MTG Arena: State of the Game – May 2020

Posted in Magic Digital on May 19, 2020

By Wizards of the Coast

In just a few short days, the next game update hits Magic: The Gathering Arena, and it's bringing both new cards and new ways to play. Trust us, if the cards in Historic Anthology III don't give you flashbacks to some of the most iconic cards and creatures in MTG's history . . . we don't think anything will.

And if that's not enough to convince you to keep reading, perhaps the Arena Open—and the opportunity to win monetary rewards at home in your pajama pants—will keep your finger squarely on the scroll bar.

Come what May—it's State of the Game time!

Historic Anthology III

If you happened to miss both our announcement stream as well as the card previews, here's a quick summary of everything you need to know about the latest Historic anthology coming to MTG Arena later this week: Historic Anthology III introduces 27 new cards to both MTG Arena and Historic play. It's got Shrines! It's got Flashback! It's got creatures you control have flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, haste, and protection from red and black (yes, all your creatures all those things).

It's even got an Eldrazi!

Purchasing the Historic Anthology III bundle will add playsets of all 27 cards to your collection and will be available for 4,000 gems or 25,000 gold. You'll also have the option to craft individual cards using Wildcards of the appropriate rarity (1:1).

This is the last Historic Anthology bundle we have planned for this year, as between Standard card sets, Jumpstart, Amonkhet, and other Pioneer-focused set remasters, we'll be adding a bunch of additional cards to this format from a variety of different places. We've said it before, and we'll say it again—we'll be continuing to support Historic as we expand our Eternal format offerings, both with cards that fall outside the realm of Pioneer and Standard and through various Historic-focused events and play queues.

Speaking of . . .

Historic Ranked

For you Historic fans out there, perhaps just as exciting as the introduction of new cards is the return of the Historic Ranked queue—and this time for good. Starting with the May Game Update (so like, two days from now) both Historic Ranked and Historic Traditional Ranked queues will be available on MTG Arena, and we have no intention of turning them off again.

And before you ask—you'll receive full play rewards for Historic Ranked, including quest progress as well as daily and weekly win rewards.

Cube Draft

Now that Player Draft is so last month's game update, it's time to bring another fan-favorite format to MTG Arena—Cube Draft!

Our cube consists of 555 cards pulled from everything that's available in MTG Arena—including both Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Historic Anthology III cards. You'll open three "booster packs" that contain 15 cards and draft them against your fellow players. Each pack may contain multiple exciting rares and mythic rares, so don't let the card on the top left distract you from the rest of the pack! It's also important to note that like Cube Sealed, Cube Draft will be a "phantom" event, which means the cards will not be added to your collection.

There's some exciting strategies and synergies we built into this cube, and drafting against players should help ensure that each draft is a fun and unique experience. Our first event is arriving on June 12 and, as we did with Ikoria, we'll be letting you get a taste of this format—on us! Your first Cube Draft will have no entry fee, and both the complimentary entry and the event itself will be available until the release of Core Set 2021 ( . . . yeah, that's happening like, a month from now).

But wait! There's still time for one more new event we're adding to MTG Arena, and it's unlike anything we've done before . . .

Introducing: The Arena Open

In the April State of the Game, we briefly mentioned a new type of competitive experience with a short duration and high skill cap, providing ways to win significant rewards beyond gold, gems, and booster packs in MTG Arena. We also mentioned that, 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. We are now ready to share more about it, as we prepare for the (first) Arena Open!

Before we get started, there are a few very important legal things we need to cover first.

The Fine Print

  • You must be 18 years or older to participate.
  • Regional eligibility restrictions apply, void where prohibited.
  • Receiving monetary rewards requires having or creating Wizards, DCI, and i-Payout accounts.
  • Refer to the official Terms and Conditions for complete details.

As you can probably tell already, we're doing something very different with these events. The Arena Open is going to be a two-day competitive event where the top players will be able to receive monetary rewards (like . . . real world, monetary rewards in USD). Outside of the eligibility requirements listed in the Terms and Conditions, there are no other prerequisites to participate.

The design space we tried to cover focused on three key areas:

Easy Access – No ladder climb or Mythic Rank required, and everything wraps up within the two days of the event. Day 1 allows for you to join throughout the day, and if things don't go well at first, you can always try again.

Convenience – Play from home at the touch of a button! You can take breaks as needed between matches, so stay hydrated and step away from the keyboard for a few minutes if you feel yourself starting to tilt. You get to control the pace and intensity of your experience.

High Skill, High Reward – This is meant to be a competitive experience, and the first of its kind to reward monetary rewards. You'll need to step up your game and put your best foot forward, but we still hope you have a lot of fun getting there!

Pretty exciting, right?

Let us break down exactly how this event will run, in addition to all the prizes you'll be able to receive . . .


Day 1

Start: May 30, 2020 at 8 a.m. PT
Sign-Ups End: May 31, 2020 at 4 a.m. PT—you'll still have a few hours to complete your current run, but you won't be able to join after this deadline.
Event End: May 31, 7 a.m. PT

Day 1 will be Best-of-One Standard Constructed matches. You will play until seven wins or three losses (whichever comes first), with seven wins earning you qualification for Day 2. You'll be able to enter Day 1 multiple times, which means you'll have more than one opportunity to qualify for Day 2.

Entry Reward

In addition to the prizes outlined above, every participant will receive the special Godzilla Lands to add to their collection as part of their entry. Like the Godzilla Series Monster card styles, these special rewards will unlock as soon as you join the event, so you'll be able to use them during your matches if you wish to further emphasize your goal of stomping through the competition.


Format: Best-of-One Standard Constructed
Event Record: 7 wins or 3 Losses (whichever comes first)

  • 7 Wins: 2,000 Gems, Qualification for Day 2
  • 6 Wins: 1,600 Gems
  • 5 Wins: 1,200 Gems
  • 4 Wins: 800 Gems
  • 3 Wins: 400 Gems
  • 0–2 Wins: No Reward

Entry Fee: 20,000 Gold or 4,000 Gems

Day 2

Start: May 31, 2020 at 8 a.m. PT
Sign-Ups End: May 31, 2020 at 10 a.m. PT—you'll have until the event ends to complete your matches, but you must join during this two-hour window.
Event End: May 31, 6 p.m. PT

Day 2 will consist of Best-of-Three Standard Constructed matches. Again, you'll play until seven wins or two losses (whichever comes first), but unlike Day 1, you'll only have one opportunity to compete. Once you complete your Day 2 matches—that's it! You'll receive rewards based on your event record, culminating with $2,000 USD if you manage to earn seven wins.


Format: Best-of-Three Standard Constructed
Event Record: 7 wins or 2 Losses (whichever comes first)

  • 7 Wins: $2,000 USD
  • 6 Wins: $1,000 USD
  • 5 Wins: 20,000 Gems
  • 4 Wins: 10,000 Gems
  • 3 Wins: 6,000 Gems
  • 2 Wins: 4,000 Gems
  • 1 Win: 2,000 Gems
  • 0 Wins: No Reward

Entry Fee: None—previous qualification from Day 1 required.


How many players can earn the monetary rewards on Day 2?

As many as qualify! All players on Day 2 who earn six or seven wins will be eligible to receive the monetary rewards.

Is the Arena Open a part of the MPL/Magic esports?

Not at this time. The Arena Open is currently separate from Magic esports (you will not earn Mythic Points, it won't qualify you for a Mythic Championship/Invitational, etc.)

How often will Arena Opens happen?

To be determined! We're trying to provide a new, exciting competitive experience, with our goal to hold multiple Arena Opens a year—we will see how this first one goes and iterate on it, and potentially hold more when the time is right.

Will Arena Opens always be Standard Constructed?

That is certainly not the plan! Currently, using other formats (looking at you, Draft) is more of a "when" not "if"—there are just a few other things coming out first!

Odds and Ends

Whew. Okay. That was a big one, and yet we still have a few more things on our checklist that we need to cover.

Brawlers' Guildhall

The Brawlers' Guildhall will continue to have no entry fee in support of our Stay at Home, Play at Home initiative. This event will run from May 21–July 1, and future Brawlers' Guildhall events will run on a month-to-month cadence (starting and ending with each month instead of between game updates).

The May event introduces Hanna, Ship's Navigator to Brawl, and participants will receive a copy of this card for their first win.

Psst! If you missed it, you should also check out yesterday's Banned and Restricted announcement!

FNM @ Home

Friday Night Magic at Home continues, both in-game and with participating WPN stores. We've scheduled events through June 19 and will continue to support local communities and stores—from the safe distance of online play—for as long as necessary. You can view the current event schedule on our FNM @ Home page or below in our upcoming event schedule.

Goodbye, 32-bit Client

The May game update marks the swan song for our 32-bit client, as we will be upgrading to a 64-bit client in June with the release of Core Set 2021. This is a necessary step as we look to improve both game and client performance, as well as expand our supported platforms. This should impact less than 1% of players, but if you're not sure which version of Windows you're currently running, you can verify it in your System settings.

Output Logs

If you use logs to track your MTG Arena play, you better pay attention to this!

We're doing some behind-the-scenes work, which means there will be two changes to your Output Logs. First, it's super important to note that the file name is changing from output_log.txt to Player.log. You'll also have a convenient Player-prev.log as well, but it only saves one previous copy. The file itself will be saved in the same location (e.g. . . . \AppData\LocalLow\Wizards of The Coast\MTGA\Player.log).

The other thing worth noting is that we've also added some additional tracking for player drafts! If you've ever wanted to look back and try to identify exactly when you thought you could make four colors work, the data will be available.

Quality of Life, Bugs, and Everything

And of course, you can expect a slew of bug fixes alongside some quality-of-life improvements as well. We'll be updating deck icons to provide more context for why a deck is invalid (such as showing both the type and number of Wildcards needed to finish crafting the saved decklist). You'll also have the option to "View Battlefield" after a match to see the end-of-game board state. Tournament Historic (Best-of-Three, timers, match clock, enforced ban list) will be supported in Direct Challenge matches, and we've added the hotkey option to "float all" mana for those of you who wish to live dangerously and tap out while your opponent has one card in hand and an open blue mana source . . .

Cleanup Step

The May game update will be available this Thursday, May 21. Maintenance is scheduled to begin at approximately 8 a.m. PT, and you can keep an eye on our status page for the latest information and updates. Patch notes will be available once maintenance is complete, and you can find the full upcoming MTG Arena event schedule below.

Upcoming MTG Arena Event Schedule

Quick Draft Schedule

May 15–May 29: War of the Spark Quick Draft
May 29–June 12: Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Quick Draft
June 12–June 26: Rivals of Ixalan Quick Draft (Historic)

Player Draft Schedule

April 16–June 25: Ikoria Premier Draft
April 16–June 25: Ikoria Traditional Draft

Specialty Draft Schedule

Arena Cube Draft (Phantom)
Event Dates
: June 12June 25

Core Set 2020 Omniscience Draft
: June 6June 9

Friday Night Magic at Home

May 22–May 23: Historic Artisan
May 29–May 30: Cascade
June 5–June 6: Historic Constructed
June 12–June 13: Momir
June 19–June 20: Historic Brawl


May 26–May 28: Heirlooms of History
June 2–June 4: Heroes of Ikoria
June 9–June 11: Mastermind
June 16–June 18: Taking the Stairs
June 23–June 25: The Common Good

Historic Events

Historic Ranked/Traditional Historic Ranked

Available: May 21

Historic Shakeup
Event Dates: June 6June 12

Historic Challenge
Event Dates: June 20June 22

(Additional Historic events available during FNM @ Home)

Additional Events

Brawlers' Guildhall
Event Dates: May 21July 1
Special Note: The Brawlers' Guildhall will continue to have no entry fee in support of our Stay at Home, Play at Home initiative.

Festival of Monsters: Clever Reflections
Event Dates: May 22May 25
Format: Historic Artisan

The Arena Open
Event Dates: May 31–June 1
Format: Standard Constructed, Bo1 (Day 1), Bo3 (Day 2)

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