Magic: The Gathering Arena

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Magic: The Gathering Arena, also called MTG Arena, Magic Arena, and MTGA, is a digital Magic game, created under the umbrella of Magic Digital Next by the Digital Games Studio. Though it is stated that is it not considered to be the successor of Magic Duels,[1] it fills the same product space. The game exists independently from Magic Online. It is currently under open beta development. The closed beta kickoff happened on December 4, 2017.

History[edit | edit source]

Guilds of Ravnica MTG Arena promotion

First mentioned on August 3, 2017,[2] its reveal was on September 7, 2017.[3] The sound effects, colors, and overall design of the battlefield are similar to the competing Hearthstone video game. MTG Arena would be available to download with no fee and is a free-to-play game. Players looking to enhance their game experience will have the opportunity to do so through play rewards and in-game purchases, but purchases are not required to access the full depth of authentic Magic gameplay.

Unlike Magic Online, MTG Arena will only focus on the newest cards and game modes. It will feature the full card sets in Standard, with around 1,000 new cards added every year. Wizards of the Coast is exploring opportunities to connect real-world in-store play with digital play—for instance, giving rewards in MTG Arena for attending a Prerelease.[4]

Changelog[edit | edit source]

Date Added sets Other notable changes
2017-09-07[5] Alpha version revealed.
2017-12-04[6][7] Start of closed beta.
2018-01-18 Economy changed and collections wiped.
2018-03-22 NDA lifted. Economy changed and collections wiped. New starter decks.
2018-04-26 Economy changed. Paid economy and events added.
2018-06-07[8] Standard banlist introduced. Economy changed. More event types added.
2018-07-12 Tutorial games added. Economy changed.
2018-09-27[9] Start of open beta. Collections wiped. Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet, and Hour of Devastation removed.

Play modes[edit | edit source]

Battlefield keyword icons

Free play[edit | edit source]

Free-to-play mode; single-game matches. Players start at Beginner rank and advance from Bronze to Diamond (each containing four tiers) and end at Masters. Mulligans appear the same as usual, except "the system draws an opening hand from each of two separately randomized copies of the decks, and leans towards giving the player the hand with the mix of spells and lands (without regard for color) closest to average for that deck".[10]

Competitive Play[edit | edit source]

Free-to-play mode; best-of-three matches with sideboarding. Match results affect constructed rank.

Quick Constructed[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 500 gold or 95 gems. Single-game matches; run ends after seven wins or three losses. Match results affect constructed rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • No wins — 100 gold and three uncommon+ cards
  • One win — 200 gold and three uncommon+ cards
  • Two wins — 300 gold and three uncommon+ cards
  • Three wins — 400 gold and three uncommon+ cards
  • Four wins — 500 gold, two uncommon+, and one rare+ cards
  • Five wins — 600 gold, two uncommon+, and one rare+ cards
  • Six wins — 800 gold, one uncommon+, and two rare+ cards
  • Seven wins — 1,000 gold, one uncommon+, and two rare+ cards

Competitive Constructed[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 1,000 gold or 190 gems. Best-of-three matches with sideboarding; run ends after five wins or two losses. Match results affect constructed rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • No wins — Three uncommon+ cards
  • One win — 500 gold, two uncommon+, and one rare+ cards
  • Two wins — 1,000 gold, two uncommon+, and one rare+ cards
  • Three wins — 1,500 gold, one uncommon+, and two rare+ cards
  • Four wins — 1,700 gold, one uncommon+, and two rare+ cards
  • Five wins — 2,100 gold and three rare+ cards

Drafting[edit | edit source]

Players make 40+ card decks and keep all drafted cards. Deck construction and drafting times aren't limited, and players draft vs. AI opponents with picks derived from MTGO data. When sign-up time is over, there's an additional 2 hours time to finish matches. After draft match window closes players get rewards according to their win record.[11] Draft has its own rank system. Match results affect limited rank.

Quick Draft[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 5,000 gold or 750 gems. Events sometimes rotate back to previous draft formats. Single-game matches; run ends after seven wins or three losses. Match results affect limited rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • No wins — 50 gems and one pack (20% chance of having two instead)
  • One win — 100 gems and one pack (22% chance of having two instead)
  • Two wins — 200 gems and one pack (24% chance of having two instead)
  • Three wins — 300 gems and one pack (26% chance of having two instead)
  • Four wins — 450 gems and one pack (30% chance of having two instead)
  • Five wins — 650 gems and one pack (35% chance of having two instead)
  • Six wins — 850 gems and one pack (40% chance of having two instead)
  • Seven wins — 950 gems and two packs

A similar game mode in Magic Online is called Friendly Single-Game Draft League.

Competitive Draft[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 1,500 gems. Best-of-three matches with sideboarding; run ends after five wins or two losses. Format changes less often than the Quick Draft and is typically the most recent expansion on sale. Match results affect limited rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • No wins — One pack
  • One win — Two packs
  • Two wins — Three packs and 800 gems
  • Three wins — Four packs and 1,500 gems
  • Four wins — Five packs and 1,800 gems
  • Five wins — Six packs and 2,100 gems

Quick Singleton[edit | edit source]

The deck can only contain up to one copy of any card, excluding the basic lands and cards like Rat Colony, which allow the player to include any number of copies.

Entry fee: 500 gold or 95 gems. Run ends after seven wins or three losses.

Brewer's Delight[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 250 gold or 50 gems. Best-of-three matches. Rewards are cards selected by designers to help build some fun non-meta decks.

Features[edit | edit source]

Standard format was added in June 2018,[12] Kaladesh block was included last, along with introduction of Standard and its bans. Future banned cards will be compensated with respective Wildcards (Rampaging Ferocidon and Ramunap Ruins not included[13]).

Starter pack[edit | edit source]

Each player account starts out with three booster packs to open for each set available, as well as the five mono-colored preconstructed decks:

Preconstructed
deck name
Colors included Iconic card
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Tactical Assault W Serra's Guardian
Arcane Inventions U Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp
Graveyard Bash B Open the Graves
Dragon's Fire R Lathliss, Dragon Queen
Forest's Might G Ghalta, Primal Hunger

Additional decks[edit | edit source]

Ten additional dual-colored decks can be unlocked by playing daily.

Preconstructed
deck name
Colors included Iconic card
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Auras of Majesty W G History of Benalia
Wrath of Mages U R Enigma Drake
Saproling Swarm B G Slimefoot, the Stowaway
Strength in Numbers W R Leonin Warleader
Walk the Plank U B Demonlord Belzenlok
Primal Fury R G Carnage Tyrant
Artifacts Attack W U Azor, the Lawbringer
Chaos and Mayhem B R Rekindling Phoenix
Jungle Secrets U G Kumena, Tyrant of Orazca
Eternal Thirst W B Ajani's Pridemate

New Player Experience (NPE)[edit | edit source]

When you launch the game, you will automatically be taken to the first of a series of new tutorial games.[14] These short games will review the basics of playing Magic: The Gathering Arena as you battle against different computer-controlled opponents.

Exclusive cards[edit | edit source]

To facilitate the creation of the NPE and to transition players smoothly into the normal play experience the designers introduced some MTG Arena exclusive cards (). This set also contains some "reprinted" cards from former sets. Some of the white cards are accessible to players, and Standard-legal for MTG Arena (marked with {Tick}).[14] The rest are tutorial-only (marked with {Cross}).

The following list does not contain a card that is already printed in paper Magic unless it's Standard-legal only for MTG Arena.

White[edit | edit source]
Blue[edit | edit source]
Black[edit | edit source]
Red[edit | edit source]
Green[edit | edit source]

Deck builder[edit | edit source]

A player can build up to 30 decks(60 in the future[15]) with 60 to 250 cards, including the preconstructed decks (though those can be deleted), and choose one of them for Ranked or Quick Constructed modes. Filters allow searching by rarity, color, type, and ownership; it is also possible to sort by set using the search bar by typing "e:SET_ID", with the SET_IDs being the following: XLN for Ixalan, RIX for Rivals of Ixalan, DAR for Dominaria, M19 for Core Set 2019 and GRN for Guilds of Ravnica.[16] Specific basic lands can be found by writing the land name in the search box (e.g. "Island") and pressing Reset in Advanced Filters menu.

Currency[edit | edit source]

There are two in-game currencies forming the basis of the MTG Arena economy.[17]

  • Gold — by winning games (750 gold total, after the 14th win of the day; alternates with card bonuses), completing daily quests with a reward of 500 or 750 gold, and finishing events.
  • Gems — purchased for real money from the in-game store. VAT not included.[18]
    • 750 Gems — US$4.99
    • 1,600 Gems — US$9.99
    • 3,400 Gems — US$19.99
    • 9,200 Gems — US$49.99
    • 20,000 Gems — US$99.99

Typically either gold or gems can be used to unlock packs, events, and more in the future. However, there are some events and cosmetic items that can only be purchased with gems, therefore some gameplay content is only accessible with real money.

Booster packs[edit | edit source]

Booster packs are eight-card boosters containing five commons, two uncommons, and one rare or mythic rare.[17] Single pack costs 1,000 gold or 200 gems through bundles. Packs can be purchased for gems in bundles of three, six, 15, 45, and 90. Rare Wildcards are guaranteed every six packs and mythic Wildcards every 30 packs. 45 and 90 pack bundles of Dominaria also contain Firesong and Sunspeaker, similar to Buy-a-Box-only addition for paper release. Core Set 2019 includes the Nexus of Fate in the 45 and 90 pack bundles, one and two copies respectively. Guilds of Ravnica contain the Impervious Greatwurm in the 45 and 90 pack bundles, one and two copies respectively. Custom pack amount can't be bought. Purchasing via gold requires no confirmation. Booster packs don't contain welcome deck cards.

Three packs per week (one for every five wins) are rewarded through a weekly quest. The weekly quest resets Sunday early morning. Those packs won't have banned cards inside.[19]

Draft packs[edit | edit source]

Draft packs will contain 14 cards mirroring tabletop drafts (the basic land has been removed).[17] Drafting will also add cards to your collection, as any card you draft will be automatically added to your collection.

Individual card rewards[edit | edit source]

Individual cards planned to be earnable through play.[17] Wizards of the Coast tested a system where for every match win, players will receive one card, up to 30 per day, but switched economy to higher daily gold rewards. The newest system gives out up to six per day, alternating with gold, after the fourth daily win.

Wildcards[edit | edit source]

Redeeming a mythic Wildcard

Wildcards are special cards that have a chance to appear in the place of each card at any rarity in every booster you open.[17] Wildcards have their own rarity of common, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Wildcards can also be received through opening the Vault. You can redeem a Wildcard one-to-one for any card at that same rarity.

The Vault[edit | edit source]

When you would collect a fifth copy (or more) of a card, you earn Vault progress instead of adding that card to your collection. The current contents of the Vault are:

  • Three uncommon Wildcards
  • Two rare Wildcards
  • One mythic rare Wildcard

Beginning in April 2018, players earned 3.3% Vault progress for each eight-card booster pack they open. As of July 2018, you no longer earn Vault progress for opening packs.[20] Every time you get the fifth copy of a card will earn you progress towards your next vault opening:[18]

  • Mythic — 1.1%
  • Rare — 0.5%
  • Uncommon — 0.3%
  • Common — 0.1%

Opening the Vault requires getting duplicates through packs/drafting: 900 common, 300 uncommon, 180 rare, or 90 mythic rares duplicates. Duplicates progress define value of one mythic = two rare = 3.3 uncommon = ten common duplicate cards. Therefore, the value of a single Vault with one mythic, two rare, and three uncommon Wildcards is equal to three mythic Wildcards. That way a single Wildcard of any rarity equals 30 duplicates of the same rarity.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Jeffrey Steefel. (June 13, 2017.) “Magic Digital Next Update”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Twitter announcement from @wizards_magic
  3. Jeffrey Steefel. (September 7, 2017.) “Everything You Need to Know About Magic: The Gathering Arena”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Charlie Hall (April 23, 2018). "Magic: The Gathering is testing out digital codes in physical packs of cards." Polygon.com
  5. Magic: The Gathering Arena World Premiere Stream
  6. Chris Cao. (October 25, 2017.) “MTG Arena Closed Beta Incoming”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Chris Cao. (November 21, 2017.) “MTG Arena Closed Beta Starts December 4”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. State of the Beta for May 30, 2018
  9. Chris Cao. (September 19, 2018.) “MTG Arena Open to All Starting September 27”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  10. https://mtgarena.community.gl/forums/threads/347
  11. State of the Beta for May ... - Magic the Gathering: Arena
  12. https://mtgarena.community.gl/forums/threads/27318
  13. https://forums.mtgarena.com/forums/threads/24665/comments/118198
  14. a b July 12, 2018 Update — 0.06.00.000 Release Notes
  15. MTG Arena Forums
  16. State of the (Open) Beta - September 26th, 2018
  17. a b c d e Chris Clay. (January 17, 2018.) “Developing the MTG Arena Economy”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  18. a b State of the Beta for April 25 - Magic the Gathering: Arena
  19. https://mtgarena.community.gl/forums/threads/24665/comments/118541
  20. JULY 12 - UPDATE 0.06.00.00 RELEASE NOTES

External links[edit | edit source]