MTG Arena: State of the Beta – March 2019

Posted in Magic Digital on March 20, 2019

By Chris Clay

In Like a Leonin

There's a reason why we brought in our art director for the March Developer Update. And that reason is, MTG Arena is about to get some good lookin' features in the March update!

Playing with Style

Card styles, card sleeves, avatars, oh my! We're adding a whole bunch of ways you can spruce up your deck and show off your allegiance with this update. Highlights include:

  • Guild Bundles for each of the Ravnica guilds, which include a card sleeve, four card styles, and an avatar for each guild leader;
  • Card styles for over 100 cards, spread across card rarities and sets;
  • Sleeves for each color of mana;
  • And more!

Before we break down how each of the cosmetic options will work, there are a few things we want to call out. First off, we're by no means finished! With six sets currently in MTG Arena, there is some catch-up work to do, and we'll be adding a seventh in just a few weeks with the release of War of the Spark. While we cannot promise that every card will receive a card style, that is the goal we're working toward. And yes, we're also looking at ways to include other promos or card-style options, so if there is something you'd really like to see, be sure to let us know! You can acquire some of these cosmetic options through the store, while others will be available through ranked season rewards or special events.

And now, without further ado, here's a breakdown of each of the three options coming with this update. For additional information, you can also refer to our Cosmetics FAQ.

Card Styles

Sulfur Falls

Card styles allow you to change how the front of your card looks. For this update we're adding a style unique to MTG Arena that combines a parallax effect with extended artwork, showcased above with Sulfur Falls. We'll be previewing a few more of these cards leading up to next week's update. You'll also be able to see which cards have card styles in-game through the deck builder, which now has a new filter option specifically for card styles. Selecting a card will provide more information on how the card style can be obtained: through bundles, seasonal rewards, play, or purchase through the deck builder. And take note of the single pip! Once the card style is acquired, it unlocks for every copy of that card illustration in your collection!

Card Style Sort

Additional Notes:

  • Card styles do not add card/s to your collection.
  • Once acquired, a card style can be applied to all cards with that illustration—you don't need to acquire it more than once.
  • Card styles are based on the card's illustration. This means that if a card shares an illustration across sets (e.g., Luminous Bonds in Rivals of Ixalan and Core Set 2019), once you've unlocked the card style, it will apply to any card in your collection with that illustration. If the card appears in a set using a different illustration (e.g., Luminous Bonds in Guilds of Ravnica), it will have a separate card style you can acquire.
  • It is possible to acquire card styles for cards you do not have in your collection. If this happens, you will be able to apply the style once you have the card in your collection (you won't have to re-acquire the style).
  • Applying a card style is optional. While the option is enabled by default, you will be able to swap between using card styles and the default illustration in the deck builder.

Card Sleeves

Sleeves

On the "flip" side, card sleeves allow you to change the way the back of the card looks. Like card styles, you'll be able to select your card sleeve from the deck builder page by clicking on the deck box and then selecting which card back you'd like to use from the ones you have available.

Additional Notes:

  • Once acquired, a card sleeve can be applied to any deck in your collection.
  • You can choose the card sleeve to apply on a deck-by-deck basis; you can have different card sleeves for every deck, if you so desire!
  • Applying a card sleeve is optional. You'll be able to swap between card sleeves and the default card back in the deck builder.

Avatars

Last, but not least—more avatars! They'll work just like avatars currently do, only now there are more of them. Before you ask, we're not removing any of the avatars that are currently available. No takesy backsies on the options you already have! Huatli and Angrath (which were used during Closed Beta before players could select their Avatar) will be available for purchase with either Gems or gold, and each of the ten guild leaders from Ravnica is also available.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Match

In our current version of the new-player experience, Sparky walks you through a few tutorial matches, rewards you with some decks, and then . . . kicks you into the deep end of the mana pool. Since Magic: The Gathering can be a pretty complex game, rewarding new players with a bunch of decks and then telling them to have fun against other players isn't always the easiest way to learn.

Well, Sparky's back, and this time she's not on your side of the battlefield.

Starting next week, you'll be able to queue up for Practice Matches in MTG Arena. Whether you're looking to try out a new deck or simply brush up on your skills, Sparky is here to offer a helping hand (or rather, hand-like manifestation of a Planewalker's latent power) to every player in MTG Arena. And if you happen to be one of our newer players, you'll be able to use practice matches to gain experience, level up, and progress toward mastering how to play Magic: The Gathering.

Mastering Magic

Mastery

. . . And that's not hyperbole. Another change we're making with the March update is an update to our progression system for players new to the game. Players starting off in MTG Arena will now earn experience when they play, and each level will unlock new rewards—including gold, deck upgrades, and more! Part of this new progression system includes a mastery tree, allowing players to gradually learn more about the five colors of mana and how each type of deck plays:

Mastery

Players can "skip the tour" if they wish to unlock all the different play queues, but you'll still need to play in order to earn your rewards. For our existing players, the good news is that if you've already completed the new player quest chain and unlocked all the deck rewards, we're not going to make you go through and do it all again. Even better news, you'll still receive any of the new rewards players can earn as a part of this updated system. (Hint: Check your email once the update is live!)

We hope the new progression system combined with practice matches will make it easier for newer players to learn how to play Magic: The Gathering, as well as help them discover what kind of decks they like to play—from the giant creatures of green, to the cool control of blue, to the deadly ambitions of black, to the . . . you get the idea.

Constructed Treasure

To celebrate both the March update and the upcoming Mythic Invitational, we're also going to be holding a special event: Treasure Constructed. In Treasure Constructed, at the beginning of each of your upkeeps, you create an artifact Treasure token which you can sacrifice to create one mana of any color. To make this event extra special, we will be offering the event with no entry fee! You can participate as many times as you like without having to spend gold or Gems. And remember when we mentioned how special events will be one of the ways you can earn card skins? You can probably see where this is going: Players who get one or more wins before two match losses will receive a card style for Skewer the Critics. If you manage to get to five wins before two losses, you'll receive a card style for both Skewer the Critics and Chemister's Insight.

No entry fee. Card style rewards. Event starts March 29!

Mythic March

While this covers the major new features coming in March, you should also expect some bug fixes, gameplay improvements, and other quality-of-life changes as part of this update. The update is currently scheduled to go live on Wednesday, March 27, with maintenance beginning at 5 a.m. PT (noon UTC). As always, be sure to keep an eye on our status page for the latest information or any changes to our maintenance schedule. Why Wednesday, you may ask? Well, isn't that the $1,000,000 question . . .

Mythic Invitational Promo

Next week, the historic Mythic Invitational will take place at PAX East! We'll be streaming on twitch.tv/magic beginning at 10 a.m. ET on Thursday, so be sure to tune in to watch some of your favorite streamers and eight Challengers from MTG Arena—and the entire Magic Pro League—compete for their share of the $1 million prize pool!

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