Honestly, I didn’t even want Baron Davis.
The starting point guard spot on my team was already reserved for galaxy opal Dwyane Wade, and initially, getting B-Diddy looked like too much of a hassle. But heading into the final weekend of Season 3, I kind of fell back-a**words into most of the cards needed simply through having fun and playing the game.
Except of course, for pink diamond Richard Jefferson.
I saw him a few times on Triple Threat Online boards but never could get a lucky ball drop. And man, that RNG is easily my least favorite part about MyTeam.
I want to earn something through blood, sweat, and tears, not blood, sweat, tears, AND THEN dumb luck. Grinding for Iman Shumpert and Jrue Holiday was extremely satisfying this season, as was LaMarcus Aldridge and Cuttino Mobley last season. Aaron Gordon, nope, not worth it (more on that later).
However, I was lucky enough to snag Morris Peterson, Ja Morant, and Allen Iverson, so I figured I might as well dive into the deep end of Limited during the last weekend of Season 3 to see if I could get myself an elusive pink diamond RJ.
Looking back on it now, the word “sweat” doesn’t adequately describe the experience. So while I try and think of a better word, I’ll go through and give my thoughts on “The Season of Giving,” which overall was actually the most engaged I’ve been in 2K21 MyTeam thus far.
Unlimited And Triple Threat Online
While I’m grateful that 2K still (eventually) gave us win-specific cards to grind for within these modes (Kiki, Alex English, etc.), the cards didn’t interest me enough to spend even a second of extra time dealing with online toxicity. This season, I essentially only played these modes when I could stack up enough XP to make it valuable.
I will mention, however, that playing online on next gen (I finally got a PS5!) is a better overall experience for me, specifically when it comes to playing defense, which is something I’ve always struggled with online. For whatever reason, it just clicked for me, and I find it — well, I won’t say easier, but more fair and reasonable when it comes to staying in front of an opponent and getting solid shot contests.
Next gen is not perfect, certainly, but it’s definitely my preferred way to play 2K21 now, regardless of the mode. Even the simple luxury of loading immediately into games is a huge quality of life improvement for me, so I’m really excited for the future of 2K as more development cycles come and go.
Triple Threat Offline
I played a TON of Triple Threat offline this season, mainly for XP, but also because there were cards I really wanted from the vault, like Wayne Embry.
After winning 375 games, Jeff Malone is unfortunately the only player I’ve managed to actually pull thus far. So again, the RNG kind of sucks. I would estimate that the vault opened about half of the time for me overall, which on paper sounds good, but I don’t feel like I have much to show for it.
That Jeff Malone card is great though, and really carried me during that one XP agenda item where I had to win a game with three Wizards players. So, ya know, trying to look on the bright side over here.
This was where I spent most of my time in Season 3, and the way that 2K gives out these challenges continues to impress. I would always welcome more challenges with better rewards, but I still picked up a lot of cards, badges, MT, packs, and tokens through the variety of challenge games available.
Working through challenges, specifically the Spotlights, was also where I earned most of my XP. So it’s not crazy to say that Vlade Divac wasn’t my ultimate prize for playing challenges, it was actually Dwyane Wade.
The XP Grind
Having a seasonal goal to structure my gameplay around is so great. Planning out the most efficient way to complete challenges and simultaneously earn XP really scratches an itch I didn’t even know I had. It’s quite satisfying to grind a Spotlight card, like the 10 games for Rick Fox for example, then go to my agenda panel afterwards and see how far I’ve progressed.
I know 150,000 XP seems like a lot, but I was consistently working through the levels and getting new cards to try along the way, opening free packs, and of course getting the chance to try my hand at the Ascension board.
I did mange to get Connie Hawkins on my last trip up the building, and he is an amazing card. I still can’t believe he’s free, actually. I also really loved using Shane Battier and Rudy Tomjanovich, so, it’s definitely possible to field a great team without spending a dime in MyTeam this year.
Unfortunately, I still succumbed to the dark side during Season 3.
It was sneaky of 2K to add next-gen VC into the 2K21 pre-order process. Once I did get my PS5, using that free 100,000 VC gave me a taste of something that I realized I missed: opening packs.
Between that VC and the $150 I spent over the course of Season 3, I managed to pull a few decent cards, including some pink diamonds. At the time, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was. But the best players I got (Walter Davis and Jason Williams) eventually were given away for free via the Christmas locker code, so unfortunately I lost a ton of potential MT by not selling early enough.
Walter Davis is a great card, though.
Overall, the sets that came out during Season 3 were stacked. If you are no money spent, there were many great budget cards to choose from. My favorites included amethyst Shawn Kemp (Double Take), amethyst Chris Paul (Retro Vol. 1), ruby Lamar Odom (Pantheon), and ruby Matisse Thybulle (Season of Giving).
Speaking of the “Season of Giving,” the MyTeam Festival, otherwise known as 2K’s attempt at the 12 days of Christmas, was well intentioned but not very well executed in my opinion.
They hyped up diamond (and pink diamond) cards, plus Hall of Fame badges, but I didn’t pull anything good. I think my best “gift” was a gold Clamps badge, which at least sold for a bit of MT. I guess those 12 packs were better than one token or 250 MT as far as daily logins go, but in the future (and I do hope there are more events like this), it would be great if 2K could do a better job of managing expectations. Like what were the actual odds of getting the above pink diamond LeBron?
Chris Webber is another great example of expectation management.
After getting some great Idols cards like Durant, Hill, and Magic — Chris Webber is a bit of a letdown as the lock-in reward. It’s cool that he was an opal, and he’s objectively a good card, but surely there’s a better player when you’re talking about locking in a million-plus MT? And I don’t think I’m alone here, as the price of Hill and the other Idols went down dramatically once Weber was announced.
I actually cashed in the MT I had saved up to that point to snag pink diamond Larry Bird, who is my favorite overall card so far in MyTeam (sorry D-Wade). The pic below includes some honorable mentions though, but for a different reason than you might think.
During Season 3, I became obsessed with finding cards in the auction house that I liked but also had unique badge upgrades (in addition to a diamond shoe or contract, if possible). For example, that Rudy Gobert (which is already a special “glitched” card that can shoot the 3-ball) has an added Hall of Fame Lob City Finisher, Heart Crusher, and Dimer badges. So now he’s a defensive beast who can shoot, throw down lobs, and make plays for his teammates.
Then diamond Carmelo has HOF Rebound Chaser and Rim Protector badges. Ruby Jonathan Isaac has HOF Heart Crusher, and can you believe I found him for 5K MT!? It’s amazing what people will add to cards and then toss away, especially considering how rare good HOF badges are. My diamond AK47 has HOF Catch and Shoot. Amethyst Steve Francis (one of my absolute favorite cards this year) has HOF Dimer and Posterizer (to add to HOF Highlight Film).
As I’ve said a zillion times, working the auction house is arguably the best game mode in MyTeam.
I wish Limited were the best game mode in MyTeam, and conceptually it has the potential to be with nice season-ending rewards, lineup restrictions, etc. But as I mentioned earlier in this article, the RNG is such a buzzkill.
In Season 3, I had a simple rule. I would dive into Limited each weekend until I won five games (which usually took me playing 8-10 games) and completed all of the “Win the Weekend” XP challenges. After that, I’d cut myself off. If I got a ring, great. If not, then no Aaron Gordon for me. I actually just wanted the HOF badge anyway, but would have taken Gordon if it worked out.
Six weeks and only three rings later, it obviously didn’t work out.
Now if there were some guarantee from 2K that if I won 10 games, I’d definitely see that ring right in the middle, I’d keep going until I won the 10 games. But I heard stories about people winning 20-plus games and not getting their ring. I just can’t spend that much time sweating for nothing.
But back to Richard Jefferson.
So on day one (Friday) of the last Limited weekend of Season 3, I stretched my restrictions a bit to play extra games. I “won the weekend’ relatively quickly, but after my five-ish games, I didn’t even see RJ. I did (like a lot of people) pick up some extra diamond Ja Morant cards and/or pink diamond Iversons.
So I figured Baron just wasn’t meant to to be, and I focused on finishing the XP grind for Wade. At that point, I was in the home stretch so on day two (Saturday) I finally made it happen.
Then later that evening, I heard about this tweet:
Hallelujah! 2K comes through in the clutch! Baron Davis would still be mine!
So, now I’m angry, and I immediately dive back into Limited.
But playing online from a place of anger is not smart. I was barely winning any games, and the few I did win were absolute sweat-fests. Part of the problem was that the good 2K players who already got their rings were still playing Limited to stock up on extra diamonds and PDs for future exchanges, and I can’t blame them for that. But man, by the end of the night I was exhausted and frustrated.
Again, it (obviously) just wasn’t meant to be.
Then on day three (Sunday), my mind wouldn’t stop drifting back to that one hole on the above screen. It was gnawing at me. But I didn’t want to suffer through more boring games, so I figured if I were to try again, I’d need to do something different to inject a little fun into the proceedings.
Earlier in the weekend, I was building squads around diamond big men like Hakeem or Bosh, then using my one amethyst for an elite 3-and-D player. I had the most success with Jimmy Butler with his ruby duo Andrew Wiggins. Jimmy turns to a diamond, so essentially I had two diamonds and an amethyst (even though the restriction was one of each). I’d say up to that point, despite struggling, I still won about 50 percent of my games. The problem, however, was that I wasting a ton of time playing through full games, which is tiring.
So Sunday night I got online again and threw the old lineup out, replacing it with this:
I mentioned succumbing to the dark side earlier, well, this was my new “dark side” cheesy lineup. Basically, whoever had the better matchup, Kemp or Clyde, would launch a rim running assault during the first quarter. It wasn’t creative or even pretty basketball, but it was effective. I got a ton of rage quits early, or if it looked like I was going to be stuck in a long, back-and-forth game with a strong opponent, I’d just quit myself in order to move on.
Over the course of two hours, I won about 12 more games doing this. And then, with mere minutes to spare for the weekend, I got a rage quit (after a particularly nasty game from Clyde the Glide), went right (like I always do), and finally saw the stupid pink diamond Richard Jefferson card.
And you know what, Baron Davis is fine.
I’ve got Wade, Jrue, and Shump, plus the amethyst Steve Francis I mentioned earlier, all of whom I’m very happy with, so Baron hasn’t seen the floor much. I also just got ruby Markelle Fultz, who really is an amazing card. He actually won me a Limited ring during weekend #1 of Season 4 (with help from Shawn Kemp, naturally):
So the moral of the story, per usual with 2K, is that there’s always a better card coming. If Baron were a galaxy opal Steve Francis in a Rockets jersey, I’m sure I would feel differently of course, but he wasn’t. And now, in the midst of the start of Season 4, I’m battle-weary.
Looking Ahead To Season 3 So Far
Objectively speaking, the Season 4 rewards do look pretty awesome.
I love Kawhi, so I’m definitely grinding for him, and I think Westbrook will be an insanely fun card so I’ll keep up my “five wins” weekend strategy to see if it works out. So far it has and I’ve got that one ring, which is one step closer to yet another card I’ll end up playing over Baron Davis
I really wish I could get McHale, as I loved his opal last year, but there’s no way I’m good enough to run the table in Unlimited so I won’t waste my time. I do hope 2K adds nice reward cards for winning X amount of Unlimited or Triple Threat Online games this season (and adds them earlier!), otherwise I probably won’t spend much time online except for the Westbrook grind.
But at the moment, I’m pressing the pause button.
Partly because of burnout from the end of Season 3, but mainly because I kept hearing about people’s XP getting reset for no reason during the first weekend. Until I’m 100 percent sure that’s not a problem anymore, I’m afraid to really start the level 40 grind. Hopefully by this upcoming weekend it will be safe again, at which point I’ll take my chances with Limited and hope the RNG goes my way.
Thanks for reading, I hope you got everything you wanted out of the Season of Giving, and good luck to you all during Season 4! (Except of course for James Harden — Mr. Beard, sir, I wish you bad luck during Season 4: The Return. Traitor.)