Magic Online Moving Forward

Posted in News on September 7, 2017

By Chris Kiritz

As part of the Magic Digital Studio here at Wizards of the Coast, Magic Online is very excited to welcome a new member to the family, Magic: The Gathering Arena. Jeffrey Steefel's article talks about the vision of MTG Arena and how you can get involved. I want to touch on what this announcement means for Magic Online, reinforce Magic Online's vision and goals, and provide a peek at what we are working on.

Our vision for Magic Online continues to be providing the most comprehensive and varied online Magic experience available. Where MTG Arena is designed to offer a focused experience around the latest Magic releases, Magic Online will continue to offer a vast array of formats and play types that embrace the depth and history of Magic: The Gathering.

Jeffrey did a great job of outlining the goals we're using to develop MTG Arena, so I want to do the same for Magic Online.

We want to provide players as many ways to play Magic as possible. Magic's legendary depth of gameplay includes an incredible array of choice for players across many formats. Magic Online embraces that diversity and continues to deliver as many ways as possible to play. Constructed players can battle in Standard, Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Pauper, two versions of Commander, Freeform, and Momir Basic. For fans of Limited, we have the most recent formats as well as periodic Flashback and Cube Drafts, all available in Leagues so you can play on your schedule. Throw in Throwback Constructed events and some of our wacky formats, like Battle of the Planes, and our goal is to try to make sure there is something interesting to play on Magic Online.

We want to support play at all levels of competition. From a handful of friends who want to get together online and battle in a friendly Commander free-for-all to the most seasoned professional practicing for the next Pro Tour, Magic Online will have a place for you. Open play lets players play casually with whatever deck suits their fancy, whenever they want. Leagues allow players to play for prizes on their schedules, while Weekend Challenges provide a more traditional tournament experience in a variety of formats. Pro Tour Qualifiers and the Magic Online Championship Events pit the best players against each other to battle for glory and a chance to compete at the highest levels of Magic play. Each of these play types is an important part of the experience that continues to make Magic Online unique.

We want to evolve to provide the best Magic Online experience we can. Fifteen years after its inception, Magic Online continues to grow and improve—and we're not done. This year we've released card sets earlier and at a higher overall quality than at any time in Magic Online's history, and we've seen record concurrent and weekly unique players as a result. We've updated trade to be simpler, we've tweaked Commander (both improving features and adding a format), and we've improved Magic Online's resilience to minor internet interruptions. Most recently we delivered an update that lets players see the prizes available in each event without leaving the client, delivering one of our most requested features (and one that has been on my personal list for many years now).

As we look toward the future, we'll be continuing work behind the scenes to improve performance. We are working on decoupling the redemption process from the Magic Online downtime process so we can run it more regularly, with the ultimate goal of running the process nightly. We want to have as few maintenance downtimes possible next year, so we're working to decouple as many systems from this process as possible. We're also going to continue working on refining the user experience for Magic Online, with improvements to the Play Lobby and Collection scenes at the top of the list. Our vision/goal is for Magic Online to continue to supporting set releases and continue delivering all the awesome Magic content we can, all while sprinkling in great Cube, Flashback, and Throwback Constructed experiences.

2017 has been a great year for Magic Online so far, and with Ixalan (events begin September 25) and Iconic Masters (in November) to close out the year, we'll be heading into 2018 full steam ahead. As always, if you have questions or comments, email us at, or hit us up on Twitter @MagicOnline or on the Magic Online Tumblr. You can also find me directly at on Twitter @ckiritz.

Have fun and happy gaming,

—Chris Kiritz

Senior Product Manager – Magic Online

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