Magic Arena Open Beta Begins Now

Magic the Gathering‘s new online adaption, Arena, opened its doors for open beta September 27th.  It’s the most recent of several attempts from Wizards of the Coast to make an online Magic experience.  From singular set apps like Magic 2015 to Magic Duels that was abandoned after Amonkhet, now we’re here.  And it’s an improvement.

Those that participated in the closed beta will receive three masterpiece planeswalkers. Check your email for your unique code to unlock these planeswalkers. In addition, a free Singleton event that can be redeemed until October 1st for all players.

Unfortunately, if you played the closed beta, your account’s wiped.  Sorry.  I’m upset, too.  I’m going to miss my Rekindling Phoenix.  But it’s all fair, I suppose, so everyone gets to start off more or less fresh.

What’s New With Arena?

The Guilds of Ravnica set has been added to the game. With it comes all new animations for guild abilities like convoke, which will surround the creatures you tap with the guild symbol of the card.  And that’s only one example of many revamps to sound and visuals.

Chris Clay, the Game Director for Magic: The Gathering Arena, announced on the MTG forum that Arena will have a new undisclosed format. Kaladesh through Hour of Devastation have been removed from the game as they try and iron out what they want this new format to be.

Is Arena A Worthy Adaptation?

I started playing Arena shortly after the first closed beta players were given access keys to give to five of their friends.  And I enjoyed what it was immediately.

I liked its predecessor, Magic Duels, free on Steam, but it was also terribly frustrating.  The quests took too long to complete and sometimes bugged to where it didn’t count your progress.  Trying to avoid play-to-win by earning your gold the old fashion way was tedious and nearly impossible.  Lastly, the music and mood was also creepy and depressing.

A screenshot of the new Arena tutorial I took.

Arena is a total turn around.  The gameplay is smoother, the design is more appealing.  It seems to have taken a lot of inspiration from Hearthstone in the almost cartoony style of the battlefield.  Thankfully, completing quests and gaining gold is so so sooo much easier.  By the time you complete all the timed quests you usually got enough gold to buy two packs in addition to the ones you got for completing daily/weekly rewards.

And my favorite part is the variety of gameplay.  Everyone on Duels used combat tricks to win. So, counters were vital.  In Arena, it’s rare to find the same play style in a row (except for saproling and cat tribal which is a pain in the rear end).

In conclusion, I only encountered one bug during closed beta in which I couldn’t play anything from my hand, though my opponent could.  It was the only bug and wasn’t detrimental.  Magic Arena is a high functioning beta that’s lots of fun for new or old players.  I can’t wait to build up my decks again!

Get it now!