Magic: The Gathering Arena - Another MtG video game

See, I don’t like it at all in draft. It feels like very much a “prince” draft format, which sucks to start with, and drafting in Arena is way more about abusing the bots’ algorithms than it is actually following a good draft strategy.

That’s always going to be an element of Arena drafting, sure, but in M20 at least it was more or less limited to Weaponsmith/Bow shenanigans which were much less endemic to the format.

Also, fire Merfolk Secretkeeper into the sun soonest, thx.

Well, drafting with humans is awesome. Highly recommended. :)

I’m not good enough to take advantage of the bots or whatever, but I’ve had some fun Arena drafts nonetheless. Black and green food is my favorite, but I’ve won some with mill and red-white aggro too. The one thing that’s not come together for me at all is knights, oddly enough in a set with a ton of them.

I do agree that playing against Secretkeeper is annoying, but I don’t think I’ve lost to mill more than anything else. It just seems worse since it takes forever.

I had a Secret Keeper deck and I was doing great until I went up against someone that knew the trick to defeating me without even effort - he just put more cards in his deck, including a card that let him fill his library with creatures from his graveyard. Oops. :)

Change your passwords.

Free code for a Liliana deck for Twitch Prime members (or a code for a some free gems/vault progress is Dimir was already your jam, as it is mine):

1 Liliana, Dreadhorde General (WAR) 97
1 Enter the God-Eternals (WAR) 196
1 Dreadhorde Invasion (WAR) 86
2 Faerie Duelist (RNA) 39
1 Sphinx of Foresight (RNA) 55
1 Commence the Endgame (WAR) 45
3 Eternal Skylord (WAR) 49
3 Aven Eternal (WAR) 42
4 Lazotep Reaver (WAR) 96
2 Gleaming Overseer (WAR) 198
2 Callous Dismissal (WAR) 44
2 Spectral Sailor (M20) 76
2 Winged Words (M20) 80
2 Unexplained Vision (ELD) 70
2 Foulmire Knight (ELD) 90
2 Nightveil Predator (GRN) 191
3 Murder (M20) 109
1 Gravewaker (M20) 323
4 Dimir Guildgate (GRN) 245
11 Swamp (WAR) 257
10 Island (WAR) 255

Looks like the friends list made it into today’s patch, at least.

I just started fiddling around with this over my Christmas break. So far I’m really killing it against the bot! Is there any way to get specific cards you want or do you just buy a lot of packs? I got a couple of packs through redeeming codes and I received a couple of wild cards. I figured I should hold on to those until I understand how to use them so I still have them.

Any advice for a noob? I’ve played magic but not in awhile so I understand the game, but I have not played against a person in maybe five years.

You get “wildcards” of each rarity as you play/buy/earn cards and packs, which can be redeemed for any card of that rarity.

90% of “noob advice” is “build a decent mana curve,” so do that ;)

Here are a list of all currently available codes…these should give you a bunch of free packs from the current Standard-legal sets (plus some cosmetics):

You can earn wildcards by opening packs. These allow you to craft specific cards that you want at the rarity of the wildcard. You’ll get wildcards inside packs, and then every third pack you open you alternate an uncommon or a rare wildcard. And then every 30th pack, you get a mythic wildcard.

As far as advice, check out current metagame decks, pick one and start building towards it. You’ll find, if you’re diligent at getting your daily quests done, that you’ll build up a collection fairly quickly. As always, mono-color aggro decks are probably your best bet to start off with, as they’re relatively cheap and they have a good win rate.

Some current meta lists:

Also, if you’re willing to spend a little cash, the Welcome bundles are good value for money…they’ll give you a nice boost in packs and gems to start off with.

And the Mastery Pass is also a good deal. $20 worth of gems per set gets you quite a lot of stuff over the life of the set.

As long as you don’t buy it before discovering that you can’t stand the set at hand, yes ;)

Thanks for the tips everyone. I also was able to pick @ineffablebob’s brain last night at dinner. I redeemed all the codes and I’ve been playing matches against the bot. I don’t think I’ll actually play against a live person until I unlock all of the initial decks and get a few more levels under my belt.

There’s also a code where you can get a black blue Liliana deck through twitch prime.

I will probably spend 15 bucks to get the $5 new player bundle and the $10 bundle where are you get some packs and gems. For the Mastery Pass, I think I will hold off and see if I want to purchase it when the new set releases in about two weeks.

I would recommend playing against humans sooner than that. It’s pretty kiddie pool, and iirc the matchmaker takes pity on noobs.

I see what you mean. I crafted as much as I could of a mono-red aggro deck and easily won my first two games.

Rudimentary as it is, there’s also a Friends list now, if you just want to play some jank (charmtrap#99093).

No question that MTGA’s design/implementation is light years ahead of MTG Online but it seems that Wizards of the Coast needs to hire a good UI/UX person. Every time I want to do or know something I have to google it. Two examples of things that were unclear:

  • how many wild cards do I own? When I was first starting I could not figure out how to tell what wildcards I owned. I saw that little menu on the main screen but I thought that was the number of cards I owned. There’s nothing that connects that menu to wildcards.

  • changing card backs for a deck. Yeah, you click on that little card that’s sticking out from your deck. But… there’s no tooltip for that, and it’s just a little scrap of card back

They seem to be suffering from what I like to call “mobile app on a desktop” syndrome - squeezing down iconography and buttons, reducing text in favor of icons as though they’re laying it out on a mobile device - when in fact they have lots of free space on screen. The UI/UX team on my project at work does the same thing - the space where our app is deployed has dual 27" monitors for most people, and we’ve got a crapload of functionality hidden in meatball menus. In fact there are list sections where the list header has a meatball menu and each item in the list has a meatball menu! And they did a pass over the app in December where they took a number of traditional buttons and replaced them with icons and tooltips (and the tooltip had the text that USED to be the button label!). And don’t get me started on the feature that l liked to call our “hunt a pixel” feature!

But back to MTGA: when a couple of us got together at on Monday we talked about how surprising it was that there’s no mobile version of MTGA and maybe the design was created so they could do a mobile version with a minimal set of changes. But if you’re considering it as a desktop webapp, it seems to need some polish.

Oh yeah, replying to myself!

The gripes above are minor annoyances, and I’m enjoying playing. The daily quest that is “win 15 games” can go shoot itself in the foot, though… I ain’t got time for that even on a free day!

I admit my latest game released a week ago does have some of that (icons rather than buttons) but I don’t hide things behind other things, which annoyed me too about MTGA for sure (changing card backs was very unintuitive indeed). I supply clear, consistent icons with clear tooltips that tell you exactly what it does. No pixel hunting or “read the devs mind” nonsense.

The mobile app design design principle seems to be growing more common, and text buttons will soon be a relic, besides wargames maybe.

Could be worse! Our ux at work is currently more or less “whatever Incompetent Frontend Guy pulled out of a hat two years ago.”

Not like I’m volunteering to do anything about it, but still.