Last updated on January 3, 2022
Runed Crown | Illustration by Randy Gallegos
Magic has always been a very lore-focused game, and it does an excellent job of telling stories through art. With illustrations taking up half of a card (and sometimes more), art is obviously important to the game. It’s pretty. And I know more than one person who was originally drawn to Magic thanks to those awesome pictures.
All this to say that aesthetics are important. But what about cosmetics in MTG Arena? They definitely exist, but what do they do?
Don’t worry if you’re confused or have any questions when it comes to cosmetic items in MTGA. I’ve got you covered!
What are Cosmetics in MTG Arena?
Avacyn’s Collar | Illustration by James Paick
Cosmetics are pretty much what they sound like: items in MTG Arena that have no “functional” purpose, they’re just there to look pretty and improve your aesthetic. There are plenty of cosmetic items in Arena, but I’ll get to an exhaustive list a bit further down.
Are Cosmetics Really Worth It?
The question of whether or not cosmetics are worth it is a subjective matter. Do you personally find the aesthetics of your Arena experience to be very important? Then you’ll probably find any cosmetic items that catch your eye to be worth the price. On the other hand, if you think paying for aesthetics is a waste of your hard-earned gold and gems, then you have your answer.
I can definitively say that Arena’s cosmetic items are seriously overpriced. That’s not really something that’s up for debate, it’s a fact. This is where free-to-play games really make their money, after all, so it’s no surprise to see these jacked-up prices. But if you’re like me and shiny things make you happy, then it doesn’t particularly matter.
Cosmetics and the Mastery Pass
Ah, the Mastery Pass. I’ve got the history with this bad boy.
Every new set, Arena players debate over whether the Pass is worth its 3,400 gem cost. If you do the math, it’s undeniably worth it… if you value cosmetic items. There are always plenty of cosmetics available in the Pass, most of which are exclusive to their set and its respective Mastery track.
Honestly if you value cosmetics and you play often enough to get at least 25% of the way to the max level, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t get the Mastery Pass. That might be a bit of a reach but you’ll probably wish you owned at least a couple of things that you missed out on. Cosmetics make up a big chunk of the rewards available on the Pass, so there’s plenty of stuff to collect.
How Do You Get Cosmetics?
There are actually quite a few ways to get your hands on cosmetic items in Arena, not all of which require an exact exchange. Let’s go over your options, shall we?
The MTG Arena Store
The first and most obvious way to get cosmetics is through the Arena Store. You can buy whatever your heart desires here by browsing through the Store’s various tabs, assuming that what you want is currently available.
Cosmetic items rotate through the Store at pretty much the same rate as sets do, so make sure you grab the cosmetics you’ve got your eye on while they’re available lest you miss your opportunity to ever own your precious. And don’t forget to check out the daily deals for older (and discounted) items.
The Mastery Track
I already touched on this a bit, but there’s also the Mastery track. Granted you only get minimal cosmetics if you’re cruising down the free track, but you won’t leave completely empty-handed. You’ll still get some card styles plus whatever other cosmetic item WotC decided to throw in the Mastery Tree for that set.
The Mastery Pass is obviously going to get you a much bigger bag. You’ll be able to snatch up everything from the Tree instead of having to strategically pick and choose to get your heart’s desire, plus a ton of other cool items. Pets, avatars, exclusive card styles, sleeves, and more await you on each set’s premium Mastery Track.
Wizards offers tons of promo codes that you can get your hands on in plenty of different ways. Lots of paper Magic products come with MTG Arena codes. Sometimes these give you actual cards, other times they include unique card styles, sleeves, and more.
There are a couple products that are known to hand out digital promo codes, and WotC pops them in to products as a fun surprise sometimes. If you’re looking to make sure you snag a digital promo code, Secret Lair drops and prerelease packs are good bets.
Plenty of Arena events offer cosmetics as rewards. Pop-up events happen in Arena all the time, offering card styles and sleeves that you can’t get anywhere else as rewards basically for participating. They sometimes require a modicum of skill, sure, but for the most part it’s just a matter of persevering until you snag that sweet, sweet cosmetic.
If you’re a competitive Magic player or just have a bit more skill to boast, you can snag some cosmetic items by grinding the ladder in Arena. You’ll start winning card styles (along with packs and gold) for your troubles as soon as you hit Gold rank. The higher you climb the more you win, of course, with a total of seven card styles up for grabs each season.
Types of Cosmetics
Avatars are your main representation as a player aside from your deck. Your avatar is the character that represents you when you play Arena. Along with some awesome art to intimidate your opponents before you even see the battlefield, it’s also the face that you and your opponent get to stare at while you play.
Each avatar also has its own unique voice lines that you have the pleasure of listening to. They might not come up very often, but it’s still a nice touch.
Avatars are only available for purchase in the Store. You can buy them from the “Avatar” tab or as part of a bundle. They’re also sometimes included in a set’s preorder bundle or even on the Mastery Tree. And it’s rare, but they have popped up in the Daily Deals tab a couple of times.
Pets are animated companions that adorn either side of the battlefield during a match. Your pet is on the left while your opponent’s is on the right side of the screen. They just kind of hang out there and you can click on them to provoke an animation.
New pets are released with each set and there are some that pop up with special events every once in a while. You can usually grab the set pets by purchasing a preorder or completing levels in the Mastery Pass, but they’re also available for regular purchase in the Store under the Pets tab when they’re available.
Sleeves are exactly what you think they are. Similar to the paper version, Arena’s sleeves decorate the back of your Magic cards in the game. There are plenty of styles available for free with various promo codes and they’re offered as easy rewards in short-term events pretty often. Sleeves are also the second most common item to pop up in daily deals.
You can browse through all the currently available sleeves on the “Sleeves” tab of the Arena Store if you want to deck your decks out in style right away. You can grab a regular sleeve or an “exquisite” sleeve, which serves the same function but features some nifty animations instead of a static image.
Ah, card styles. These are the most abundant cosmetic item in all of Arena. They show up the most often in the Store’s daily deals and are the most common “cheap” reward in the game. You can get them from promo codes, as rewards in a lot of the free-to-play events, and of course on the Mastery Pass and Tree. They don’t have their own tab in the Store but they’re featured in daily deals basically every day.
Card styles feature a few variations, though the most common is a borderless version of the original card. There are also alternate art versions offered as card styles alongside occasional special cards, like those offered with Strixhaven’s Mystical Archive. Oh, and the “regular” borderless card styles also feature a subtle animation.
Emotes are a newer addition to the cosmetic landscape. There’s the basic collection of emotes you can use in a regular match to communicate with your opponent with phrases like “hello” and “good game.” Those can’t really be considered cosmetic, though.
I’m talking about the emote stickers that were introduced with Zendikar Rising. We’ve gotten at least a few new emotes with each new set since then. They’re absolutely adorable and ridiculously overpriced, as I’m sure you can imagine.
They’re also super hard to get your hands on if you missed their window of opportunity. Each set of emotes is only available in MTGA’s Store for a limited time and they haven’t really been around for long enough to cycle back in yet. I’m sure we’ll eventually see an emote sticker pop up in daily deals, though. It’s just a matter of time.
MTG Arena Cosmetics vs Other Games
When compared to other digital TCGs, Arena does pretty well in the cosmetics department. Emote stickers were definitely a bit behind but the big ones have been around for quite a while: sleeves, avatars, and cards styles.
Legends of Runeterra offers pretty much the same cosmetics with one little addition: boards. That’s right. You know how when you start a match in Arena, you get a randomized battlefield? It would be kind of cool if you could just pick your favorite and stick with it.
Robe of Stars | Illustration by Olena Richards
And that’s all there is to say about cosmetics in MTGA! What are your thoughts on the matter? Are you an aesthetically-inclined player, or do you find the whole thing to be kind of frivolous? Let me know in the comments down below or tweet at us if that’s more your thing.
And since we’re on the topic of MTGA, have you got Arena Tutor yet? Well, you should. It’s free and it’ll help you with your Arena matches. Not just the aesthetics, either!
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Don’t forget to collect all your shiny things before you go because I will take them and add them to my hoard. Have a good one!