MTG Arena: State of the Beta – May 2019

Posted in Magic Digital on May 16, 2019

By Chris Clay

Welcome to the May 2019 State of the Beta! With the game update, we've tagged in Digital Product Manager Lee Sharpe to talk about the cool new events (and rewards) coming to you in next week's update.

Introducing War of the Spark Chronicles

War of the Spark was one of the most ambitious sets in Magic: The Gathering history, featuring dozens of Planeswalkers and the finale of a story years—or in the case of a certain Elder Dragon, millennia—in the making. We wanted to give players the chance to experience this story while playing MTG Arena, and learn more about the Plane of Ravnica and its Planeswalker defenders. With these goals in mind, the May update is bringing a brand-new story-driven event series: War of the Spark Chronicles. Every week, we'll be highlighting one of the pivotal moments in the War of the Spark story through the events you can play in and the new stained-glass planeswalker card styles you can earn.

Battlefield Planeswalkers

Something else that is new with these events is the reward track. While most of the events in MTG Arena allow you to play until a certain number of wins or losses, with these events you can just . . . keep playing! You'll earn rewards based on your total number of wins, and it doesn't matter how many games you play in order to get there. For formats that require a Constructed deck, you'll be able to make changes to your deck without having to start the event over. And while all games will contribute toward daily quest rewards or weekly win bonuses, the event rewards can only be earned once.

And did we mention no entry fee? I'm pretty sure we did, but since it bears repeating—you'll be able to play (and keep playing) these events without having to spend any gold or Gems, and each win will bring you closer to unlocking one of those stunning stained-glass styles using the art originally showcased in the War of the Spark teaser trailer. These events will have new styles you can earn every week, and additional card styles will be available for purchase in the store. When acquired, these stained-glass styles will also feature special flavor text chosen specifically for these events, many of which were pulled directly from the War of the Spark: Ravnica novel by Greg Weisman.

Part One will begin with the update on May 23, when war comes to Ravnica.


Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend

For those of you who finished in the Top 1,000 of Mythic-ranked players in either Limited or Constructed during Ravnica Allegiance Season 1 or Season 2, the Qualifier Weekend is just around the corner! If you've logged in recently, you should have seen an in-game notification congratulating you on the achievement, as well as a new badge on your profile page confirming your qualification. This is the important part, so we're going to bold the text for those of you skimming: If you believe you qualified and did not receive the in-game notification or do not have the profile badge, you need to contact Customer Support immediately. On Saturday, May 25, there will be a special in-game event for Day 1 of play, and you will need that badge in order to participate!

Mythic Badge

Other important information:

  • Once the May update is live, there will be a special Mythic Championship Qualifier event previewed in game. This will be the event you join for Day 1!
  • The format will be best-of-three Standard, including an optional 15-card sideboard.
  • You can join the Mythic Championship Qualifier Event on May 25, 2019 starting at 6 a.m. PT (13:00 UTC).
  • You must have joined by 7 a.m. PT (14:00 UTC) in order to participate.
  • You will no longer be able to join matches after 4 p.m. PT (23:00 UTC). Any matches currently in progress as of 4 p.m. PT will be allowed to complete.
  • It is strongly encouraged you begin playing as soon as possible after the event starts to allow you to play all of your matches.

More information regarding the Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend is available in the Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend: Day 1 Guide.

Best-of-Three Match Clock

Speaking of the Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend, we will also be implementing a match clock in addition to our turn timers for our best-of-three formats. Each player will have 30 minutes on their respective match clock that will count down whenever that player has priority, for a total of 60 minutes per match between the two players (excluding sideboarding, which does not use the match clock). If a player uses all of their allotted time before the match finishes, they will be given a match loss regardless of their current win/loss record. Players will be able to mouse over their timers to see the current time remaining on their match clock, and it will automatically become visible once their match time starts to run low.

Why here, why now? Well, we've always said that MTG Arena would provide an authentic digital Magic experience, and this is part of that. Since we are currently using a best-of-three format for our in-game competitive event, we felt that adding a match clock was one of the things that was needed if we wanted to continue to provide an authentic experience when compared to our competitive tabletop counterparts. And while a match clock was added specifically for the Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend, it will also be used in all other best-of-three events in MTG Arena.

Beyond that... we'll see! We want to monitor how a match clock will impact our best-of-three formats first, as well as allow time for feedback from players such as yourselves, before we consider making changes to others events or play queues in MTG Arena. We're still living in a world of iteration, and this is just one of those things we’ll continue to work on as we bring you the best experience we can in MTG Arena.

Basic Land Filter

And to wrap things up, we're happy to announce that with the May update we'll be adding a long-awaited feature: the ability to choose your basic land illustration during deck building. When viewing your Collection or using the deck builder, you'll now be able to select the "Basic Land" filter option to view all the available basic land illustrations in game—and yes, this includes deck building during Draft and Sealed events! This new option also works alongside the other advanced filters, so you'll be able to filter by set and color identity to make your search for the perfect illustration easier. Playing in a War of the Spark Sealed event and you want your lands to match? Sure thing!

Basic Land Sealed

Please keep in mind that for now, basic lands will only be viewable if you have the Basic Land filter selected on the Advanced Filters page. If you try searching for "Swamp" or "Island" without selecting the basic lands filter first, you won't get any results. And according to our Lawmages, basic lands are treated as their own rarity, which separates them from other land-type cards in the game (this is also why the filter is up by the other card rarities). Selecting the other "Land" filter option will continue to work as it previously has, limiting the results to nonbasic lands and the five default basic land options.

Basic Land Filter

Clean-Up Phase

And that's it for May! New event series, new cosmetic options, the first-ever Mythic Championship Qualifier Weekend, and the arrival of a long-requested deck-building feature coming to you next week on May 23. Maintenance information will be available on our status page, and you can always follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates. We have a few small updates for next month, but you can expect the next State of the Beta toward the end of June as we set our eyes on Core Set 2020.

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