MTG Arena: How to Get Into the Beta

MTG Arena: How to Get into the Beta
All you have to do is get past Teferi. Over and over again...

What is MTG Arena and how do you apply for the beta? 

MTG Arena is the exciting new digital game from Wizards of the Coast’s (WotC). WotC created Magic Digital Studios to develop Arena. Arena lets you enjoy the best of competitive and kitchen table magic from the comfort of your home. Arena is in beta testing now, so some game elements are liable to change. Let’s look at MTG Arena and how it fits into the world of Magic.

Applying for the Beta

You can apply for the beta here. Once you apply, you will be eligible for an invitation. WotC sends out invitations daily. The game is being developed with other platforms in mind but is only available on PC for the moment.

MTG Arena

MTG Arena is the Magic we all know and love in an exciting new client. You start with a preset card pool, some packs, and several wildcards (more on that later). Every player has the same ten preconstructed decks. As you play games you earn cards and gold. Gold can be spent on boosters and event entry. Games are played once, not in best-of-three matches.

As you would loot the fifth copy of a card you own in Arena, you instead gain points. These points can be used to open the Vault, which is a reward chest that holds wildcards. Wildcards are redeemable for any card of the same rarity. You can also get wildcards randomly in packs.

Arena includes every set from Amonkhet on, with plans to implement Kaladesh. It will use the official ban list in each format. Currently, you may play casual and ranked constructed as well as draft.

Later this year, Wizards will announce what we can do with our rotated cards. You can look forward to standard sets being added to Arena as they are released. Wizards will treat formats the same as in paper Magic.

MTG Arena and Digital Magic

MTG Arena is not meant to replace other Magic products; rather it is intended to be a new way to experience this classic game. Magic Digital Studios wanted to combine the best of MTG Online, Magic Duels and paper magic in a new game. There are critical differences between Arena and other digital products available.

MTG Arena vs. MTG Online

Magic the Gathering Online (MtGO) provides a comprehensive adaptation of paper magic into an online setting. You can play any official format, and most printed cards are available. MtGO events cost you tickets which can be purchased, traded for, or won. There is no free-to-play option like there is in MTG Arena. Additionally, Arena uses a new rules engine that can better understand complex interactions, leading to fewer errors.

MTG Arena features an entirely different aesthetic than MtGO. Rather than show you a nuts-and-bolts representation of a Magic game, the developers chose to make it more cinematic. Effects cause enchanting visuals to come to life on screen. You will see bolts of lightning, strange clouds, charging dinos and pirate flags flapping in the wind.

If you are coming from MtGO, perhaps the most significant difference for you will be the 8-card packs. Unless you are drafting in Arena, you open a pack with one rare, two uncommons and five commons. Drafts use normal packs, with AI acting as the other seven drafters.

Arena takes MtGOs comprehensive approach to Magic and puts it at the cutting edge of video games.

MTG Arena vs. Magic Duels

Magic Duels is a simplified, digital version of Magic: the Gathering. There is a limited card pool, no trading and it has a “video game” feel. While there are clear similarities between Duels and Arena, the games couldn’t be more different in execution. Arena forgoes the “magic-lite” aspect of Duels for a fuller Magic experience.

The most significant differences lie in the rules for gameplay and deckbuilding. Duels has a simplified version of the gameplay rules which can be a frustrating change for veteran players. Also, you can only own one a given mythic, two of a rare, three of an uncommon and four of a common. Approximately 25% of the cards in each set are absent from Duels, reshaping the meta entirely. Each set has a single-player story mode associated with it.\

Boosters only have six cards in Duels while Arena packs have eight cards. Players can spend coins to get packs as in Arena. Coins are available as in Arena, but you can also get coins through two single-player modes. There is no Vault, there are no wildcards, and you can’t trade. What you get is what you play.

In Duels, you can use sets ranging from Battle for Zendikar to Amonkhet. You can play either one-on-one games or two-headed-giant. Unlike other Magic digital products, you can play against AI in constructed.

You may also be interested in: 

  1. MTG Arena Ranking System Explained
  2. The 10 Best MTG: Arena Beginner Decks
  3. MTG Arena Tips and Tricks
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Alex traverses the multiverse in search of a greater understanding of storytelling. His Int is higher than his Dex and he’s put most of his skill points into writing, survival and arcana.
Gamer Since: 1997
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Torment: Tides of Numenera, Bloodborne
Top 3 Favorite Games:Baldur's Gate, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition, Mass Effect 2
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