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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Jan 10 2019 1:00pm
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With the current focus on Magic Arena, I thought it would be good to look at what I would like to see come to Magic Online in 2019. Chris Kiritz has already outlined some of the things coming in this article, but in brief what has been announced for 2019 already is:

  • A focus on older sets, including new Cubes, Chaos Draft, and Modern and other non-rotating formats;
  • An update to the play lobby to make finding matches easier;
  • Visual and experience changes to the client;
  • And looking at scraping the $9.99 charge to create an account.

This is a good start, but there is so much more they could bring to Magic Online to make it still relevant in the new, Arena era. Here is some of what I would like to see.

More Support for Niche Formats

Wizards started to try this, with 1v1 Commander and Brawl. Unfortunately, they failed, and support is now gone for those formats, making this wish one that is unlikely to come true.

However, there is some hope, and I think some more niche formats can work. Wizards kind of mucked it up with 1v1 Commander and Brawl; they tried to reinvent the wheel when it came to Commander by using their own banned list rather than the commonly used Duel Commander list, and then watched as players left the format due to all the degenerate decks running rampant. Brawl had similar problems and, while fun to start with, people left after a time.

Formats like Duel Commander, Australian and Canadian Highlander, and Penny Dreadful have dedicated communities who constantly keep their formats in check. Wizards could easily support these formats on Magic Online - but only if they work closely with the communities already maintaining them. I mean, one only has to look at Penny Dreadful and how many matches are played of that over the course of a season to see that the community is thriving; and official support for leagues/events for that format would only help it grow. 

More Phantom Events

Phantom events are great ways to experience a format without having to go all in on the expense. Especially with more expensive draft sets like Masters sets, they are a good way to play without having to shell out $25 or so for the privilege. We've even seen some phantom constructed events, with random decks given for us to play. I'd like to see more of this, though maybe allowing people to choose the deck would be better as it stings a bit when you enter one of these events only to get the same deck twice in a row. I'd even like to see some phantom events of current sets.

Cheaper Phantom Events

The problem with phantom events, though, is the cost. Right now, drafting Vintage Cube costs you $10 (or 100 play points). This is a bit hard to swallow, especially with Arena allowing free-to-play. I'd like to see the cost of phantom events halved, with prizes halved to compensate. Paying $5 for these events seems fair, and would allow a lot more people to play. 

While we are at it, cheaper events overall would be nice, especially with the price of singles dropping, making the value of opening cards much less. 

Grinding Play Points

If we can't have cheaper events, then maybe we could have a way to earn extra play points. Arena currently gives you quests each day, where you can earn gold that you can use to buy packs or enter events. Having some way to earn a number of play points (say, 20-40) each day would ensure that people keep logging in and keep playing games. 

More Flashbacks

In 2018, we saw some fantastic Beta drafts on Magic coverage. How cool would it be to allow us to do the same on Magic Online? Now, there is a problem with that - not all the cards from Beta are programmed into the client (like Plague Rats... this one is still a head scratcher for me). I'm going to assume that this means that Beta drafting would be impossible, but... an "Old School" Cube wouldn't be. If you combined the sets available in Old School 93-94 Magic and curated a Cube from it, you would get much the same experience. I'd love this.

Also, I don't know how successful Tempest Remastered was, but I'd like to see more of this type of thing for older sets. It's probably a lot of work, but would be one more thing that could keep Magic Online going. Mirage Block Remastered or Invasion Block Remastered sound like fun to me.

Weekend Challenges During Times I Can Actually Play

I've never played a weekend challenge, though I would love to. Why? Because I live in Australia. These events start at in the early hours of Sunday or Monday morning for me (2-4am). I could play in the Sunday morning ones, but would be at a massive disadvantage due to tiredness. I can't play in the Monday morning ones due to the fact I work full time on weekdays, and younger players have school / university. I would love to see Wizards finally support time zones in areas other than the United States, allowing me and all my Australian and Asian friends a chance to play. It doesn't need to be every month, even; give us one of the challenges every three months. Please, myself and a whole bunch of other people are begging you.

Conclusion

These are the main things I would like to see happen to Magic Online this year. What do you think? Do you have anything on your wish list? Sound off in the comments below. Until next time, may you never be mana screwed!