6, Aug, 23

Massive MTG Arena Updates Promise Pioneer Equivalency!

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Article at a Glance

Yesterday, we received a ton of new information regarding upcoming MTG sets and what to expect from them. We had already been introduced to the worlds of Wilds of Eldraine and Lost Caverns of Ixalan, but now we have a pretty clear timeline for 2024, and even some insight into sets beyond the next Magic year. These new sets provide a mix of new worlds and worlds revisited and feature a wide variety of new MTG crossovers as well for Universes Beyond fans. Ultimately, there’s a lot to look forward to in 2024 and beyond.

Importantly though, not all of these sets will be introduced to MTG Arena. However, there are some specific sets and various improvements that are scheduled to make their ways onto Arena in short order. The Lord of the Rings set may have just recently arrived on Arena, but there is certainly more to look forward to. Today, we will focus on these potential improvements and new sets arriving to Arena for those that enjoy digital play.

Modern-Designed Set to Arena?

Right off the bat, we have perhaps the most unique addition to MTG Arena set to arrive in Q2 of 2024. This is none other than the release of Modern Horizons Three. This is extremely notable, as Modern Horizons and Modern Horizons Two alike were not officially released on Arena. There was the release of Historic Horizons in 2021 that helped add a group of cards from both sets to Arena, but Wizards of the Coast has decided to handle Modern Horizons Three in a different way.

Not only does this mean that every card from Modern Horizons Three will be available on MTG Arena, but this also means that the set will indeed be draftable. This is super cool to see on Arena, as the set is completely designed for Modern. Unfortunately, this does not mean that Modern is coming to Arena, at least any time soon. However, these cards will be available for use in Historic, which encompasses all cards on Arena, including those in Horizons and Remastered sets.

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Important Sets That May be Missing

Speaking of Remastered, unfortunately, Ravnica Remastered, which is set to release as the first set of 2024, has been confirmed to not be entering Arena. In fact, Shadows over Innistrad is confirmed to be the last “Remastered” set coming to Arena for a while. The reality is that many reprint sets or sets designed specifically for Modern or Commander are not planned with Arena in mind. We were fortunate enough to have had Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle Earth added to Arena, despite the cards not being legal in Standard or Explorer. That’s why it’ll super interesting to see a Modern Horizons set be implemented and should lead to a neat Limited environment.

Likewise, this means that there are no current plans announced to add any of the Universes Beyond or Secret Lair products from 2024 to Arena. Obviously, anything can change, but this means that the sets centered around Jurassic World as well as Assassin’s Creed and Fallout are unlikely to be implemented onto Arena. The Lord of the Rings set was definitely the exception, not the rule when it comes to crossovers making it to Arena.

That being said, there is a bit of hope for one Universes Beyond set in particular. Beyond the release of Jurassic World, Assassin’s Creed, and Fallout, Wizards of the Coast is planning to introduce another crossover in 2025, showcasing the world of Final Fantasy. This crossover is set to encompass contributions from the first Final Fantasy game all the way to Final Fantasy 16. Not only that, but Wizards of the Coast is hopeful that this set will end up on Arena as well, though there is still a chance this won’t work out. Luckily, there are more things to look forward to on Arena in the next year.

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More Sets to Arena

Besides the introduction of Modern Horizons Three, it appears that additional non-Standard sets being added may be limited. After all, actually getting these sets onto Arena takes a lot of work, so the designers try to choose specific sets that they believe will reach the widest audience. That’s a big reason why Lord of the Rings was introduced to Arena, as well as why the goal is that Final Fantasy will be added as well. Of course, the main Standard sets coming in 2024 are intended to be implemented like usual. This includes Murders at Karlov Manor, Outlaws of Thunder Junction, Bloomburrow, and Duskmourn, House of Horror. Yet, there is one other important set that will be added that is worth talking about.

This set is none other than Khans of Tarkir. In hopes of making the Explorer format feel closer to Pioneer, Khans of Tarkir is set to be released to Arena in the fall of 2023, meaning much-needed cards like Treasure Cruise are on their way. Even some of the Fetchlands are being added, which could certainly shake up the Historic format.

Interestingly though, the entire block is not being added. This means that there will still be major gaps between Pioneer and Explorer for the time being. For example, while Treasure Cruise is added, Temporal Trespass is not, which is a big blow for Izzet Phoenix players. However, this appears like it might only be in the short term.

This is because the goal is to have all cards relevant to Pioneer tournaments ready for Arena at the end of 2024! This helps explain at least some of the important additions to Explorer that were missing from the most recent Explorer Anthology. In fact, the Anthologies themselves in the meantime are set to include more fun build-arounds that are less tournament-centric now that Pioneer will be tournament-ready for Arena.

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Potential Arena Developments

In addition to these new sets to look forward to, there are a handful of Arena developments in the works. First, with the anniversary of Arena arriving next month, there will also be some announcements set to come soon that should be intriguing to Arena players. There are very little details regarding this celebration, so definitely be on the lookout for more information. Second, along with the release of Wilds of Eldraine, there is confirmed to be a new way to help address the issue of receiving tons of card duplicates. This should be especially useful for those who play a lot of Arena and end up getting playsets of the same card from different sets. Again, there isn’t much information about exactly how this duplicate protection will be showcased, but hopefully we will know soon enough.

Further, Arena designers are currently in talks about how to address some areas of much-needed improvement and how best to address these issues. From new ideas about the Arena achievement system that can go beyond just wins and losses, to ways to try and create a fun multi-player environment that Arena has been missing since its arrival, designers are constantly looking for new pieces to add to Arena. It’s reassuring to hear updates on Arena developments, even if doesn’t completely lay out a strict path moving forward.

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