This is your complete, unabridged beginner’s guide to Magic: The Gathering Arena hosted by MTG Arena Zone. Written by /u/localghost, Heffalump#3697, in 2020 – 2021. This guide builds on the massive effort of other members of the community and wouldn’t be there without a number of prior materials – thank you!
This guide assumes you have a general idea of what a Trading, or Collectible Card Game is, and a basic grasp of Magic: the Gathering. If you need an introduction or a refresher, please go through Appendix A first. If you want to get better at Magic, check Level One or Appendix C instead.
Before you start: what is Arena and what to expect
The guide is divided into 6 core sections that explain in detail how MTG Arena gameplay works, and extra appendices that cover general Magic: The Gathering topics.
- Quick Start Guide
Just started — Getting cards — Getting resources — What next?
- Using Arena: Interface and Add-ons
General interface — Collection interface — Game settings — Third-party tools
- Formats, Queues, Events
Constructed — Limited — Ranked system — Playing with friends
- Playing a Match
Turn timers — Holding priority — Visual cues — Stack — Auto tapper — Mana pool — Various
- Arena Economy in Detail
More on getting cards — Bans and suspensions — Mastery passes — Growing your collection
- Inner Workings of Arena
Common misunderstandings — Common rule confusions — Bugs — Shuffler and matchmaking
- Appendix A. Introduction to MTG
Overview — Card types — Combat — Stack — New sets and rotation — Sideboard
- Appendix B. Common MTG Slangs
Color combinations — Mechanics and effects — Dual-color lands — Various
- Appendix C. Improving at MTG
Understanding Magic — Getting better at Limited — Coping with variance — Tools to build your own deck
- Appendix D. Major MTG Arena Change Timeline
- Appendix E. Overview of Advanced Search Options in Collection and the Deck Builder
Current guide version and date
v. 2.02, 11/11/2021: Innistrad: Crimson Vow Arena release day.
This guide is written by an experienced MTG player, free-to-play Arena player, non-native English speaker, straight white middle-aged Caucasian male playing on a Windows PC. That inevitably means some parts of the guide are less on point than the others. If you believe it doesn’t do justice to the matter as perceived from another side of either of those divisions and can be bettered, please contact me.
- v. 2.02, 11/11/2021: Updated for the Crimson Vow Mastery pass information, other minor changes and fixes.
- v. 2.01, 16/09/2021: Updated information with regards to Standard 2022 queues (that left) and MID Mastery pass.
- v. 2.00, 26/08/2021: Fixed typos, formatting, updated and enhanced several sections, etc. The guide is ready to move on.
- v. 2.00 beta, 20/08/2021: The guide’s completely overhauled. Please forgive typos, having some formatting issues and unfinished or temporarily named sections. It’ll get better soon.
- v. 1.32, 12/08/2021: Various corrections and additions.
- v. 1.31, 08/07/2021: A few correction and additions reflecting the current game state. Changed the mastery pass information to AFR.
- v. 1.30, 12/04/2021: Appendix E on advanced search options added. A lot of small updates and corrections, including information on Strixhaven mastery pass.
The rest of the change log moved to the Appendix D.