MTG Arena: State of The Game – June 2020

Posted in Magic Digital on June 23, 2020

By Wizards of the Coast

Core Set 2021

Powerful new cards. Iconic throwbacks. Dogs.

Core Set 2021 arrives on MTG Arena this Thursday, June 25, and it comes jam-packed with both old dogs and new tricks. If you haven't kept up with preview season, you can head over to our product page for all the exciting details, including a the full-card gallery and a look at the showcase card frames (which we'll be implementing as card styles on MTG Arena).

It's About Time – MTG Arena on macOS

Okay, we fully admit that our timeline for this got a little wonky, and considering the nature of this set, Teferi may or may not have been involved. Regardless, the wait is over, it's finally here—yes, starting with Core Set 2021, in partnership with Epic Games Store, you will be able to play MTG Arena natively on macOS. Same game, same collection, new platform.

If you missed yesterday's announcement, you can still peer through time to get all the relevant information, including details on what this means for existing players who wish to play on this new platform.

Pack Collation and Reprints

Speaking of Core Set 2021, in addition to familiar faces, there's also lots of returning places. We know this has become quite the talking point in our community, particularly with lands. So, without further ado, here's our plan:

  • If you've collected a playset of a fully reprinted card, we will be adjusting the rate at which you'll receive these cards in store boosters. We're defining "full reprints" as a card that shares both the name and artwork of a card that already exists in MTG Arena.
  • You will only receive a copy of fully reprinted cards from a pack after you have received playsets of all other rares and mythic rares (i.e. the same thing we do with a card if it's banned in Standard).
  • If you already own a playset (four copies) of a card that is fully reprinted, you will only receive further copies of that card from store boosters if you already own playsets of all other rares and mythic rares from that set (i.e. the same thing we do with a card if it's banned in Standard).
  • The game will check this against your entire collection. For example, if you own three copies of Fabled Passage from Throne of Eldraine, and you open a fourth in Core Set 2021, the game will adjust the distribution rate of this card in both Throne of Eldraine and Core Set 2021 booster packs now that you've completed a playset.
  • This change does not impact Limited boosters; you will still receive them at their original distribution rate in Draft or Sealed events.
  • This change only applies to fully reprinted rares and mythic rares; we will not be adjusting the distribution rate of fully reprinted commons or uncommons.
  • Core Set 2021 cards that are also available in Jumpstart are treated as being part of Core Set 2021 for anything that affects distribution rate or duplicate protection.

Our goal with this change is to ensure that players who want to collect all the cards in the set still can, while also allowing us to prioritize new cards over those that are effectively duplicate rares or mythic rares. We're all in agreement that we should handle these kinds of reprints at rare and mythic rare differently than others. We didn't say anything before this because we wanted to ensure our solution was in place first. Now that we know these changes will go live on Thursday, we're happy to share this information with you.

Keep in mind that if a card is reprinted that features new artwork, we will not be adjusting the distribution rate even if you've completed a playset of the previous version. All other duplicate protection rules apply, so if you complete a playset of a fully reprinted rare or mythic rare card with the adjusted distribution rate, you will then receive gems according to its rarity.

Core Set 2021 Event Schedule

Quick Draft Schedule

June 26–July 10Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Quick Draft
July 10–July 24Core Set 2021Quick Draft

Player Draft Schedule

June 25–SeptemberCore Set 2021 Premier Draft
June 25–SeptemberIkoria Traditional Draft

Sealed Schedule

June 26–July 10:Core Set 2021 Sealed

Additional Events

July 4–July 7: Standard Metagame Challenge
July 11–July 13: Core Set Constructed

A Jumpstart on Jumpstart

Jumpstart will be arriving on MTG Arena as part of our July 16 game update, and we plan to go over exactly how we're implanting this new play experience as we get closer to that date. However, to clear up some confusion, alleviate a few concerns, and answer a handful of burgeoning questions, we did want to devote some time today to go over the larger details.

  • The Jumpstart play experience on MTG Arena will be part of a Limited event (e.g. Draft/Sealed using themed boosters) and will include over 500+ cards.
  • In addition to Jumpstart themed boosters (only available as part of the event), individual cards can also be crafted using Wildcards.
  • This will include 37 cards that are new to both tabletop and digital Magic.
  • All the cards included in Jumpstart will be also be playable in Historic, which means over 300 new cards specifically for this format.
  • As such, we swapped 20 of the reprinted cards from the tabletop product for play in MTG Arena because of either power or gameplay concerns, or technical restrictions.
  • Yes, we've included the themed basic lands. Like the tabletop product, you will find them within corresponding Jumpstart themed booster, and as always, you'll only need one copy in your collection to use as many as you like across all decks.

And as for those swaps . . .

Again, we'll have more details in the upcoming weeks, but we have a lot to cover today, and July is so next week.

Update to Brawlers' Guildhall

When we first introduced Constructed Brawl as a format back in October, it was the first time we planned to support something other than Standard or Limited events on a regular, albeit rotating, schedule. Up until this point, MTG Arena had been almost exclusively Standard-focused, and this was one of our first forays into expanding our formats beyond your typical 60-card Constructed deck or Limited events on a regular cadence.

It proved popular enough that we began to explore ways we could support the format more often, without undermining the Standard-focused experience that MTG Arena was originally designed to provide. We had to make certain assumptions using the data we had based on player behavior up until this point, which is why we initially charged an entry fee for Brawlidays and the subsequent Brawlers' Guildhall events.

Well, as COVID-19 changed the daily lives of many of us, one of our initiatives was to offer more ways to play Magic from the comfort and safety of our homes. One of the ways we did that was by removing this entry fee for the March Guildhall. Then we did it again in April, and then we did it again in May.

. . . And as it turns out, having supported Brawlers' Guildhall without an entry fee for several months now, a lot of our concerns over having a permanent Brawl queue never really manifested. Brawl continues to be a popular "sometimes" food for most of our players, who enjoy playing it in between drafts or other Constructed formats.

So, starting on July 1, the Brawlers' Guildhall will be no more. Instead, Wednesday Brawl will just become . . . Brawl. All day, every day, no entry fee, earn daily wins and quest progress, no takesies backsies. It will be a queue alongside Play, Standard Ranked, etc. starting in July and into the foreseeable future.

And before you ask, let's talk Historic Brawl.

We will continue offering Historic Brawl as part of our rotating events and plan to do so through rotation. We know this is turning out to be a popular format separate from Standard Brawl, so we want to be clear as to why we're not making any changes between now and then: we want to see what happens. By the time Zendikar Rising roils around, we'll have supported our always-available Brawl queue for some time and want to get a clear picture on what impact Standard rotation has on the format.

Once that resolves, we plan on taking another look at how we plan to support Historic Brawl going forward. You're welcome to keep the conversation going, just bear in mind that you shouldn't expect any changes or updates between now and then. For more information on rotation and Brawl, you can check out our Road to Rotation section below.

Road to Rotation

Yes, it is almost that time again. Zendikar Rising is only a few months away, and with it comes Standard Rotation. As we did last year, we want to ensure everyone is prepared for all the changes this will entail, some of which will go into effect with this week's update. Rotation is always an exciting time for Magic: The Gathering players, and we want to make sure that our players know our current timeline as we plan to hit the road!

June 25 Changes

  • Events – We will no longer be scheduling Quick Drafts or Sealed events for sets rotating out of Standard this fall. Quick Draft and Sealed events will use sets starting from Throne of Eldraine and going forward.
  • Individual Card Rewards (ICRs) – Players will no longer receive ICRs from sets that will be rotating out of Standard from daily wins or Standard events. Cards from rotating sets will be added to Historic ICRs.

August 2020 Changes

  • New Player Decks – The decks that players receive as part of the tutorial and new player experience will be updated in August. For existing players: We currently intend to recreate these updated decklists for existing players so everyone will have access to decks that are Standard-legal. If these decks contain cards that are not currently a part of your collection, you will be granted them.
  • Boosters/Wildcard Crafting – We will have additional messaging in-game when purchasing a booster or crafting a card from one of the rotating sets.
  • Amonkhet Remastered – Oh hey, did this get your attention? We hope so! While strictly speaking, this has absolutely nothing to do with rotation, since we're talking timelines we figured we might as well slip this in. Amonkhet Remastered will be arriving in August, adding an additional 300+ cards to Historic . . .

Zendikar Rising

  • Standard Rotation – Rotation time! Core Set 2020, Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, and War of the Spark leave Standard play. Standard 2021 will consist of the following sets: Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Core Set 2021, Zendikar Rising, and three more upcoming Standard-legal sets planned for 2021.
  • Historic – Cards in rotating sets will still be playable in Historic. General reminder, Historic does have its own list of suspended and banned cards.
  • Brawl – Commanders that were added to Brawl as part of the Brawlers' Guildhall will no longer be legal in Standard Brawl.
  • Renewal – As we did last year, we'll be adding some special events and rewards for players to help "renew" their collection for the new Standard environment as well as to show our appreciation for all your support. We expect to have more information on this system sometime in August!

Deck Builder Improvements

Last, but certainly not least, you can also expect some quality-of-life improvements when it comes to deck building on MTG Arena. Did you know that the in-game search function supports advanced searching terms? Well, if you didn't, it does! And if you did know, you'll now have an easy way to reference it in-game!

As you can see, it's a robust system that allows you to set a lot criteria beyond what's available using our Advanced Filters—though the two are compatible, so feel free to combine the two when looking for particular cards.

We're also adding some fancy new tools for deck building in Draft and Sealed events! With this update, you'll have the ability to expand the amount of space used when viewing your deck in the horizontal layout, as well as quickly add cards by their color identity.

Cleanup Step

The dog days of summer are here! Core Set 2021 arrives in just a few days, so keep an eye on our status page for the latest information on maintenance times. If Thursday can't come soon enough, you can tune into our Early Access event start this Wednesday at 8 a.m. PT!

We'll be back in just a few weeks to talk more about Jumpstart, as well as to give you an updated roadmap for MTG Arena's plans for the year ahead.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you in-game!

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