark and yaba will have to balance the salt coming from the community versus the long term value of the next airdrop.

Salty

So What is the Answer????

I dunno! Realistically, it should be a really high number of packs to get a guaranteed airdrop. If we take the 12,000 real population numbers, then we are looking at:

7,000,000 / 12,000 = 583 packs per guaranteed airdrop.

But I can hear the whining from here about the jump from 350 to 583 (or 575 to keep it cleaner), and it's not even directed at me!

Like everyone else, I am eagerly awaiting what will actually be the case as we get closer and closer to 7,000,000 packs sold.

Should I Buy More Packs?

Regardless of what happens with this next airdrop, the ones that are still on the way are the legendary summoners. I think $4 is a super low price to get access to the full set of those, but that only works if you are buying 1,000 or more packs so you can get an appreciable number of those airdrops.

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12 comments
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Thanks for doing the math, I knew the theoretical number would go up because of the number of unopened packs, but did not expect it to increase that much! You make a good point about the dev team having to balance community expectations against actually having an even card supply. Definitely not an easy decision, but I guess that's why they (or I guess we) are paying them the big bucks 🤣

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Having been in Splinterlands right from the beginning I am not paying much attention to the current prices of the cards. I look back to all the cards I had and the year it took for them to finally reach the levels we are at now. Opening a CL pack and immediately deciding you are in the red is just foolish and not very forward thinking in my opinion. Great analysis of the Legendary drops. I try to use potions for all of my opening and I made sure to buy at least 750 packs so I could level my airdops to level 2.

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Was trying to figure this out myself and it really comes down to how you want to play the game/market and what you believe will happen.

Sure getting airdrops are nice but you could buy these cards off the market for stupid low prices. I think most are $40 or lower right now which means 10 packs lol

However if you have the capital and buy packs you not only get the SPS airdrop points but you also get the chance to get the airdrop those are two big things to factor in as well. If you hold the packs and sell them once they all sell out a few months down the line you also most likely could sell them for $8 a pop a 100% markup or better (pure speculation)

For myself personally and my goals I want to max out a Chaos deck which means buying some cards off the market right now. Once I get that I plan on going full swing into just buying packs and hodling them for after all of Choas sells out simply for profit. I know people can look down on that but seriously it's all fair game right? They could be buying packs themselves for $4 right now but didn't so don't get mad at me when I charge you $8 when they are in limited supply.

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First of all, I like you to write more/often. It is always good for users like us to read what you and others are thinking to gaze the market and get exposed to new products :)
The calculations in the post were pretty complex for a beginner like me. I had 42 packs that I bought when vouchers were super expensive in the first round. I am not sure if I am green or red but I think I have accumulated the worth of my initial investment. The next step is to play the game.

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I'm cool with the airdrop numbers going up to 1 card per 600 packs just guarantee the gold legendary at either 15k(potions and half old gold burn value) or 30k packs. getting that many and then having to buy the golds off the market anyways feels real bad and if the regular ones get that much rarer the gold ones are going to be a crap shot even if you got that many packs.

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I understand your math and I support your proposal to increase the pack limit for guaranteed cards per Airdrop. When I thin this further, this number should stay on the same value for all future upcoming airdrops, correct?

In the end the number you suggest depends on the percentage a normal legendary card can be drawn from a pack. When more packs are sold, more airdrop cards need to be given to pack buyers to even this out.

The only factor that should influence the number of packs needed for future airdrops would be the % of opened packs. The less packs are opened, the higher the limit should be. Did I understand your posting correctly?

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(Edited)

thanks for doing the math, you are probably right but still 2k$ for 1 extra guarantee drop card seems a bit expensive for me

People wont open packs until legendary airdrops are released, those seems to be the biggest incentive right now to hold packs

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I was expecting the amount of packs needed for a gauranteed drop to increase in previous drops but it didn't (thanks for the favorable odds Splinterlands). Its no surprise to me this time around we needed 500.

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This is some amazing math. I would love to see this dragged out to the next steps. Expected airdrop rates for the next airdrops now that we've seen the number come in at 500 and expected value of airdrop points in USD based on extrapolations of what the legendary summoners might be worth.

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