MTG Arena State of the Game January 2020

by in General | Jan, 13th 2020

Before we go any further, I’d like to announce that I’ll be participating in the MTG Arena Early Access event for Theros: Beyond Death! Whether I stream on the Esports Talk YouTube channel or TheBottomTier Twitch channel, it’s going down! We’ll see about getting the stream uploaded to the Esports Talk YouTube either way. It’s going to take place on January 15-16, so expect some MTG Arena content this week.

You can also count on some deck-builds coming to the site this week. There’s a lot of new stuff coming to MTG Arena, so keep your eyes here!

I was out of the office on Friday, so I missed the latest MTG Arena “State of the Game” which dropped. But with it came a lot of news concerning Theros: Beyond Death and other features that are coming to the game this year.

Theros alone brings a ton of in-game features back, from Sagas, devotion and the constellation effect as a part of Standard play. Sagas were already in the game, though. Devotion and Constellation were in the original Theros block, but that was far before MTG Arena was even a twinkle in our eyes. There’s also the new escape mechanic, which will be something for players to keep an eye out.

MTG Arena January Update: Change Is A’Comin

MTG Arena is on the way to a new platform: The Epic Games Store! That’s right; it’s not on the way to Steam quite yet. You won’t have to use EGS, but it’s an option if that’s what you want. It’s going to show up next Thursday from what I understand.

It’s important to note though that you will still be able to play with people no matter which client they use: Epic Games Store or the stand-alone client. There is still no Mac Client, but I’m hoping that will appear sometime this year.

It is in development. According to the “In Development” list, it’s after Friends Messaging, but before Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths and Core Set 2021. So that leads me to think it will happen sometime this year, probably around Spring/Summertime.

MTG Arena January Update: Tags and Deck Sorting Options

Some fun new tags are coming: First and New. With Theros: Beyond Death, there are going to be tons of cards you’ll be seeing for the first time. Now, when you open boosters, you’ll see a “First” tag to indicate that this is the first time you’ve revealed a card of that name. “New” will be for when you’re viewing your collection.

Any new cards will be highlighted by this tag, making it easier than ever to see exactly what your newest cards are. This is great for cracking 10x packs at once. That only shows you your rares, so you can see what you gained in the collection.

With a new set comes new deck brews! You’re going to need a way to sort the decks that you’re most excited about. Whether it’s something you’re testing or your darlings that do the most work in ranked, you will soon be able to “star” a deck as your favorite. Select the deck and click the “Favorite” Button at the bottom of the screen. These decks will always appear first in your collection. Favoriting decks can also be used alongside your other filter options too. You can sort by alphabetical, et cetera.

A new filtering option will also be used to make color-identity sorting easier. Selecting multiple colors will work as an “AND” filter instead of an “OR.” This ought to make the system of sorting by color identity much easier and rational.

MTG Arena January Update: Historic Events, Brawlidays, More

Historic Ranked is going to be coming to an end soon, when Theros: Beyond Death arrives. With the escape from the underworld comes a temporary ceasefire in Historic Ranked. There will be two new Historic options though: Historic Constructed and Traditional Historic Constructed.

Until Historic Ranked comes back, these will be your choices. Historic events will follow the same game records, cost of entry and prize structure as Standard events. Historic Ranked will return closer to the release of the next set, which will be Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths.

Oh, Brawlidays. Most people I follow in the MTG Arena scene are pretty upset about Brawlidays. However, over half the people who regularly play Brawl took part in the last Brawlidays event. That screams “success!”, so it’s coming back in the January update.

I agree with the people that shout it down though. To have it for free on Wednesdays, but you must pay gold or gems to play any other day? I don’t like it. I don’t agree with it even in the slightest.

The next Brawlidays event will run from the January Update until the February update currently scheduled for February 14. The reward for the first win is Talrand, Sky Summoner and the entry fee is 10,000 gold. Talrand, Sky Summoner is a 4-drop (2-blue) Legendary Merfolk. Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, you create a 2/2 blue Drake token with flying.

Wizards also noticed that more people are playing Brawl in Direct Challenge and Friends Challenge. They plan on investing more effort this year into increasing the social ability to play with their friends in-game. Friends Messaging is one of those features scheduled to drop in the next few months.

We also have a list of stuff that’s either on the way or in development. Some of it is very exciting.

January Updates (January 16)

  • Theros: Beyond Death
  • Epic Game Store
  • Deck Builder QoL

In Development

  • Friends Messaging
  • macOS
  • Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
  • Core Set 2021
  • Historic Anthology II
  • Updated Tutorial

MTG Arena January Update: Final Thoughts

There is some cool stuff coming to MTG Arena, in theory. The State of Play also listed some stuff that is “In Concept”. This means that they are planning, deciding which features will come, but also which ideas will have to stay ideas for now.

One of these is Cube Drafting, a casual way to draft MTG but can have some amazing, ridiculous cards in it. Average drafts have an upwards of 700+ cards in them. I’ve taken part in a few Vintage/Legacy Cube Drafts in my day. Sadly, I didn’t get to keep any of those cards. Every Cube Draft is different. MTG Arena could do a lot with that sort of fun, casual format. It’s also easier to prevent cards from being stolen in a digital format.

8-Person Draft is another new concept they’re looking at. When you draft in MTG Arena, it’s against NPCs. Having other real players participating in real-time, though? That’s wild. It would shake up what cards you get in drafts. Pioneer Set Remasters and Play Blade Rework are both on the docket. That could bring the Amonkhet remaster to MTG Arena and bring some of the more relevant Pioneer cards into the digital world.

This is only the beginning. MTG Arena’s going to have stiff competition this year. With Hearthstone being wildly played all over the world and Riot taking part with Legends of Runeterra, there’s going to be some stiff CCG competition this year. MTG Arena can’t nerf or buff cards, but they can channel their vast library of thousands of cards, to bring new formats and ideas to the digital world. Now that’s exciting.


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