MTG Arena officially launched today, marking the end of a long open beta period that coincides with a full Standard set rotation period and the release of Throne of Eldraine on the platform, Magic: The Gathering's newest set. MTG Arena has been wildly successful despite experiencing some growing pains along the way, and now has a more refined card acquisition system alongside formats in Brawl and Historic to help supplement the game's Standard and Draft experience.
MTG Arena is also the quickest way for fans to experience Throne of Eldraine, which has already been previewed on the platform as part of its Brawl launch and will also arrive today. Throne of Eldraine has looked like one of the biggest Magic: The Gathering releases in recent memory, with a strong tie to fairy tales and Arthurian literature making it an easy point of access for the many new players who may have been attracted to the game by its much wider reach thanks to MTG Arena. MTG Arena also achieved over one billion games played during its open beta period and became a central part of Wizards of the Coast's Magic esports plan, which awards $10 million to players this year and will do the same next year with an expanded plan on both digital and tabletop platforms.
Wizards of the Coast officially announced that MTG Arena left open beta today, outlining how it expects to support the full launch of the platform. Players can expect an onset of support right out of the gate, including rewards for those who had played the open beta just for logging in now. A new mastery pass for Throne of Eldraine is also live now, although it remains unclear if it will address some of the concerns players have had with that system in the past, largely the amount of grinding required to hit max levels without spending real money. Jeffery Steefel, VP of Digital Development at Wizards of the Coast, shared his thoughts on the launch, which has been a long-time coming for the successful platform:
"The official launch of Magic: The Gathering Arena is years of work in the making from the Wizards of the Coast Digital Games studio. We look forward to many years of innovation and fun with more new features, more card sets, and more of the strategic gameplay that only Magic can offer - including more unique events like the free Play Any Deck/Win Every Card challenge that starts this weekend. So, stick around - launch is only the beginning for us."
The event Steefel refers to is the weekend event that will allow players to test out any deck they wish with Throne of Eldraine, temporarily granting players access to every card legal in Standard to help them get a taste of what the new format will look like. Standard just underwent a rotation that will see many key building blocks in decks no longer be legal for play, which should help Throne of Eldraine be even more impactful than it would already have been - and this is a set with cards like Oko, Thief of Crowns, one of the most exciting and powerful new planeswalkers available.
For MTG Arena, the official launch signals a renewed commitment to pushing the game forward as a premier esports platform, something that Wizards has made very clear is a top priority. Supporting the launch with a brand new set release and new events that are exciting and impactful is an encouraging sign for the future of MTG Arena, which could cement itself as a long-lasting esports scene with a strong finish to 2019.