Since MTG Arena dropped its NDA and allowed people to start streaming it – I have had a lot of people ask me for my thoughts on it and if I plan to stream it. Today I just wanted to write a short note giving my early thoughts on it.
Before I say anything though I’d like to remind everyone of something very important:
As of my writing this Arena is only in a CLOSED BETA I am certain many of the details surrounding the game are subject to change before the final release
That said – let’s dive right in with my hot take on MTG Arena shall we? My sound bite opinion on Arena as it stands is the title of this post:
MTG Arena looks great, but it isn’t Magic for Me
I genuinely mean the first part. The interface on Arena looks really slick. The auto-tapping of lands when playing a spell, while currently a bit rough, is awesome and makes game play really smooth. I also love what they have done with the timers in arena to encourage people to play the game quickly.
The second part of my title is one that might confuse people – after all – Arena has a full Magic rules engine. The thing is though – Magic is more than just a set of rules. Magic to many, myself included, is the formats that we play within those rules.
To say I play a lot of Magic is an understatement. In fact – if you peek at my YouTube channel you’ll find 30+ hours a week of Magic for most of this year (and that is just counting on stream games). What you will not find on that channel though is standard matches of Magic.
In terms of constructed – Standard is all Arena is likely to support moving forward based on what WOTC has told us. This means that while Arena looks great, it is about as useful as Hearthstone to me when it comes to playing a game I am interested in playing. If I can’t play formats like Modern, Legacy, or Pauper on Arena – then Arena will not let me play Magic that I am interested in playing.
At the end of the day – I hope Arena is successful. More people playing Magic is good for the game. Eventually those people will likely get interested in playing all that Magic has to offer.
While Arena does not support sweet non-rotating formats though, it simply will not be Magic for me.