MTG Arena State of the Game December 2019


by in General | Dec, 11th 2019

It’s time for another MTG Arena: State of the Game discussion with the MTG Arena December update! This one’s not as massive as the last one, but there’s still plenty to talk about. Brawlidays, Historic mode and events! Before I go further, though, something else coming that I’m very excited about is “Deck Sorting.”

How was this not one of the first things to come to the game?! When you create a new deck, there’s no telling where it will show up! When you’re like me, and have 30-40 decks across three modes (Standard, Historic, Brawl), finding them is a chore!

Sure, you can click the deck type, but meh! You’ll be able to sort decks by the format, color identity, alphabetical, or last modified. I’m so glad about this. You can also use a combo of those. However, I’m still waiting for friends. Friends list, that is. I have friends, honest!

MTG Arena December Update: The Brawlidays

MTG Arena Rhys the Redeemed Card

A lot of players have cried out for more Brawl! Right now, Brawl is only on Wednesdays, but from December 12-January 16, this will change. It’s not free, though. Of course, it isn’t free! The cost is 2,000 Gems or 10,000 Gold. Now, if you do pay up, you have access to a Brawl Queue all day, every day until it’s up.

You can still play the normal Brawl queue on Wednesdays, though. I’m not as keen about spending all those coins/gems to play Brawl all the time. I feel like it’s a mode that should be there. There are a pair of banned cards in Brawlidays though:

  • Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • Sorcerous Spyglass

A new card comes to the game through this mode. Getting a win in Brawlidays will receive a copy of Rhys the Redeemed. This card is a Commander staple and will be usable in Brawl and Historic. That’s right; the White/Green Elf is back!

Rhys the Redeemed is a 1/1 Elf Warrior that lets you create 1/1 green/white Elf Warrior tokens. You can also create a token that’s a copy of your other creatures, for each creature token you control. Absolute bloody madness, this. But here’s where I’m curious: They point out that this face is for their “Commander aficionados out there.”

Building a Commander Deck in MTG Arena would take possibly ages, but to be frank? I’d love it. I’ve wanted to get into Commander again for ages. Commander’s most fun with 4+ players and this UI is not built for that. Would they create a new UI? Is it even happening? There’s no telling.

I won’t lie though, I think “online free Commander” would potentially drag people into the much prettier MTG Arena. I won’t lie to you, MTG Online is hideous and has an awful UI. This might be a way to add more cards to Historic. If that’s the case, it’s fine. But we may as well talk about that just now. I love it, but I have issues with Historic.

MTG Arena December Update: Historic Problems

Throne of Eldraine Once Upon a Time

Oh, Historic. This is a mode that I want to love so badly. I want to, but Wizards of the Coast are making that hard on me. Wizards are happy with the variety of decks that are showing up in Historic, which blows my mind with Oko, Field, etc. all being legal in the format.

With that in mind, Wizards is doing something new, something that confuses me. Now we’re getting card “suspensions” instead of bans. Historic Ranked suspends the following cards:

  • Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • Field of the Dead
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Veil of Summer

Do these bans look familiar? They should. They’re all banned in Standard, too! They say that the intent is to be more flexible, with cards that are banned, versus the more temporary suspension. Cards have been unbanned before, so this decision doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I suppose they’re going to see how this affects the Historic Ranked meta. If it turns out that it was negatively impacting the mode, they’ll be banned. Otherwise, they may come back! How will this work in practicality? Here’s an example.

Say “Fires of Invention” gets banned in Standard. It’s still available in Historic, but you’ll receive Wild Cards to compensate you for the ones you own. If it gets banned/suspended in Historic, you won’t receive more Wild Cards. That is unless you crafted some for the Historic mode.

My problem with Historic isn’t the Suspension system, though I do think it’s a trifle silly. My problem is that it shares a Ranking with regular Ranked. I find I play less Historic, knowing that losing in Historic means I lose two points off my traditional rank. I don’t want that! I’m trying to climb, not gamble.

Wizards seem to be confused about there not being as many high-ranked players doing Historic Ranked. I bet this is why. If you’re grinding to Mythic for the Championships, why risk losing to some janky nonsense in Historic mode?

Give them separate rankings! I can’t imagine it’s too difficult! I bet this would alleviate the problem right there.

MTG Arena December Update: Historic Events

A few Historic events are coming in the MTG Arena December update for people that are fans of the mode. The first is Historic Artisan, which takes place from December 20-30. Artisan format is Common and Uncommon cards only for your deck. The cost to play is 2500 Gold or 500 Gems. Your first five wins will net some unique card styles.

Here’s what you can win:

  • First Win: Wildgrowth Walker
  • Second Win: Guttersnipe
  • Third Win: Cast Down
  • Fourth Win: Curious Obsession
  • Fifth Win: Militia Bugler

Next up is Ranked Draft Dominaria, which Wizards states is one of their most popular limited formats. I believe it, too. It will also have the same cost/play format as their other Ranked drafts. It could be a fantastic way for players to add more cards to their historic collection, as more wins equal packs and gems (of Dominaria).

Finally, there’s “Historic Challenge” between January 11-13. This event will cost 10,000 gold or 2,000 gems, which is a pretty high cost. It has some pretty fantastic prizes. Players play until eight wins or three losses (whichever comes first).

If you’re a Historic Ace, here’s a great way to get more cards. Here are the prizes:

  • 0 Wins: 4 Historic ICRs (individual card rewards) and Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 1 Win: 1,000 Gold, 4 Historic ICRs, Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 2 Wins: 2,000 Gold, 4 Historic ICRs, Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 4 Wins: 4,000 Gold, 4 Historic ICRs, Treasure Hunt Card Sleeve
  • 5 Wins: 6,000 Gold, 8 Historic Boosters, Treasure Hunt, Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve
  • 6 Wins: 8,000 Gold, 12 Historic Boosters, Treasure Hunt, Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve
  • 7 Wins: 10,000 Gold, 20 Historic Boosters, Treasure Hunt, Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve
  • 8 Wins: 15,000 Gold, 40 Historic Boosters, Treasure Hunt, Gaea’s Cradle Card Sleeve

Basically, getting to seven wins means you can afford to dive back in, plus you got 20 Boosters. The boosters will equally spread across the current four non-Standard packs in Historic. Getting to eight wins gives you a profit of 5k gold, meaning you can buy five standard packs!

MTG Arena December Update: Final Thoughts

The one that interests me most about the MTG Arena December update is the Historic Challenge. It’s high-risk, high reward. But there are plenty of fun Historic decks to run that can trample people in a hurry. I imagine I’ll find a nice, fun aggro deck to plow through the mode as frequently as possible. Plus, it’s easy to farm gold for a few attempts at this. Maybe I’ll do another blog post for more Historic decks, now that we have a new Elf to consider.

If I could ask for any one thing, it’s to make Historic Ranked as a separate queue, so I don’t feel like I’m being punished in my standard ranking. It’s an exciting time to be an MTG Arena fan. It sounds like they’re working hard on the MTG Arena-only mode (Historic). I don’t understand the need to change cards to suspensions, at least not at the outset

Now, if I can play Devil’s Advocate: I talk a lot about the need to gather feedback from the community Re: balance. Sure, this is post-launch, but it’s a step in that direction. The suspensions will let MTG Arena’s devs see if cards are truly disruptive. I stand by “this feels silly,” but on the other hand, I do get it. I’m conflicted!

I do think it’s a positive change. While I do think it’s kind of lame that you have to pay money/gold to have a shot at Rhys, the Redeemed. I’m glad you can at least spend Wildcards to unlock it for your Historic deck.

This aside, I’m still feeling pretty good about the MTG Arena December update. I hope you are too!

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