“My specialty is theoretical universal limits and ways to circumvent them.”
For those of you who are joining MTG Arena with Open Beta – welcome! For those of you who are returning – thank you! My name is Chris Clay, and I’m the Game Directorfor Magic: The Gathering Arena. Which each major update, I like to go into more details about what players should expect before the official patch and corresponding patch notes hit. Typically, the time around a major release goes as follows:
With our announcement last week and the livestream that followed, things went a little bit differently this time. While most of you know the major things coming with this update – namely the start of Open Beta, Standard Rotation, and Guilds of Ravnica – there’s still a lot of information we want to cover before tomorrow’s update, so let’s delve (or should we say, surveil) into the finer details.
One of the reasons this update required several days of downtime both in-game and on the forums is because our move to Open Beta also includes us migrating to our new account management system, Wizards Accounts. As a player, the biggest change you’ll see is a new login flow – and the chance to update your username if you were a Closed Beta participant. For us, it’s laying the foundation for many of our long-term goals with MTG Arena – including direct challenge, friends list, and other social features.
… So maybe you won’t share my enthusiasm and excitement for the unsung hero of this update, but we hope you’ll reap the benefits of this change in the months and years to come.
“It’s both an ingress-denial mechanism and an attractive hallway light!”
As those of you who were with us throughout Closed Beta already know, introducing a whole new set is no small feat. As such, the release of Guilds of Ravnica is the backbone of this update, introducing 273 new cards, 5 new mechanics, Sealed, and more. This also means that with the start of Open Beta, we’ll maintain “full Standard support” for all our new and returning players, and in this case – two days before Prereleases at you local game store! Every Standard legal card is available in Arena, including Buy-A-Box Promos and cards from the Vraska and Ral Planewalker Decks. We’ve also introduced a new Ravnica-themed game board, complete with plenty of things for you to interact with – so click away!
While we went the extra mile as far as visual and audio effects are concerned (and you can read more about those below), we all know it’s what’s on the inside that counts. There’s a lot of back-end improvements and rule fixes to eliminate known unexpected match completes, as well as a number of quality of life improvements.
In-Match Quality of Life Highlights
One thing we wanted to ensure with both the new cards and new mechanics is better informing players through visual and audio cues. In addition to the our “enter the battlefield” (ETB) effects, symbols and animations for evergreen keywords like flying, haste, and hexproof, every Guild mechanic has it’s own visual effect to help you keep track of the board state:
In addition to keyword mechanics, each Mythic also has it’s own unique VFX (with Niv Mizzet as our ‘plus one’, because even Rare Guild Leaders need love). But listen closely… … … did you hear that? On the Ravnica battlefield, when you play a card with a Guild watermark, the music will dynamically change to a style unique for that guild for a time until returning to the Ravnica theme. We’ve also made Planeswalker animations ‘snappier’, and their enter the battlefield effect will also correspond with their color identity.
Ultimately, this is the kind of polish and “visual fidelity” you should expect from Magic: The Gathering Arena going forward. Yes, looking cool is important, but it’s even cooler if you can convey important game information at the same time.
“Search By Set”
While it won’t be featured as a button, yet, we have implemented the ability to sort by set using the search bar. If you enter e:GRN in the search bar, the results will show every Guilds of Ravnica card. The same is true for Ixalan (XLN), Rivals of Ixalan (RIX), Dominaria (DAR), and Core Set 2019 (M19). And no, that isn’t a typo – for Domaniaria you will need to use the original three letter code DAR.
From death grows living grandeur.
In the days – or even weeks – leading up to the Open Beta announcement, many of you noticed us pointedly avoiding questions on how we were going to handle Rotation. We hope you’ll forgive us for artfully dodging the question, as announcing our plans for rotation (namely, it would coincide with an account wipe) would only further tip off that Open Beta was coming. So yes, Amonkhet, Hour of Devastation, Kaladesh and Aether Revolt are now removed from Arena, including packs from the store and the ability to redeem Wildcards for cards from those sets.
Our goal is to ultimately provide a format beyond Standard for Arena, though what that ultimately looks like will likely develop throughout the next year. Creating this new format isn’t something we want to rush into, and this lets us go into Open Beta with a much more reasonable amount of initial content. Beyond that… who knows. And before you ask – “Modern” as a format includes over 15 years of Magic: The Gathering, spanning 61 sets, dozens of keyword abilities, and almost 12,000 cards. In short, it’s a lot of work and realistically years of development time to fully support it.
Squadrons of skyknights are available for deployment around the clock, capable of reaching any district in the city within minutes.
Though this technically lives ‘outside’ the game, one of the projects our Live Ops team has been working on is a better way to communicate the current status of the game and game related functions. We’re happy to announce that there will be no more “Server Status” forum with it’s lonely pinned topic. Instead, we’re implementing a live Server Status page. You’ll be able to check the status of any service related to Arena, such as matchmaking, the in-game store, login, etc. and see whether the service is up, impacted, or offline.
Hopefully you won’t be spending too much time on this page as we launch Open Beta, but it’s there if you need it.
Selesnya grows its ranks in more ways than one.
Play Modes Toggle
We’ve added a toggle to the Home page directly above the active events billboards. There are two modes, Arena Play and All Play. This controls which events are displayed on the Home page and in the Play blade.
We’re also separating the game modes when you click the “Play” button into two categories: Ladder and Events. Events will appear at the top of the list, each with a countdown clock that shows how long the event will be available. Times in yellow indicate how long you have to enter the event, while times in red indicate events you are currently participating in when they are scheduled to end.
P.S. Yes, Competitive Constructed is in the Event category and will show an “end” time, but we will continue to offer it as an option indefinitely.
What’s in a name? That which we call ‘Quick Play’ by any other word, would still have no entry fee. Which is just as well, because we’re also fine tuning our naming conventions. Competitive will still be “Competitive”, and anything marked “Competitive” will be an indicator of a Best of Three format. We are, however, dropping the use of “Quick” for some of our Best of One formats (and no, this isn’t because of Turbo Fog). The trouble with using a moniker for our Best of One formats is that we weren’t consistent with the implementation. We used it for “Quick Draft” and “Quick Play”, but there was no such thing as “Quick Singleton”, “Quick Pauper”, “Quick Momir”, etc. on Arena, even though they were also Best of One formats.
Going forward, we’re going to be more consistent with our labeling. If you see “Competitive”, you’ll know it’s Best of Three. If you don’t, it will be Best of One.
Welcome Weekend – Free Singleton Event
Welcome to Open Beta! To help “jump-start” your new collection, we will be offering a special no entry required Singleton event all weekend long. Build a deck with only a single copy of any Standard-legal card (excluding Basic Lands – you can have as many of those as you want), and play against others to win prizes. No gold or gems required to join, and you have the opportunity to receive card rewards based on your wins. Each Uncommon card reward has a 15% chance to upgrade to a Rare or Mythic Rare.
Entry Options: Free!
Match Structure: Standard Singleton, Best of 1
Event Ends: 4 Wins or 2 Losses, whichever comes first.
Sealed has finally arrived in MTG Arena, and will be available for the start of Open Beta. For those of you eyeing your calendars, this does mean you can Sealed Guilds of Ravnica in MTG Arena two-days before you can play it in stores. Already signed up for a Prerelease at your local game store? Awesome! You’ll also be receiving a unique Promo Code inside any Guilds of Ravnica Prerelease pack that can be redeemed inside MTG Arena that will grant you entry into a Guilds of Ravnica sealed event (limit 1 per account). The code will be located on the back of the Token card near the rules insert, and all promo codes are cAsE sEnSiTiVe. Be sure to enter it exactly as it appears on the card, though if you have any issues you can always contact our Customer Support team.
Entry Fee: 2000 Gems or Entry Ticket (via Promo Code, limit 1 per account).
Match Structure: Best of 1
Event Ends: At 7 Wins or 3 Losses, whichever comes first.
New: Competitive Metagame Challenge
You might want to leave you ‘jank’ in the Deckbuilder for this one. Or maybe not, if you think you’ve brewed up something truly special. With the Competitive Metagame Challenge, a single loss will send you packing, but if you manage to go 7-0 in this Standard, Best of Three format you’ll reap some truly amazing rewards.
Entry Options: 400 Gems or 2000 Gold
Match Structure: Standard, Best of 3 Matches
Event Ends: 7 wins or 1 loss, whichever comes first
-this is from the MTG arena Forum. See you in the field
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