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Huxley
Oct 10, 2012





Grimey Drawer



Greetings, Planeswalker! Magic the Gathering: Arena is the newest digital implementation of the venerable and popular collectable card game. Itís beautiful, itís fun, itís casual, itís totally playable without grinding yourself into a paste. Most importantly, itís MAGIC with very few caveats.

Letís start with the links, and not make folks scroll like crazy to find where I hid them:

Helpful links

Arena download site: https://magic.wizards.com/en/mtgarena
Trad Games thread: https://forums.somethingawful.com/s...hreadid=3897251
Daily MTG: https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles
Discord: https://discord.gg/35dWe9t
Deck overlay/collection tracker: https://mtgarena.pro/
Card database: https://scryfall.com/
Deck ideas and meta info: https://www.mtggoldfish.com/
Less-proven/currently brewing deck ideas: https://twitter.com/ArenaDecklists
Channel Fireball: https://store.channelfireball.com/landing
Competitive reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/spikes/
Currently active promo codes: https://draftsim.com/mtg-arena-promo-codes/



Welcome to the good one. Many of the common complaints about other CCGs go back to limitations those games placed on themselves due to technology at the time and/or the need to be mobile.

The downside is Arena has a HUGE hill to climb to go mobile. A mobile client has been teased as of Fall 2020, however, and time will tell how this goes.

The upside is you get to play on your opponentís turn. Spend some time getting used to the phases of each turn. Google ďpriorityĒ in MTG terms, and get used to the idea of the stack and how triggers work (and resolve).

Combat works very differently in Magic than in many other digital CCGs. Most people here will tell you itís better. Functionally it makes games a bit slower, but also a LOT less snowbally.



Welcome back! Many people used the Arena launch as an on-ramp back into a game they found too time- or cash-consuming. The good news is Arena is, in fact, MUCH less time- and cash- consuming.

You give up the ability to ďcash outĒ your physical collection, so the game is 0% investment. But for most people, $20-30 each set will go a long way toward making this a full Magic experience.

Now go check the price of a Scalding Tarn.

Letís get started!

What can I do?

Magic is split broadly into two formats: constructed and limited. Constructed is decks you bring with you (standard, Brawl, pauper), limited is decks you build as part of the event (booster draft, sealed). Every constructed event has its own rules about deck construction.

Both constructed and limited offer Best of One (Bo1) and Best of Three (Bo3) modes. In general, Bo1 offers faster, more varied, and more random play. Bo1 is how most digital games are played, and is best for when you want to jam games for an indeterminate amount of time. Itís more random, so DO NOT GET SALTY about Bo1.

Bo3 offers longer, more strategic matches. Bo3 is how paper Magic is played in tournaments, so many familiar players prefer it. It takes more time and meta knowledge than Bo1, but itís still very much Magic, so DO NOT GET SALTY about Bo3.

There is a limited ladder and a constructed ladder. Bo1 and Bo3 share the ladders, but will not queue into each other (obviously).

What is the ladder?

Ladder is similar to most other games. You win and go up, you lose and go down. The rank tiers (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Plat, Diamond, Mythic) have floors, so you canít drop from Gold to Silver, but you can drop from Gold 1 to Gold 2. If you are having trouble in the unranked queue, jumping into ranked might be a great idea. Ranked will pair you with other people who are just starting out (or who are just coming back from a long break).

The rewards for ladder are intentionally VERY flat. The difference between Gold and Mythic is several hundred games played and only a few packs in rewards. This is the gameís way of telling you, ďGold 4 is fine, chill out and play what and when you want.Ē

How does the economy work?

There are a handful of currencies in Arena.

Gold is the hand-out currency, and it is most-commonly earned by completing your daily quests. You can spend gold on packs (1000 gold = one pack) or on events (5,000 gold for entry into one booster draft being the most popular, some tournament-structured events have gold buy-ins).

Gems are the in-app-purchase currency. You will most likely acquire them via paying money into the game. They also are granted as a reward for doing well in certain events. The most reliable way to convert gold into gems by using gold to enter Ranked Draft mode.

Experience is earned by completing quests, participating in events, cashing in codes, and winning games (up to a 15-game-per-week cap, rotating on Sunday morning, EST). Experience earns you free packs in the Mastery system.

Orbs are earned along the Mastery system, as well, and are used for unlocking the cosmetic versions of cards.

What is the Mastery system?

The Mastery system is Arenaís answer to season passes. On the free path, you earn a pack of the newest set every other level, plus some cosmetic Orbs. Paying the gem-equivalent of $20 gets you the season pass, which has larger and more varied rewards, plus a few other cosmetic trinkets.

How do I craft cards?

Opening packs earns you Wild Cards. You collect Wild Cards of every rarity (Common, Uncommon, Rare, Mythic), which you spend in the collection manager to acquire individual cards. You earn an uncommon and a rare wild card every six packs you open, and a mythic every fifth time around the circle. You can also open a Wild Card IN the pack (as in your rare for pack is a rare wild card). A rare wildcard is the best thing you can open.

There is duplicate protection in place on rare and mythic cards. You WILL NOT open a rare or mythic card of which you already own a playset (4 copies). The game simply rerolls that card in the background for you. Common and uncommon cards do not have duplicate protection.

Every common and uncommon you open past your 4th goes a small percentage toward unlocking your Vault. When the Vault hits 100% you get a little treasure chest in your top bar; clicking it gives you a small handful of Wild Cards. You start building toward your next vault immediately, whether you click the chest immediately or not. In practice, donít worry too much about the Vault, itíll just happen on its own about once per set and the rewards are relatively small.

How do I build a collection?

How you build your collection will depend on your goals and how you want to play. If you love to play constructed, spend your gold on packs. Packs lead to Wild Cards, which are what you use to craft your stuff. 5,000 gold is five swings at opening a card you need, plus moves you nearly all the way around to unlocking a rare Wild Card.

If you love to draft, spend your gold on drafts. You will earn wild cards more slowly this way, but you need them less because you primarily want to draft. 5,000 will give you any rares you draft, but only the packs you open as rewards will go toward your Wild Card wheel.

Craft cards you want to play in decks you expect to be fun. If you want to craft a card you currently own zero copies of, click over to the search interface and click on the toggle for cards not yet in your collection. They'll show up dark in the UI to show you don't have any, but you can craft them from here.

FAQ

Iím brand new ...

First off, I'll repeat this link from above. Every set has its own promo code for some free packs, and they'll occasionally put out codes for other freebies. After you finish the new-player stuff, go try every code on this page:

https://draftsim.com/mtg-arena-promo-codes/

OK, done. I'm brand new, what deck should I build?

This is far and away the most-asked question, and also the hardest one to answer in an OP. Intro decks are going to change nearly every set, and ďwhat deck is good?Ē is going to change a lot more often than that. So hereís a link:

https://www.mtggoldfish.com/metagame/standard#paper

This contains the best information for what decks and cards are good at any given moment. It has recent tournament results, broad strokes at the current meta, and playable budget decks.

Look for cards that fit both into some of the budget lists and the current meta, and start there.

If you just want to play games to win, thereís almost always a common/uncommon heavy aggro deck that focuses on a handful of rares and a basic-heavy manabase. Seek it out. Feel free to ask the thread. We'd rather steer you in the right direction than have you spend all your new-player Wild Cards on a deck that is not going to be fun.

I want to spend some money, whatís the best way to do it?

Finish the New Player Experience completely to unlock the starter decks and cards, then buy the intro bundle. Its contents will probably change from set to set, but itís always going to be the best value starting out.

Can I go infinite like on MTGO?

Probably not, itís much harder in Arena.

Are they going to put in old sets?

Yes! The long-term plan is for Pioneer to be playable on Arena. This means some large chunks of cards need to be dropped into the game, but the popularity of Pioneer in paper and on MTGO has made this a priority for the game. These cards will likely come to us in the form of Masters sets. Amonkhet Remastered was the first of these, bringing in most every constructed relevant card from Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation alongside a handful of other powerful cards for play in Historic.

What is rotation? What is Historic?

Every year in the fall, Magic releases a new set. And with the fall setís release, we rotate all the sets from 2 years ago out of Standard. So with the release of Zendikar Rising in Fall 2020, standard will include the following sets:

Throne of Eldraine, Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria Lair of Behemoths, Core Set 2021, Zendikar Rising plus any other sets that release prior to Fall 2021.

Historic is the "non-rotating" format of Arena. It comprises every card available on Arena, starting with the game's open beta launch. Historic will eventually comprise the complete card list of Pioneer, but also has had occasional Historic Anthologies, smaller releases of cards specifically for Historic that mostly have comprised cards not legal in Pioneer. The overall idea is, "If you can play it on Arena, you can play it in Historic."

Historic, of course, maintains its own banlist, along with a "Suspended" list. Suspended cards are on time out as the team decides whether to remove them permanently from the format (potentially resulting in wild card refunds) or let them back in once the format has gotten more powerful. Only one card so far has come back from being suspended, Field of the Dead, and it was banned permanently a few months later.

What's the deal with packs?

If you came from paper, you're familiar with 15-card boosters. Arena introduces 8-card boosters as well, and they perform different functions. When you buy a pack with gold or earn it through a reward you get an 8-card pack. This has duplicate protection and advances your Wild Card wheels. You can open Wild Cards in these packs.

The 15-card packs still exist, but only as part of limited. There is no duplicate protection and opening them does not advance your Wild Card wheels. If you draft (or open in a Sealed pool) a rare or mythic you already have four copies of, you'll play the event with that card and be given some gems to compensate.

What is everybody talking about?

Often, players will refer to their deckís colors by the officially sanctioned WotC names.

The Guilds (introduced in Ravnica block):

White + Blue = Azorius
Blue + Black = Dimir
Black + Red = Rakdos
Red + Green = Gruul
Green + White = Selesnya
White + Black = Orzhov
Blue + Red = Izzet
Black + Green = Golgari
Red + White = Boros
Green + Blue = Simic

The shards (introduced in Shards of Alara block, representing a color and the two colors itís touching on the color wheel):

Red + green + black = Jund
White + green + blue = Bant
Black + red + blue = Grixis
Green + white + red = Naya
Blue + white + black = Esper

The wedges (introduced in Khans of Tarkir, representing a color and the two colors it is NOT touching on the color wheel):

Blue + red + white = Jeskai
Red + white + black = Mardu
Black + green + blue = Sultai
Green + blue + red = Temur
White + black + green = Abzan

Four- and five-color have some informal names but nothing yet set in stone.

Huxley fucked around with this message at 17:33 on Oct 1, 2020

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Cynic Jester
Apr 11, 2009

Let's put a simile on that face
A dazzling simile
Twinkling like the night sky


Ground floor! Also just did my last omni-draft. 2 out of 3 losses had T1 duress. Sad times. 1 out of 6 wins had T1 duress, but they missed.

SalTheBard
Jan 26, 2005


I forgot to post my food for USPOL Thanksgiving but that's okay too!




Fallen Rib

My last Quic k Draft loving sucked. Only game I won involved getting 2x Act of Treason in my opening hand and was able to use that to put some heavy damage on my opponent. Other than that I got loving smoked.

SalTheBard fucked around with this message at 17:24 on May 15, 2020

Oceanbound
Jan 19, 2008

Time to let the dead be dead.


hello my favorite constructed streamer is Jim Davis and my favorite draft streamer is Numot and my favorite planeswalker streamer is Kaya

Funkdreamer
Jul 15, 2005

It'll be a blast


Horse: "I'm just a horse, I cannot give you any further assistance"

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



Funkdreamer posted:

Horse: "I'm just a horse, I cannot give you any further assistance"

resistentialism
Aug 13, 2007



The best worst part of this game is counting all your lands for an X spell without mousing over your lands so your opponent doesn't get to know that you're counting all your lands.

Paul Zuvella
Dec 7, 2011



resistentialism posted:

The best worst part of this game is counting all your lands for an X spell without mousing over your lands so your opponent doesn't get to know that you're counting all your lands.

You can just like, use your eyeballs

CharlieFoxtrot
Mar 26, 2007


Sometimes I get paranoid about mousing over the opponent's library or my graveyard and I'm like, what if they would have missed my plan except for that tell

Jabor
Jul 16, 2010

#1 Loser at SpaceChem

The worst part is trying to remember how many differently-named lands you have left in your deck so you know how many you can sacrifice.

Network42
Oct 23, 2002


To continue the theme my last omnidraft was miserable, just a pile of crap with nothing good, 0-3. It was a real downer because I ran probably a good 10 drafts and my worst record prior was 4-3.

SalTheBard
Jan 26, 2005


I forgot to post my food for USPOL Thanksgiving but that's okay too!




Fallen Rib

resistentialism posted:

The best worst part of this game is counting all your lands for an X spell without mousing over your lands so your opponent doesn't get to know that you're counting all your lands.

I wish there was a "Tap leftovers for X" feature

Lone Goat
Apr 16, 2003

When life gives you lemons, suplex those lemons.






untapped.gg has a deck tracker app you can use to see what's still in your deck

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



resistentialism posted:

The best worst part of this game is counting all your lands for an X spell without mousing over your lands so your opponent doesn't get to know that you're counting all your lands.

Lone Goat posted:

untapped.gg has a deck tracker app you can use to see what's still in your deck

It also has a thing that says how many lands you have on the board so you don't have to count em up

Doltos
Dec 28, 2005



How have I never thought of this

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



Doltos posted:

How have I never thought of this

Lone Goat
Apr 16, 2003

When life gives you lemons, suplex those lemons.






zoux posted:

It also has a thing that says how many lands you have on the board so you don't have to count em up

HOLY poo poo

Funky Valentine
Feb 26, 2014

Dojyaa~an



It's time to take Curious Obsession and Tempest Djinn out for their last rodeo.

Huxley
Oct 10, 2012





Grimey Drawer

I'm going to jam Ferocidon into every deck possible for the next three weeks.

Cynic Jester
Apr 11, 2009

Let's put a simile on that face
A dazzling simile
Twinkling like the night sky


Huxley posted:

I'm going to jam Ferocidon into every deck possible for the next three weeks.

Mono-blue Ferocidon is peak meta-buster. Trust me.

Huxley
Oct 10, 2012





Grimey Drawer

Cynic Jester posted:

Mono-blue Ferocidon is peak meta-buster. Trust me.

Cynic Jester
Apr 11, 2009

Let's put a simile on that face
A dazzling simile
Twinkling like the night sky



It wouldn't be peak meta-buster if everyone was running it.

resistentialism
Aug 13, 2007



I'm back playing boros star of extinction decks in the casual queue, it's good.

AngryBooch
Sep 26, 2009


Ya'll ready for... food tokens?

Bedurndurn
Dec 4, 2008


This is clearly the fault of whoever wanted to run the Horse Tribal deck.

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



Horses gotta eat, I don't make the rules

I guess food tokens are gonna be the new treasures

GrandpaPants
Feb 13, 2006


Free to roam the heavens in man's noble quest to investigate the weirdness of the universe!



3cc to take control of an opponent's creature in exchange for giving them food (assuming food is an artifact) seems pretty good?

Waffleopolis
Apr 24, 2005

Now....face the fury of the Phoenix Force!

Oko looks strong. Whatever food tokens do can help, the +1 can be used on your own 1/1 tokens to beef them up for aggro and can remove major threats your opponent has, and the -5 can help you too. I wonder if we'll get more permanents that will have a negative impact on your side of the field that would make the ult more useful.

Justin_Brett
Oct 23, 2012

GAMERDOME put down LOSER

I guess there's food in a lot of fairy tales? But the ones I can think of all seem pretty specific in their uses to justify making it a mechanic.

flatluigi
Apr 22, 2008

here come the planes


https://twitter.com/wizards_magic/s...992065994334208

for reference, the non-showcase border vs this showcase border from a few weeks back

Rhaegar
Jul 16, 2006


I feel like it's going to be pretty jarring to go from the a theme around the ultimate battle between the planeswalkers and nicol bolas to a theme around generating food tokens to pump your fairytale minions.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing. Just quite a contrast.

Funky Valentine
Feb 26, 2014

Dojyaa~an



"I went 0-3 five drafts in a row? It must be the work of..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUrkEOa1rR8

Spiderdrake
May 12, 2001



Rhaegar posted:

I feel like it's going to be pretty jarring to go from the a theme around the ultimate battle between the planeswalkers and nicol bolas to a theme around generating food tokens to pump your fairytale minions.
I mean we went from the penultimate battle between the planeswalker team vs nicol bolas which the latter won to merfolk and treasure tokens while Jace got abs and a gorgon girlfriend.

No you're right this is more jarring, but Wizards doesn't seem to get transitions.

Kashuno
Oct 9, 2012

Where the hell is my SWORD?


Grimey Drawer

flatluigi posted:

https://twitter.com/wizards_magic/s...992065994334208

for reference, the non-showcase border vs this showcase border from a few weeks back



That is a really busy card. I wonder how it works because I'm kinda confused on how I'm supposed to read it

Veib
Dec 10, 2007




Grimey Drawer

I'm playing Esper Control. Opponent plays turn 3 Unmoored Ego and chooses Teferi...

...

... Timebender and concedes immediately.

Gareth Gobulcoque
Jan 10, 2008





Played against a dude in draft with, rare chandra, uncommon chandra, drakuseth, omnath, risen reef, and what seems like all elementals, congrats on your draft.

zoux
Apr 28, 2006



Veib posted:

I'm playing Esper Control. Opponent plays turn 3 Unmoored Ego and chooses Teferi...

...

... Timebender and concedes immediately.

I've definitely picked the wrong Nicol Bolas before

This drove me up the wall in HS but it's worse in MTG, when your salty opponent ragequits out of the game and leaves you to sit there for three minutes until all the ropes have roped

Lone Goat
Apr 16, 2003

When life gives you lemons, suplex those lemons.






Kashuno posted:

That is a really busy card. I wonder how it works because I'm kinda confused on how I'm supposed to read it

the non-promo version will likely have reminder text explaining what the heck is happening here

sephiRoth IRA
Jun 13, 2007

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."

-Carl Sagan


Kashuno posted:

That is a really busy card. I wonder how it works because I'm kinda confused on how I'm supposed to read it

Yeah, what is that Welcome Home mechanic?

Oh, itís just an activated ability theyíre calling welcome home. Is that any different than a standard ability?

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Lone Goat
Apr 16, 2003

When life gives you lemons, suplex those lemons.






sephiRoth IRA posted:

Yeah, what is that Welcome Home mechanic?

Oh, itís just an activated ability theyíre calling welcome home. Is that any different than a standard ability?

seems like it's not an ability called "welcome home" but a sorcery called "welcome home"

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