MTG Arena July Update Details: Mastery System, Mastery Pass, London Mulligan

The MTG Arena Core 2020 set is only five days away. it releases on July 2 with 280 new cards, but naturally, Wizards of the Coasts also has some updates to the MTG Arena client itself. Early next month we’re getting the new Mastery System, a purchasable Mastery Pass, and the official launch of the London Mulligan across all Standard formats.

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Core 2020 Set – MTG Arena July Update

With the July 2 update, players will be able to open their Core 2020 pre-orders and put the new cards into their decks. We discuss the set in our MTG Arena Core 2020 set guide including all of the card spoilers released so far. The biggest themes are Chandra (and her four planeswalker cards), the new scry lands, Leylines, and elementals.

Core Set 2020 also gave us the opportunity to try new things with how we develop and implement card sets, efforts we hope you will feel as soon as you get the chance to play. For the first time ever, our development team ran an internal league in addition to our normal QA process to test the card set, so that everything from the draft picks to the visuals to the card interactions could have an extra layer of polish.

Event Schedule Changes – MTG Arena July Update

In good news for players, there’s a big change to the MTG Arena event schedule. Starting with this set, Wizards of the Coast promises to always have the latest set available as a Ranked Draft event. This should help players that are good at the format to build out their collection. For those who like variety, starting in August, the developer will also put up another Ranked Draft of a rotating set.

Mastery System – MTG Arena July Update

In February, Wizards of the Coast released an updated tutorial system which it calls the “New Player Experience” (NPE). This was only available to new accounts, existing accounts could not experience the tutorial, but could redeem the promo code “STARTERSTYLES” for its rewards. A lot of players liked the idea of this system, but it was never rolled out to existing accounts.

Starting in July, the Mastery System, which is very similar to the NPE, will go live. This new Mastery System will be updated with each new set, bringing additional rewards.

While we aren’t sure what this means just yet, Wizards says the the “Mastery Tree and reward track” will replace the Weekly Win rewards which provide players with up to three packs per week from the latest set. It might just be moved into the mastery system, or it could be eliminated entirely.

Mastery Pass – MTG Arena July Update

The infamous Battle Royale Battle Passes are coming to MTG Arena. While everyone has access to the new Mastery System, dedicated players can purchase the Mastery Pass for 3,400 gems. That’s $20 in real world money. At the very least it fits perfectly with the gem bundle. No reason to buy more gems than you need.

According to the developers, the Mastery Pass rewards more booster packs, gold, gems, individual card rewards, card sleeves, and an Elemental Cat (of any the five color options). There are no details on exactly how many of these rewards there will be. We suspect it’ll be at least as much as the pass is worth, but there’s also no information on how long it’ll take to unlock the entire pass.

As per usual, you can purchase the pass any time before the next set comes out. Once you do so, you’ll earn all rewards up to your current level.

London Mulligan – MTG Arena July Update

Honestly, the biggest update is one that actually affects your gameplay. Wizards is switching to the London Mulligan rules. As it stands, if you decide to mulligan your opening hand, you return all cards to your deck, shuffle it, and draw a new hand with one less card in it. You do this as many times as you want and then scry one card if you’ve mulliganed at least once.

The new London Mulligan rule is much more forgiving. Starting July 2, you’ll keep drawing hands of seven cards and then return a number of cards equal to the number of times you mulliganed. If you mulliganed twice, for example, you’ll choose two of your seven cards to return to the deck.

Rotation & Other Big Decisions – MTG Arena July Update

Wizards of the Coast also took some time to remind everyone that once the set following Core 2020 releases Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019 will be rotated out of Standard. There will be no collection resets like there was last year. Going forward, barring catastrophe, there are no plans to ever remove cards from collections.

What will you do with these cards though? Some events, like Pauper, Singleton, and the recent War of the Spark Chronicles allow for non-Standard cards. The developers also plan for new a new format which they’re calling Historic Play that allows non-Standard cards. With both Best-Of-One and Best-Of-Three support, Historic will be exclusive to MTG Arena as a solution to older cards.

They also reaffirmed a commitment to bring back the Amonkhet and Kaladesh blocks that rotated out last year. Since that coincided with the game’s release, those cards were completely removed from the game.

Amonkhet and Kaladesh blocks will not be returning to MTG Arena with rotation. While we are still interested in finding the right way to bring these sets back to MTG Arena, we’re holding off for now. We made this decision because the current Standard meta is pretty healthy right now, so we hope this will naturally lead into a healthy non-rotating format as well. As more sets are released and the historic meta develops, we’ll continue to evaluate when it might be the right time to add these sets. They’ll be back one day, just . . . not right now.

Finally, Wizards of the Coasts promised a “Renewal” event that features special events and rewards to help players build up their Standard collection. Details should come in August.

  • Events – With the July 2 update, we will no longer be scheduling Limited events for sets rotating out of Standard this fall. Draft and Sealed events will use sets starting from Guilds of Ravnica and going forward.
  • Individual Card Rewards (ICRs) – With the July 2 update, players will no longer receive ICRs from sets that will be rotating out of Standard this fall. Any ICRs players earn from events or daily win rewards will be from sets that are not rotating in the fall (Guilds of RavnicaRavnica AllegianceWar of the Spark, and Core Set 2020).
  • New Player Decks – The tutorial and Account Mastery Tree have been updated to reward new decks and card styles. For existing players: We currently intended to grant all players these updated decks by the time rotation happens so everyone will have access to decks that are Standard legal. There’s some tech we need to implement first to make this happen, but we’re working on it!
  • Wildcard Redemption – You will still be able to craft cards from rotating sets using wildcards! With this update, we did add an additional confirmation message when crafting cards that will be rotating out of Standard. Please Note: This does not take into consideration any cards that may be reprinted in Archery.
  • Booster Packs – Packs for rotating sets are also still available for purchase in the store. Similar to wildcards, with this update we’re adding additional messaging to remind players that these sets will be rotating out of Standard.

And that’s it! As a reminder, head on over to our MTG Arena Core 2020 set guide for all of the cards coming with this update!