MTG Arena State of the Game August 2020
The MTG Arena State of the Game address for August 2020 has released, and it’s jam-packed with information. What’s on the docket? They discuss Amonkhet Remastered and the upcoming previews, the Rotation and Renewal for 2021, and a whole host of changes coming to MTG Arena! There’s a brief discussion on Jumpstart, Brawl, and some Quality of Life updates for the game as a whole. But what I want to know the most is: Will Approach of the Second Sun be coming back? It’s going to be a really fun year, so let’s get started with the MTG Arena August 2020 update!
The next thing to come to MTG Arena is a significant update to Historic, as Jumpstart fades into the distance. You can still get Jumpstart cards, but the event is ending. But that’s okay. There’s a figurative ton of new cards on the way. Amonkhet Remastered is the next big set of cards that are coming to Historic. But what is Amonkhet Remastered? It’s a collection of two expansions combined into one.
There are 338 total cards from Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation, but there’s an asterisk next to this. I feel this number is going to change (probably go up) as the Fated Hour draws nigh. Amonkhet had 269 cards, and Hour of Devastation had 219, so the entire expansions are not being added. At least, not yet. Unlike Jumpstart, these will be obtainable in boosters, limited events (Sealed/Draft), and crafting. There’s going to be a focus on creating an interesting, repeatable Limited player experience, possibly through an event?
There’s also going to be support for Historic and (eventually) Pioneer Constructed formats. Pioneer is coming to MTG Arena eventually, probably in the latter part of 2020. However, some of the original mechanics from the Amonkhet block will be updated to fit, as we see in the MTG Arena August 2020 update. In particular, they discuss Embalm and Eternalize. These cards will appear as “near-hand castables” once the card hits the graveyard. This is probably going to look the same as Uro.
These style cards will also have special “enters the battlefield” animations when using either ability. There’s also the keyword for Exert. This will have an interface like sacrifice abilities. When attacking with a creature with Exert, you will have a choice on whether to attack normally or “Exert.” The Exerted creatures will feature arrows when they are attacking and have a different visual effect to remind players that they do not untap as normal (when Exerted).
There will also be spoilers/reveals, don’t you worry! From Aug. 10-12, a few outlets will be revealing cards that players will be able to see. We’ll do our best to cover these and talk about what they mean for your decks! If you’re more of a fan of events, there’s going to be those to enjoy too! From Aug. 13-Sept. 17, the Premier Draft will be available. Then there’s the Sealed event from Aug. 13-21.
We have a ton of new cards to come. We cannot wait and rest assured, a “Historic Decks for Amonkhet” blog will be on the way as soon as we know what’s going to be showing up in the game. We could always predict what won’t make the cut, but we do hate to be wrong!
Rotation, Renewal and More for 2021
Rotation and Renewal
During the MTG Arena State of Play for August, they discussed what is going away for Standard. Quite a few expansions are going away, and there are people sure to be disappointed. Quite a few decks are likely going to feel unplayable, which isn’t a bad thing. Change is great in card games, and remember: those cards will still be usable in Historic! You’ll still have a meta to do all the filthy, awful things you do in your matches. I’ve seen it.
Sets Rotating Out: Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, War of the Spark, and Core Set 2020. These rotate out when Zendikar Rises launches. On Aug. 13, there will be a pair of temporary queues to join: Standard 2021 Play and Standard 2021 Ranked. These are Best-of-One, and will only allow decks that are Throne of Eldraine and forward. This is to help you preview what the standard meta will feel like in the future.
Those queues will be live until Sept. 17, and Rotation occurs. Then the queues will be the same. For those interested, there will also be an Artisan event for Standard 2021, from Aug. 22-27. However, with a new rotation comes a new Renewal Egg. Players who log in before Sept. 17 will receive a special gift to help them start this new Standard. The Renewal Egg will show up on your Profile Page. What’s in this egg? We don’t know yet! That will be revealed in September, but we have an idea. It will likely have some Boosters, Cards, and a special card sleeve.
New Player Decks
The new player decks are going to be overhauled as well, to make sure they’re still viable come September. If you’ve already completed the new player Color Challenges, you’ll have a deck ready for Standard 2021. If you met this requirement, they’ll give you the 2021 decklists to put in your collection, building from your current collection. If you’re missing cards in the decklists, those will be granted.
MTG Arena also discussed a change to ensure that the monocolor decks you get after the tutorial, and they stay rotation proof. To this effect, the updated 2021 decks will be built from an MTG Arena base set, featuring cards that will stay legal in Best-of-One matches for now. They worked with Studio X to select cards that are good for players who are learning MTG Arena for the first time. They will also add to the two-color decks each Rotation, so that’s a positive.
Jumpstart, Brawl, QoL Changes
The Jumpstart event ends Aug. 16, but it’s not gone forever. MTG Arena’s devs say that it’s not a matter of if, but when it comes back. That’s okay. We’ll have plenty of cards to play around with. You can still get the actual Jumpstart cards that were added via crafting since that was essentially the only way to guarantee Jumpstart cards (other than spending Gold/Gems on the event).
WOTC discusses Brawl as well for the MTG Arena August 2020 update. In particular, they’re going to make adjustments to matchmaking. This is specifically slanted towards how they weigh certain commanders. It’s not an exhaustive list. The goal is to nudge players with more serious, competitive decks to battle each other. This ought to let the more casual, relaxed players hopefully play each other and not have to be upset about being battered by obnoxious combos.
As always, they’re going to watch this and see how it goes and tweak as necessary. Though speaking of Brawl, a few cards are added to the Brawl banlists, and they’re for the best. For Standard Brawl, Runed Halo is officially banned on Aug. 13. However, there are no wildcards rewarded for this, as it is not banned in Constructed Standard.
Runed Halo and Gideon’s Intervention are both added to the Brawl Banned List for Historic. These are cards that lock down one card, and you cannot play them as long as these cards are in play. It sounds like these are run just to prevent the player from using their commander, thus ruining the experience.
Wizards also said this concerning Historic Brawl: “Since it bears repeating, we’ll continue to offer Historic Brawl as one of our rotating events, and we won’t be reevaluating this until after Rotation happens. Nothing nefarious, no pass-or-fail criteria for if or when we change the frequency or amount of support—we’re just curious. Brawl was originally designed as a Standard format, and we want to get a clear picture of what happens when it goes through Rotation.”
Here’s hoping it eventually becomes a permanent fixture as Standard Brawl has. They will also be changing/improving the Deck Builder, the details you can find right here. This update goes out on Aug. 13, so be ready for it!