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Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty State of the Game and MTGA Announcements – February 9, 2022

This morning, Wizards of the Coast published their regular MTG Arena Announcements, but it was a bit sparse on details this time around. That’s because, in anticipation of the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty on the platform tomorrow, Wizards has also published a new State of the Game article concerning MTG Arena.

We’ve got a lot of new information to parse from the two articles, so we’re going to break both of them down for you and summarize all of the most important details.

We’ll be learning about Neon Dynasty’s release, getting an update on how the Alchemy format is doing and what’s coming next, and there’s even a hint from Wizards about a future non-rotating format that could be coming to Arena, so let’s dive in!


New Jump In! Packets for Neon Dynasty

As with other set releases since the introduction of the Jump In! event, made to help new players build their collections, Neon Dynasty will be including a new set of packets for the event. The list of new packets and contents won’t be available until Friday, February 11, however. You’ll be able to find all of the new packet contents over on the official Jump In! event details page.

Double Feature Draft Coming to an End

Double feature, the event that combines Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow into one draft environment, will be coming to an end tomorrow, February 10. As a part of last week’s announcements, Wizards confirmed that a bug had been preventing players from receiving the correct card style rewards after the first entry. You can check out the previous announcements for more info on the bug, but Wizards will be granting an additional card style for each event entry after the first as soon as the event ends.

New Mechanics and Adjustments

In the State of the Game, Wizards takes a bit of time to break down how ninjutsu will work on the client, and provided us with information about how the payment of additional costs is being changed. Concerning ninjutsu, the game places a priority stop right before the declare blockers step, but only if the opponent controls a creature to block with. Otherwise, the game will jump directly to declare blockers, which is generally when Ninjutsu will be activated. Wizards points out that if you need to activate a ninjutsu ability after combat damage has resolved for any reason, it will require the use of manual priority/full control.

Concerning the additional costs, the flow of gameplay on Arena is being changed so that you will no longer need to manually set an X value for cards that don’t specifically call for it. The example that Wizards provided in the article is the new card Cloudsteel Kirin:

Magic battlefield with March of Otherwordly Light's card selection process displayed

With the way mechanics like this functioned on the client up to now, the player would be prompted to choose a value for “X” before going to exile cards from their hand. Now, the “X” value that represents the number of cards exiled from hand is set automatically when you select the cards as a part of the cost. The full article, embedded at the bottom of the page, describes this change in a bit more detail.

Neon Dynasty Cosmetics on Arena

There are many special art treatments that have been revealed for cards in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, and in the State of the Game, Wizards has confirmed that “many” of them will be available for purchase on Arena. As usual, some of them will be purchasable in the deckbuilder or through store bundles, while others will be offered as rewards for events – although there aren’t many details yet on which cosmetics will be available where.

More information about how to get these cosmetics will apparently be revealed through future MTG Arena Announcements.

Wizards did choose to specifically address the special “neon ink” version of Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos that will be found in paper collector boosters, saying that the treatment will not be available on Arena as the foil etching can “only truly shine” in print.

Bug Fixes and the Play Blade

According to WotC, the update that adds all of the new cards from Neon Dynasty will also include a “general slew of bug fixes” and “adjustments” to the play blade, which was redone last December in the 2021.12.0 patch. While Wizards says they have “more improvements and changes planned,” this release will be focused on minor adjustments and bug fixing until the new set has been implemented.

An Update from WotC on Alchemy – and an Eternal Format Coming to Arena?

Perhaps the most interesting bit from today’s announcements from Wizards concerns Alchemy. Firstly, Wizards has announced that the next digital-only expansion, Alchemy: Kamigawa will contain “approximately 30” new cards and is expected to release in the “second half of March.” Wizards also made sure to be explicit about the fact that these cards will not be released until after the Neon Dynasty Championship. We’ll get some more information, including some card previews, on February 24 in the Weekly MTG stream.

Wizards also briefly addressed the concern that some players have had regarding the Alchemy nerfs/buffs and the impact that they have on the Historic format. They say that their team carefully considers Historic when making any balancing changes and aim to keep the impact minimal.

Perhaps the biggest revelation from the State of the Game, however, is Wizards’ acknowledgement that players want to see a “true-to-tabletop” non-rotating format, and that they are “looking into” which format to provide and how. There has been a lot of discussion of the Pioneer format in recent months, although Wizards has said on-stream that including the format would be more than a year away even if that was the team’s primary focus.

In short, we really don’t know what Arena’s “true-to-tabletop” format will be, or when it will be implemented – rather, we’ve just received a reminder that Wizards is thinking about the issue and a confirmation that it is sill a planned feature for the future.


That covers all of the important stuff from today’s info dump. You can read more about all of these subjects in the full postings from Wizards of the Coast, both of which are embedded below. As usual, you’ll also find a schedule of events for the MTG Arena client, details for the February ranked season, and more.

MTG Arena Announcements, February 9, 2022

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Launches Tomorrow, February 10!

MTG Arena is about to burst with the neon glory of Kamigawa, with the launch of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty! Stay tuned to the status page tomorrow, February 10, for updates on the release schedule.

First MTG Arena State of the Game in 2022

Check out the latest State of the Game article for details on what’s happening in MTG Arena with the new Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty release coming out tomorrow, February 10! From mechanics, to collecting the new cards in MTG Arena, to an update on the new format Alchemy, this will get you ready for what’s new and on the horizon.

New Jump In! Packets Coming!

We’re updating the available Jump In! packets with the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty release tomorrow, February 10! Check the Jump In! event details and packet list page on Friday, February 11 for details of the new packets.

Double Feature Draft

There’s just one more day of Double Feature Draft! This event ends February 10, so now’s your final chance to play and grab Dracula card styles! A bug caused a problem with the granting of card styles, so we’ll be granting two card styles to accounts for each entry beyond the first to compensate for the inconvenience.

Note: card styles will be granted shortly after the February 10 release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

Jonathan Harker (Jacob Hauken, Inspector) Dracula card art
Jonathan Harker (Jacob Hauken, Inspector) | Art by Slawomir Maniak

Event Schedule

Midweek Magic

Midweek Magic events begin on Tuesdays at 8 a.m. PT and end on Thursdays at 11 a.m. PT.

  • February 8–10: Cascade
  • February 15–17: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Phantom Bot Draft
  • February 22–24: Blast from the Past
  • March 3–5: Alchemy All Access
  • March 8–10: Omniscience

Arena Open

  • February 26–27: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Limited (Day 1: Sealed, Day 2: Draft)
  • April 16–17: Historic

Quick Draft

  • February 4–11:Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures of the Forgotten Realms
  • February 11–25: Innistrad: Midnight Hunt
  • February 25–March 11: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty
  • March 11–25: Innistrad: Crimson Vow
  • March 25–April 8: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty

Other Events

February 2022 Ranked Season

The February 2022 Ranked Season begins January 31 at 12:05 p.m. PT (20:05 UTC) and ends on February 28 at 12 p.m. PT (20:00 UTC).


Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty on MTG Arena

The future is bright, and for MTG Arena, only a few days away. By now, you’ve seen the cards, you’ve read the story, you’ve learned the mechanics, and soon, magic will truly meet technology as you’ll be able to build, brew, and play with everything Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty has to offer—digitally, of course. Let’s get you ready for your glow up, shall we?

Splash art of [card name=

Mechanics

While the ever-illustrious Matt Tabak has already shone a light on the new abilities and game mechanics that await you in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, there is some extra information on how these bright and beautiful cards work on the technological marvels of modern computers and cellular phones.

Ninjutsu

Ninjutsu ability with the text Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.

*Note: The cost to activate ninjutsu varies from card to card. The above example shows the ninjutsu cost from Dokuchi Shadow-Walker.

There are three very important things to keep in mind when using ninjutsu on MTG Arena. First, during the combat phase, we only put a stop prior to declaring blockers if your opponent has a creature capable of blocking. So, if you are attacking and your opponent can’t block (e.g., they have an empty board), it will jump directly to the declare blockers step—that’s when you’ll want to activate ninjutsu! There is, however, an automatic stop after first strike damage but before combat damage if you can activate a ninjutsu ability then. Second, if you want to activate ninjutsu post combat damage for whatever reason, you’ll need to enable manual priority controls.

Last, but certainly not least, you’ll only see the visual effect (VFX) when you attack using a creature with ninjutsu if you can activate a ninjutsu ability!

Updated “Additional Cost” Flow

In the simplest of terms, we no longer prompt you to choose an X value for parts of the card that don’t explicitly use the X placeholder. For cards with an optional additional cost as part of their rules text (i.e., “As an additional cost to cast this spell, you may . . .”), you simultaneously set the value when you chose the cards, and the additional cost will resolve automatically with the chosen cards when the casting cost is paid.

Okay, now for the longer explanation. Previously when casting a card with an optional additional cost, the game prompted you to choose the value for the additional cost, and when you paid the casting cost, you picked the cards to match the value for the additional cost you previously set.

Using Torgaar, Famine Incarnate as our example, when you went to cast the spell, you set a value for “X” that would be the number of additional creatures you wished to sacrifice, and when the card was cast, you selected which creatures when resolving the cost. Well, now we have cards like March of the Otherwordly that combine an X cost with an optional additional cost, and that flow was just . . . well, awkward.

Magic battlefield with the card [card name=

So now, when casting a card with an optional additional cost, we’ve combined the number of cards and which cards into a single step. For a card with both a variable casting cost and an optional additional cost, the flow is: choose the value for “X,” choose which cards for the optional additional cost (which also determines the number of additional cards), pay the casting cost which will automatically resolve the additional cost.

Magic battlefield with March of Otherwordly Light's card selection process displayed

. . . Trust us, it makes sense when you see it.

Collecting Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty on MTG Arena

Four card variants for Tamiyo, Compleated Sage

Now for the pretty stuff. Ukiyo-e lands? Check. Borderless treatment? Check. Phyrexian cards? CheckCompleat. If you’ve enjoyed looking at all the cool, colorful, and can’t-resist collecting-ness of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, you’ll be happy to hear that many of those amazing art treatments will be available on MTG Arena! While some of these card styles will be available directly for purchase either through the deck builder or by purchasing bundles in the store, others will be obtainable through in-game events, so be sure to keep an eye on our weekly blog updates for what will be available for when!

All of the ukyio-e lands displayed in two five-card fans

We do want to call out that the neon ink versions of Hidetsugu, Devouring Chaos can still only be found in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Collector Boosters or as a promotional card distributed by WPN Premium Stores. Similarly, since foil etching can only truly shine as a print technique, this treatment does not appear in MTG Arena. For more information on collecting Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty for tabletop play, you can head over to the dedicated article.

Bits and Bolts

In addition to the new card set, players should expect our general slew of bug fixes as well as some adjustments to the new Playblade. We have more improvements and changes planned, but our priority for this release was the new card set, so we’re keeping it to minor tweaks and bug fixes for now.

State of Alchemy

In addition to telling you what’s coming alongside the release of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, we felt this was a good time to give an update on the current state of the new digital format we introduced in our December update, Alchemy.

First thing’s first, players should expect our Alchemy: Kamigawa release sometime in the second half of March. It will feature approximately 30 new cards that will be playable in Alchemy and Historic, which is roughly the number of cards players should expect for Alchemy releases that accompany Standard sets.

We also want to disclose that the release date will be after the upcoming Neon Dynasty Championship, so these cards will not be legal for play during that event. We’ll be revealing more about this Alchemy expansion, including a first look at some of the cards, on February 24, 2022, during Weekly MTG.

As for where things currently stand with the format itself, we designed Alchemy to appeal to highly active, digital-first players, and we’re pleased to see that it’s finding a good audience there. We’ve also received a lot of feedback about Alchemy’s impact on Historic, especially with its use of rebalanced cards. This is something we’re watching closely, and we want to affirm that we carefully consider the Historic impact when looking at what cards we want to adjust and how. Our goal with card rebalances is not to make any deck or archetype obsolete; we want players to be able to play the deck they want to play. This includes both giving some archetypes just shy of top-tier performance a little boost while bringing down the power level of some cards that appear in the most dominant decks. So far, the overall impact of rebalanced cards in Historic has been small, which is what we’re looking for. Players with existing decks can still use them at the highest level of competitive play while allowing for more decks to compete alongside them.

We’re also aware that by including Alchemy cards in Historic, MTG Arena no longer has a “true to tabletop” non-rotating format. We know this is something players want, and it’s something we want to provide, so we’re actively looking into how we’ll support an additional Eternal format. However, we do not plan to add a separate Historic queue that would exclude digital-only cards or rebalances. Our goal with each format MTG Arena supports is to give players a unique deck-building and play experience, and having two formats that are slight tweaks of each doesn’t fulfill those requirements.

Exactly what this upcoming format will be is still under consideration because we want to make the best informed decision that we can. That takes time. There are a lot of things we need to consider and solve before we have our answer, because a big part of supporting an Eternal format is setting it up for long-term success. Part of this does include incorporating player feedback, alongside working with our Organized Play team, and you’ll begin to see some early testing of what this format could be in a few of our upcoming Midweek Magic events.

In short, we’re happy Alchemy has found an audience, but we also hear your desire for a true-to-tabletop non-rotating format. We’re working on it, and we hope you’ll be patient with us as we decide on what’s next.

The Future Is Now

Or at the very least, coming very soon. Keep an eye on our status page for the latest information on maintenance times, and as always, give us a follow on @MTG_Arena for the latest news and updates. Be sure to check out our weekly announcements blog for the latest information on upcoming events (including our Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty event schedule), and last but certainly not least, we’ll see you in game!

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Paul
Paul

Dude from Vermont who likes to play Magic and Escape from Tarkov. Musician, writer, and gamer. Submit feedback or corrections to @Paul on the Discord.

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