A hacker found a method to make off with 21 million packs of Magic: The Gathering cards on MTG Arena for less than the price of one. By his calculations, he effectively bought $20 million of cards for under a dollar, completing his collection in seconds flat.
Threat researcher Daniel Mayer pulled off this ‘heist’ by bamboozling MTG Arena’s system, making an astronomically large order to overflow the price calculation and reset it to close to zero. He actually ended up at net positive gems, because Arena pays you out in gems for duplicate rares and mythics (and it takes far fewer than 21 million packs before you’ve got four copies of each card).
Fortunately for Wizards of the Coast, Daniel Mayer is one of those ‘white hat’ hackers, who finds bugs and hacks and helps companies to fix them. “I reported it to them April 18, and they patched it in the most recent patch,” he explains.
Mayer says he wasn’t hired to find holes in MTG Arena’s security, but started poking around due to his existing interest in the game. “I play paper magic from time to time and so I gave Arena a spin,” he tells Wargamer. “I work professionally as a malware reverse engineer so I am familiar with the tools needed to ‘look under the hood’ so to speak, so I did!”
In the past, Mayer explains, Wizards has offered him a “small bounty” of ingame currency for finding other problems its security and engineering teams can fix. For instance, in late March, Mayer figured out how to force his opponents to concede through a cheat, winning games with just a single click.
On social media, Mayer celebrated his “first game hack of real monetary significance”. If you’re into coding, you can read more technical details on how the hack was performed over on his blog.
Ultimately, Mayer says he’s not planning to stick with Arena, explaining that “Most of the fun of Magic for me is chatting with my friends while playing, which is lost in the digital version”. We’re sure Wizards is breathing a sigh of relief now this digital danger is turning his sights elsewhere.
We approached Wizards of the Coast for comment on this story, but haven’t received a response at time of publication.
We don’t have a secret method for getting millions of packs, but you can get at least a few with our complete list of all MTG Arena codes.