Magic: The Gathering Arena coming out of beta on Sept. 26 with new set

Magic: The Gathering Arena started its closed beta in Dec 2017, then moved to an open beta in Sept 2018. Today, Wizards of the Coast announced that the digital collectible card game will officially launch on Sept 26. Coming with it will be a new card set, Throne of Eldraine.

Players can already experience a new Brawl mode for a sneak preview of Throne of Eldraine before release. This new set brings a new plane where players will experience the world of Magic: The Gathering in conjunction with the fantasy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and the Arthurian legends.

The cinematic trailer below shows this fantasy collision in the form of a gingerbread couple trying to survive a castle invasion. It doesn’t show any of the new cards or gameplay, sadly. But it does look like an interesting and unique take on fantasy.

Arena and the new Brawl mode

Players will be able to experience a 1v1 Special Event called Eldraine Courtside Brawl until Sept 9. It allows players to play and earn Throne of Eldraine cards in advance before the official release. The Singleton format Brawl mode itself allows players to bring one Legendary creature or Planeswalker along with 59 Standard cards. Mythic Rare Legendary creatures feature special enter-the-battlefield animations. The all-new world of Eldraine will also include special thematic battlefield boards. According to the developers, these boards will bring high fantasy to a new level.

The final release on Sept 26 will reward players who joined the game during the open beta with an exclusive Fblthp avatar and card back. All you have to do to earn this reward is download and play Magic: The Gathering Arena before the final release, even just once. If you haven’t yet, it’s worth trying it out, and it’s completely free-to-play.

Magic: The Gathering Arena is definitely the most finely-tuned digital implementation of the quintessential collectible card game. It combines the same deep strategic gameplay of the tabletop version with a new player experience. It’s also a very decent alternative to those who can’t afford a tabletop habit. It’s much less expensive compared with Magic: The Gathering Online (which won’t be discontinued either). The final release will surely prove very successful in the long term.

For those who anticipate the addition of classic sets to Arena, however, don’t get your hopes up. As per an update from last week, the Historic mode will only feature a few select cards, not whole sets, at least for the foreseeable future. This is going to disappoint many players, but the implementation of whole sets would demand too much time from the developers. It’s not entirely out of the question, though: “Adding full non-Standard sets may come eventually, but right now, we’d rather focus on adding meaningful cards on a timeline players can look forward to.”

Richard Costa
Hack for hire, indentured egghead, maverick thoughtcriminal. Mainly interested in Western RPGs, first-person immersion, turn-based tactics, point-and-clickers, and card jousting. I backed the System Shock remake and Underworld Ascendant on Kickstarter, and I really regret the latter but hope the former will turn out okay.

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