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27, Oct, 23

Everything You Need to Know About MTG Arena on Steam

Article at a Glance

Ever since MTG Arena first launched, all the way back in 2018, the game has steadily been improving over time. For instance, new features and formats have been added much to the delight and dismay of many players. Despite this progress, however, many MTG players have been left with a number of burning questions. Unsurprisingly, since it’s the subject matter of this article, one of those questions revolved around a potential Steam release for MTG Arena. 

Considering MTG Arena has been available on its own client since 2018, on the Epic Games Store since 2020, and on mobile devices since 2021, Steam has long seemed like an obvious stepping stone. Despite this, however, the platform has long seemed to be out of reach, with MTG owner Hasbro only ruminating about the port in quarterly reports. That was, at least, until recently, when things stepped up a gear.

Throughout 2022, Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro renewed their focus on MTG Arena after a few quieter years. This brought about new formats, new products, and features that made the game better than ever. Alongside these, talk of the long-awaited Steam release accelerated, with a 2023 release date has been penned. 

Now, at long last, that time is upon us. So, with that brief history lesson over, let’s get into everything you need to know about MTG Arena on Steam!

Is MTG Arena On Steam? 

Steamflogger Temp | Unstable
Steamflogger Temp | Unstable

Yes! At long last, MTG Arena is now available on Steam! 

If you want to see, play, and download it for yourself, you can do so here!

How to Download MTG Arena On Steam

MTG Arena Steam Download Button

Thankfully, as the largest PC games distribution platform, Steam has made downloading games incredibly easy. Once you’re logged in, all you need to do is click the big green “Play Game” button on the store page

Following this, Steam will prompt you to download the Steam client if you haven’t already. Once the Steam client is installed, pressing the button will initiate the download process where you select the install location. After this, the game will begin installing, and, before too long, be ready to play!

Once MTG Arena has been downloaded onto Steam, the client will automatically be kept up to date thanks to Steam’s automatic update system. This means once you boot the game, you shouldn’t be faced with any unnecessary wait. 

MTG Arena Steam Release Date

Time Walk
Time Walk | Vintage Masters

MTG Arena is available on Steam right now! The game was released on the 23rd of May, 2023. 

Alongside this major release date, MTG Arena has its own release calendar for sets and products. You can read all about that here.

MTG Arena Steam Features

Boon-Bringer Valkyrie | March of the Machine
Boon-Bringer Valkyrie | March of the Machine

While the Steam release of MTG Arena is mostly identical to the original client, there are some improvements have been made. As we mentioned in a recent article about this topic, the majority of these are quality-of-life improvements. While these features may not be major, they’re nevertheless important and useful for many players. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the new and important features of this Steam release.

  • Steam Updates – Steam will automatically update your game so you don’t need to launch the dedicated client to do that.
  • Steam Wallet – Being on Steam allows MTG Arena to utilize the Steam wallet. Have CS:GO skins laying around that you don’t care about? Now you can sell them to buy gems in Arena!
  • Steam Stats – If you’ve ever wanted to know how many hours you’ve played MTG Arena, now you can track it! Steam will also tell you if your online friends are playing Arena.
  • Playtime Counter – While it’s hardly the most compelling feature, Steam handily tracks your time spent playing every game on the platform. Displayed alongside the option to play, this steadily climbing number is always a nice piece of information to have.
  • Steam Achievements – While these have not been implemented into the game just yet, in the future, Arena will get Steam Achievements and Trading cards. These don’t serve any point beyond showing off, but they’re nevertheless nice upcoming features.

The Impact of MTG Arena’s Steam Release

Once and Future
Once and Future | Throne of Eldraine

That was the expectation, at least, since Steam is such a great distribution platform. In reality, MTG Arena has somewhat struggled following its launch on Steam. Currently, looking at Scream Charts, the reported player numbers for MTG Arena only reach around 4,400 every day. With an all-time peak of 6,793 players, this release is definitely less popular than expected. 

While these low numbers may spark some concern amongst avid Arena players, worry not. Steam is just one of many ways to play the game, so the actual player numbers for the game are much higher. Even discounting the Steam release, Arena has still been going from strength to strength recently, growing thanks to sets like The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth

Ultimately, even if the Steam release of MTG Arena wasn’t the biggest boon to the game’s success, it’s nonetheless nice to have. After all, this removes one potential barrier to entry that might have previously kept players at bay. 

Is MTG Arena on Steam Deck?

Runaway Steam-Kin
Runaway Steam-Kin | Guilds of Ravnica

Yes! Now that MTG Arena has officially launched on Steam, the game can also be played on the Steam Deck console. This is all thanks to the Proton compatibility layer, which Valve uses on the console.

According to users on Reddit, the Steam Deck version of MTG Arena is currently somewhat buggy with some bad animations. For the most part, however, the Steam Deck is a delightful way to play MTG Arena on the go!

Alternatives to MTG Arena on Steam

Steam Vents
Steam Vents | Unfinity

If you don’t want to play MTG Arena on Steam for whatever reason, thankfully you’re not out of luck. As we’ve hinted at throughout this article, there are a number of alternative ways to play Arena. While each of these versions is technically unique, keep in mind that they’re all the same game, once you get past the launcher.

The MTG Arena Client

First launched in 2018, the dedicated MTG Arena client is the original way to play the game. Now that the Steam version is out, however, there’s not much reason to stick with this client. After all, as we mentioned above, the Steam release has a number of useful quality-of-life features. Nevertheless, if you don’t want a Steam account for whatever reason, the dedicated Magic: The Gathering Arena client may be the way to go. 

If you want to download the original client, you can do so here

Epic Games Store

As we mentioned at the start of the article, MTG Arena has been available on the Epic Games Store since 2020. Similarly to the original client, this version of the game is now somewhat out of date, as it lacks some of Steam’s quality-of-life features. That being said, however, it’s not a bad choice, as it does feature playtime tracking and automatic updates.

For better or worse, the Epic Games Store version of Arena does hold one key benefit over the Steam release. This is the functionality on MacOS devices. Currently, the Steam release does not support MacOS systems. This, however, may be changed in the future.

If you want to download the Epic Games Store version of Magic: the Gathering Arena, you can do so here.

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