State of Magic Online – Modern Horizons & the Play Lobby

Posted in Magic Online on May 23, 2019

By Chris Kiritz

MODERN HORIZONS

Modern Horizons looms on the, uh . . . horizon and is poised to shake up Modern like no other release during the format's history. With previews flying around the internet like a Wall of One Thousand Cuts (check out what's been revealed so far) we wanted to share what Magic Online is doing to celebrate the release!

Modern Horizons events start in two weeks on June 6, at 10 a.m. PT. You'll be able to play in Draft Leagues, Sealed Leagues, and Phantom Draft Leagues (details below) with the normal array of entry options. We're also introducing a new entry option specifically for this set: Modern Horizons Tokens.

MH1 Bundle

These untradable Modern Horizons Tokens are available in three places: the Modern Horizons Bundle, individually in the store, and through events. The Bundle includes 25 tokens at a 20% discount over purchasing them individually, a Serra the Majestic avatar, and a Flusterstorm promo card, all for $49.99. This bundle will only be available in the Magic Online Store until the release of Core Set 2020.

MH1 Bundle

Single tokens will be available for $2.49 each, if you need to round out your collection for that next event. Booster packs will be available in the MTGO store for $6.99 simultaneously with the June 14 tabletop release.

With a complex set like Modern Horizons, we know that it may take some time to learn the ins and outs of the format. We wanted to make sure that players entering non-Phantom Modern Horizons events have confidence that regardless of how they finished, they will make progress toward their next event.

In addition to Modern Horizons leagues, we have scheduled several Premier Events featuring the set. Players with enough Magic Online Championship Series Qualifier Points (MOCS QPs) can join our Modern Horizons MOCS Preliminaries on June 9 and June 22. Like all Sealed Deck MOCS Preliminaries, these will be Phantom and require 35 QPs to join. More information can be found on the MOCS information page.

On Saturday, June 15, we will host a Modern Horizons Magic Online Championship Series Open, the winner of which will be invited to the 2019 MOCS Championship next year. This event is Sealed Deck with Draft for the Top 8 Playoff, but unlike the Preliminaries, you'll keep all the cards you open. The entry for this event will be 50 Event Tickets, 500 Play Points, or 25 Modern Horizons Tokens. The prizes will match those on the MOCS information page but will feature Modern Horizons for both the full set and booster pack prizes.

The remaining event details can be found below. Treasure Chests will be updated with the release of Modern Horizons, and that information can be found on our Treasure Chest page.

MODERN HORIZONS DRAFT LEAGUE

Schedule: This League will begin on June 6, at 10 a.m. PT. This League is planned to run until August 14, 2019.

Product: 3 Modern Horizons boosters

Structure: Draft, then up to 3 matches at your convenience

Entry Options:

  • 25 Event Tickets
  • 250 Play Points
  • 10 Modern Horizons Tokens
  • 3 Modern Horizons boosters + 4 Event Tickets

Prizes:

  • 3 wins: 6 Modern Horizons boosters + 2 Qualifier Points + 1 Modern Horizons Token
  • 2 wins: 2 Modern Horizons boosters + 1 Qualifier Point + 1 Modern Horizons Token
  • 1 or 0 wins: 1 Modern Horizons Token

MODERN HORIZONS SEALED LEAGUE

Schedule: This League will begin on June 6, at 10 a.m. PT. This League is planned to run until August 14, 2019.

Product: 6 Modern Horizons boosters

Structure: Up to 5 matches, played at your convenience

Entry Options:

  • 45 Event Tickets
  • 450 Play Points
  • 20 Modern Horizons Tokens
  • 6 Modern Horizons boosters + 3 Event Tickets

Prizes:

  • 5 wins: 6 Modern Horizons boosters + 675 Play Points + 3 Qualifier Points + 2 Modern Horizons Tokens
  • 4 wins: 3 Modern Horizons boosters + 450 Play Points + 1 Qualifier Point + 2 Modern Horizons Tokens
  • 3 wins: 1 Modern Horizons booster + 225 Play Points + 2 Modern Horizons Tokens
  • 2, 1, or 0 wins: 2 Modern Horizons Tokens

MODERN HORIZONS PHANTOM DRAFT LEAGUE

Schedule: This League will begin on June 6, at 10 a.m. PT. This League is planned to run until August 14, 2019.

Product: 3 Phantom Modern Horizons boosters (cards drafted in the event will not be added to your collection)

Structure: Draft, then up to 3 matches at your convenience

Entry Options:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points
  • 5 Modern Horizons Tokens

Prizes:

  • 3 wins: 150 Play Points + 1 Treasure Chest + 1 Qualifier Point
  • 2 wins: 100 Play Points
  • 1 win: 50 Play Points

PLAY LOBBY UPDATE

Launching alongside Modern Horizons is our new Play Lobby. This update puts a focus on formats over event types. This means that when you want to play Modern, rather than going to the Play Lobby and selecting a bunch of filters and then cycling through a big list of event types to see what you can play, you'll instead click the new Constructed lobby, choose Modern, and then we'll show you everything available for Modern, from Premier Events all the way down to Open Play matches. Our Constructed format options are Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Pauper, Commander (which includes Commander, 1v1 Commander, and Brawl), and Specialty (which includes Momir, freeform, and everything else).

Constructed General

Limited play follows a similar path but focuses on play style over format. Select the new Limited lobby, then choose what kind of play you'd like, such as Draft or Sealed Deck, and then we'll show you all events that match that play style. Limited offers a separate Premier Events tab to make it easier to find the Mythic Championship Qualifier Preliminaries or Magic Online Championship Series events; if you're looking for a larger tournament, you'll need to head there first.

Limited General

Beyond putting emphasis on the type of game you want to play, we wanted to make sure that we're presenting information better. Some of this is accomplished with the new flow, but the rest comes from visual updates. We're surfacing more information into the main window, increasing the size of action buttons, and trying to limit the number of times you need to open and close separate windows.

We've also added a new deck viewer that lets you view contents of the currently selected deck so you know what you're using before you join an event or match. Can't remember if you have three Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and two Teferi, Time Raveler or vice versa in that Esper control deck you're testing? Now you can check quickly without heading back to the Collection scene. This display is also available if you're changing your deck before you join an event, so if you can't remember the difference between the deck you named "Mono-Red" and the one you named "Red Deck Wins," you can review them without leaving the deck selector. This is useful in Limited leagues as well, where you can build several different decks and choose them before you search for a match.

Deck Viewer

Speaking of leagues, we wanted to put more emphasis on our top trophy winners, so we've revamped the leaderboard view to highlight the top five trophy winners of each league. Now, when you're on top, everyone will see your screen name and avatar on the leaderboard. As we continue to make updates to the client, we want to find more ways to show off your avatar and make that customization decision more meaningful. (And it doesn't hurt that it's now easier than ever to show off your Prestige Avatars!)

We've simplified our open play styles for each format, including finding a match. Each Constructed format in Magic Online has access to Open Play, which are single-game matches with 60 minutes per player. In addition, most formats will have a Tournament Practice option which are always best of 3 matches with 25 minutes per player. Regardless of style, you'll still be able to add comments to a game you're creating, limit games to players on your buddy list, and stop other players from watching your matches if you're practicing for an upcoming event.

Create Match

GENERAL EVENT UPDATES

In addition to streamlining how we preset our play options, we're also unifying our Constructed League structures. With the Modern Horizons release, we're removing distinction between Friendly and Competitive, and replacing it with the following structure:

Entry Options:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points

Prizes:

  • 5 wins: 150 Play Points + 11 Treasure Chests + 3 Qualifier Points + 5 Format Points (if available)
  • 4 wins: 120 Play Points + 5 Treasure Chests + 1 Qualifier Points + 2 Format Points (if available)
  • 3 wins: 100 Play Points + 1 Treasure Chest + 1 Format Point (if available)
  • 2 wins: 50 Play Points

This change effectively combines the two types of leagues that we currently offer, with a good spread of prizes, including QPs and Format Points, with the added benefit of improving the matchmaking time for those leagues that have two options.

Beyond consolidating the Constructed leagues, we're also tweaking our Phantom event prizes. You saw a preview with the Modern Horizons phantom draft above, but here it is again:

Entry Options:

  • 10 Event Tickets
  • 100 Play Points

Prizes:

  • 3 wins: 150 Play Points + 1 Treasure Chest + 1 Qualifier Point
  • 2 wins: 100 Play Points
  • 1 win: 50 Play Points

The changes here are that we've added a Qualifier Point and Treasure Chest for players who get three wins, one win now earns half an entry worth of Play Points, and if you're unlucky enough to go without winning, you won't get any play points. This change will apply to all Phantom events we run after the Modern Horizons release.

OVER THE HORIZONS

While that is quite a bit of change, we still have more to come. Core Set 2020 follows hot on the heels of the Modern Horizons release and will be available the first week of July. It's so close, in fact, we won't even have time to run any alternative play experiences before it arrives. We've just started work on Commander (2019 Edition), and we plan to make those cards available in conjunction with the tabletop release at the end of August. We'll continue updating the basic styling of the client to match that of the Play Lobby update as we have the bandwidth.

Later in the year, Magic Online becomes free to download as we eliminate the $9.99 for creating an account. We'll have more details on this change as we get closer, but rather than using the current free trial system, our intent is to let you to choose your screen name and start playing with other MTGO players right out of the gate. Some features will be restricted until you upgrade your account, but new players will see much more of what Magic Online offers before they need to commit purchasing an account.

We're continuing to look at quality-of-life improvements and hope to introduce a few more after the Play Lobby update has been released. We're also investigating ways to better secure your account, though any changes in this department wouldn't be released until 2020 at the earliest.

As always, feel free to reach out on Twitter @MagicOnline or via email to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com. Good luck, have fun, and see you in the Modern Horizons leagues!

Chris Kiritz

Senior Product Manager, Magic Online

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