Last updated on July 22, 2023
Spark of Creativity | Illustration by Johann Bodin
I love seeing the spark of discovery when someone witnesses a card interaction for the first time. That jaw-dropping, awestruck, “did that just really happen?” face, that long stare while they imagine what else they could do with this newfound knowledge.
Spark Rank on MTG Arena is exactly the kind of place designed to let new players discover the ins and outs of Magic. It’s part of the New Player Experience, designed as a playground to test out those pre-cons you just upgraded against other players doing the same thing.
Whether you’re a new or prospective Arena player or a seasoned veteran who wants to know what the kids are up to, I’ve got your case file on MTG Arena’s Spark Rank.
Spark Rupture | Illustration by Viko Menezes
Spark Rank is part of the New Player Experience, announced in March 2023 as part of an update. Once new players have gone through the first tutorials and accessed the main menu, they’ll have a couple of options for getting started. The game guides you to add decks to your collection by playing through Color Challenges and Starter Deck Duels. Now, rather than receiving a starter deck after completing a new quest, winning three matches against another person with a starter deck adds it to your collection.
That’s where Spark Rank comes in. While you’re still going through the New Player Experience, the Play Blade only gives you the option for Spark Rank matches. It’s like a pre-Bronze Constructed queue, a pool of players that are also just starting out. There are four levels to climb, and you advance more quickly in Spark Rank if you win consistently and bring more powerful decks. Completing Spark Rank also unlocks any starter decks you haven’t unlocked already.
You can’t access the other events and game formats until you complete Spark Rank or you skip the tutorial, which you can do by going to Adjust Options > Account > Skip Tutorial.
While Spark Rank is supposed to be a lower-level pool of players, that doesn’t mean you won’t occasionally run into fully powered decks there. After all, you do have access to the store while in the NPE.
Color Challenge is an event that’s always available to all players, as with Starter Deck Duels, while Spark Rank is a tier of competition that’s specifically for newer players. Spark Rank doesn’t replace Color Challenges in any way.
When playing through a Color Challenge, you pilot a pre-constructed mono-colored deck (with the associated planeswalker as your avatar). You have to win four matches against AI-run mono-colored decks before facing off against a final human player. You gain cards to upgrade the pre-con along the way, and a new card style for completing the final match, win or lose.
Spark Rank lets you choose your own deck, which at this point is usually a pre-con you’ve adjusted a few times. You also play with the avatar of your choice. Spark Rank players are only newer players. Anyone who has played at Bronze or above won’t be able to access it.
Spark Rank won’t be accessible or visible to you if you’ve already played through the New Player Experience or skipped the tutorial. I’ve played through it myself, but once I moved from Spark Rank to Bronze Rank gameplay, Spark Rank disappeared from my profile and from the Play Blade. The normal Play Blade, with all its game modes and events, was finally available.
Spark Reaper | Illustration by Zoltan Boros
That’s about it for Spark Rank! I found it was a good way to test the waters when I first started on MTG Arena. By making a separate rank for newer players, you don’t risk them being lumped in with someone who just hasn’t logged in for a few months but still has killer skills and cards. You can progress at your own pace and then move on to join the bigger pool of players.
Did you play through Spark Rank as a new player? Tell me about your experience below, or feel free to dive into our Discord.
Thanks for reading, and keep chasing that spark!
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