With all the negative publicity MTG Arena has been receiving, it’s fantastic that there’s finally something positive to highlight. Recent announcements from Wizards of the Coast confirm that MTG Arena will be taking one step closer to Pioneer in the near future. Alongside an MTG Anthology, we are getting some events that should help relieve the platform’s staleness for competitive MTG players.
Explorer MTG Anthology Announced!
The most anticipated MTG Arena upgrade has finally been announced for this summer! 20 new Explorer-legal (and Pioneer legal, by extension) cards are being added to MTG Arena. While we don’t know what these cards will be, we hope some Pioneer staples get Explorer treatment. The goal is to make the format resemble Pioneer as much as possible until MTG Arena catches up. To that end, here are the top cards that I think will help Explorer make that jump:
- Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
- Monastery Swiftspear
- Treasure Cruise/Pieces of the Puzzle
- Hidden Strings/Pore over the Pages
- Spell Queller/Mausoleum Wanderer
- Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
- Bring to Light
- Temporal Trespass
- Dig Through Time
- Thing in the Ice
- Mana Confluence
- Heroic cards (just small Heroic creatures in general)
- Reflector Mage
- Other Humans seeing play that aren’t in Explorer
While there are other cards at the core of Pioneer, these are some of the cards that should help bring the decks that are currently significant players. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is an example of a card that’s everywhere in Pioneer, but no deck needs it to work actively. Hopefully, the focus of this MTG anthology will be to get Explorer and Pioneer as similar as possible, at least in its current iteration.
Notably, Delve is not something that we’ve seen on MTGA yet. With that in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to wait a bit longer for the Pioneer powerhouse and identity Treasure Cruise.
Wizards of the Coast stated that the Explorer MTG Anthology One would include “iconic powerhouses” and “offbeat favorites.” I’m just hoping that not too many offbeat cards are introduced over cards needed to synergize Pioneer and Explorer.
Historic MTG Anthology Announced!
A Historic Anthology has also been announced to drop sometime this summer. This one is a bit harder to predict since it’s impossible to know what Wizards of the Coast’s vision of Historic looks like. We know that Wizards considers Historic the most powerful format available on the client. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw many Eternal and Modern legal cards being included. Honestly, I would be more interested at that point in a Historic format that isn’t affected by Alchemy. This, admittedly, is because I can’t play my favorite archetype in Historic because of Goldspan Dragon’s nerf. Regardless, it’s safe to say that I am not alone in this request.
A New Arena Open is Coming!
Finally! After a quiet period, a New Arena Open is coming! Unfortunately, players won’t be thrilled when they hear what format it is.
MTG Arena has been pushing Alchemy a lot. From changing the end-of-season rewards to Alchemy cards to changing August’s Qualifier Weekend to Alchemy without alerting players, it’s safe to say that this is the hardest Wizards of the Coast has pushed a format in its history. This Arena Open is taking this even further, announcing that its format will be Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate Limited. The silver lining here is that players preparing for the July weekend qualifier will also gain experience that can be used for the Arena Open. Considering the lackluster nature of Streets of New Capenna Limited and how long we’ve had it on the client, a change in Limited formats is welcome. Since this format is a one-off that only uses some Baldur’s Gate cards, players can approach it as a cube.
For more information on the upcoming Arena Open, including the date and time, we have it here.
Here’s the Catch
The only problem outside of the Arena Open’s format is that players are required to draft on day two. Unfortunately, there have been proven instances in which players who decide to draft later into the day are placed within the same queue as those drafting the set outside of the Arena Open. This has led to instances of cheating occurring on day two. To avoid this, I hope Wizards of the Coast will seriously consider switching both days to Sealed only. They have already done this for the July Qualifier Weekend for this exact reason. No reason why they can’t do that for both events.
Alchemy Metagame Challenge this Weekend
For those who are interested in trying to crack Alchemy as soon as the new set releases, take advantage of this. Considering how small the Baldur’s Gate set is, a few wins in this challenge will get you on your way to completing the set! This is a fresh format as of today. It could be a lot of fun for those who want to jump in. Displacer Kitten is a great place to start.
You can Start Practicing Now!
For competitive hopefuls that want to perform well in the upcoming events, Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate releases today! No time like the present to get dirty with the set and climb the ranks. For those who want to wait a bit, we’re planning to get together a draft guide once the format has some clarity. This should allow players who aren’t excited about playing Alchemy but still want to fire some bullets at upcoming Sealed events to go in with some preparation. Regardless of your position with these releases, new content is always good for MTG Arena. How effectively Wizards of the Coast is using their new content is the real question that we should be asking and is the question that they may not want to hear the answer of.
For more information regarding the upcoming Anthologies, you can find WoTC’s statement here.