Ghirapur Guide MTG card art by Scott Murphy

Ghirapur Guide | Illustration by Scott Murphy

Just getting into Arena and want to know where to start? After you look through the articles in this guide, we’ll have you up to speed in no time.

Or if you have a specific part of your game you’re looking to improve, jump ahead to the section where you need the most help.

To start with, if you’re not using Arena Tutor while you play MTGA, what are you waiting for? You should be.

It’s made by Draftsim, is completely free, and it comes with tracking capabilities and AI to help you play better. You can download it here.

Arena Tutor screenshot

If you want to win more in MTGA, just get Arena Tutor, ok?

Getting Started With MTGA

Ajani's Welcome MTG card art by Eric Deschamps

Ajani’s Welcome | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

The basics: what kind of computer/OS do you need and how do you get the software working on your computer? How do you use the basic functions of the program?

Is MTG Arena Really Free?

It depends a lot on your play style and investment into MTG. However, we detail a bunch of the free stuff you can get in-game to see if it’s good enough for you.

MTGA is Really Pay to Win

Or at the very least, “pay to compete” if you want to have a fresh roster of meta decks.

Magic Online vs. MTG Arena

Before you even dive into Arena, are you sure it’s the right program for you? It depends on the formats you’re planning on playing.

System Requirements

What kind of computer do you need to run MTGA? How can you improve its speed while you play?

Downloading MTG Arena

Everything you need to know about the different places you can download MTGA, which operating systems and platforms it’s available on, and how to deal with problems while downloading and updating the client. You can also find out why it’s not available on Steam.

MTG Arena on Mac OS

It might have taken forever, but MTGA is available for Mac! Get all the details here and get info on workarounds if for some reason you can’t get it to work.

MTG Arena on Android

And the same goes for mobile devices – read our full review and breakdown of the app for Android.

MTG Arena on iOS

With the the release of Strixhaven: School of Mages, MTG Arena is now available on Apple devices! We’ve got a comprehensive comparison of the iOS vs. desktop experience here.

MTG Arena on PlayStation

Unfortunately there are no workarounds for playing MTGA on your PS4. However, this article shines ray of hope on the chances of seeing the game on PlayStation eventually.

MTGA Patch Notes

Keep track of the latest updates and changes to the game and its economy.

Updating MTG Arena

Sometimes the game updates automatically. Other times you run into errors and need a little help…

Fix: Error Updating Data

Speaking of errors, we tell you all the steps for fixing the infamous “Error Updating Data” message in MTGA.

The MTGA Color Challenges

All you need to know about Arena’s “New Player Experience,” the starter decks you’ll get, and how to skip the challenges if you already know what you’re doing.

The MTGA Friends List

Play against your friends anywhere, or use it to play Brawl with strangers for free. Also learn about why you can’t “friend” strangers during the game.

How to Play Limited via Direct Challenge

You can actually do direct challenges with 40 card decks too, this is how.

All About Emotes in MTGA

Like many games, the only way you can communicate in MTGA is through a small selection of pre-picked text phrases—no general chat. This article details how they work, how many there are, how to turn them off, and how to get more.

How to Report a Player in MTGA

What constitutes bad behavior and what do you do when your opponent amps up the salt and starts roping you?

Is My Opponent Hacking/Cheating?

How to determine if something fishy is going on during your game—and what you should do about it.

Tips and Tricks: Become a Power User

If you want to save time while you play, this guide is incredibly useful for teaching you the shortcuts and super-secret tricks hidden inside MTGA.

Importing a Deck

Importing a new deck to MTGA can be surprisingly tricky. We show you how to copy a deck from various sources and how to troubleshoot common issues with importing.

Exporting a Deck

I swear to you I was sitting there staring at a deck of mine one day and I couldn’t figure out how to copy it out out of MTGA. This is how you do it.

Here’s How to Fix the MTG Arena Authentication Failed Error

One of the best things about MTG Arena is the ease of accessibility it gives when playing Magic, but there are downsides to technology. One common error users might find is “authentication failed,” but there are ways to fix it.

What Can I Play on MTGA?

Midnight Clock MTG card art by Alexander Forssberg

Midnight Clock | Illustration by Alexander Forssberg

What can you play and when can you play it?

MTG Arena Calendar/Schedule

Draftsim maintains a usable and useful calendar so you always know what events are running on MTGA.

MTG Standard Rotation

Keep track of when your cards are going to rotate out of Standard and what sets will be coming out next.

Ultimate Guide to Draft

In this massive guide, we tell you how draft works, how to best spend your gems and gold on it in Arena, and give you some basic strategy tips. If you’re interested in draft, also be sure to check out Draftsim’s namesake draft simulator.

Brawl Format Guide

Learn how to play this format that is like Commander – but with Standard cards only.

Historic Format Guide

Details about this Arena-only format that uses all the cards from MTGA’s past, plus special additions from Wizards of the Coast.

Historic Brawl Format Guide

Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A Frankenstein’s Monster mashup of the two formats above. But the early reviews are in and it’s pretty fun.

How to Sideboard in Brawl

Well, you can’t. But we show which cards are impacted by this change and make the case for why that ability should be enabled.

Pauper Format Overview

Learn how to play this more accessible (read: cheaper) constructed format.

Standard and Historic Artisan Format Guide

Similar to Pauper, but still super fun, Artisan is format that involves only commons and uncommons. Get your brew on!

Cube Overview and Guide

Cube is now on MTGA! Read about this wild limited format that combines the best of limited and constructed together in one place.

Singleton on MTG Arena

Singleton formats are a fun way to use a greater variety of cards. Here’s how to play those formats and which ones you can find on MTGA.

Explorer Format Guide

The newest format to reach MTG Arena is Explorer, an evergreen constructed format that aims to eventually become Pioneer. Over the next few months and years, WotC will slowly be adding new cards that are relevant to the pioneer format, eventually fully porting over the format to MTG Arena.

MTGA Economy

Market Festival MTG card art by Ryan Barger

Market Festival | Illustration by Ryan Barger

Learn how to get the most out of the game and get as much free stuff as possible!

MTG Arena Codes

Speaking of free stuff, if you haven’t immediately redeemed all of these codes, you’re leaving free value on the table.

All About the MTG Arena Store

Here’s a rundown of everything you can get at MTGA’s store, what to do if you run into problems, and tips for maximizing the value you get out of your gold, gems and real life dinero.

MTG Arena Welcome Bundle

Learn about the best value available to you from the MTGA store.

Which Packs Should I Buy in MTG Arena?

Demystify which packs to spend your precious gold on. This article teaches you some methods for answering that question and getting the most out of your limited resources.

What Ways Can You Get Cards in MTGA?

There are actually a half dozen different ways to get new cards for your collection in Arena. We outline the best—and it depends on your objectives.

The Best MTGA Starter Decks Ranked

Learn how to most efficiently spend your time by playing with only the best starter decks.

MTG Arena Starter Kits

MTG Arena starter kits are a new product aimed at beginner Magic players. They come with two ready-to-play decks plus two promo codes so you can get the decks on Arena as well. Here’s everything you need to know about them.

How Do Gems Work and How Much Are They Worth?

Pretty soon you’ll start noticing that everything you want to do costs gems—i.e., money. We calculate how much gems are worth and what you can do to optimize your usage of them.

Everything You Need to Know About Gold in MTGA

MTGA’s free currency, gold, is earned mostly through play. This article details everything you can buy with gold and how to maximize your gold earnings.

MTG Arena Wildcards

Once you start opening packs you’ll get wildcards. Here’s how they work and how to use them.

The Daily Rewards and Quests System

Find out how to optimize the free gold and rewards you get through MTGA. You can also see a complete list of all the quests available.

Weekly Rewards in MTGA

Each week you can get a certain number of max “XP,” which is converted into mastery levels. Confused? Check out this article.

MTGA Seasonal Rewards

Every month a new ranked season on MTG Arena starts. Find out what goodies you can get for ranking up and participating in the ladder system.

Individual Card Rewards (ICRs)

Certain events and play reward you with “bonus” cards, added directly to your collection. This article discusses all the places you can play and maximize the number of cards you get.

List of Sleeves in MTGA

All the ways you can get new sleeves, how to change your sleeves, plus a complete list of every single sleeve in the game.

Is the Mastery Pass Worth It?

A breakdown of set mastery vs. the paid mastery pass. And an economic analysis of whether the mastery pass is worth the price in gems.

MTGA Rewards and Win Resets

How to make sense of all the quests, mastery progression, rewards, and XP that permeate the game. And how you can maximize your earnings.

The Vault in MTGA

There is a hidden mechanism in Arena to give you some duplicate protection for cards, this article explains how and when you’ll get any rewards.

How Do Daily Deals Work in the MTGA Store?

All about what deals you can find, when they refresh, and why that annoying little dot won’t ever go away on the “Store” tab.

MTGA Needs a Dusting System

We give our take on how the MTGA economy could be improved by allowing you to trade in unused extra cards for new cards so you can keep building new decks.

Gift Cards and Their Alternatives

For some reason, gift cards are not a purchase option in MTGA. But we came up with some other creative choices you can buy your friends/family.

Is the Play Bundle in MTG Arena Worth It?

Preorder bundles in MTG Arena aren’t new, but Wizards has found a way to make them new(ish). Right now, it’s time to look at Koth, Fire of Resistance’s take, the Play bundle.

Is the Pass Bundle in MTG Arena Worth It?

All Will Be One brought us plenty of new things. New versions of our favorite characters, the different layers of New Phyrexia, and the true form of Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. I wasn’t expecting her to present us with a new kind of preorder pack, but that’s what I get for presuming anything about the all-powerful Praetor, now, isn’t it?

Is the Pack Bundle in MTG Arena Worth It?

All Will Be One’s Jace Pack bundle is here to throw that into question. I’ve never been a big fan of the guy in general, but maybe I’m biased. Maybe this bundle is actually worth it, and I just don’t like the look of the packaging.

Going Competitive

Sarkhan's Triumph MTG card art by Chris Rahn

Sarkhan’s Triumph | Illustration by Chris Rahn

How to make your way up the MTG Arena ladder in constructed and limited.

MTGA Ranking System

If the ranked play modes confuse you, you’re not alone! We break down how to progress up the ladder.

Mythic Qualifying Weekend

Want to make Mythic rank and play in larger tournaments? Here’s how you do it.

The MTG Arena Open

Anyone can enter this series of tournaments from Magic eSports—even without being a ranked player. You can win up to $2,000, among other prizes.

Traditional Play vs. Ranked Play

What’s the difference between these play modes and should you spend your time trying to climb the ladder or playing Magic the “real way”?

Matchmaking in MTGA

The pairing system is pretty weird, but we break down all the nitty-gritty of how it works in this article.

Going “Pro” in MTG Arena

Let’s just say that you shouldn’t quit your day job. A brutally honest breakdown of the economics of being “a Pro.”

The Ultimate Guide to Tournaments on MTG Arena

Today I’m going to explore the various aspects of MTGA tournaments including how to find them, their formats, and their impact on the community as a whole. Intrigued? Let’s get started!

Community Resources and Tools

Festival of the Guildpact | Illustration by Alex Horley-Orlandelli

Festival of the Guildpact | Illustration by Alex Horley-Orlandelli

The Best Subreddits for MTGA

A not-so-serious look at what subs on Reddit you should be following to get the latest tech (and complaints) about the program.

Is the MTGA Shuffler Broken?

No, it’s not. And here’s why…

Where Did the MTG Arena Forums Go?

For the first couple years of MTGA’s existence, there were official Wizards of the Coast maintained forums that posted official announcements from the game developers. Those are now gone and we explain why.

That’s All, Folks!

We’re constantly writing more articles about Arena, so be sure to check the blog regularly and follow Draftsim on Facebook and Twitter for more!

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: