Get ready for some excitement both on paper and online
By Lauren Kelly, Graphics Manager
January is bringing us new releases and changes for Magic: The Gathering, and all the news can be tough to keep up with. There is the release of “Ravnica Allegiance” and the related events, the announcement of “Ravnica Allegiance: Mythic Edition,” and changes to the online version Magic: The Gathering Arena.
The success of 2018’s “Guilds of Ravnica” set has raised the hype for “Ravnica Allegiance.” This set follows the remaining five guilds: Simic (blue and green), Rakdos (black and red), Gruul (red and green), Orzhov (white and black), and Azorius (blue and white). These five guilds are an exciting assortment of playing styles that will make for a compelling draft format. The set will be released on January 25, and “Ravnica Allegiance” Draft Weekend will consume Saturday and Sunday, with special promos given out to players. The following weekend, “Standard Showdown” will start up again, so check out Wizards Event Finder online and bring your newly updated Standard deck to your local game store.
With the release of “Allegiance” comes a slew of products. In addition to boosters and booster boxes, which come with 36 boosters and a buy-a-box promo card, there are special guild-themed boosters, bundles that come with 10 boosters and a pack of special guild lands, and Planeswalker decks that come with an exclusive planeswalker. The largest release is the Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition, a 24-booster box that also comes with eight planeswalker cards with a new masterpiece art treatment. These boxes are going for $250 USD and are available at noon on January 24 on the Hasbro eBay store—not an accessible or cheap purchase, but something to look into for huge fans with some money to burn.
February will see the arrival of the Guild Kits for this group of guilds. Like the “Guilds of Ravnica” kits, they will each come with a guild-themed deck, spin-down life counter die, pin, and sticker. In April, new Challenger Decks will be released. The first round of these came out in 2018. These were received well as they were cheaper versions of the top-performing decks in Standard, which served to help players access the format more affordably as well as lower the prices of some of the more expensive cards that were reprinted in the decks.
That’s enough paper Magic! The Magic Arena beta is receiving some big updates that players have been requesting for a while. First, Arena will add Best of Three to the ranked constructed format, meaning players will play until one person wins two matches. Most paper Magic games are played in this format already, but currently Arena favours Best of One, which allows for quicker games but no ability for players to adapt their decks or strategies against their opponents. A strange scenario, considering that the ability to have a sideboard has been present since early in the beta’s release.
Wizards of the Coast is also implementing duplicate protection. In Magic, only four copies of a card are allowed in a deck in constructed formats like Standard and Modern (with a few exceptions). Previously, Arena players could receive more than four copies of a card in packs or through daily rewards, and these copies would go into a “Vault,” which players could eventually open to get some wildcards that could be redeemed for any card of its rarity. Now, if a player already owns four copies of a rare or mythic rare that they would receive, the game will automatically substitute it with a card of the same rarity. If a player has collected four of every card at rare or mythic rare in a set, they will instead receive gems that they can spend on events and packs. Here’s hoping that this big change cuts down on some of the frustration for players who have already maxed out on their favourite rares and mythics.
As you can see, January has been a big month for Magic, and the next few will be equally exciting. Have fun playing!