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Though more formats often equals more fun, unfortunately MTG Arena launches new events and features so quickly that it can be confusing for you to keep track of all the things going on. Don’t worry though, we’re here for you! If you bookmark this page and check back every once in a while, we’ll keep you updated on events, formats, and rotation so that you can plan what to do ahead of time.
MTG Arena Events and Formats: Current, Upcoming, and Past
There are lots of events to take part in in MTGA and they come up with new ones pretty often. While WotC has a calendar on their website with events, not everything is there and the general consensus is that it’s not the easiest or the most user-friendly experience. That’s why we’ve compiled that information here in one easy spot, that’s hopefully a lot easier to digest!
You might be asking yourself, “why bother?” Well, the reason is simple: unless you spend a lot of money, you’ll have to manage your gold carefully while playing different game modes. The cost of these events varies, but if we take the Quick Draft (formerly known as Ranked Draft, in case you haven’t seen the April State of the Game) as an example, you’ll have to spend 5,000 gold to participate. For a casual player who won around 3 to 4 games every day, it would take about 3 to 4 days to save up 5,000 gold even if you got 750 gold quests all the time.
If you’re trying to climb the ranked ladder, it’s important to have cards that have synergy. The best way to do this is to join the right drafts that have the cards you need to add to your collection. It’s also wise to think ahead while building your decks, because there’s something called “Standard rotation” (soon, very soon) that you should keep in mind.
This might sound like too much of a hassle, but you’ll have to manage your resources if you want to expand your collection. Granted, most of the events don’t cost that much. They’re usually around either 1000 gold or 100 to 200 gems and if you can manage to get some wins, you’ll have the chance to add more cards to your collection.
You should also be aware of the match structure: traditional drafts are played in best-of-three (BO3) format, so you’ll have to spend a much longer time on those compared to ranked drafts which are best-of-one (BO1). Take a look at our Ultimate Guide to Drafting for a more in-depth analysis.
For now, take a look at what’s going on now and what’s coming up so that you can save up your gold and gems to participate:
Quick note: If any of the draft event names seem off to you, take a look at this—Wizards changed drafts up again, but this time for the better.
Current Events (May 2020)
Upcoming Events (June 2020)
Currently Available MTG Arena Formats
Before we jump into Standard Rotation, we’ve compiled all of the MTGA formats that are currently available in some form whether they’re a consistently recurring event or an evergreen one. We’ve also included each format’s cost, max wins/losses, max awards, and match structure associated with the format when it comes to events. If you’re a bit confused or just want some more info, jump over to the Formats Explained section for more details. For now, take a look:
What is MTG Arena Standard Rotation?
If you played MTGA during the beta, you were probably surprised when a warning popped up with the release of the Throne of Eldraine, saying that you weren’t allowed to add some of the cards you had to your deck while playing standard. This was because of a concept called Standard Rotation. Simply put, it defines the sets you’re allowed to use while playing competitively.
Every year, new sets are added to MTG and previous sets are excluded from standard play when the last set is comes out in the fall. Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and M19 were rotated out with the release of the Throne of Eldraine set in early October, 2019 and are currently only playable in non-standard games. Some of these sets have reprinted cards—such as Opt or Fling—which are considered exceptions that you can still use even if the sets that they belong to were rotated out.
The next rotation will take place in one year (check out Next Rotation below to see what sets will be released). You should also keep in mind that some cards may be banned in Standard for other reasons. For example, the Field of the Dead non-basic land is currently banned in the Standard format because of a lack of ways to remove the card.
- Core Set 2020
- Guilds of Ravnica
- Ravnica Allegiance
- Throne of Eldraine
- War of the Spark
- Theros: Beyond Death
- Throne of Eldraine
- Theros: Beyond Death
- Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
- Core Set 2021
- Zendikar Rising
We all love playing MTG Arena, but every player wants to take things easy sometimes and try alternative game modes, especially after a series of long games. Since we’re still a long way away from custom games or lobbies for creating chaotic 4-player free-for-all mayhem (Commander, anyone?), we have to make do with the alternative events that occasionally appear at the main page.
We mentioned Wizards’ April announcement a bit further up, and we’ll get more into that here. If you haven’t seen anything about this yet, basically player drafting will be coming to Arena with the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths on April 16, and WotC has taken the opportunity to make some other changes to draft events at the same time. They’re also giving all players a free draft token to celebrate, so be sure to log in between April 16 and 30 to claim yours!
Here are just some of the repeating game formats available right now:
One of our all-time favorites, Singleton is a constructed format that forces you to build a deck without any duplicates (i.e., you can only use one copy of each card in your deck, except for basic lands). Since you can’t stack the same cards, you’ll need either a lot of synergy or a lot of brute force (ie power).
Premier, Quick, and Traditional
So, the release of Ikoria brings some significant changes to draft with it, so let’s talk about that. The most important change is the arrival of player drafts, as we said.
This means that you’ll need to think a bit differently when picking cards in these new drafts, since you’ll be part of an 8-player pod instead of picking against bots. If you’ve never participated in a real-person draft before, you’ll notice quite a difference in card picks. Rare drafting won’t be an option in player drafts, but thankfully you won’t need to pay attention to what the other players in your pod are drafting since you’ll be playing against players from different pods when you’re done.
There are some other changes to take note of, so let’s go through those for you.
Ranked draft is being renamed to quick draft, but other than that, it’s staying pretty much the same. It’s still BO1, still a bot draft, still ranked, and the set rotates every two weeks. Entry fee, win/loss structure, and rewards all also stay the same.
The new addition to draft events is “premier draft.” The entry fee and rewards are much higher than quick draft, following traditional draft’s old model. This is the new ranked, BO1, player draft event, which will also always use the current set.
Traditional draft is going through some pretty significant changes, on its end. It’s still BO3, of course, but this will now be an unranked player draft. It’s also meant to emulate a draft at your LGS: you’ll play a total of three matches, win or lose, and receive rewards based on how many matches you won.
And, finally, the last change coming with Ikoria is the Godzilla Monster Series card styles. Players who enter Ikoria Limited events will receive one card style from the series each time they do, either until the promotion ends on May 21 or you’ve collected all 18 styles.
In this mode, you’ll draft a 40-card pack and begin the game with an “omniscience”emblem, which has the following effects:
- You may cast spells from your hand without paying their mana costs.
- 0: Add WUBRG. Activate this ability only once each turn.
Aside from these effects, you also have a maximum hand size of three instead of seven.
Competitive Metagame Challenge
This is a high-risk, high-reward game mode. It offers the highest award of any other game mode with 5000 gold and 30 packs if you can manage to win seven BO3 games. Greed may not always be good, so take care.
Brawl can be considered similar to the Commander format. You pick a legendary creature or planeswalker card as a commander from Standard and build your deck around it. While building your deck, you’re limited to the color(s) of your chosen commander (this goes by something known as “color identity”, which includes any activated or triggered abilities on the card as well as its mana cost). Essentially, cards in your Brawl deck can only use mana symbols that also appear on your commander. Colorless cards can, of course, be used in any deck. You’re also limited to one copy of all cards except basic lands.
Each commander starts the game face up in its controller’s command zone, and it can be cast from here for its normal cost (plus an additional two mana for each time it’s been cast from the command zone) as though it were in your hand. In addition, the list of banned cards in Standard doesn’t apply here. To see which cards are banned in Brawl, check out our article on that format.
“Artisan” is a format that includes only uncommon and common cards and is similar to Peasant/Pauper in paper Magic. With Historic Artisan, you have access to all the sets that have been released on MTGA, including ones that have rotated out of standard. There is also a special list of cards that have been ported over from paper MTG solely for Historic purposes.
As an MTGA user, you’re probably interested in free stuff so be sure to check out our list of codes for MTGA that get you free packs and cards.
We also have a free MTGA tracker and draft assistant that tells you what to pick during booster draft and what cards your opponent has played during the match. You’ll love it, trust us.
And finally, be sure to check out Draftsim’s namesake draft simulator to practice drafting before you battle with the bots on MTGA.