Nykthos Shrine to Nyx
6, Dec, 22

MTG Arena Gains Much Requested Staples but Loses Cosmetics

Article at a Glance

Recently, after seeing almost the entire spoiler list of Explorer Anthology 2, MTG players had a good ol’ complain. While there was plenty for players to enjoy and experiment with, many players lamented a lack of useful Pioneer staples. Sure, Satyr Wayfinder and Eidolon of the Great Revel had been long-requested additions, but where were Spell Queller and Treasure Cruise! Thankfully, Spell Queller should be on the way, but many players still weren’t happy about the perceived lack of playable. Mercifully, a glimmer of hope on the horizon that could save Explorer Anthology 2 for MTG Arena players. As we noted 99 words ago, Explorer Anthology 2 hadn’t been completely spoiled when the complaining started. 

Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx (And Friends)

Explicitly answering the calls for more reprints, the following day, the MTG Arena Subreddit would reveal a bombshell spoiler. Announcing Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx as their spoiler card, it appeared that many players’ prayers had been answered. Appearing throughout Devotion-focused decks, primarily Green Devotion, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, has been one of the most requested additions to MTG Arena that we can think of. Generating mana equal to your Devotion in a color, Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx effectively creates an obscene amount of mana. This allows decks to play game-winning cards such as Storm the Festival or Cavalier of Thorns.

Upon hearing the news, MTG Arena players were absolutely delighted. In the comments of the Reddit post, players like u/G-Love80 were quick to commend this latest spoiler. “Wow, HUGE add to Arena! Mono Green is an obvious home, but this will be great for Mono Black, White Devotion, and others. I now wonder if Mono Green will be the new menace of Explorer.” Similarly, Reddit user u/Unit_00 lauded this as a “double win,” for Arena players. “Great addition, AND we don’t have to slog through the same comment in every thread about it not being added to Arena yet.” 

As if Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx wasn’t enough added goodness already, u/NumberHunter1 pointed out that there are even more cards to come. Initially, u/NumberHunter1 expected these cards to just be boring ol’ commons, thankfully, they’ve just been proven wrong. To complete Explorer Anthology 2’s card list, Brave the Elements and Mana Confluence were both just announced. While these cards aren’t Treasure Cruise, they do see play in White Weenie decks and five-color decks, respectively. Subsequently, MTG Arena players should be pleased with their arrival. 

Cards in, Flags Out

MTG Arena Flags

Understandably, the addition of Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx has satisfied many players. However, recent MTG Arena announcements aren’t all good news. Disappointingly, Wizards of the Coast announced yesterday that a number of card sleeves are being removed from MTG Arena. The sleeves in question are the seemingly inoffensive “country-specific flags” sleeves that were introduced a few years ago. Despite only depicting a nation’s flag, Wizards stated on Monday that they feel the sleeves have “impacted some players’ ability to enjoy the game.” As a result of this, Wizards announced they “will soon be restricting how the country-specific cards sleeves appear in game.” 

Rather than removing the sleeves outright and depriving players of vexillology entirely, Wizards is instead hiding them from other players. While those who own the flag sleeves will still be able to view and apply them to their decks, opponents will not be able to see them in-game. Instead, Wizards states that “it will appear as the default card back to opponents.” Thankfully, Wizards will compensate players who own the sleeves and are no longer able to flaunt their favorite flag around. “Players will receive 300 gems per flag card sleeve in their collection when this change goes live, regardless of how they originally obtained the sleeve(s).” Additionally, Wizards states that they have no plans to make these sleeves available again at any point. 

A Cosmetic Conundrum

Confounding Conundrum
Confounding Conundrum | Zendikar Rising

While many MTG players weren’t too happy about this decision, others were more understanding about this touchy topic. Reddit user u/EYEFoundMe, for instance, commended Wizards for this action. “While there are disagreements about whether this change was necessary, I think Wizards is handling this well. No one country’s sleeve is being singled out, and it’s only affecting opponents’ view. One can still outfit their Jeskai deck with American sleeves, and have the flavor element on their screen.”

Pushing things one step further, several players stated that Wizards should have implemented a different, more overarching, solution. Reddit user u/silver_054, for instance, asked, “If they have the ability to remove cosmetics from an opponent’s view… can they just give us the ability to hide ALL of our opponent’s cosmetics?” While this would have certainly solved the issue for players, ultimately, as u/StuckieLromigon pointed out, “that’s not how you sell cosmetics.” At the end of the day, while Wizards’ approach to fixing this issue may not be to every player’s tastes, it’s certainly better than doing nothing. After all, due to ongoing global conflicts, some players were understandably aggrieved when playing against specific flags. 

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