Wizards of the Coast unveiled Magic: The Gathering Arena, a new free-to-play multiplayer digital card game that is set to launch within the year.
MTG Arena is based on the physical trading card game first released in 1993 that serves as the poster child of the genre. It is also its latest response to the growing industry of digital card games bannered by Hearthstone and Gwent.
Magic: The Gathering Arena: Here's What It's Like
Magic: The Gathering Arena is not like Wizards of the Coast's other digital offering, Magic Online. While Magic Online attempts a direct simulation of the physical trading card game, MTG Arena offers "fast-paced, exciting, and easy-to-follow" gameplay.
MTG Arena will follow the same rules as Magic: The Gathering, and will feature all cards in the game's Standard format. Cards will be added to MTG Arena as they are released in real life, resulting in about 1,000 new cards added to the game every year.
Matches in MTG Arena will place two players against each other using decks that they built, with some changes in the move from tabletops to a digital platform. For example, the cards of the opponents will be facing you to make them easier to read, and instead of the cards rotating when they are "tapped," they will be marked with an arrow icon.
With MTG Arena being a digital game, it opens up the possibility of providing various animations and different options that are not possible in the physical version. Creatures with flying actually float, cards that can be played and creatures that can attack glow green, and cards that can search for other cards in your deck will immediately show all possible options. Planeswalkers, the card type that represent the most prominent figures of Magic: The Gathering lore, even have its own voice lines.
Sign Up For The 'Magic: The Gathering Arena' Closed Beta
Players who are interested in trying out Magic: The Gathering Arena can now sign up for the game's closed beta through its official website. The beta will initially focus on casual constructed Standard, featuring cards from the upcoming Ixalan expansion.
MTG Arena will first arrive to Windows PC, but since the game is built on the Unity engine, it will surely expand to other platforms in the near future, likely to mobile devices to further challenge Hearthstone in the digital card game space.
In addition to MTG Arena, Wizards of the Coast is working on a free-to-play MMORPG for consoles and PC that will draw upon the card game's expansive storyline.