If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Learn more.

Magic: The Gathering’s new Jumpstart format aims to take the effort out of making a deck

Live on MTG Arena now ahead of physical release later this year.

Magic: The Gathering has a new format that boils building a deck down to the bare basics.

In Jumpstart, players pick two themes that represent specific sets of 20 cards, not unlike super-sized booster packs. Each of the two picks is made from a possible three half-decks, which have seemingly been balanced to work together regardless of what they’re paired with. Each theme is also built around a specific basic land.

The themes include both thematic and gameplay elements, ranging from vampires, dogs and elves to discarding, milling and particular planeswalkers from the card game’s roster. There are 46 themes available off the bat, for 121 potential combinations.

The sets include more than 500 existing cards from Magic: The Gathering’s complete library of cards, along with 37 brand new cards introduced in the format. 300 of the cards are also legal to use in the Historic format, which allows any Magic: The Gathering card ever released to be used.

After both themes have been picked, the two sets are smashed together into a complete 40-card deck that’s ready to play in an otherwise pretty standard game of MTG.

The Jumpstart format is available to play on MTG Arena now as part of a Limited event running until August 16th, with a physical release of the sets due later in the year. Wizards of the Coast announced that 20 of the cards in the Arena version have been changed from its tabletop counterpart “for power, gameplay or technical concerns”.

Players will be able to keep any cards they acquire (they can also be made via Arena’s card-crafting Wildcard system,), with the option to retire from a match and try a different combination of sets.

If you want to give Jumpstart a go, MTG Arena can be downloaded for free on PC and Mac. The Arena event costs 2,000 gold, which can be earned via matches in the app, or 400 gems - Arena’s real-money currency - to enter. Your first win in Jumpstart will net you a rare card, with your second victory securing another.