mtg arena open
21, Jul, 22

July’s MTG Arena Open Structure Is Being Shaken Up

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Article at a Glance

As we see every Wednesday, Wizards of the Coast recently announced the major updates coming to MTG Arena this soon. Much to the excitement of everyone, this week’s announcements included the reveal of Historic and Explorer anthology cards. While Tarmogoyf joining Arena is undoubtedly something to be excited about, that wasn’t all that Wizards announced. During the blog post, Wizards also revealed that July’s MTG Arena Open “comes with a new twist.”

Shake the Foundations

Shake the Foundations
Shake the Foundations | Rivals of Ixalan

It may not sound like much, but this “new twist” is actually a significant overhaul to the structure of the Arena Open. Previously, players who successfully progressed to day two of a Limited Arena Open event would draft a single deck that they would use for up to nine games. Under the new system, however, players on day two who win three matches with their first Draft deck will progress to a new second, separate, Limited Draft event. 

According to Wizards of the Coast, this new system will prevent players from experiencing “more of a repetitive grind” from playing up to nine full matches with a single draft deck. While this is undoubtedly one viable justification, we imagine it’s not the only reason for this experiment. After all, players will often play dozens if not hundreds of games with the same Standard or event decks

Alongside introducing a second draft during day two, Wizards is also reducing the number of wins and losses required to progress and be eliminated from the event. Previously, players on an Arena Open’s second day would play to eight match wins or two match losses. Now, however, during day two of the event, players will only play to six match wins or one match loss. This new format promises to be incredibly punishing as a result. 

Day one of the MTG Arena Open for July will remain the same. This means participants have the option to draft Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Sealed in either a best-of-one or best-of-three format. Best-of-one Sealed players must earn seven wins to qualify for day two. However, best-of-three players only need four wins.

Baldur’s Gate or Bust 

Baldur's Gate
Baldur’s Gate | Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate

Wizards of the Coast rightfully states that this new structure will put “extra emphasis on drafting ability.” This will also prevent players’ from steamrolling the Arena Open since “a single deck will not be able to carry you through the entire day.” This means that players need to fine-tune their drafting ability to progress. Thanks to the new structure, there’s no room for error. 

Unfortunately, this means prospective Arena Open players will need to draft a lot of Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate. While it is an exciting draft environment thanks to the unique mechanics such as Specialize, Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate is not everyone’s favorite set. However, those looking for an invitation to the August 20-21 Qualifier Weekend won’t have any choice but to play this much-maligned set.

With Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate only launching earlier this month, many players will likely require a lot of practice. This essentially guarantees Wizards will make a lot of money from anyone not sitting on a pile of gems or the ability to go infinite in drafts. While this would be true for any Limited set and out-of-practice players, the unknowns of Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate make it much more egregious. 

Seize the Spoils

Seize the Spoils
Seize the Spoils | Kaldheim

The Arena Open’s new structure “shortens the path to cash prizes by only playing to six wins.” Unlike previous Arena Open events, players will now only need four wins on day two to start winning cash prizes. This is notably lower than required for the Streets of New Capenna Arena Open in May. Past Arena Open events needed six wins to reach cash prizes. While the new structure, players will get cash prizes sooner, and there is much less room for mistakes. 

The new day two event structure is also more generous with gems. Unlike previous Arena Open events, in which players would need at least three wins to earn 2,500 gems, players now earn gems even if they don’t win a match. Admittedly, the reward of 500 gems for those without a win on day two is more of a consolation prize. However, the 2,500 and 5,000 gem rewards are also far easier to obtain. With those who progress into day two of an MTG Arena Open typically being some of the game’s best players, these gem rewards will likely be of little concern.

Here’s a rundown of the Arena Open’s new reward structure for July:

Day Two Draft One

  • 0 Wins – 500 gems
  • 1 Win – 2,500 gems
  • 2 Wins – 5,000 gems
  • 3 Wins – Day 2 Draft Two invitation

Day Two Draft Two

  • 0 Wins – 20,000 gems
  • 1 Win – $1,000 + Qualifier Weekend invitation
  • 2 Wins – $2,000 + Qualifier Weekend invitation
  • 3 Wins – $2,500 + Qualifier Weekend invitation

All players who enter the July 2022 Arena Open event will also receive an exclusive Baldur’s Gate Dragon sleeve.

Willing Test Subject

Willing Test Subject
Willing Test Subject | Unstable

Currently, Wizards of the Coast is only testing this new Arena Open structure. In the Arena announcements post, Wizards states, “We hope that this makes for a more robust competition experience, and we look forward to hearing how it works out for players.” This likely means that future Arena Open events will have their structure determined by this test. As a result, ensure you give WotC plenty of feedback to inform future design choices.

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