Today, I’m taking a break from my normal CFB Pro content (geared for tournament players) and taking it back to the basics. This article is free for everyone, and will outline how you can make Mythic on MTG Arena. These tips will help you whether you’re an occasional player, whether you’re working on a budget, or even if you’re brand new to MTG.
Not all matches are ranked matches. For example, special events and casual play do not impact your rank. To play a ladder match, click “Play,” select the icon that looks like a table, and below it the leftmost icon that looks like a metal.
You have two separate ranks, one for Limited (Sealed Deck and Booster Draft) and one for Constructed (Standard, Alchemy and Historic). You can jump between Constructed formats, and even jump between Best-of-One and Best-of-Three, but they all contribute to the same rank.
You start in Bronze and work through Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond and Mythic. If you do well in Mythic, you earn an actual number ranking, and can even earn the right to play in an Arena Qualifier tournament.
Winning matches on the ladder gives you points, while losing matches takes them away. When you accumulate enough points, you move up a tier. Importantly, you can’t drop a metal tier by losing matches. In other words, once you make Silver, the lowest position in Silver is your new rock bottom.
Along those lines, my first tip is to know your break points. If you’ve just ranked up, you have nothing to lose – for example, if you want to try out a new deck.
On the other hand, if you’re one or two matches away from ranking up, it’s a relatively bad time to goof around. Try to notch that last win, and then the pressure will be off.
There’s one more break point to know about. The Arena ladder runs on seasons, which very roughly correspond to calendar months. For instance, the current season ends on January 31, at which point everyone’s rank is locked in. You’ll earn a small reward based on which tier you made it to. And then everyone will reset for the next season roughly two metal tiers lower than they ended.
If your goal is to get to Mythic, you’ll want to know the date the ladder resets. You may consider this date the deadline for achieving your goals, but you don’t necessarily have to. If you can at least finish the tier that you’re on, you’ll reset in a better position for next time.
For instance, if you can make Diamond as a stepping stone to Mythic, you’ll reset for the next month in Gold, and be in a much stronger position to make a run at your target rank.
My next tip is to play with quality. This doesn’t mean you have to be the Lebron James of MTG. It just means that you should focus on your games and play in an environment that’s conducive to winning.
Personally, when I play on the ladder, there’s one thing that really stands out about the lower tiers. More so than the level of play or the quality of the decks, I notice people conceding games way more often in the lower tiers.
Some players disconnect, some lag out, some concede the entire match after losing the first game (in Best-of-Three), some simply concede out of frustration if they take a mulligan or their first creature gets killed!
I get it, people play Magic to have fun, and sometimes you’re just not having fun. That said, if your goal is to rank up or improve at the game, you need to play your matches to a natural conclusion (or at least something reasonably close to it).
So don’t queue up for a match if your Zoom meeting is starting in nine minutes. If you’re playing on mobile, make sure you have reasonable internet, and a good chance of being able to finish the whole match.
Remember that there’s always the option to join an unranked match, if you’re worried about any of these pitfalls.
Once you’re there, play in an environment with minimal distractions. If you’re cooking dinner or scrolling Facebook while you play, your chances of making mistakes will go up, and your chances of winning will go down.
And finally, try not to get too frustrated. Part of becoming a strong player is learning to play under tough conditions, or come back after a bad start. The next time you mulligan or miss a land drop, try to view it as a special challenge, and an opportunity to tap into a new skill set.
And if you do find yourself frustrated, as we all do at times, just take a break. If you’ve lost a few matches in a row and you’re feeling upset about it, you become more likely to play poorly and continue losing. It’s much better to take a break, do something else for a while, and come back fresh.
Continuing to play when you’re not having fun is bad for two reasons. First, and most obviously, because you’re supposed to be playing to have fun! Second, your mental state is not conducive to winning matches, and you’re likely to just feel worse and worse.
Stick to one format, and a small number of decks.
Switching between formats is fun, and is something that I encourage. But it should be done intentionally.
Jumping seamlessly from Standard to Historic is like playing soccer, but someone swaps the soccer ball for a bowling ball. You’re still playing the same game, but your calibration is way off! The similarities can even trick you into thinking you don’t need to change your strategy when in fact you really, really do.
So if your goal is to rank up, you should stick to the format you know best. Conveniently, this is optimal for both your learning curve and your budget. Trying to maintain multiple decks in several different formats at once spreads you thin, and gets expensive very quickly.
Along those lines, I almost want to advise you to stick to a single deck, but I think that can be a little too restrictive at times.
For example, you might identify yourself as a player of White Aggro decks. That’s great! You’ll learn your craft well, and you’ll only need to focus on a narrow band of cards to craft with your wildcards. However, there will be some formats where there simply isn’t a good White Aggro deck. Alternatively, you might get to a point where you hit a plateau with your deck and need to change something in order to continue breaking new ground.
So there’s a happy medium between having a specialty, and having a range of decks you’re willing to play. I do think that having a preferred strategy, or one or two preferred colors, is a totally fine thing for a beginner or intermediate player.
Don’t worry, I’m not telling anybody that they have to netdeck.
(Although you can if you want. Netdecking is part of the learning process, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Personally, I sometimes build my own decks, and sometimes try out other players’ ideas).
Magic is a deckbuilding game. It’s fun to experiment, and everyone will have different tastes, preferences and resources. Play with the decks and cards you want to play with!
That said, if you never engage with any written or video content about MTG, and never talk with any players who are more experienced than you, you’re limiting yourself unnecessarily. You could be repeating fundamental errors and never even realize it.
There’s a virtually unlimited amount of Magic content out there, and you can seek out what you like. At CFB Pro, we tailor our content for players who want to learn and grow. But free content can get you just as far, nearly as fast. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of places you can look. Choose the ones you find most fun, and most helpful.
- Tournament broadcasts
- Top-performing deck lists
- Written articles
- YouTube videos
- Live gameplay streams like this and this
At the very worst, these resources will help you understand what you’re up against. They can also give you inspiration and new ideas that you can choose to incorporate in whatever way you prefer.
Now that you’ve taken the time to read this article, you can try out some of my tips the next time you play on Arena. After a handful of matches, take a breather and get some more exposure to new ideas or experienced players. Once you’ve learned something, go back and incorporate it into the way you play the game, before repeating the process again. Soon enough, I guarantee you’ll find yourself beginning to win more and more of your matches.