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By: xger, Xger
Jun 12 2013 7:13am
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This tutorial is ideal for someone new to MTGO or just new to the Beta. I'll cover what I see as the most important aspects of getting up and running and will save more detailed and advanced aspects for a future article.

And now, into the wild!

If you are here I am going to assume you have the MTGO beta client downloaded (here if needed) and installed (V4.0 or "Shiny") and know the basics of magic. Once you get it up, running, and logged in you'll see this screen:


We have an announcements section (green box, 1), which unsurprisingly lists announcements! If you don't follow all the myriad WotC channels of communications this section will list the more pertinent items for MTGO. The section boxed in blue (box 2) is a list of upcoming scheduled events. This is one of the nicer improvements over the current client as it gives a nice overview of the events. I have yet to notice any particular pattern with the "Featured Tournaments", if you have, please add a comment below! The bottom section is the buddy list, and if you look at the red (number 3) circle it shows a smaller green circle which is currently shown on all my buddies. The green dot indicates the account is online; a red dash appears if they are offline in the same spot. Finally we come to the dark red box (number 4), the navigation bar. This bar will appear in the main window no matter which tab is selected.


This is where all the settings are and it is definitely where I would recommend going to first. It is useful to set some things and turn others off (trading with a bot with chat notifications on is very annoying as each line is a new notification). A lot of these settings are obvious; here are the ones I think are most important to set to your liking:

Display & Sound Settings: Here we have the chance to change the "Theme". This really just changes the color settings, it doesn't change any really significant but it does allow for some more color. The "Display Card Preview Window" is a detached window that takes the place of "Card" tab in the current client. If you want to see each card without zooming and just want it separately shown, you'll want this checked.

Buddies, Groups & Chats: This is one of the more important screens as it allows alerts to be set. If you trade with bots I would highly recommend not checking "Chat message received" as each line leads to a pile of notifications. One of the big changes from V3 is you get notifications about rounds and games beginning, I highly recommend leaving that option checked.

Input Settings: I moved some stuff around on this screenshot to make the relevant information fit. With the new client you can keybind most of the settings to however you like. The biggest client update here is the "Auto-Tap Mana (hold)". If a permanent adds multiple colors of mana and you don't care which color holding M while tapping the permanent will just select the first one the list (the first color that appears on the card or W if it adds any color). In a later advanced features/commands articles I will cover each key bind in detail.

In-Duel Settings: Here is where you place stops that you want in each turn. These will depend largely on what you play and how competitively you play. The improvement here is that there are different settings for multiplayer and 1-on-1 which will hopefully lead to a smoother time in multiplayer games. The "Red Zone" is in the duel screen and if you don't check this box, the red zone will open each turn and close each turn for combat. A lot of people find the constant movement annoying, so checking this box keeps the background the same.


The "Trade" screen is just the Classified section. The important thing to note is that the search now highlights your term. For instance if I search for "voice of r" I will see

MTGOTRADERSBOT            |OPEN| SELLING: Jace XX.XX Voice of Resurgence XX.XX Other cards XX.XX

At this time you cannot remove your post if you put something up. You can change it so if you want to remove you'll just put a "." or some other message over it. There is a structure for a wish list implemented in the client, but it currently doesn't work. Once it is implemented you'll need to add cards to the "Wish List" binder to use it. During a trade select the quantity menu and check the "Compare to wish list". The filters are very helpful but as it is the client makes trading somewhat clunky.

General Client Information:

One of the big changes with this client is the clear intention to support dual monitors.

The client is maximized on my left window, the chat and card preview can hang out on the right. For those without dual monitor you can dock some of the windows in the main client or game window. Simply drag the window as you normally would. You'll see a pulsing icon at the 4 cardinal directions if you can dock it. Drag it to the icon to dock. An important note: Game windows are separate from the client, if you close it, the client interprets it as wanting to concede. You get a dialog box to confirm but it should be kept in mind. It is also possible that your game window falls into the background behind the client when it starts, so if you are waiting, see if the window is there and just behind things.


Here is the collection screen and the deck building screen. In the top right corner is the "Add Deck" dialog box, when you are first using the new client this is where you add all your old decks if you have them. While importing the system will assign each one the most restrictive format that fits for it (except block decks default to standard). If you start a new deck you have to choose a format for it as well. As rotations happen you will have to adjust decks if you want to keep them (as a standard will then have illegal cards after the fall set) by right clicking and going to options. You can also chose a different deckbox for each one, keep in mind the deckboxes don't do anything, just fun to look at.

The same dialog starts a new deck and you just add cards same as the old client, double click or drag to the deck and sideboard sections. If you look at the cards, in the lower left is a number. When building a deck that number will tell you the number you have: in white is the number you have not in the deck, in yellow and smaller to the side will be the number in the current deck. If you have run out the card will fade.

The binder highlighted in blue is rather important. If you want to have any of your cards available for trade they will need to be a part of this binder. You can change any of your other binders to be the active trade one by right clicking the binder and selecting "Set as trade binder". This binder requires a fair bit more work than previous clients; there is no right click to make all over 4 tradable. You can select all and add to the trade binder with a couple of right clicks. The section highlighted in red shows the new filters: quantity, power, toughness, CMC filters are all now slider based which gives a far greater control. It is hard to see in the picture, in the upper left the "Other Products" tab is highlighted in green. This is what you need to select if you want to see Event Tickets, packs, avatars and qualifier points.


The store is much more streamlined and loads much faster than the past. There are filters on the left side and the right side is the cart as well as the credit card info section. It's much more "one-click" shopping. The big difference is the "Redeem a Magic Online Promo Code" in the bottom left. There has been a few already given out and it seems an easy place to add extra value over time.


Here is the main screen of the program. Most of what you will deal with is on the left side of the screen. If you go from top down (until at least Format) you should be able to select the exact type of game you want. In constructed once you select a deck the format auto selects as well. If you have a format selected only decks that are in that format are allowed. Once selections are made, just click Next Game and it will either find one or start one for you. If you want to change decks or formats it seems easier to just click "reset all filters" as some conflicts cause issues. If you want to play a deck in a wider format (say a block deck in a standard game) you have to select it from the list at right (either double click or click details) and then "Join game". When a game started in Beta fills, it will usually auto-start with a 3 second delay. The other menus on the left side allow the usual things: Multiplayer is where you set solitaire, 1-on-1 or others, Player is where you restrict the game to buddies or disallow watchers, Match Specs is where you set single game or 2 of 3 and the time. At this time you cannot change the starting life totals or hand sizes in beta.

If you want to join tournaments, it is all on this page. The biggest difference for tournament is drafts. You can build your deck during the draft, cards naturally go into the sideboard and you can move them to the deck. On the left of the window is the draft table and order. It shows how many picks each person has made (so you can see the bottleneck, but nothing to do about it). Next up, if you have a legal deck but have not submitted, the game will auto-submit should time run out under most circumstances. Finally, the tournament screen can show more details one player at a time, though the sorting by different criteria is much more limited than previous clients.

And now into Battle!

Game Window:

Here is the window as it opens:

Big thing here is the very clear "Mulligan" and "Keep". It's a small and yet big change. Along the right side is a section for each player of "Exiled" "Revealed" and "Shields". They remain closed until something enters them. At the bottom we have options, chat and log, and return to details. Option contains a box to open the preview pane if you closed it or didn't have it to begin with. Chat and log is the chat window for the game, the chat itself is now separated into two sections, one for the game log and one for talk with the opponent. The return button will bring you to the tournament screen if you are in one or the waiting screen if just free play.

In this screen more is visible. The graveyard is on the left, you can scroll it if needed. As you can see the right has expanded to show the exiled card. When something triggers it appears in a box as shown here (2 landfall triggers at once). Where this box is varies at times, but it can be dragged around. The stack appears on the battlefield left center in the same style of box. You can right click items on the stack in the box to set the various auto-yields.


And out of the wild for today; if you have anything I missed that should go in the basic tutorial feel free to add comments. I will do an advanced tutorial covering more detailed workings of the client soon, so any suggestions for that are also welcome. As this was my first article I appreciate anything about flow or style as well, so feel free to leave comments!


Some additional info: I wrote by xger at Wed, 06/12/2013 - 12:34
xger's picture

Some additional info:

I wrote this before the last update so a few minor changes of note: Gideon is currently the only theme available as the MTGO team decided to remove the others until they can be truly fleshed out. As for why Gideon, it probably was just the most commonly used beforehand would be my guess. Some of the issues I mentioned in regards to changing what deck you wanted to play have been resolved as decks can be chosen now if formats are deselected. Finally, you can now just cancel a trade post instead of needing something there.

Brilliant timing! by MagicGatheringStrat at Thu, 06/13/2013 - 01:58
MagicGatheringStrat's picture

I just ragequitted the Open Beta and then found this. Well timed!

I wish the spam bots would not comment here, I always get so happy when I get a comment on one of my articles and then ... spambot!