Best Way to Spend Money and Gems

This is a discussion mainly aimed at F2Pers (free to play players) who are debating what to spend their precious few gems on.

It seems to be the general wisdom of these forums that the best value for using gems is buying gold (for upgrades and store epics) or the Arena 5 magic chest (for more total cards). The A6 chest is looked down upon because it costs substantially more, and god forbid anyone suggest speeding chest unlock time. These assumptions always bothered me, so as the 500 gem threshold is sight and I want to make the most educated decision, I decided to calculate the “value” of the three main avenues for spending them. And since my work/boredom filler might as well benefit more than just myself, here are my findings.

TLDR: by comparing the rarity of cards to their unit cost in the store, the highest “value” by far is buying rares 3x daily, followed by speeding chests, then buying store epics, with magic chests bringing up the rear. But you might just want to buy gold and use it to upgrade your cards, as gold cost is a bigger obstacle than card numbers.

First, let’s define value: Supercell has set up a “power pyramid” of either 4:1 or 5:1 ratios between commons and rares, and between rares and epics. You can compare the requirements to upgrade “equal” level cards here ( and only once is the ratio different (3.3:1 for level 8 epics compared to L10 rares).

In order to upgrade your cards equally, you would then need to find 1 epic for every 4-5 rares you get, and 1 rare for every 4-5 commons. Unfortunately this is not at all the case: the actual numbers are closer to 1 epic for every 15 rares, and 1 rare for every 9.6 commons. (I will detail how I get to these numbers below!) This means that rares are twice as scarce as they “should” be to keep up with commons, with epics being ~3 times as scarce relative to rares, and ~6 times relative to commons.

Further complicating matters is that the price for cards in the shop reflects neither the “power pyramid” ratio, nor the actual rarity of cards found in chests. One epic is 2000 gold, which is enough to buy 50 single rares, 34 rares if bought in triplicate daily, down to the rarity breakeven at 7x daily, where you can pick up ~15 total rares for 2k gold. (I will ignore commons, since they are so many more available that they aren’t worth spending serious gold on.) So, while an epic is by far the most valuable type of card, rares are so much easier to acquire through the shop that they’re a better bang for your (limited) buck.

Which brings us to those 500 gems burning a hole in our pockets. I’ll compare the benefits of 10 000 gold, 83.3 hours of A6 chest openings (1h = 6gems) and 5/6th of an A6 magic chest (originally I included the A5, but they’re currently also 600 gems, so there’s not much point), and then try to combine them into an abstract “value” to be compared. I’m choosing Arena 6 for a number of reasons: it’s the current “endgame” for anyone not spending money, 500 gems takes a long time to acquire so A6 is not a difficult milestone to reach before then, and both chests and chest opening times are less valuable in lower arenas. The smart F2Per will be waiting until A6 to spend gems, even if they do end up buying gold.

As to the average contents of a chest, my data comes from /u/balancegenerally ‘s chest survey (, as well as using Supercell’s recent post on Epic {793653e60bf2c6d512788183170b80ea7e347e273e595c4683e29e4155b44414} in Magic Chests ( when the survey data does not match official sources. Note that the survey is still in its infancy, so the numbers I’m playing with should not be assumed to be perfect: feel free to submit your own chest data to help improve it! ( I’ve also combined the data from free and silver chests, and crown and gold chests, to increase the data set and hopefully the accuracy; there’s always the chance that the different chests don’t actually have the same odds, but so far they’re close enough that I’m willing to work with them this way.

We’ll start with the easy ones. An A6 magic chest will contain 78 cards: on average 60.24 commons, 15.14 rares and 2.6 epics, as well as 585 gold. Costing 600 gems in the store, we’ll adjust its value by 5/6th:

65 cards, 50.2 commons, 12.62 rares, 2.17 epics, and 487.5 gold

10 000 gold will buy you:

5 single epics or 172.4 triplicate rares

That was easy! Let’s finish it off, then. All we need to do is calculate the value of an average hour of chest opening. That shouldn’t take long, right?

A common misconception is that the chests you receive are in any way random. There is a ordered list of 240 chests that the game cycles through (, from line 9 to 248. All credit to/u/leoxo ). In this cycle are 180 silver chests, 57 gold chests and 3 magic chests (they are the 12th, 132nd and 204th). As they take 3, 8 and 12 hours to open, respectively, we can figure out that a complete “cycle” takes 1032 hours. While I can’t tell you exactly how much you’ll get for your 83.3 hours of gemmed chests, I don’t really need to since even if you don’t get a single magic chest in that time, you’re still bringing them that much closer to you. The average contents of the three chests you’re rushing are as follows:

Silver = 7.23 commons, 0.73 rares, 0.04 epics, 58.5 gold

Gold = 23.57 commons, 2.29 rares, 0.14 epics, 195 gold

Magic = 60.26 commons, 15.14 rares, 2.6 epics, 585 gold

In a full 1032 hour cycle, this means:

ST = 1301.4 commons, 131.4 rares, 7.2 epics, 10 530 gold

GT = 1343.49 commons, 130.53 rares, 7.98 epics, 11 115 gold

MT = 180.78 commons, 45.42 rares, 7.8 epics, 1 755 gold

And so, drumroll, our 83.3 hours of gems buys us:

228.17 commons, 24.82 rares, 1.85 epics, 1 889.5 gold

We’re not ready to add this all up yet, because 1032 hours is 43 days of also getting free and crown chests. I’m going to round this up to 45 because only the most anal of us are perfectly running chest openings 24/7. I will also assume that you’re only getting 5 out of the 6 possible free chests per day, for a total of 225, though I will count 45 crown chests since they’re easy to work around (see, I’m throwing you a bone, really OCD people!). This gives us an extra:

FT = 1626.75 commons, 164.25 rares, 9 epics, 13 162.5 gold

CT = 1060.65 commons, 103.05 rares, 6.3 epics, 8 775 gold

For a grand total of:

5513.07 commons, 574.65 rares, 38.28 epics, 45 337 gold 6126 cards

Not bad for a month and a half’s work! (Also, it was from this total that I calculated the 15:1 and 9.6:1 rarity ratios used at the beginning.)

Let’s recap, then. Our 500 gems can either get us:

Magic Chest = 65 cards, 50.2 commons, 12.62 rares, 2.17 epics, and 487.5 gold

Gold = 5 epics = 172.4 rares = some combination of the two

Open Chest = 228.17 commons, 24.82 rares, 1.85 epics, 1 889.5 gold

Off the bat, we can write off the magic chest. It is just inferior on every level to opening chests (1.5k extra gold means even if all you care about is epics, you’re still better off OCing). The only way I could recommend buying magic chests is if you have a level of disposable income I can only dream of.

That leaves us with two contenders, and a need to create some sort of referenceable concept of “value”. Let’s go back to the three card types:

To Max

Commons: 120 204 cards

Rares: 26 404 cards

Epics: 6804 cards


17.67 : 3.88 : 1 (C:R:E)

4.55 : 1 (C:R)

Time to acquire

C: 981 days (~2.7 years)

R: 2 068 days (~5.7 years)

E: 7 998 days (~22 years)

And you thought upgrading walls in CoC was a grind! Let’s also see what it would take to get all your cards to “tournament level” (8, 6, 3 respectively):

To Tmax

C: 5404 cards (44 days)

R: 1204 cards (94 days)

E: 84 cards (99 days)

This seems like a reasonable goal, and I’m happy to see Supercell was accurate about their claim that FTPers should be able to field a tournament roster within 3 months. With randomness, you won’t have every epic at 3, but you should have a proper selection and guild donations should ensure you have the exact rares you want. But… we haven’t looked at gold cost yet:

Gold Cost to Max

C: 1 198 750g (1890 days)

R: 1 198 400g (1889 days)

E: 1 195 600g (1187 days)

Gold Cost to Tmax

C: 50 750g

R: 50 400g

E: 19 600g

Time to acquire

120 days (cummulative)

It’s interesting to see that you will get the cards necessary to upgrade both commons and rares twice as fast as you’ll have the gold to upgrade them (~ 5 years to get the gold for commons, ~ 10 years for rares as well.) Of course, that’s not how people upgrade their cards, preferring a balance… but it bears remembering that keeping all of your cards upgraded will be near impossible if you want to compete at the highest level possible. Also, while you can get Tournament Max cards within 3 months, it’ll take you an extra ~30 days for the required gold; reasonable, but worth noting nonetheless.

So, where does this leave us? If you intend to play Clash Royale for a significant amount of time, but want to stay FTP or spend minimal amounts of money, there are a few conclusions to draw from this data. First, forget epics. 22 years to max means they’ll always be inferior, power-wise, to your commons and rares. You might make an exception for “unique effect” epics like Freeze, but your Baby Dragon is not going to be worth keeping up to date. Also, with what we’ve witnessed with Xbow’s multiple nerfs, no card is safe from rebalancing concerns: today’s game changer might be tomorrow’s Zap. Except that you don’t have to invest a ridiculous amount of effort into keeping Zap up to date.

Commons are going to be extremely plentiful. It’ll take ~1 year to get them all to lvl 11, one under max. So, in my opinion it just isn’t worth investing significant resources in acquiring them (by all means buy a couple every day, since they’re a positive trade while donating). That leaves us with rares: a collection of very potent cards that can be the backbone of a deck, that are difficult but not impossible to get to the needed levels. You might never get them maxed, but you’ll get close enough to let skill beat raw power. Therefore, my concept of “value” is going to be rare cards. And with that established, 10 000g gives you a purchasing power that opening chests just can’t get you. We’re talking ~172 rare cards worth of gold, compared to 57.5 rares (25 from chests and 32.5 worth of gold) + 1.85 epics.

Honestly, your best option might just be to keep the 10k gold and use it to upgrade your cards. It’s the most boring choice, but gold ends up being the biggest roadblock if you’re trying to keep more than just your one battle deck up to date. I’m not willing to stake a definitive claim on which is the best option (rushing chests intermittently would let you run chests 24/7 by finishing them off before bed/work and starting the appropriate next one, which indirectly gives you more cards than you would otherwise have, for example) but I’m curious what everyone thinks.

Feel free to criticize the math: I’ve tried to keep it as simple as possible, but it’s possible I overlooked something or made a stupid mistake.


Post via Reddit. Comment below and let us know what you think.


  1. I just got to lvl 6 and now I am almost at arena 7 with 1.9k trophies, never spent any gold. Feel free to look me up at mortality clan my name is Spoderman, what do you suggest I spend my gems on?

Leave a Reply