After Double Masters 2022 and Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate, 2022 has been a mixed bag for MTG Arena. Thankfully, 2022 has also seen the release of the much-requested Explorer Anthology 1 and Historic Anthology 6. Despite these positives, it now appears that MTG Arena is being dealt another disappointing blow; it’s not getting Unfinity.
As a weird and wacky set full of new mechanics like Stickers, expectations weren’t high that Unfinity would launch on Arena. There was, however, a slim chance that even a handful of cards could materialize on the platform, thanks to Acorn cards. With Acorn cards allowing Unfinity to feature black-bordered Eternal legal cards, an Un-Set has mattered more than ever before.
Unfinity matters so much that Magic Online is even getting “many” of the set’s Eternal legal cards. This inspired some hope within MTG Arena fans that they may get 2022’s most entertaining set. After all, if Unfinity mechanics can run on a game from 2002, surely they can run on a game from 2018. Unfortunately, it seems that is not the case, as MTG Arena is once again being left out.
In a recent Blogatog post from Magic’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, it was again confirmed that Unfinity cards wouldn’t be coming to MTG Arena in 2022. In responding to a hopeful question that asked if Unfinity cards could come to Arena, similarly to Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate, Rosewater responded, “I don’t believe there are current plans.”
While we have heard this messaging before, back in 2021, thankfully, it’s not all bad news. In the same answer, Rosewater also revealed that “it’s always possible” that Unfinity could come to Arena. This means there’s still some glimmer of hope left for MTG Arena players, even if Unfinity isn’t arriving in 2022.
Un- Limited Possibilities
Due to MTG Arena being a digital platform with incredible possibilities, we find its lack of Un-Set disturbing. As Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate has proved, the MTG Arena development team is capable of creating unique mechanics. While mechanics such as Specialize are not the simplest to understand, they show the digital format’s possibilities. This design freedom would allow for an incredibly ambitious and, more importantly, fun, Limited Draft Un- set.
Despite the potential fun to be had with an MTG Arena Un-Set, we know it’s not without complications. First and foremost, coding an entire Un-Set, primarily for limited-time Limited Drafts, would require a lot of work. If the hypothetical Arena Un-Set cards weren’t just for Limited Draft, this could also wreak havoc on Historic. This could potentially destroy the competitive landscape of the format unless Wizards were very selective with the Alchemy Acorn cards.
The potential inclusion of Acorn cards in Arena also introduces another problem. While these cards would allow only select black-bordered Un-Set cards to be Historic playable, there is no home for the rest of the cards. Currently, Historic is MTG Arena’s Eternal-lite format, where outside of the banned list, every card is playable. The only kitchen table-esque option for MTG Arena players are Direct Challenge games. While these friendly games would allow the silver-bordered cards of old to be played, this format is incredibly underutilized and would essentially condemn the Un-Set cards relegated to it.
Un- Likely Alternative
One alternative to this problem is for WotC to remove Alchemy and rebalanced cards from Historic. As a much-requested change across the MTG Arena subreddit, this would give Arena an actual Eternal format. This would provide an Arena-made Un-Set’s Eternal playable cards a viable home while letting the rest be played alongside Alchemy cards. While this would likely appease many players, it would probably tank the appeal of Alchemy even more.
Currently, Wizards of the Coast’s motives to not split Alchemy and rebalanced cards from Historic are unknown. The presumed death of Alchemy as a reason, however, would make a lot of sense to us. Due to the threat of cards being rebalanced, Alchemy cards aren’t viewed favorably by the MTG Arena community. Nevertheless, they’re often played since they’re a part of many powerful Historic decks. Since Historic is the closest to Arena’s Eternal format and is popular because of that, this effectively ensures Alchemy cards are played and enjoyed by the community.