News Brief: MTG Arena Mastery Updates, Comic Con Panels and Commander Banlist Changes

An update to an update for Arena, an update to the Commander banned list, and two Core 2020 Grand Prix. This is your week in Magic news.

This Week in Magic

Arena Updates the Mastery System, Again

Over the past several weeks, the introduction of the Mastery System on MTG Arena has received several updates and fixes. On July 10th, another rework went into effect. Based upon user feedback, the following changes have been made to XP and rewards.

  • Weekly win awards, which had been discontinued, have returned.
  • Daily wins now award gold and no longer award XP.
  • Quests will now award 500 XP.
  • The +15 Levels of XP will be available through events and codes.

The announcement also provides some examples of what progression in the Mastery System may look like for an average player, as well as potential updates for the upcoming “Archery” (the next expansion) season.”Archery” may bring with it “catch up” modifiers for players who, well, need to catch up.

The takeaway from this piece is that the Arena development team is listening to player feedback and is willing to make changes accordingly. The willingness to make change could be important as Arena prepares to take its next steps. If this article is accurate, Arena will move out of open Beta at some point this year.

For a full look at the changes, check out this article by Ryan Spain.

Commander Updates

Iona, Shield of EmeriaParadox EnginePainter's Servant

On July 8th, the Commander Rules Committee announced changes to the format’s banned list. Paradox Engine and Iona, Shield of Emeria have been banned. Painter’s Servant has been unbanned. The Rules Committee and the Commander Advisory Group also released an update to the format’s Philosophy Document to provide some transparency when it comes to what goes into decisions surrounding the banned list.

Magic Panels at San Diego Comic Con

San Diego Comic Con is this weekend and Magic will have a presence. This year the special God-Eternals–Dragon’s Endgame–will be for sale at the Hasbro Toy Shop. The headline affair for Magic, however, will be Mark Rosewater’s Panel Saturday evening. During the panel, Rosewater will reveal the date when Commander 2019 previews will begin, as well as provide the name of the fall set, currently known by its codename, “Archery.” The panel will not be streamed but there will be Twitter coverage from @wizards_magic. Rosewater has said an article detailing his panel content will go live shortly after he finishes speaking.

England Wins the Magic Celebrity Cup

The first Magic Celebrity Cup is over. The tournament paired Magic experts with influencers in a battle between England, France, and Germany. After two days of competition, England emerged victorious in the Arena event.

Grand Prix Krakow and Detroit

MagicFests took place last weekend in Krakow and Detroit. The associated Grand Prix were the first large events to feature Core 2020 Limited, on the set’s release weekend no less. The latest edition of the Core Set features a wedge theme, with the Temur (red-blue-green) Elemental archetype looking to be one of the better strategies.

At Grand Prix Krakow, familiar faces made the Top 8. Grzegorz Kowalski of the Magic Pro League made the Top 8, as did Peter Ward and Sveinung Bjornerud–who have Grand Prix Top 8s to their names. At the end of the day it was Bjornerud, in his fourth foray into the Grand Prix final rounds, to hoist the trophy.

Across the Atlantic there was Grand Prix Detroit. The Top 8 also featured players of some renown, including Jordan Berkowitz and Haotian Wang. The winner in Motor City was Ben Bellis, who can now add a Grand Prix trophy to his mantle.

Looking Forward

Next weekend is San Diego Comic Con and MagicFest Denver. At SDCC we find out the nature of the next large expansion. Grand Prix Denver will be the first event on the circuit to feature Standard with Core 2020. Then the week after, Modern takes center stage at Mythic Championship Barcelona. And the Grand Prix at MagicFest Barcelona? Why, that also happens to be Modern.

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