Magic: The Gathering Arena will be getting a brand new and inexplicably missing feature in the form of Direct Challenges, a function that will allow friends to battle each other in-game. The game will also be introducing Streamer Events that will focus on highlighting different personalities who play Magic: The Gathering Arena, also getting regular players involved as well in the form of special gameplay modes.
Magic: The Gathering Arena is Wizards of the Coast's latest attempt at digitizing its popular physical trading card game. While Magic: The Gathering Online has existed for over a decade at this point, it's a program that is typically used by more enfranchised players. Magic: The Gathering Arena offers simplified gameplay and less overall format diversity in exchange for a much newer, sleeker interface and the kind of colorful presentation that has made games like Hearthstone such a global success. Arena is currently in open beta.
Magic: The Gathering Arena doesn't have a specific timetable for when the Direct Challenges functionality will be integrated into the game, but a statement from Wizards of the Coast indicates that it will be happening sooner rather than later. The company has stated that the implementation could be as soon as the end of November. The oft-requested and weirdly absent ability to play games against friends would be a huge boon to the game as it begins to carve out a niche for itself within the already crowded digital TCG market.
Magic: The Gathering Arena's new Streamer Events, on the other hand, will feature a customized event based around a member of the community chosen by the development team. The events will then be implemented over the course of a specific weekend and allow players to take part in some new, innovative gameplay modes that don't normally exist within Arena. The Streamer Events will also promote content creators involved in a given iteration of them, which means more exposure for the streamers that have been picking up Magic: The Gathering Arena since its open beta release just over a month ago.
Wizards of the Coast has also recruited two Magic superstars for the first two Streamer Events in Magic: The Gathering Arena history. Day, a streamer who first got his start in StarCraft 2 but has since become a globally recognized variety gamer, and Gaby Spartz, a Magic specialist who has remained one of the game's top community figures for years now, will both be featured this weekend in the first Streamer Event.
Day's event will be called "Insta-Ban" while Gaby's will be called "Greedy Dominaria Draft." Both events will look to replicate the personality traits and playstyle of the streamer they're associated with, and with two big personas in Day and Gaby Spartz, this upcoming weekend should be a strong indicator of whether or not Streamer Events will be successful for Magic: The Gathering Arena. While Wizards of the Coast still has its fair share of critics - especially those calling for basic functionalities like Direct Challenges - the company is, at the very least, willing to experiment, and has begun addressing the most prominent concerns within Arena's burgeoning community of players.
First Streamer Event Details - October 26-29
We're giving Constructed new house rules with Day (twitch.tv/day9tv). Day has always had a burning displeasure for counters and tricks. So together we created INSTA-BAN, where you bring a 60-card deck with zero instant spells in it. Instant speed effects such as flash or activated abilities are permitted, but if the spell is an instant, it is BANNED.
Gaby's Greedy Dominaria Draft
We're giving Draft new house rules with Gaby Spartz (twitch.tv/gabyspartz). Gaby loves drafting and building ambitious decks. So together we are running a GREEDY DOMINARIA DRAFT. Draft 3 packs of Dominaria around a few unique rules in this game of Magic. Everyone can play two lands per turn, start with 9 cards, and has no maximum hand size.