Compared to how it first launched in 2018, MTG Arena has undoubtedly come a long way. New formats have been created, updates have implemented features galore, and enjoying the game free-to-play is now viable. Despite all these improvements, however, there are still a few things missing from the digital client.
Considering it’s the most popular format on paper, MTG Arena’s most glaring omission is easily the Commander format. As much as MTG Arena may have Historic Brawl, this digital variant is hardly a true comparison to the freedom and fun of Commander. That being said, however, Wizards has recently taken an unexpected step to bridge the two format’s divide.
For the first time ever, Commander-exclusive cards are coming to MTG Arena this month!
Commander Cards for All
Despite being an incredibly exciting announcement, news about MTG Arena’s newest cards has been remarkably downplayed. In fact, it was only revealed yesterday, prior to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan streamer event starting. Just before this kicked off, Wizards published the set’s release notes, clueing players into what they should expect.
Throughout this article, Wizards detailed the new mechanics and cosmetics coming to MTG Arena, as is to be expected. Alongside this, however, Wizards also revealed four new cards are coming to the game. As we alluded to before, these four cards are from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan’s accompanying Commander set. Specifically, MTG Arena is getting almost all the face Commanders.
As you may have noticed in that last sentence, MTG Arena isn’t getting all the new face Commanders. Instead, the main Commander from Explorers of the Deep is miraculously missing. In its place, MTG Arena players are only getting Xolatoyac, the Smiling Flood. Thanks to this oddity confusing things a little, here’s a quick rundown of the four cards that are being added.
- Admiral Brass, Unsinkable – Ahoy Mateys
- Clavileño, First of the Blessed – Blood Rite
- Pantlaza, Sun-Favored – Veloci-Ramp-Tor
- Xolatoyac, the Smiling Flood – Explorers of the Deep
Despite the oddity of Hakbal of the Surging Soul not being included, it’s great that MTG Arena is getting these new cards. After all, players have been clamoring for exactly this since the earliest days of MTG Arena’s existence. Now, all players will have to do to get these cards, is craft them using their Wildcards. Either that or play with the new preconstructed decks in the real world!
“For the first time ever, if you play with the preconstructed Commander decks at your local WPN store, you’ll also be eligible to receive these Commanders for your Brawl decks on MTG Arena! More information on the Ixalan Commander Party event and how to receive these rewards will be coming later this month!”Wizards of the Coast
Commander Coming Soon ™?
Unsurprisingly, after finding this bafflingly hidden announcement, many MTG players were seriously excited. Lauding the decision across social media, players like u/Leafyn shared their enthusiasm for these powerful Historic Brawl options. “Nice! Can’t wait to try some shenanigans with the big boi.”
With each of the new Commander cards being celebrated, it’s clear that players want more of these highly requested cards. Unfortunately, however, whether or not Wizards will continue this potential new trend is unclear. In an ideal world, MTG Arena would get every Commander card possible, however, development recourses are rather tight.
Whether you like it or not, Alchemy is already feeling the strain of MTG Arena’s limited development recourses. With implanting new cards being the priority, this format has often taken a back seat. While Historic Brawl is believed to be significantly more popular than Alchemy, it could run into the same problem.
Ultimately, we’re just going to have to wait and see to find out if more dedicated Commander cards will come to MTG Arena. That being said, however, we can’t deny that these are exciting times. After all, Commander, or even just multiplayer formats, coming to MTG Arena has always been a distant idea.
During Gen Con 2023, Wizards teased how multiplayer may be coming to MTG Arena in 2025… ish. With a lot of development kinks to work out, Wizards wasn’t dead set on a date, however, they were nevertheless working on it. Now that MTG Arena is getting some dedicated Commander cards, it’s hard to think that Wizards isn’t focusing more on the format. Whether or not this will actually result in anything, however, remains to be seen.
Not All Good News
Unfortunately, while the Release Notes document did have some very juicy details, it also housed a few disappointing reveals. Most frustratingly of these is the number of collectibles that bafflingly aren’t coming to MTG Arena. This includes the gorgeous Core-themed lands, which many players understandably adore.
Rather than launching on MTG Arena as land, as you might expect, these full-art cards are instead sleeves… Technically, this means you can still use and admire them, sure, however, it’s hardly the same thing. As you can imagine, after reading about this detail, many players were rather disappointed to say the least.
“What??? LCI lands became my favorite the second I saw them and it’s literally the first time they decided to not sell set basics? That sucks man”u/ConsistentArt7361
Alongside this frustrating detail, Wizards has also decided to remove the cap on Wildcard bundles. Previously, players were limited in how many times they could buy these bundles, however, that’s changing with The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. Technically, for players who really want to spend money, this may be a good thing, however, these bundles are poorly priced, so we hesitate to recommend it.
Ultimately, The Lost Caverns of Ixalan is definitely a bit of a mixed bag on MTG Arena, however, we’re nonetheless excited. After all, the set has plenty of incredible cards that we can’t wait to use in all the game’s formats. Thanks to this, if you ask us, November 14th can’t come soon enough!