Big monsters. Big features. Big plans for the year ahead. It's almost time to step into the lair of behemoths, and now is definitely the moment to talk more about our vision. In this month's game update, we'll share our plan to provide more ways to play, compete, and connect in Magic: The Gathering Arena. Play safe, play at home, play with friends, play now.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
If you haven't been keeping up with all the card previews, we recommend you take this moment to go check out the full card image gallery. Even if you have been keeping up with it, it's probably worth a second look.
Yes, that is Godzilla, and yes—you'll be able to get those alternate-art card styles in MTG Arena.
Until May 21, players who enter an Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Limited event will also receive a Godzilla Monster Series card style in addition to normal event rewards. This includes both Ikoria Draft and Sealed events, and you will receive one each time you enter until the deadline. (Or until you've added all 18 options to your collection!)
In addition to the new card set, Set Mastery, and some truly monstrous card styles, there's one last thing we wanted to highlight before we get to our developer roadmap
You'll be able to draft Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths—with players. It is an important milestone, and to celebrate its release, every player will get a complimentary Draft token to try it out—all you need to do is log in within two weeks of Ikoria's release to claim yours!
Starting Thursday, two new Player Draft modes will be available in-game as a higher skill competitive experience with more rewards on the line. The mode plays reasonably similar to what you've come to expect on Magic: The Gathering Arena and closely replicates the experience that a player might have drafting with other people in tabletop Magic.
Let's start with the basics:
- Player Draft will be available for Best-of-One and Best-of-Three drafts.
- Best-of-One bot drafts will still be available and will continue to rotate every two weeks.
- Best-of-Three bot drafts will no longer be available; all Best-of-Three drafts will be with players.
- If the current Bot Draft and Player Draft feature the same set, they will play in separate queues (players who drafted against bots will not be paired against players who drafted against other players).
- Player drafts will function like leagues; you'll be matched against players outside of your draft pod.
When joining a Player Draft, you'll be placed at a digital table until you are paired with seven other players. Once all eight players are queued up, you'll confirm your readiness before the draft begins. From there, the draft will commence similarly to how it would against bots, with each player picking a card from their current pack and then passing it to other players. We did add one little failsafe to the UX where a single click reserves a card (but doesn't automatically select it as your pick). Double-clicking, dragging the card to your deck, and/or hitting the "Confirm Pick" button will lock in your pick.
We've updated the Draft UX to help convey some of these intricacies, such as whether you are passing to your right or left, as well as show you the status of other players' Draft picks (but not the picks themselves, mind you):
To ensure that Player Draft continues at a reasonable pace, you will only have a limited amount of time to make your choice that will scale depending on your current pack and pick. For example, you'll have the most time for your pack one, pick one decision (approximately 70 seconds), however by the time you get down to pack three, pick seven, this time will be reduced to 30 seconds. If you don't select a card before your time runs out, the game will pick one for you (if you reserved a card via a single-click, it will pick that reserved card when time expires)!
Once the drafting portion is complete, you'll be paired with players who have also drafted against others—though not necessarily in the same pod (for those of you familiar with Magic: The Gathering Online leagues, it's a similar system).
Draft Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths—On us!
To celebrate the addition of one of our most requested gameplay options, we're doing two things very special with our release:
- Both Best-of-One and Best-of-Three Ikoria Player Draft will be available on April 16.
- Your first Ikoria Player Draft is on us—no entry fee required! You can choose either Best-of-One or Best-of-Three.
- You'll need to log into the game by April 30 in order to redeem your complimentary Ikoria Player Draft.
- Best-of-One, Player Draft, Current Set, Ranked
Ranked Draft -> Quick Draft
- Best-of-One, Bot Draft, Set Rotates Bi-Weekly, Ranked
Traditional Draft -> Traditional Draft*
- Best-of-Three, Player Draft, Current Set, Unranked
*In Traditional Draft, you will now draft against other players, not bots.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Draft Schedule
- April 16—June 2020: Ikoria Premier Draft
- April 16—June 2020: Ikoria Traditional Draft
- April 17—May 1: Core Set 2020 Quick Draft
- May 1—May 15: Ikoria Quick Draft
- May 15—May 29: War of the Spark Quick Draft
Event Entry and Rewards
We'll be trying out a new event structure for Traditional Drafts, something more akin to what you might expect when playing at your local game store. When participating, you'll play a total of three matches and receive prizes based on your number of wins.
Entry Fee: 1500 Gems or 10,000 Gold
Event Record: Three matches (regardless of win/loss record)
- 3 Wins: 3000 Gems, 6 Packs
- 2 Wins: 1000 Gems, 4 Packs
- 0–1 Win: 1 Pack
We want Premier Draft to be aptly named and have structured the entry fee and reward structure around this concept. We currently plan for them to have a higher entry fee when compared to Quick Draft, but with rewards that scale accordingly.
Entry Fee: 1500 Gems or 10,000 Gold
Event Record: 7 wins or 3 losses (whichever comes first)
- 7 Wins: 2200 Gems and 6 Packs
- 6 Wins: 1800 Gems and 5 Packs
- 5 Wins: 1600 Gems and 4 Packs
- 4 Wins: 1400 Gems and 3 Packs
- 3 Wins: 1000 Gems and 2 Packs
- 2 Wins: 250 Gems and 2 Packs
- 1 Win: 100 Gems and 1 Pack
- 0 Wins: 50 Gems and 1 Pack
Quick Draft (Previously Ranked Draft)
Beyond the update to the name, Quick Draft will be using the same event and reward structure as we have previously, and matches will still contribute to your Limited Rank.
If you're looking for information on Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths as well as player drafting, we recommend scrolling up, but there are a few other changes you can expect with the April 2020 game update.
FNM @ Home Updates
Ensuring the health and wellbeing of our employees, fans, and partners remains our top priority, and we will be continuing to support local communities and stores from the safe distance of online play. In addition to other key initiatives, we'll be continuing our FNM @ Home events into the month of May:
- April 17: Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Lair (play any event to be eligible to receive a reward from your local game store)
- April 24: Singleton
- May 1: Artisan
- May 8: Pauper
- May 15: Historic Brawl
As before, these events will have no in-game entry fee and will reward rare or mythic rare individual card rewards (ICRs) for your first and second win. For those of you who connect with your participating WPN stores, you'll also be eligible to receive an additional promotional code that can be redeemed for extra in-game rewards. Starting with the April game update, these will be in the form of a MTG Arena Promo Pack code, inspired by the (you guessed it) promo packs you receive at your local store.
You'll be able to redeem up to one code every week, and each code redemption will reward you two in-game cosmetic items—including card styles, avatars, card sleeves, and pets, some of which were previously unavailable
For our FNM regulars, we encourage you to continue reaching out to your local game store and connect with their online communities. And if you've never been to a tabletop Friday Night Magic event and this is giving you the incentive to connect with your local Magic players—go for it! Our goal with these events is to bring people together, even when staying apart.
Card UI Improvements
If you thought the cards on the battlefield looked a little different in our videos and screenshots—you're correct! With the twelve (!) different types of counters in Ikoria alone plus the complexity of mutate, and as we look toward adding older cards (which means more mechanics), there's no time like the present to streamline how cards appear during matches:
- Consistent Badge Placement
- Improved Scaling
- Less "Noise"
Quantity dependent effects (e.g. Devotion, Adapt, etc.)
Keyworded abilities (e.g. Flying, Deathtouch, etc.)
"Read More" (e.g. Card specific text, triggered abilities, more than three keywords, etc.)
Psst! For those of you who've been waiting for a status update on macOS, this is the part where you should pay attention! Starting with the June 2020 game update, Magic: The Gathering Arena will be transitioning to a 64-bit client. We will continue to support a 32-bit client for the release of Ikoria and the May game update, but afterwards, we will only be providing a 64-bit client.
Once we have a more concrete release date, you'll likely find one of us on a rooftop (again) screaming it to our hearts content.
Now that we've implemented player drafting, you know what that means
You may have already gotten a taste of this if you tried out our Cube Sealed earlier this month, but soon, you'll be able to draft using the crème de la crème of all the cards available in Magic: The Gathering Arena. As with Cube Sealed, Cube Draft will be a phantom event, only this time, instead of opening six "packs" worth of cards, you'll draft them against your fellow players.
Cube has no concept of rarity, so packs will contain plenty of exciting rares and mythic rares in your pool. The diversity of cards and the strategies and synergies make each run an exciting new experience every time, and as we continue to add cards to MTG Arena you can expect us to continue updating and iterating on the cubes we offer.
While we don't have anything specific to announce at this time, we'd like to make it clear that we'll be continuing to support Historic, and we plan for it to be increasingly more prominent in Magic: The Gathering Arena as we expand our eternal format offerings.
We will continue to strengthen and diversify this play mode, specifically adding cards that fall outside the realm of Pioneer and Standard to keep this format interesting. Historic Anthology 3 is currently planned to release sometime in May.
Work is going well on Amonkhet Remaster, and you should expect that to arrive sometime this summer. We're also continuing our work with Magic R&D on future planned Pioneer-focused set remasters, though they remain in concept for now.
Between this, Historic Anthology 3, Core Set 2021, Jumpstart, and Zendikar Rising—there is plenty of new card content to look forward to for the rest of the year!
Just so we're clear—this is a big one, and it's going to take a lot of work to get us there. There won't be many updates on this until late fall, but what we can tell you right now is:
- It's planned for 2020.
- We'll have cross-platform support.
It won't matter whether you're playing on the go or on your desktop at home, you'll still have access to all your cards, decks, play modes, etc.
"Player Challenges" is the working name we're calling our competitive experiences that will have a short duration but high skill cap, providing ways to win significant rewards beyond gold, gems, and booster packs. Given the circumstances surrounding us, this is something we've decided to fast track a bit to provide even more ways for you to compete from the safety of your home. Expect more info in the upcoming weeks!
- Prizes and format will be different from our Metagame Challenges but will still follow an X wins or Y losses formats (i.e. not brackets or swiss).
- While competitive, they will differ from our Mythic Point Qualifiers as they will not require any sort of pre-qualification to compete.
- They will also be separate from Magic esports and MPL play.
- The goal is to have player entries support the prize pool; rewards will depend on region and local laws.
We know that's a lot to cover, so hopefully you're still with us! Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is scheduled to go live on April 16 and will bring to you a new card set, new drafting experience, new set mastery, and some major UI improvements. Keep an eye on our status page for the latest information on maintenance times, and if Thursday can't come soon enough, tune into our Early Access event on April 15 to support some of your favorite content creators and streamers as they get their hands, paws, and claws on this monstrous set for the very first time.