Last updated on October 14, 2020

Ramos, Dragon Engine MTG card art by Joseph Meehan

Ramos, Dragon Engine | Card art by Joseph Meehan

Before you’re ready to jump into the fun that is MTG Arena, you might be asking yourself if your operating system can actually handle the game. There are so many games nowadays that ask a lot of your computer, so it’s always useful to find out beforehand if your desktop/laptop can run the game you want to play.

That’s why today we’re dedicated to finding out what it takes to run Arena. We’ll also look at what kind of PC/laptop is ideal for MTGA, tips to improve the client’s performance, and compare our favorite digital card game to other games both in and outside the CG field. Let’s jump right in and break it all down for you right now!

Batterskull MTG card art by Igor Kieryluk

Batterskull | Card art by Igor Kieryluk

MTG Arena Platforms

MTG Arena is currently only available to download on Windows (directly from Wizards or the Epic Games Store) and Mac OS through the Epic Games Store.

While mobile is coming soon-ish, other platforms like Xbox 360, Playstation, Switch, Linux, etc are still to be announced.

Mirari MTG card art by Donato Giancola

Mirari | Card art by Donato Giancola

MTG Arena System Requirements

Let’s get to the most important thing first: what does your computer need to run MTGA? Thankfully Wizards answers this for us on their FAQ page regarding the Magic: the Gathering Arena system requirements. Let’s take a look.

Windows System Requirements

Minimum Requirements

  • Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 5600+ or Equivalent
  • Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 8800 or Equivalent
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 7

Recommended Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core2 Quad Q9300 @ 2.50GHz
  • Graphics Card: Geforce GTX 560
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10

As you can see, almost any decent, modern computer should be able to handle MTGA. Most new PCs you can purchase nowadays have more than enough power in them to give you a great player experience. Even older systems running Windows 7 should be able to handle the client according to the minimum requirements.

Just to be safe, though, you’re better off with a more advanced and up-to-date system. We’ll look at a few options just a bit further down.

Mac OS System Requirements

After a long delay, MTG Arena is finally now available on Mac OS. Here are the system requirements:

Minimum Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Graphics: 1024 MB VRAM
  • Resolution: 1280×720 minimum display resolution
  • Operating System: macOS X/10 (64-bit Intel)

And, probably most controversially, you have to use the Epic Games Store in order to get the game client.

Shimmer Myr MTG card art by Jana Schirmer & Johannes Voss

Shimmer Myr | Card art by Jana Schirmer and Johannes Voss

MTG Arena vs Other Games

Comparing to Card Games

You might be wondering how MTG Arena’s specs compare to similar strategy card games like Eternal or Hearthstone. Fear not! We’ve put together a side-by-side comparison of the minimum and recommended requirements for these three games in particular. Here they are:

Minimum Requirements

Recommended Requirements

You can see that there’s quite a difference between the three when you compare MTG Arena with Eternal and Hearthstone. Arena asks more of your computer than the other two in both the minimum and recommended requirements.

Comparing to AAA Games

It seems like MTGA is a game that needs better specs than games from the same field, but what about some big, AAA gaming titles? Let’s take another look:

Minimum Requirements

Recommended Requirements

When you see these specs, MTG Arena suddenly pales in comparison. Not too surprising, but it’s interesting to notice that MTGA asks considerably more of your PC/laptop than the other leading competitors in its own playing field it. When you then put it up against some big titles, though, you realize that it doesn’t really ask too much of your computer.

Conclusion? You don’t need to go all out on a rig if all you want to do is play MTG Arena. Speaking of rigs, let’s fire up those engines and get to some examples.

Wurmcoil Engine MTG card art by Raymond Swanland

Wurmcoil Engine | Card art by Raymond Swanland

Computers for MTG Arena

You’ve got lots of options to run MTG Arena smoothly, whether you’re a PC fan or a laptop lover.

No matter what you go for, whether it be a high-end option or a budget one, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of computers to choose from. Ultimately, I suggest you combine the specs for what you want to do with your computer overall with the specs for playing MTG Arena. That way you hit multiple marks all at once and you won’t need to go out and buy another computer in a year or so.

That’s enough talk, though. Let’s jump into some laptops.

Laptoptions

When you’re looking at getting something that meets the recommended requirements, there are a ton of options, starting at around $380 USD. Here’s a nice list on Amazon that you can scroll through. Those are all compatible with the recommended requirements for MTGA, so all you need to do is find the one that suits you the most!

Twins of Maurer Estate MTG card art by Darek Zabrocki

Twins of Maurer Estate | Card art by Darek Zabrocki

If you don’t have a big budget but you want to get something that fits the specs, don’t worry. When you take the minimum requirements into account, there are still options available to you. These are your best bet, starting at around $160 USD.

And finally, you can double down on a new rig and go all out. If that’s your jam, I’ve got you covered. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model is the one to go with. It’s available for $2500 USD, but I’ve seen prices of around $1800 for the exact same model. Still a hefty sum, but saving $700 is never bad, right?

PC Power

PCs have a higher starting point. You’re looking at a minimum of around $475 USD to get a rig that meets the recommendations for Arena. Here’s a list for you to peruse and decide which one speaks to you the most.

The sweet thing about a PC is that they immediately start with specs that are well above what you need for Arena, so you can’t really go wrong. So, if you’re working on a budget, there’s no need to worry! There are options for you right here starting at around $320 USD.

When it comes to brand new, top of the line PCs, you’re looking at spending around $3000 USD. The individual components recommended for this beast of a PC can be found right here.

Once you’ve got your desired model for playing Arena, you can still run into different problems. Maybe your computer is overheating when you play, or the game starts to lag after a bit. It’s time to solve that puzzle and give you a few tips that will hopefully avoid those problems altogether.

Teferi's Puzzle Box MTG card art by Donato Giancola

Teferi’s Puzzle Box | Card art by Donato Giancola

Tips to Improve MTG Arena Performance

There’s nothing more frustrating than playing a game when suddenly your computer goes into overdrive and starts to heat up like crazy, frames drop, lagging happens, and then you’re disconnected. Arena can have these problems, so here are some tips to prevent them from happening.

One of the best things you can do is buy a computer that is overqualified to run the game. Your computer should be able to handle anything Arena asks of it easily and smoothly. There are some stories out there, however, that suggest that even well-equipped rigs run into problems running MTGA sometimes.

If that’s the case for you, here are some other things you can try:

Update NVIDIA Drivers

1. Open your Start menu and then search and open “Device Manager”

Start menu search for Device Manager

2. Click the arrow next to “Display adapters” to expand it

Device Manager expand Display adapters button

3. Select your NVIDIA GPU and then click “Update device driver”

  • You can also right-click on your NVIDIA GPU and then click “Update driver”
Device Manager update NVIDIA driver

4. A pop-up will appear asking how you want to search for drivers—click “Search automatically for updated driver software” and then wait for the search to complete

Device Manager update NVIDIA driver pop-up

5. If there are updates, follow the prompts to complete them

  • If there are no updates to do, you’ll see a “The best drivers for your device are already installed” notice and can close both windows
Device Manager no NVIDIA updates message

Change Graphics Options

1. Open the “Adjust Options” menu on the top right

MTG Arena Adjust Options selection

2. Click “Graphics”

MTG Arena options menu Graphics button

3. The Graphics menu will appear—select the most appropriate option from the drop-down menu next to:

  • “Resolution” to change the game’s resolution
MTG Arena Graphics menu Resolution drop-down options
  • “Quality Level” to change the game’s graphics quality
MTG Arena Graphics menu Quality Level drop-down options
  • “Custom” to select your own options and then set the graphics settings as follows:
MTG Arena Graphics menu Custom Quality Level options

And You’re Done!

Once you’ve followed all these tips, Arena should run a lot smoother. If you’re still running into problems, you may need to restart the client to prevent Arena from using all available RAM. Failing that, try to free up space on your computer.

If you have any problems downloading or updating the client, take a gander at this article and this article.

This should enable you to run MTG Arena like the giant colossus that it is. #CueColossusPic

Blightsteel Colossus MTG card art by Chris Rahn

Blightsteel Colossus | Card art by Chris Rahn

Time to Wrap Up

If you’re interested in getting more data from MTGA, make sure to check out our Arena Tutor. This nifty tool helps you with deck tracking and draft picks using our signature AI. A great asset in helping you become the best player you can be!

You can also support us directly by becoming a Patron. This helps us give you more of the great content we love getting to you, and your support means a lot to us.

With that, we’ve come to the end of this topic. Hopefully it was helpful in getting the low-down on all the best specs, rigs, and tips to play Arena in the best way possible. If you have any questions or more tips or tricks, feel free to leave a comment. See you next time and stay safe out there!

Memory Jar MTG card art by Donato Giancola

Memory Jar | Card art by Donato Giancola

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