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Magic: The Gathering dips another toe into Arena cross-pollination with month-long paper draft promotion

Paying for three drafts just to earn one digital draft is hardly an appetising deal.

Magic: The Gathering Arena gameplay
Image credit: Wizards of The Coast

Did you know that Magic: The Gathering maintains a digital client where you can play online (two of them, actually)? Sure, Magic Arena is a known entity within the hobby, but publisher Wizards of the Coast barely promotes its existence to anyone slinging cardboard in the real world. That will change in May thanks to a promotion that rewards Arena goodies when you show up to drafts at your local hobby shop.

Outlined in a recent post to MTG’s mothership website, the popular trading card game will grant digital assets to players who register for up to three booster pack drafts during the month of May using their Wizards Account credentials. It doesn’t have to be the recently released Outlaws of Thunder Junction, but your local brick ‘n’ mortar is likely yeeing plenty of haws already. You don’t even have to win to earn the prizes.

One draft will net you an extended art card style for High Noon to use within Arena’s digital matchmaking and event platform. Your second draft will come with a Globin card sleeve that can be applied to any decks built in Arena - one of the game’s big draws vs paper is a wide selection of decorative accessories. Complete three papers drafts, and you’ll be awarded an Arena draft token good for entry in one of the limited format sit-downs that plays exactly like its physical counterpart.

How to Play Magic: The Gathering | A beginner's guide to the rules and deck-buildingWatch on YouTube

Running the numbers on the price of drafts will tell you that this promotion is not exactly a cherry financial trade. One draft token for the price of three means this deal is less geared towards drawing new players into Arena’s digital ranks than increasing the number of already enfranchised MTG players who also spend their time and money on collecting intangible cards, as well.

Arena has been stagnant for a while in terms of financial success, largely missing from corporate owner Hasbro’s quarterly earnings reports until just recently. CEO Chris Cocks mentioned long term plans for Arena in answer to an investor that includes new game modes and major updates on a timeline that might stretch two years into the future. In the meantime, it chugs along silently beyind its cardboard cousin, earning passable income from selling a separate, digital collection with no parallel to a player’s physical - and often expensive - mass of cards.

What’s frustrating about this promotion is that other trading card game already do this better, especially The Pokémon Trading Card Game which includes codes for a booster pack inside every physical one sold. MTG players might be much more willing to shift openly between Arena and the tables at their local hobby shop, but outside of meagre offerings like the May promotion, Hasbro seems disinterested in building any such bridge.

Players can earn their Arena awards from now until June 2nd at any store that’s part of the WPN network. Check online or ask your local game story for more details.

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