Charge up your Lightning Bolt and hold onto your Counterspell, because today we're introducing Timeless, a new Constructed format where all cards on Magic: The Gathering Arena are playable. In this article I will explain why we are creating this format, what makes it unique, and our plans leading up to its release and beyond.
Why a New Format, and Why Now?
We are creating Timeless as a home for MTG Arena's most powerful cards. As MTG Arena has grown, we have accumulated extra strong sets like Wilds of Eldraine Enchanting Tales and Strixhaven Mystical Archive. These cards did not have a great place to be played outside of their Limited formats without overrunning an existing Constructed format. Timeless will be a place to play these cards.
Timeless will feature every card on MTG Arena, which includes the fetch lands coming with Khans of Tarkir. We believe now is the right time to add a new format, as we have built up a healthy batch of these cards and expect more will be added from things like bonus sheets, The List in Play Boosters, and sets like Modern Horizons 3, coming in 2024. Players also proved there is demand for this format with their engagement and support during the Historic No Banned List and Historic Basically No Bans events we ran in September and November.
But what about Historic? The Historic format began as "the place to play with all of your cards on MTG Arena" but over time has shifted into a more curated format. We are happy with the state of Historic. It is balanced, made up of a diverse metagame of different decks, and offers a unique digital play experience. Historic maintains these qualities because we actively curate the format. We want the power level of Historic to continue to grow but don't want it to happen too quickly, as we believe it's in an enjoyable place right now. For these reasons, we have decided to pre-ban the Khans of Tarkir fetch lands from Historic but are excited to play with them in Timeless.
What Is Timeless?
Timeless is a nonrotating, Constructed format played with 60-card decks where every card on MTG Arena is legal. This includes digital-only cards, the upcoming Khans of Tarkir set release, and any future set releases. Timeless will use the rebalanced versions of all digital-only cards, but the original tabletop printings of all non-digital cards. We hope Timeless will be filled with fast, fun, and exciting games as players will have access to the most powerful cards in MTG Arena.
To contain all these powerful cards, Timeless will be the first format on MTG Arena to have a restricted list. If a card is on the restricted list, only a single copy of that card may be included in your deck and sideboard. Cards will have to earn their place on the banned and restricted list, and only those cards that have proven to be negative fun or far too powerful will be added.
The initial restricted list for Timeless includes only the following three cards:
Channel Demonic Tutor
- Tibalt's Trickery
These cards have earned their place on the restricted list based on their performance in our Historic No Banned List event.
Timeless will be a competitive format, so we are launching it with ranked (Best-of-One) and traditional (Best-of-Three) ranked queues, and an unranked play queue. Ranked play will contribute to a player's Constructed rank in the same way as MTG Arena's other ranked Constructed formats.
How Will the Restricted List Work on MTG Arena?
Cards on the restricted list will be limited to only a single copy in the combined main deck and sideboard. When a card is added to the restricted list and is no longer legal in any other format, players will receive wildcards for each copy of the card in their collection greater than one. For example, if a player owns four copies of a card that is added to the restricted list, the player will receive three wildcards for that change.
There will not be wildcard reimbursement for the three card restrictions made with the launch of Timeless.
When Will Timeless Be Released?
Timeless will go live on December 12, 2023, with the release of Khans of Tarkir on MTG Arena. Ranked and play queues will be available with this release. To celebrate the release of this new format, we have a few promotions and events planned, including a new-to-MTG Arena card, Timeless Dragon, that players will receive through their in-game inboxes on December 12!
The rollout schedule for Timeless looks as follows:
- December 12: Timeless will be launched alongside Khans of Tarkir with Best-of-One and Best-of-Three ranked queues, and a Best-of-One play queue.
- December 12–14: Midweek Magic will feature the Timeless format and have an additional Khans of Tarkir pack reward.
- February 2–4, 2024: Players can test their decks and earn packs in a Timeless Metagame Challenge.
What Is the Future of Timeless?
We are excited to see what decks players craft for Timeless as a new metagame develops and the format comes into its own. In 2024 and beyond, we expect more cards will be added to Timeless as new, powerful card sets come to MTG Arena. We will keep an eye on how these new cards impact the format and restrict anything that proves to be too much. We are also evaluating whether doing something like a Timeless anthology set is interesting, or if it would be too much. Much like we did with the Historic No Banned List and Historic Basically No Bans events, we are eager to let players show us what they're interested in.