Isn't losing large numbers of players a day? Its as if a Pay to Play and Pay to Win mechanic in a card game would be a bad idea. They needed to follow the likes of Magic The Gathering Arena which by the way is a fantastic game! Free to play, free to earn cards. Can you spend real money? yes but you aren't forced to. You can earn all the cards simply by playing.
I have several friends that are hard core into card games (both physical and online) and they are all much more exited about the new magic the gathering arena than artifact.
Arena is fantastic! I have it, it does need tweaks, a proper friends list and such would be very welcome to make it so you could more easily see who is online, sending messages and such would be cool. As would a more improved emote system. Gameplay wise its VERY solid.