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  • Writer's pictureZhiguo Lai

Magic:The Gathering, succeed again

Updated: May 7, 2019


Magic: The Gathering, is one of the most successful TCG since 1993 so that MTG becomes the first trading card game. The company, Wizards of the Coast has printed more than twenty billion cards and has attracted approximately twenty million players as of 2015. This game can be played by two or more player depends on different formats. However, the formats can mainly be divided into two categories: constructed and limited. In constructed format, the player can build their deck no less than 60 cards with 15 cards in the sideboard, after that, they can use this deck to duel with each other. On the other hand, the limited format forced the player to build the deck within a limited time with a limited card pool comes from the booster pack they opened during the event. Nowadays, this game can be played in the form of the real card, or through the internet with the MTG Online, or the MTG Arena, the newest tool help MTG succeed in the game industry at present.

What changed?

Before the MTGA come out, Wizards of the Coast has published several mobile and PC games about the MTG, and they already have the MTGOnline. However, those mobile and PC games all are really bad at has the feature from the most fascinating part of the MTG. In MTG, the player can not only update their decks with new card published series after series but also they can use the card from the whole card pool in a certain format, which means those MTG games only have a small card pool and seldom update. On the other hand, MTG Online is too expensive, the business model in this game is that you need to pay 10 dollars to buy the game, after that, if you want to play the event you have to pay the event with real money like the real life. Even though the player can transfer the card from data into the real card it is still too expensive for the MTG player who is not elite. So, here comes the MTG Arena which is also called MTGA.


There is no doubt that the Hearthstone is the most successful CCG before the MTGA so that almost every CCG learn the design features that how players can use the resource to acquire a certain card. However, MTGA uses another feature to help the player to get the card they want. First of all, you will not receive the rare card or mythic card if you already have 4 of them, which give a better experience because of the player really do not want to transfer the rare card into dust. So in MTGA when the player opens the booster pack, they will get the wildcard or get a point in getting the wildcard, and the player can use any wildcard to get any card they want only if the target has the same rarity with the wildcard. In my opinion, this feature also helps the player to have a good experience because every time they open the booster pack they can see a progress bar and this may attract them to open more packs to get the wildcard they want. The wildcard system is not only the tool to reward the player for opening booster packs but also a tool to get player to open more packs.

Visual Effect

If I can design a digital game from a real card game, what will I do? My answer is the visual effect. When you playing MTGA, you can use the gem to level up your card so that the card can become more beautiful and. On the other hand, I can still remember the first time I watch the animation of Yo-Gi-Ou so that we can definitely make the animation for those famous characters in the digital version. This feature is the key element that player cannot experience in real life.

On the other hand, the player can spend the currency to get the shiny card in this game which is the same as the golden card in the Hearthstone. They implement the same concept of shiny card from real life into this game. And in real life, there are some players want to show off with the whole shiny card deck so that they can do the same thing in the MTGA and it is better because of the visual effect in the modern game.

I do not have the shiny version

Best of 3 to Best of 1

After talking about adding features to MTGA, I want to talk about delete features from MTG. Usually, the player plays the MTG match as a BO3 system which means after each game, they can use the card in the sideboard to exchange the card in the deck so that they can get more useful card versus the certain type of deck. So, one of the skills of MTG is to guess how your opponent will change their deck and how you will change your deck to defeat them. However, the MTGA mainly using the BO1 system, especially in some big event. And the design process of the real card is also influenced by this feature because Wizard of the Coast is using the BO1 event to promote the MTG. I think the time has changed, it is no longer the day that World of Warcraft could force you to appear in front of the screen with other 24 players during the Friday night and you were also willing to. Nowadays, the time of playing games has been broken into small pieces which means not every player can spend 45 minutes to play a BO3 game. On the other hand, more players play the game, more avenue the game can make. So that I think change BO3 to BO1 is a very smart design.

Public Interest

Nowadays, the company has found out that they should use more resource to get the public interest so that they can not only get more players but also they can develop the player community more quickly. They already announced the new event that player can earn more than one million dollars which is like The International in dota2. Besides, they also use the pro player league to help the company develop the streaming through MTGA on twitch. Last, they finally spend money on the trailer of the new series. Those old trailers were only moving pictures, however, this time they use the songs from the famous singer and use CG to tell the story in this series so that they have already received eight million views on the youtube, which can not be imaged before.


MTGA makes the game more convenient for the new players and keeps the fantasy for the existing players. So I think if a game wants to succeed in the mobile market, it not only needs to consider using mobile technology to improve the fantasy the game already has, but also needs to think about how to help the other target audience enter the game easily.

Last Card

I am an official L1 judge of this game, if someone wants to play and learn how to play the first trading card game, please contact me.

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