MTG Arena State of the Game June 2020

by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Jun, 24th 2020

2020 is shaping up to be a pretty fantastic year for MTG Arena, despite COVID-19 slowing most of the world to a crawl. In particular, the June update is seeing the arrival of MacOS’s version of MTG Arena (finally), Core Set 2021, and much more!

Of course, there’s also some teasers for upcoming content we are here to discuss, like the cards not added in the Jumpstart update in July. They also are touching on an often-discussed topic in the community: Pack Collation and Reprints.

But with 500+ cards in Jumpstart, 20 cards not being included isn’t the worst thing. We’ll show you which ones, and what they’re going to be replaced with. That, Brawl news, rotation thoughts, and more are on the way! So let’s get started!

Pack Collation, Reprints

We’re about to see a lot of reprints in MTG Arena. With every Core Set comes reprints. Then Jumpstart will also reprint some of these cards. There’s going to be overlap between Core Set 2021 and Jumpstart, which leaves some people frustrated. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing that card again in another set if you have a playset already.

Here is the plan, according to Wizards: If you’ve collected a playset of a fully reprinted card, they will adjust the rate at which you’ll receive these cards in-store boosters. “Full Reprint” is a card that shares the name and artwork of a card that already exists. You will only receive copies of a fully reprinted card after you have received playsets of all other rares and mythic rares.

The game will also check against your entire collection! So, the example they give is Fabled Passage. If you have 3 copies of it in Throne of Eldraine, and you open a fourth in Core Set 2021, the game will adjust that distribution rate of the card in both booster packs, now that you’ve completed a playset. This won’t impact LImited Boosters, though. Anything still goes there.

The idea is that they can endure players who want to collect all the cards of a set while also prioritizing new cards over those that effectively duplicate rares or mythic rares. However, if a reprint features new artwork, it will not receive a redistribution adjustment, so bear that in mind. I like this idea, as long as it will let me collect new cards over cards I already own, without harming the chances of getting said new cards. We’ll have to see it in action when the expansions start dropping.

A Jumpstart on Jumpstart

Jumpstart is going to be bloody massive. More than 500 cards in this set will hit MTG Arena in the July update on July 16, and it’s going to bring some new experiences to the game. There will be 37 cards in it that are new to both tabletop and MTG Arena. With such a huge set of reprints coming, there are, of course, concerns.

Jumpstart will launch with a pretty huge limited event that will use the traditional physical Jumpstart boosters – themed boosters! Each booster in Jumpstart’s physical release will be themed, with all the cards in the pack built around that theme.

The themed boosters will only be available in that event, but individual cards will be craftable using Wildcards. It’s also important to note that all Jumpstart cards will be usable in Historic with about 300 new cards coming to the format! That’s massive.

However, 20 of the cards in Jumpstart are replaced in MTG Arena, and won’t appear. These are for a variety of reasons. Balance, power, gameplay concerns, or just technical restrictions (like cards that require you to target the player to your left/right). I know a few people that are upset to see this in the MTG Arena June update news.

I think the cards people seem to be upset about the most are Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile. On a personal note, I’m bummed about Path, because I think it would go far in control decks for Historic. So we’re going to give you the complete list below, and what card they’ll be replaced by.

  • Chain Lightning -> Lightning Strike
  • Lightning Bolt -> Lightning Strike
  • Ball Lightning -> Lightning Serpent
  • Ajani’s Chosen -> Archon of Sun’s Grace
  • Angelic Arbiter -> Serra’s Guardian
  • Draconic Roar -> Scorching Dragonfire
  • Goblin Lore -> Goblin Oriflamme
  • Flametongue Kavu -> Fanatic of Mogis
  • Exhume -> Bond of Revival
  • Fa’adiyah Seer -> Dryad Greenseeker
  • Mausoleum Turnkey -> Audacious Thief
  • Path to Exile -> Banishing Light
  • Read the Runes -> Gadwick, the Wizened
  • Reanimate -> Doomed Necromancer
  • Rhystic Study -> Teferi’s Ageless Insight
  • Sheoldred, Whispering One -> Carnifex Demon
  • Scourge of Nel Toth -> Woe Strider
  • Scrounging Bandar -> Pollenbright Druid
  • Thought Scour -> Weight of Memory

I’m bummed about (like Rhystic Study and Reanimate), but I understand the why. Some of these cards could tune particular decks into wildly out of control nonsense. So it’s best not to feature them instead of featuring them, ban them a few weeks later, and make even more people upset.

Unlimited Helpings of Brawl

Brawl is a wildly popular mode in MTG Arena. It combines elements of Standard MTG with Commander (having a deck leader that influences how you construct your deck). It was first introduced back in October and occasionally came around. Initially, there was a fee to play (gems or gold) for Brawlidays and then the Brawler’s Guildhall events.

This part was less popular. They wanted to support it, supposedly, without undermining Standard/Standard events. I don’t think that was ever going to be an issue. People just want to do something different in MTG Arena, and Brawl fit that bill.

With COVID-19, they removed the March Guidlhall fee, and again in April, and once more in May. Brawl was free to play for everyone. It didn’t impact the game as badly as some at Wizards might have feared. People still play the other events, ranked, and standard matches. It’s something to do to mix things up in MTG Arena. So in the June State of the Game Update news, MTG Arena announced that on July 1, things change!

Instead of having a “Wednesday Brawl” or “Brawler’s Guildhall,” there will just be Brawl. All day, no entry fee, quest progress, daily wins, et cetera. It will have its queue, and this doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon.

However, Historic Brawl will continue to be a part of the rotating series of events. They want to see what happens and then judge from there. According to Wizards, “By the time Zendikar Rising roils around, we’ll have supported our always-available Brawl queue for some time and want to get a clear picture on what impact Standard rotation has on the format.”

Hopefully, Historic Brawl becomes a permanent fixture too. As someone who is focusing on Historic more than Standard right now, that would be lovely. Speaking of Zendikar Rising, there’s some rotating going on!

Rotation and Changes are Coming

When Zendikar Rising happens, Standard will be officially rotating again. With that in mind, Wizards wants to make sure people know what’s on the way. As of June 25, they will cease Quick Drafts/Sealed Events for the sets that are going to rotate out. They will instead use Throne of Eldraine and later, to make sure people aren’t getting rewards that are a waste.

As far as Individual Card Rewards from Daily Wins/Events, they will not receive rotating cards. Cards from rotating sets will be added to the Historic ICRs instead. So you won’t have to worry about not playing to avoid getting useless cards.

What is rotating? Core Set 2020, Guilds of Ravnica, Ravnica Allegiance, and War of the Spark all leave Standard when Zendikar Rising drops. Standard 2021 will use: Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Core Set 2021, and Zendikar Rising. Three more Standard-legal sets will drop in 2021 as well.

Cards that are rotating out will still be usable in Historic. But cards banned/suspended in Historic won’t suddenly be playable. Commanders added to Brawl will no longer be legal in Standard Brawl, either. They also point out that they’ll be doing some special events and rewards to help build a collection for the new Standard, and to show their general appreciation for all the support.

As August rolls around, we’ll have more information on that! Speaking of changes, New Player Decks will change and update. They presently intend to recreate these with updated decklists, so everyone has access to decks that are Standard-legal.

They also tease something very exciting for Historic fans. Well, not exactly a tease. . .Amonkhet Remastered arrives in August, and brings 300+ cards to Historic! Now that is exciting news in the June update news for MTG Arena! We can also expect more tools for finding/utilizing cards in deckbuilding in the future, so that’s exciting!

It sounds like big things are coming to MTG Arena, in particular, I’m grateful that there’s more and more Historic support coming. It’s been a really fun way to play Magic for me, as someone who has played a long time. I missed Modern/Legacy, and this is my way to dive in without having to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

So for now, my RUG Hypergenesis deck will continue to collect dust.


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