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MTG Arena Returning Players Guide – 2022

Coming back to MTG Arena after a hiatus and need a refresher? Find out what may have changed in the time you've been away!

Hello everyone! Since Magic: The Gathering Arena‘s Open Beta release in 2018, the client and the game itself has undergone a lot of changes. We know that not everyone keeps up with Magic, and while you enjoy Magic (or have,) you may have stopped for awhile for any amount of reasons. To catch you back up to speed, here’s what you need to know about how the client has changed since you may have last played. For starters, if you are a new player or would like a full refresher, we have an exhaustive guide covering any topic you may need to know that is linked below:

Furthermore, there are many MTG Arena codes that can net you free stuff, so make sure you take advantage of those as well! For this article I will go over the contents of the different pages, the new formats, the new events, and the best ways to jump back into grinding!

The Main Screen

For those returning to Arena, not too much has changed about the home screen! However, I’ll break down the individual components just in case it’s been awhile or your need the refresher.

The bottom is where you will get your quests, daily rewards, weekly rewards, and mastery pass rewards. You can have up to three quests active at the same time and you will get a new one at midnight PST. If you have three quests, you will not receive a fourth. Once per day, you may also reroll your quest to get a new objective to work towards. This is generally recommended to do whenever you get a 500 gold quest as you may hit a 750 gold quest.

Next is the daily rewards where you can earn gold, cards, and XP for each win you get on a day. For optimal grinding, you generally want to get four wins per day as that’ll net you 550 gold (250 gold for the first win, 100 for the subsequent three.) If you continue to win, you will alternate between getting a random card + XP and 50 gold + XP until you hit win 10 where you’ll only alternate between card + XP and 25 gold + XP. Once you hit 15 wins, you can’t accrue anymore rewards.

Weekly wins, as the name implies, are rewards you get for playing at any point in the week that refresh midnight PST on Sunday.

Finally, the Mastery Pass is a new reward track that grants you gold, gems, packs, cosmetics, orbs, and other fun items as you accumulate XP from playing. It starts and ends with every major new expansion. You get significantly more rewards if you unlock it for 3,400 gems, but you will get rewards even if you don’t. You can also purchase it and receive rewards retroactively so there is no rush! You can use our Mastery Calculator to see the level you can reach:

The center of the screen features all the highlighted products and events.

The top bar is pretty self explanatory with most of the tabs being listed, but on the right side you have your Wildcard amounts, your gold, your gems, the Direct Challenge option, the Learn More option, and Settings.

The main new feature you may not be familiar with is the Friends List! Use this to add friends to make communication and direct challenges much easier!

Profile Tab

Another large change from the beginning of Arena is the Profile tab. While it has your username and rank on the left side, the right side has more customizable options with emotes, pets, card sleeves, and Avatars.

You can now have custom emotes to choose from between the classic five, stickers, and phrases! Since I’m lame, I don’t have any, but there are a lot of them out there to choose from if you like expressing yourself mid game!

Pets are cute little sprites that sit on the ends of the midline on the battlefield. You can click either pet to make them do something fun!

You also choose your card sleeves from your Profile as well. There are a lot of sleeve options so make sure you pick!

Finally, you get to choose your favorite avatar! While picking anything other than Fblthp is incorrect (with Jace, the Mind Sculptor being an acceptable choice), you have a wide variety of characters to choose from!

Decks Tab

Yet another overhaul from not too long ago, the decks tab has changed a good amount! You have filters on top as well as a 100 deck limit rather than 75. Maybe my favorite change, the starter decks that players get are separated in a separate tab at the bottom of the deck screen rather than cluttering up your main count! Talk about a great change!

For the bottom bar, you have your Collection tab, the deck details button (it’ll break down all the metrics on the selected deck), your Favorite button (favorited decks are glued to the top), Import, Export, Clone, and Delete features.

Unfortunately, we still cannot choose our favorite Basic Lands.

Store

The store tab is thankfully quite self-explanatory with each tab telling you exactly what they’re offering. The two things of note are that you can buy packs en masse with gold now and the Daily Deals will always have alternate arts of cards go on sale that are linked by a theme (today is a lot of Eldraine cards concerning Food) as well as potentially having “free” gold or gems!

Mastery Pass

Finally we circle back to the Mastery Pass which can be accessed through the tab or on the bottom right of the home page.

The last element that I didn’t touch on before is the Mastery Tree. As you accrue xp and gain more rewards through the mastery pass, you will get Mastery Orbs, which you can use to unlock cosmetics. As you can see here, you need to work you way towards certain cosmetics, but if you put four orbs in the same color, you’ll walk away with some sweet custom sleeves, and on the fifth, borderless set mythics! You’ll get substantially more Mastery Orbs if you unlock the Mastery Pass, but you will still get five orbs (once you hit level 45) if you don’t.

For those wondering if the Mastery Pass is worth it, it has become less valuable recently compared to the first iterations of it, but many players still seem to be happy with the rewards as long as you can complete it. For example, for 3400 gems, you get 20 packs, 4000 gold, 1200 gems, 10 mythics, and a whole host of cosmetic items! Considering packs cost a minimum of 200 gems or 100 gold, for 3,400 gems (the equivalent of 34 packs) nets you 30 packs of value as well as 10 Mythics and a slew of cosmetics. If you’re planning of playing a lot and random Mythics and cosmetics are worth the two equivalent packs of value (which seems like a good deal even if you don’t care about cosmetics,) this seems like a strong buy.

New Arena Formats

Alchemy

Alchemy, in essence, is Standard+. This uses Standard cards and supplementary products to create a different, higher power level format. Beyond that, cards can actually be changed (as marked by the A- symbol) to be a more appropriate power level for Alchemy (or Historic.) Alchemy currently includes all Standard legal sets, the Arena Base set, Alchemy: Innistrad, Alchemy: Kamigawa, Alchemy: New Capenna, Alchemy Horizons: Baldur's Gate, Alchemy: Dominaria United, and soon Alchemy: The Brothers' War

Historic Brawl

Historic Brawl is the Commander equivalent that we have access to on Arena. The rules are similar, 100 card format including a Commander, but it’s a 1v1 format.

Explorer

This is pretty much Pioneer lite. Arena doesn’t have every Pioneer legal card legal yet so Arena has been adding Pioneer relevant cards in supplementary products like Explorer Anthology.

Historic

Historic has been around for awhile, but if you’ve been away for this long, it’s a digital only format that lets you use any card on Arena with an extensive ban list. Like Alchemy, cards can be rebalanced here as well. Any card that’s rebalanced in Alchemy will be the version you use in Historic as well.

Play Queue

It used to be that you chose the format then hit play, but now, you have different tabs to choose from! The first tab to the left is the Events tab! This will show you every active even right now and this is a fast way to see what events are available.

The middle tab lets you play all the play and ranked modes for the different formats. The left is the Ranked queue, the middle is the play queue, and the right is the Brawl queue.

The final tab is all the formats and decks you recently played letting you quickly change formats!

Getting Back Into Magic

Premier Play Changes

With Magic’s return to tabletop play and real life events, a new 2022 – 2023 season was announced with major changes to MTG Arena’s competitive event and ranked ladder structure. We cover it more detail in the articles below, but in summary:

  • Constructed Events (e.g. Traditional Historic Event) now reward Play-In points, which allow you to use to enter Play-In events that happen each month
  • Play-In events allow players to earn an entry to the Qualifier Weekend each month
  • Top #250 Mythic is required to enter the Qualifier Weekend
  • Top #1200 Mythic is required to get a free entry to the Play-In event
  • Qualifier Weekend winners can enter the Arena Championships that happen every four months

Budget

If you have a small collection to work with, going for a Budget deck is a great option!

Jump In

For those looking to bolster their collection, the Jump In! event is an excellent way to build up some cards. If you want to read more into this, check out the link below!

Golden Packs

A new help to the Arena economy, for every ten packs you purchase you get a Golden Pack! Starting with The Brothers' War Golden Packs will have six Standard legal rares or mythics, 2 of which from The Brothers' War and minimum one card will be a Mythic! Best yet, these are duplicated protected so you can’t exceed four copies! If you want to read more about them, you can check out the link below.

Conclusion

It might be a daunting task to return to MTG Arena after a while, but you can jump right in at your own pace with eternal formats (Historic, Explorer) and a freshly rotated format (Standard, Alchemy). If you want to go more casual, the Brawl and Historic Brawl queues are still there that require only one copy of each card!

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DoggertQBones
DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
Twitch and Discord.

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