Last updated on February 19, 2024

Astral Arena - Illustration by Sam Burley

Astral Arena | Illustration by Sam Burley

Come one, come all! Get back to playing MTG in a competitive setting. Wizards of the Coast sanctions an online competitive event: the MTG Arena Open. As an alternative path to a Qualifier Weekend, the Arena Open offers a unique chance to compete from your home.

Rather than climb the ranked ladder over an entire season, the MTG Arena Open is a two-day event in which players of all skill levels are welcome to compete against each other for phenomenal prizes and an invitation to the next Qualifier Weekend.

Getting the max wins on Day 1 will reward you with an entry to Day 2. On Day 2 earning at least three wins in Draft one gets you invited to Draft two. Then in Draft two you need at least two match wins to earn a Qualifier Invite. If the event is Constructed you need six match wins to earn a Qualifier Invite. Suffer two defeats on Day 2 and you're out.

How Much Does It Cost to Play the Arena Open?

It costs 25,000 gold or 5,000 gems (about $34) each time you enter on Day 1. If making it to Day 2 sounds formidable, take solace in knowing that your entries aren't limited on Day 1.

Let’s dive into everything you need to know surrounding the event including entry requirements, rules, spicy prizes, and how WotC is integrating the event into their esports scene.

How Does the Arena Open Work?

There’s a little more than the entry fee when it comes to participating in an Arena Open, so let’s go over the other stipulations for eligibility real quick:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older to participate.
  • You’ll need an active Wizards account to participate, as well as an active i-Payout account to receive the monetary prizes. (i-Payout accounts cannot be created in advance.)
  • You’re responsible for adhering to local laws regarding participation and prize eligibility. WotC has an extensive terms and conditions article with this information ready for with the complete details.

WotC uses a variety of formats for Opens on MTGA. The first Open used Standard Constructed, and the following Open used Historic Constructed. We've also seen Sealed and Draft on Arena Opens, so in the spirit of the event, you must be open to anything.

Arena Open Day 1

MTG Arena Open Day 1 (Jan. 2024)

Registration for Day 1 begins bright and early the day of the event and closes just a few hours before it officially ends. There have been a few different times among the various Arena Open events, so there's no “one size fits all” for when you can start playing and when you'll get cut off.

You do get a few hours to complete your matches once registration ends, though. This means that you’ve got a pretty big window to sign up. Even if you register at the last second, you’ll have a chance to play your games.

The games that you play on Day 1 will be best-of-one or best-of-three matches (your choice) of the designated format. You can also switch between the two and play both, and you can enter as many times as you can afford to. Make sure to stay up-to-date on the rules for the Open you're looking to participate in to avoid any issues.

For Constructed Arena Opens, deck submission guidelines for Day 1 are:

  • You'll submit one deck for the designated format with an optional sideboard. Even if you opt for BO1, you may have cards that fish other cards out of your sideboard such as Fae of Wishes or Vivien, Arkbow Ranger.
  • You can't change your deck between matches, but you can swap decks between event entries.
  • Your Day 1 deck will have no say on what you choose for Day 2, meaning that you can use a completely different deck on Day 2 than you had used during Day 1.

If you max out your wins on Day 1, you’ve got yourself a ticket to Day 2. Keep in mind that these don't stack. Don't bother wasting your hard-earned gold or gems trying to get multiple entries to Day 2.

Arena Open Day 2

MTG Arena Open Day 2 Draft 2 (Jan. 2024)

Day 2 varies only slightly from Day 1. While you can enter infinitely into Day 1, you can only enter into Day 2 once. No redos this time, I'm afraid. Your max losses are also capped at two this time, but you're fighting for at least three match wins in event one and at least two match wins in event two to earn an invite to the next qualifier.

Same as with Day 1, the start and end times for Day 2 vary with each Arena Open. Make sure you keep an eye on the current rules and details so that you don't miss your window of opportunity to play. It's also important to note that, unlike Day 1, you only have a 2-hour entry window on Day 2 to get registered. Once you're registered, though, you'll have plenty of time to complete your matches.

You may be playing a different format from Day 1, but generally, your matches will be conducted exclusively in a best-of-three style.

For Constructed formats, a sideboard is still optional for your deck submission, we highly recommend having one this time around. Beyond that, deck requirements are the same as Day 1 except that the deck you submit is used for all your matches during Day 2.

How Much Can You Win in Arena Open?

You can win as much as $2,000 cash and a Qualifier Weekend invitation for winning four matches through two best-of-three events on Day 2 of the Arena Open. Now let's feast our eyes on all the prizes! The prizes for the latest Arena Open differ based on which road you took on Day 1.

You also get a cosmetic as an entry reward for Day 1. Keep an eye on Wizard's announcements for Arena Opens to see if you're interested in what's offered.

Day 1, BO1 gives you 1,000 gems after winning five games and for seven wins, you earn 5,000 gems + an invite to Day 2. If you opt for BO3, you'll be looking to get four wins without a single loss to continue to Day 2, and you will earn 1,500 gems after winning your first match. Take a look:

Day 1 BO1
75,000 gemsDay 2 invitation token
62,500 gems-
51,000 gems-
Day 1 BO3
46,000 gemsDay 2 invitation token
35,000 gems-
23,000 gems-
11,500 gems-
Day 2 Draft One BO3
4-Draft Two invitation token
(double elimination)
3-Draft Two invitation token
(single elimination)
22,500 gems-
11,500 gems-
0500 gems-
Day 2 Draft Two BO3
4$2,000Qualifier Weekend invitation
3$1,000Qualifier Weekend invitation
2$500Qualifier Weekend invitation
115,000 gems-
05,000 gems-
Constructed Day 2 BO3
8$2,500Qualifier Weekend invitation
7$2,000Qualifier Weekend invitation
6$1,000Qualifier Weekend invitation
520,000 gems-
45,000 gems-
32,500 gems-

The invitation to a Qualifier Weekend is a huge prize since those weekends are the last step in securing a seat on the Pro Tour or in the quarterly MTG Arena Championship!

What's in Standard?

Kira, Great Glass-Spinner MTG card art by Kev Walker

Kira, Great Glass-Spinner | Illustration by Kev Walker

Keep an eye on the Standard metagame to have a sense of what you'll be up against. You need to work with the event schedule to give yourself ample time to play your matches and ensure you won’t be waiting too long to find an opponent.

Is The Arena Open Worth Playing?

In short, the cost of entry can easily outweigh the rewards if you're not confident in your skills. How much do you need to win before you start making a profit on your entry fee?

You need to win seven BO1 games or three BO3 matches on Day 1 to get more than you paid to enter. Anything above that is profit on your MTG Arena account.

This is based on a single entry into Day 1. Multiple entries into Day 1 may give you another chance to earn an invite to a Qualifier Weekend but will be very difficult to become profitable in terms of gems.

When Is the Next Arena Open?

WotC rarely goes more than two months without an Arena Open. Make sure to check our event calendar to get the latest information.

With the success of the Arena Opens in Sealed and Draft, it’s hard not to be excited about what comes next! We'll see if there will be more Limited events or if they turn to Alchemy, Historic, or Standard again. I’d honestly enjoy seeing a Pauper, Brawl, or Singleton format event pop up down the line, but I feel like those are unlikely.

And Now You Know

Grim Lavamancer

Grim Lavamancer (Torment) | Illustration by Jim Nelson

Now you're fully equipped with all the knowledge you need to take on the Arena Open! If you think you’ve got what it takes to reach the top, then I fully encourage you to take a crack at an upcoming Open. I mean, hey, it’s a chance to get first-hand interaction with the competitive scene in MTG Arena if nothing else.

Want some assistance getting better in Arena? The Arena Tutor is a no-cost way to get stats, draft suggestions and easily build decks.

Do you have any questions about the Arena Open that didn’t get answered, or maybe a differing opinion about the event? Discussion and inquiries are always welcome in the comments, so feel free to drop in and chat!

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