MTG Arena: State of the Beta – April 2019

Posted in Magic Digital on April 22, 2019

By Chris Clay

With the April update, there is one thing and one thing only on everybody's mind: WAR.

War Comes to MTG Arena

War of the Spark is one of the most ambitious sets in Magic: The Gathering's history, and it's as true for tabletop as it is for MTG Arena. Implementing 36 planeswalkers (plus one Buy-a-Box Tezzeret) across different rarities was no small feat. Outside of the technical requirements necessary for so many new abilities (activated, static, and everything in between) we also wanted to improve and polish how planeswalkers work in MTG Arena since we have it good authority you'll be seeing more of them on the battlefield. As a prime example, with the April update when you select "Attack with All" while your opponent controls a planeswalker, you will now be prompted to select which target instead of defaulting to your opponent. We've also made it clearer whether or not you've already activated a planeswalker this turn, and other small visual improvements are all intended to make the board state clearer to understand (as we imagine we'll be seeing a lot more planeswalkers on the battlefield in the coming weeks).

Outside of the veritable army of planeswalkers, there is also a Zombie horde to reckon with. Good news is, sometimes the Zombie horde is yours and not under the thrall of an Elder Dragon-turned-god and his necromancer general. War of the Spark introduces the new keyword ability amass and the creature type Army. In Magic: The Gathering Arena, as your Zombie Army grows, your token will dynamically update across the three different illustrations available. You can learn more about these new mechanics, as well as the return of proliferate in Matt Tabak's War of the Spark mechanics overview.

Amass Animation

Setting the Stage

For Guilds of Ravnica and Ravnica Allegiance, we took you to the leaf-strewn cobblestone pathways of Ravnica in the fall. But that was before the Planar Bridge reduced the Chamber of the Guildpact to rubble as it tore an interdimensional portal through the Blind Eternities, unleashing a horde of death onto Ravnica. Sounds like Nicol Bolas has some explaining to do, so let's take the fight to him with a brand new War of the Spark battlefield. 

Battlefield Preview

The new battlefield takes place atop Bolas's Citadel after the Elderspell has been cast, stolen sparks flying across the battlefield on their way to fuel Bolas's ascension. Ravnica has been forever changed due to the war . . . but we'll leave it up to you to find out what else is new on this battlefield. Outside of the new battlefield, we're continuing to work on the available card styles in game, including our backlog from earlier sets. Additional War of the Spark cosmetic options will available next week. 

Early Access

For those of you who want to see the new cards and battlefield in action, you can tune in tomorrow for our War of the Spark Early Access event. That's right, tomorrow! Starting at 7 a.m. PT (2 p.m. UTC), some of your favorite streamers, content producers, and professional Magic players from around the globe will be trying out the latest set live for their viewing audience. We'll be hosting these players throughout the day on twitch.tv/magic, and be sure to tune into your favorite streamer when they go live! 

Clean-Up Phase

New card set. New battlefield. Gameplay improvements, bug fixes, and more—all coming to you on April 25, 2019. Be sure to keep an eye on our status page for the latest information on maintenance times, upcoming in-game event schedule can be found right here, and as always, full patch notes will be available once the update is live. And while this battle is drawing to its climatic conclusion, we still have a lot of things planned for War of the Spark.

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