Magic: the Gathering has been one of my favorite games for over fifteen years. It’s helped me explore my creativity, improve my critical thinking, and introduced me to some lifelong friends. But while Magic‘s physical presence as a game has been indelible for countless people, it’s digital presence has historically left much to be desired. Previous iterations of digital product such as Magic: the Gathering Online and Duels of the Planeswalkers have had their ardent supporters, but have not fully encapsulated the singular experience of Magic.
Magic: the Gathering Arena plans to change all that.
For the last few months, the next phase in Magic‘s digital evolution has been undergoing closed beta testing, but the lid is coming off the program. Starting March 22nd, Arena players are being encouraged to stream the game and share their experiences online. And with this increased exposure, a variety of new updates and features are hitting Arena.
First off, Magic publisher Wizards of the Coast plans to invite 100,000 new players to the closed beta to provide more feedback on the game and perform stress test on the servers.
Secondly, Arena will start to implement older Magic: the Gathering sets released prior to the current Ixalan block of expansions. The first two sets to be included are Amonkhet and Hour of Devestation. The cards will be available in all the same way Ixalan cards were and will feature a variety of unique animated effects as well, enhancing the look and feel of gameplay.
Finally, Arena will now provide new players with an easier path into the Magic ecosystem. Current Arena beta testers will have their accounts wiped and those accounts as well as all new ones will include:
- Ten preconstructed decks, with more than 300 unique Magic cards.
- Three packs each of Amonkhet, Hour of Devastation, Ixalan, and Rivals of Ixalan.
- One rare Wildcard, two uncommon Wildcards, and four common Wildcards. Wildcards can be exchanged for any cards of the corresponding rarities in the Arena ecosystem.