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Magic: The Gathering Arena

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Magic: The Gathering Arena or MTG Arena 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, best-of-one matches. Players start at Beginner rank and advance from Bronze to Diamond (each containing 4 tiers) and end at Masters. Mulligan for best-of-one looks the same, 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 3 matches with sideboarding. Match results affect constructed rank.

Quick Constructed[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 500 Gold or 95 Gems. Best-of-one matches, run ends after 7 wins or 3 losses. Match results affect constructed rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • 0 wins — 100 Gold and 3 uncommon+ cards
  • 1 win — 200 Gold and 3 uncommon+ cards
  • 2 wins — 300 Gold and 3 uncommon+ cards
  • 3 wins — 400 Gold and 3 uncommon+ cards
  • 4 wins — 500 Gold, 2 uncommon+ and 1 rare+ cards
  • 5 wins — 600 Gold, 2 uncommon+ and 1 rare+ cards
  • 6 wins — 800 Gold, 1 uncommon+ and 2 rare+ cards
  • 7 wins — 1000 Gold, 1 uncommon+ and 2 rare+ cards

Competitive Constructed[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 1,000 Gold or 190 Gems. Best of 3 matches with sideboarding, run ends after 5 wins or 2 losses. Match results affect constructed rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • 0 wins — 3 uncommon+ cards
  • 1 win — 500 Gold, 2 uncommon+ and 1 rare+ cards
  • 2 wins — 1000 Gold, 2 uncommon+ and 1 rare+ cards
  • 3 wins — 1500 Gold, 1 uncommon+ and 2 rare+ cards
  • 4 wins — 1700 Gold, 1 uncommon+ and 2 rare+ cards
  • 5 wins — 2100 Gold and 3 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 matches, run ends after 7 wins or 3 losses. Match results affect limited rank. Rewards based on total wins are:

  • 0 wins — 50 Gems and 1 Pack (20% chance of having two instead)
  • 1 win — 100 Gems and 1 Pack (22% chance of having two instead)
  • 2 wins — 200 Gems and 1 Pack (24% chance of having two instead)
  • 3 wins — 300 Gems and 1 Pack (26% chance of having two instead)
  • 4 wins — 450 Gems and 1 Pack (30% chance of having two instead)
  • 5 wins — 650 Gems and 1 Pack (35% chance of having two instead)
  • 6 wins — 850 Gems and 1 Pack (40% chance of having two instead)
  • 7 wins — 950 Gems and 2 Packs.

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

Competitive Draft[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 1500 gems only, Best of 3 matches with side boarding, run ends after 5 wins or 2 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:

  • 0 wins — 1 Pack
  • 1 win — 2 Packs
  • 2 wins — 3 Packs and 800 Gems
  • 3 wins — 4 Packs and 1500 Gems
  • 4 wins — 5 Packs and 1800 Gems
  • 5 wins — 6 Packs and 2100 Gems

Quick Singleton[edit | edit source]

The deck must have just one copy of any card, except the basic lands. Also cards like Rat Colony, which allow the player to include multiple copies, still do so in singleton formats.

Entry fee: 500 gold or 95 gems, run ends after 7 wins or 3 losses.

Brewer's Delight[edit | edit source]

Entry fee: 250 gold or 50 gems, Best of 3, <<Rewards are cards selected by designers to help build some fun out-of-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 3 Booster packs to open for each set available, as well as the following 10 preconstructed decks, with more than 300 unique Magic cards:

deck name
Colors included Iconic card
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Azorius Ascension W U Kumena's Awakening
Dimir Manipulation U B Tetzimoc, Primal Death
The Brazen Coalition B R Captain Lannery Storm
The Sun Empire R G Burning Sun's Avatar
Selesnya Pride W G Regal Caracal
The Legion of Dusk W B Call to the Feast
Izzet Spellweaving U R Enigma Drake
Golgari Exploration B G Wildgrowth Walker
Boros Assault W R Glory-Bound Initiate
The River Heralds U G River Sneak

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 — $4.99 USD
    • 1,600 Gems — $9.99 USD
    • 3,400 Gems — $19.99 USD
    • 9,200 Gems — $49.99 USD
    • 20,000 Gems — $99.99 USD

Both gold and gems can be used to unlock packs, events, and more in the future. While there will be some cosmetic items that can only be purchased with gems, there won't be any gameplay content that can only be unlocked with real money.

Booster packs[edit | edit source]

Booster packs are eight-card boosters containing 5 commons, 2 uncommons, and 1 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 3, 6, 15, 45 and 90. Rare wildcards guaranteed every 6 packs and mythic wildcards guaranteed 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, 1 copy and 2 copies respectively. Guilds of Ravnica contain the Impervious Greatwurm in the 45 and 90 pack bundles, 1 copy and 2 copies respectively. Custom pack amount can't be bought. Purchasing via Gold requires no confirmation. Booster Packs don't contain welcome deck cards.

3 packs per week (1 for every 5 wins) are rewarded through weekly quest. 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:

  • 3 uncommon wildcards,
  • 2 rare wildcards,
  • 1 mythic rare wildcard.

Beginning in April 2018, players earned 3.3% Vault progress for each 8-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 1 mythic = 2 rares = 3.3 uncommon = 10 common duplicate cards. Therefore, the value of a single Vault with 1 mythic, 2 rare and 3 uncommon wildcards is equal to 3 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”,, 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”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Charlie Hall (April 23, 2018). "Magic: The Gathering is testing out digital codes in physical packs of cards."
  5. Magic: The Gathering Arena World Premiere Stream
  6. Chris Cao. (October 25, 2017.) “MTG Arena Closed Beta Incoming”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Chris Cao. (November 21, 2017.) “MTG Arena Closed Beta Starts December 4”,, 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”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. State of the Beta for May ... - Magic the Gathering: Arena
  14. a b July 12, 2018 Update — 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”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  18. a b State of the Beta for April 25 - Magic the Gathering: Arena

External links[edit | edit source]