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WotC Addresses the Arena Economy – Wild Card Bundles, Mythic Packs coming to MTGA

For several months now, Wizards of the Coast Senior Communications Manager Blake Rasmussen has been teasing the idea of an hour-long stream dedicated entirely to the economy of Magic Arena, with the intention of responding to users’ concerns and answering questions in chat. Today, the day has come – Rasmussen dedicated his regular Weekly MTG stream on to discussion about the rather sensitive topic with Chris Kiritz, the Executive Producer for Digital Magic.

In this article, we’ll go over all of the important stuff from the stream – including some fairly big news concerning new offerings on the platform. You can also watch the stream in its entirety or check out the companion piece published over on Wizards’ website. Let’s get right into it.

New Offerings for Expanding Your Collection on Arena

The discussion got started with Kiritz explaining a bit about the philosophy behind MTG Arena’s design. He said that the player experience is meant to be geared toward creating a deck and reiterating on that deck over time, as opposed to collecting the sets in full. However, Wizards acknowledges that there are many players who want to strive towards the full collection and dabble in many different decks on the platform.

Kiritz also talked about how Wizards knows that “there is an inefficiency of buying a bunch of packs” when trying to get the specific cards that one needs for a deck. In an attempt to address these issues, there are two new offerings that will be arriving on the MTG Arena store in the coming weeks.

Firstly, a new type of booster will be made available starting with Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty – Mythic Booster Packs. Mythic Boosters will cost a bit more than regular packs – 1300 gold instead of the usual 1000 – but they will contain a guaranteed Mythic instead of a rare. We don’t know exactly when these will be coming yet, but Kiritz said it would be “around SNC [the next MTG Set Streets of New Capenna], maybe sooner.”

In addition, to help players obtain the specific cards they need to fill out their decks without opening a ton of packs, Wizards will be offering Wildcard Bundles in the Arena store. These bundles will contain 12 rare wildcards and 4 Mythics for the price of $49.99 USD – a price which Wizards says is based off of the number of wildcards you would get from opening a comparable amount of packs.

Wizards says the bundle will provide more wildcards than you would get by opening the packs, but of course you won’t be receiving the rest of the cards you would open. Well-known MTG math wizard and hall-of-famer Frank Karsten posted his own independent analysis of the new product:

Dusting is Not in the Cards for MTGA

Kiritz and Rasmussen also spent a fair amount of time in the stream discussing “dusting” – that is, the idea of destroying cards you don’t want into dust that could then be used to craft the cards you do – and why it’s not something that we’re going to see in MTG Arena. Kiritz himself described dusting as “not on the menu” for the game, essentially ruling it out for the foreseeable future.

Kiritz says that Wizards believes that opening packs is a core part of the experience of MTG, and so they wanted to build a system similar to dusting into the game based on that concept. This is in reference to the progress bar that fills when you open packs, earning you additional rare and Mythic wildcards. Rather than having to destroy cards to inefficiently convert them into other cards, the idea is to just help players earn more wildcards so they can hold onto those cards that might turn out to be useful in the future.

On a related note, Kiritz explained that “reducing regret” is a part of Wizard’s philosophy when it comes to MTG Arena. This is part of why the company says they don’t want to incorporate a dusting system, but there are some other things coming down the pipeline that are in line with this goal.

A Deck Testing System is in the Works

According to Kiritz, allowing players to test out new deck ideas before they commit to crafting all of the cards is something that Wizards wants to allow and expand upon. There are already the occasional “All-Access” events on the platform that do essentially that – giving entrants access to any card they want to use without needing to have them in their collections – but Kiritz says that they want to allow players to always have access to this kind of testing rather than having it only be available for a limited-time event.

We don’t know exactly how this system is going to work, we just know that it’s coming. Kiritz even suggested that players might be able to try their decks in the unranked play queue, suggesting that Wizards is serious about offering testing options for players.

Alchemy and Other Upcoming Formats on Arena

Rasmussen and Kiritz also spent some time discussing Arena’s newest format featuring digital-only cards, Alchemy. One of the complaints that players have had about Alchemy and its supplemental sets is not only that they’re expensive in terms of wildcards, but also that the format’s fluctuations in terms of rebalancing mean that crafting any card is less safe of an investment.

Rasmussen was fairly quick to (rightly) point out that the recent Neon Dynasty Championship, a professional MTG tournament that featured the Alchemy format, included players doing well both with cards that had been buffed and cards that had been nerfed – suggesting that the balancing changes in Alchemy are implemented in a way that’s meant to ensure that all of these cards are still playable.

However, Kiritz did say that the Arena team wants to “change some of the offerings” when it comes to obtaining cards for Alchemy. Obviously, the wildcards that you can buy in the new Wildcard Bundle can be used for Alchemy or whatever format you like, but there was also discussion about offering something similar to the Historic Anthology bundles, which included copies of the cards that were being added to the format.

He also said that Wizards has been “exploring the idea” of a limited play experience for the Alchemy format, but it’s a bit complicated since the Alchemy sets themselves are so small at around 30 cards each going forward.

Concerning Historic and the concerns that many fans of the format have had around the effect that Alchemy nerfs are having on it, Kiritz said that Wizards is considering the possibility of returning some of the cards to their original power once they rotate out of Standard and Alchemy. However, there will still be some period of time where cards that are nerfed for Alchemy will take the hit in Historic as well.

However, Kiritz and Rasmussen also wanted to address the discontent that some players have felt towards the “live formats” Historic and Alchemy – formats that are not tied to a paper counterpart, include digital-only cards, and can be adjusted on the fly with nerfs and buffs.

Standard is obviously still available on Arena and Wizards has said repeatedly that it isn’t going anywhere, but Kiritz also clarified that there will be a non-rotating tabletop format coming to Arena at some point “relatively soon.” Kiritz didn’t say what the format would be, and it would be a be a bridging format to Pioneer as they work towards adding all the cards.

Other Interesting Morsels

In the course of their discussion and the answering of questions from chat, there were a number of other new bits of information that we learned from the stream – here’s a few of the interesting ones.

  • Constructed Events are going to be reworked to make them more comparable for the constructed player to the experience that limited players get from draft. There aren’t any specifics as of now, but this could include better rewards that make the events worthwhile and a potential ranked component.
  • Players will soon be able to select a favorite basic land, a much-requested feature for MTGA that will apply your favorited lands automatically rather than having to sort through the list of all available basics every time.
  • According to Kiritz, the technology behind the favorite land system is expected to make it easier for the team to address the issue of card reprints leading to players having more than four copies of the same card with the same art.
  • The rate at which players acquire wildcards from booster packs is “open to change,” but Wizards has no plans to make changes to the system as of now.

There’s a lot to absorb from today’s stream, and while there’s no doubt that some players would have wanted to see more from Wizards, there are at least a few positive changes that will be coming to the client in the near future. We’ll keep you posted on any more relevant information we get from Wizards in the future.

Iroas, God of Victory Art


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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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