Magic Arena is slowly but surely adding in enough features to start to resemble parity with the physical card game, and the day-and-date expansion releases are a huge part of that. Core 2019, the latest Magic set is now live, and everyone can log in and grab three packs by default — so long as you have access to the closed beta (more on that closed bit in a moment).
On top of welcome ancillary changes like PayPal and Planeswalker avatar support, you can now play through a decent tutorial that teaches you the basics of Magic and rewards you with five mono-color decks to screw around with. It’s voice acted and themed, and really showcases the potential for a great single-player campaign if Wizards ever gets around to embracing that particular component.
As part of the transition process there are five Arena exclusive cards that are Arena standard (read: playable in competitive modes) doled out as rewards — cards that aren’t in the paper game. It’s a neat idea but I hope it stays low key and is restricted to modest cards like the ones featured in the gallery below so that it maintains the aforementioned parity with paper Magic.
More languages are also supported, the store has a new look, and the client is a little less shoddy allowing for smoother logins. If you haven’t had the chance to give Arena a spin yet, you probably will come July 20. To help stress test the servers all active players will be given five keys to hand out to friends.