5* featured crystal experiment

Immediate disclaimer: this is not a statistical analysis. Sample size is too small for that. This is more of a (hopefully) interesting anecdote, with some quantitative observations.

TL;DR: Don't buy featured 5* crystals unless you really know what you're doing. And even then, maybe think twice.

So when the current (or perhaps by the time this is read the previous) 5* featured crystal was announced I noticed something interesting, at least relative to my roster. For the record, this is the contents of that crystal: Emma Frost, Ghost, Heimdall, Korg, Omega Red, Red Skull, Blade, Captain America, Carnage, Cyclops Blue, Daredevil, Doctor Voodoo, Dormammu, Howard the Duck, Karnak, Morningstar, Old Man Logan, Quake, Rhino, Spider-man, Symbiote Spider-man, Star Lord, Thor Jane Foster, and Venom. The interesting thing is that compared to my roster, I only had three of them: Blade, Howard the Duck, and Star Lord. And Star Lord was unawakened. So my thought was: there's only one real dud: Howard. All twenty three others were either new champs, awakening a champ worth awakening (Star Lord) or worst case adding sigs to a champ that it wasn't the end of the world to add sigs to.

At the time, I had about 53 5* champs. That means I had very roughly half of all the 5* champs in the 5* basic crystal (I didn't actually try to count them, so this was just a rough estimate). In other words, half of all my basic crystals are likely to generate new champs and the other half dups. So I would be spending about 20k for each new champ. With the featured crystal, I would be spending closer to 17k for each new champ. There are other considerations of course, like dups generating 6* shards (more on that later) but I decided to take a shot at trying to increase my 5* roster to help with arena grinding, and rather than seek the absolute optimal way to do that (which would involve pulling 5* featureds up to a specific point where the odds flipped and then stop) I decided to commit to pulling nothing but featureds until this iteration ended, and to try to pull as many as possible. Fortunately for me (or unfortunately, depending on how you see the end result), this was a particularly good time to get shards: end of year offers, bonus calendars, special events. I managed to get my last featured on the last day before they expired (as I write this, today).

Cut to the chase, here are my pulls:

Blade (pre, sigs)
Captain America (new)
Emma Frost (new)
Howard the Duck (pre, sigs)
Karnak (new)
Korg (new)
Karnak (awaken)
Quake (new)
Emma Frost (awaken)
Thor Jane Foster (new)
Star Lord (pre, awaken)
Blade (rep, sigs)
Captain America (awaken)
Old Man Logan (new)
Dr. Voodoo (new)
Rhino (new)

"Pre" means I possessed the champ before I started these pulls, "sigs" mean that pull added sigs to an already awakened champ, and "new" and "awaken" are obvious. That's sixteen pulls in ninety days, about one pull every five and a half days. That is *way* above my normal average due to the much higher than normal 5* shard earning rate that was possible for me during that period of time. I even grinded my fingers off doing other arenas besides the 5* featured to add more 5* and even 4* shards to help out. I don't think I have fingerprints any more.

So how do I evaluate the result? Well, first of all sixteen featureds is as many shards as twenty four basics. I would have expected to get something in the neighborhood of twelve dups and twelve new champs from that many basics. I ended up with nine new champs and seven dups. That's not so good. Bonus suck points for pulling Howard the Duck, the only champ I didn't want, in the first four pulls.

On the other hand, I would have to say that six of the pulls are unquestionably great pulls. Emma - both pulled and awakened - are great pulls. Korg, Quake, and Dr. Voodoo are great pulls. Awakening my Star Lord is a great pull. Another two would have been great for a lot of other players but was only okay for me: both times I pulled Blade. Six unquestionably great pulls would have been a pretty good result out of twenty four basic crystals. That's 25%. Eight great pulls for any player that didn't have those champs or Blade would have been 33% of the pulls. That would have been fantastic for basic crystals.

The opportunity cost of doing this was substantial. Statistically speaking I would have probably gotten about twelve dups of some kind from the basic crystals, which amounts to 3300 6* shards. I only awakened/duped four from the featured crystals, which is only 1100 6* shards. In effect, I added about one month to when I will get my next 6* crystal (2200 shards is close to what you get from each monthly uncollected).

If my calculations are correct, and its been a while since I've had to estimate this kind of thing, I should have gotten about ten new champions out of sixteen crystals - the odds drop for getting a new one every time you get a new one, so it is not 14 (21/24 * 16). So I got slightly less than the odds indicated. But that's pretty close. In fact, if I was doing this purely for efficiency, rather than crazy, I should have stopped at Korg. At that point I pulled four new champs, which means the odds of pulling a new champ became 17/24 and the cost per new champ would be about 24/17 * 15k ~= 21k. That's now higher than opening basics.

I will admit that on pull number five, after pulling Howard the Duck and Karnak back to back, and thus having drawn only one champ out of five that I really wanted (Emma) I considered pulling the plug on the whole thing. And the next four pulls were just a rollercoaster: Karnak, Korg, Karnak, Quake.

At the end of the day, I'm not disappointed with the results, but I think even having done it, and even having gotten decent results, I *still* don't recommend buying featured 5* crystals, unless you really, really know what you're doing. I did, and I can live with the result, but losing a quarter of a 6* champ to get these results is a high price to pay. It worked out for me, but just barely I think.

To repeat the TL;DR: Don't buy featured 5* crystals unless you really know what you're doing. And even then, maybe think twice.

PS: on the last day, I opened a pair of 4* crystals hoping to get enough shards to push me to my last featured. One generated a max sig crystal.

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I'm going to call this reparations for those two Karnak pulls.

Comments

  • allinashesallinashes Posts: 414 ★★
    Interesting write-up. I had never really considered the opportunity cost of missed 6* shards, but it's definitely there. I'm usually focused on a champ I want to get from featureds rather than an overall strategy, but I might think twice next time.

    This time I wanted an Omega Red, but didn't end up pulling him. I only opened 8 crystals and I got Korg X2, Emma, Rhino, Cap, Carnage, Quake, and Starlord. Emma was my second choice after Omega Red so I'm satisfied. The only dupe was Rhino.

    That's two crystals in a row where I only did featureds, and while I really want Aegon, I will probably take a break from featureds for a while and open some basics.

    Nice pull on the Immortal Iron Fist btw.
  • LeNoirFaineantLeNoirFaineant Posts: 5,135 ★★★★★
    @DNA3000 It was absolutely worth it for Emma/Korg/SL dupe. At this point a couple of difference making champs are worth more than many bad pulls even with the extra iso and 6* shards you'd get from basics. I opened 10. Red Skull, Howard, Dorm 2xs, Venom (dupe) Beast, SL (took to max sig) Emma, Carnage, Quake. I'm disappointed inasmuch as I really wanted Ghost and Korg. Still really happy with Emma and Quake. Sort of happy with duping Venom. On the whole though I got a couple of champs worth ranking that I didn't already have and probably wouldn't have from 15 basics.
  • DrZolaDrZola Posts: 2,825 ★★★★★
    @DNA3000 @LeNoirFaineant definitely worth it in my opinion, although I’m cautious to use a hindsight evaluation as a determinant of prospective decisions. Smaller sample size (partly because of dialing back and partly because I didn’t save at all leading up to year end), but I chose the alternative route of choosing basics over a month or so before finally popping one featured last week. That netted me the likes of Yondu, CW, OML, Luke Cage, Elektra and someone else as my “standout” pulls, among other lesser lights. My lone featured 5* awarded me the last 20 dupe levels on my 5* Blade. So...over perhaps ~90K shards, I failed to nab any game changer pulls while (albeit over a larger sample) you pulled 3-4.

    I would say that is a better result.

    Dr. Zola
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 8,919 Guardian
    @DNA3000 It was absolutely worth it for Emma/Korg/SL dupe. At this point a couple of difference making champs are worth more than many bad pulls even with the extra iso and 6* shards you'd get from basics. I opened 10. Red Skull, Howard, Dorm 2xs, Venom (dupe) Beast, SL (took to max sig) Emma, Carnage, Quake. I'm disappointed inasmuch as I really wanted Ghost and Korg. Still really happy with Emma and Quake. Sort of happy with duping Venom. On the whole though I got a couple of champs worth ranking that I didn't already have and probably wouldn't have from 15 basics.

    For me I think it was worth it. But because the costs to get those pulls were quite high in terms of forfeiting more 5* champs and 6* shards, it is difficult to recommend to someone unless they really know what they are getting into. It can be psychologically painful to see so many 5* shards end up in suboptimal pulls. But in any random reward situation like this, the bad pulls are the cost for the good ones. You have to be willing to pay that cost.

    Unless a bonanza crystal comes along, I will probably switch back to basics for a while, at least until I get a few more 6* champs. I'd consider pulling a few featureds if the value was high enough, but I probably wouldn't go all out like this again. But who knows.
  • DNA3000DNA3000 Posts: 8,919 Guardian
    allinashes wrote: »
    Interesting write-up. I had never really considered the opportunity cost of missed 6* shards, but it's definitely there. I'm usually focused on a champ I want to get from featureds rather than an overall strategy, but I might think twice next time.

    This time I wanted an Omega Red, but didn't end up pulling him. I only opened 8 crystals and I got Korg X2, Emma, Rhino, Cap, Carnage, Quake, and Starlord. Emma was my second choice after Omega Red so I'm satisfied. The only dupe was Rhino.

    That's two crystals in a row where I only did featureds, and while I really want Aegon, I will probably take a break from featureds for a while and open some basics.

    Nice pull on the Immortal Iron Fist btw.

    FYI, the champ I actually wanted most in this crystal was Omega Red. Perfectly happy with Emma and Korg, but Omega Red was the one I wanted. Grass always greener, of course.
  • zeezee57zeezee57 Posts: 2,118 ★★★★
    I opened a bunch gunning for Emma or Ghost and got a heaping helping of trash pulls after trash pulls. Congrats on the good ones you got, I'd be ecstatic to have had similar results.

    Just to say i switched over to featured after having X-23 as my only good-great 5* after about 20 basic openings and hit on two featured of the previous one getting IW Cap and Corvus. Almost every single basic I've opened has been absolutely worthless, with even my decent 5* coming from featured crystals. You're spot on that it's a gambling and generally not one worth taking. I'll be switching back to basic since my top 5-10 most wanted champs aren't in this featured, but also knowing the odds i ever get one from the basic are low to start, and basically zero with the rng my account gets.
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