Unsurprisingly for a digital game, when first launching in 2018, MTG Arena was hardly in the state it’s in today. The economy was troubled, sets were lacking, and there were even fewer formats for MTG players to enjoy. Thankfully, over recent years, 2023 especially, many of these issues have been rectified thanks to oodles of new features.
Providing comprehensive duplicate protection, golden packs, and many more formats than before, MTG Arena has come a long way. Despite this, however, all these improvements have recently been undermined by a much needed, yet still frustrating change. As if that wasn’t bad enough, glitches, bugs, and bad events are laying MTG Arena’s flaws bare.
Reasonable Rebalancing Requires Recompense
Earlier this week, Wizards of the Coast actually made MTG players excited about Alchemy for a change. Miraculously, this wasn’t due to the new Wilds of Eldraine Alchemy cards, but instead, it was thanks to a rebalancing. Targeting overpowered Lord of the Rings cards, Wizards was finally doing something about two utterly overpowered and format-warping cards.
Targeting The One Ring and Orcish Bowmasters, there was no question that something needed to be done about these cards. Since their release, they had been completely dominating Alchemy, and even warping the Historic meta with their strength. Unsurprisingly, this led to many calls for these cards to be changed, or even outright banned to keep things interesting.
Choosing the former option, on Monday, Wizards announced they’d be rebalancing the above cards at long last. Considering their dominance, this change understandably delighted countless players, who could now enjoy more variety in Historic and Alchemy. As much as it was needed, however, this change has still brought about criticism and complaints from many players.
Due to their format warping power, pretty much everyone crafted The One Ring and Bowmasters. After all, it was rather hard to get by without them when so many decks wanted them. Thanks to this, there’s now been a huge wave of players upset that their once-powerful cards aren’t nearly as useful as before.
Leading this disgruntled cry on social media is u/VeryBerryRasberry, who asked “Why don’t we get wildcard refunds for Alchemy rebalancing?” After mentioning they’re a new player, VeryBerryRasberry raised their understandable concern about the lack of recompense for their technically expensive cards. Noting how a playset of Bowmasters is $10, and The One Ring $20, the lack of refund is quite frankly bizarre!
A Simple Yet Unlikely Solution
Unfortunately, while the recent rebalancing may be one of the most wide-reaching to date, the lack of refund is nothing new. Ever since the Alchemy format was created, rebalances have never given out any kind of compensation. While undoubtedly frustrating, this is simply the way that it is. Unsurprisingly, however, many MTG players want this to change.
Hoping for better, players like VeryBerryRasberry and u/jrosen9 took inspiration from Magic’s competitors, specifically Hearthstone. Following any balance changes in this digital CCG, players are given a prompt to un-craft their cards should they so wish. Using the in-built Dusting mechanic, this system allows players to get their recourses back in case they no longer want the rebalanced cards.
Considering this system would work perfectly in MTG Arena for Alchemy, it’s no wonder it was a commonly requested feature. Unfortunately, however, as nice as it would be to optionally de-craft cards in special circumstances, the technology doesn’t exist yet. Well… it obviously does on Hearthstone and other CCGs, however, there’s nothing in Arena that could support this just yet.
Beyond the feature not existing in Arena at the moment, several players presumed Wizards could never implement such a system. According to players like u/Argonaut13, this is due to Wizards rebalancing cards to deliberately avoid banning and refunding players. By doing this, players still have to work hard for their Wildcards, playing more and potentially spending more money.
Conspiracy theories aside, it does seem very unlikely Wizards will implement any kind of refunding system. First and foremost, this is due to MTG Arena already being a success, so Wizards don’t really need to change the formula. Alongside this, however, Alchemy already struggles to get recourses, so brand-new Alchemy-specific features seem unlikely.
A Terrible Trio of Troubles
While the recent rebalancing has definitely caused some concern, it’s not the only problem on Arena at the moment. For starters, some of the new Wilds of Eldraine Alchemy cards are broken! While it’s only a visual problem, Accident-Prone Apprentice doesn’t show its off-color Adventure properly! Thankfully, this glitch should be a fairly easy one for Wizards to remedy in the future.
As if this bug wasn’t annoying enough, however, players have been baffled by unannounced bans on MTG Arena! Thankfully, this isn’t Wizards being sneaking and changing things, but instead just a remnant of an old bug that accidentally made cards Explorer legal. Fixing this, it seems Wizards just banned the problematic cards that never should have been in the format to begin with.
To continue this trend of problems, MTG Arena players are also miffed about the latest Midweek Madness event. Offering players a choice of four free decks, this event seems like a slam dunk, however, it’s far from balanced. With each deck containing wildly different numbers of rare and mythic cards, players are miffed, to say the least. After all, this event certainly doesn’t show the new Alchemy cards at their best.
Ultimately, while this terrible trio of problems isn’t great for MTG Arena, they are all fixable. New events will arrive in the future, Explorer’s weird ban cards can be rectified, and the visual glitches can all be polished out. Thanks to this, MTG Arena should be back to its normal self in no time. In fact, it should even be better than before thanks to the recent rebalancing allowing for more creativity and diversity.