Magic: the Gathering has been the most popular trading card game in the world for the last 25 years. There are many reasons for the game’s longevity ranging from its deep mechanics to its engrossing storyline, but if you asked most people why they played Magic, I think that they would say it’s because of the community. As great as it feels to play a game of Magic, the biggest reason I keep coming back to it is because it gives my friends and I a way to bond. And finally, as of today, you and all your Magic playing friends can challenge each other only over the game’s newest digital platform, Arena, as well.

Ever since Arena went into open beta mode several months ago, players have been clamoring for a way to play against their friends. With today’s update, you can now do so via the following instructions:

1.       You and your friend open the Direct Challenge option

2.       Type in one another’s username and five-digit code

3.       Hit “Battle”

4.       Play!

This method of matchmaking is reminiscent of Nintendo’s longstanding online practice of registering friends via code rather than username. And while it’s certainly far from a fully fledged online social feature, this is a good first step for Arena‘s growth and development as the premiere way to play Magic online.

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Magic: the Gathering Arena is available as a free-to-play download game. You can get started here.

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