Wizards of the Coast's popular digital card game Magic: The Gathering Arena is heading to mobile and table devices this year, and fans will get a chance to participate in the early access soon before they are officially released. The mobile and tablet versions will feature the same collection, modes, and it will support cross-platform play so MTG Arena mobile/tablet players can be matched up with those who are playing the game on the PC. If you want to know when it will be released for Android, iOS, and tablet devices, and when their early access will be available, read the details below, and make sure to bookmark this page to get updated information as they come.
When will the MTG Arena Android early access be available?
On January 7, Wizards of the Coast announced that the MTG Arena early access for Android devices will start on Jan. 28, and it will be available to players whose mobile devices meet their planned Android recommended specs, everywhere MTG Arena and the Google Play store are currently available. The Android early access will include cross-platform support and all cards iand formats available in MTG Arena, including the release of the Norse mythology-inspired set, Kaldheim.
What are the Android recommended specs for the MTG Arena mobile early access?
Wizards shared the recommended specs to participate in the MTG Arena Android early access:
Android Version: 6.0 (Marshmallow)
Graphics API: OpenGL ES 3.0
Texture Compression: ETC2
Kirin 970 -or-
Snapdragon 845 -or-
Wizards also provided a sample list of supported Android devices:
When will MTG Arena be available for iOS & tablet devices?
Wizards already confirmed that additional support for Android, iOS, and tablet devices are coming later this year. In the MTG Arena developer road map, they also revealed their focus to bring the game to mobile and table devices:
No exact date has been announced for the iOS early access yet, but expect MTG Arena to be fully available for Android, iOS, and table devices by the end of this year.
How will the gameplay look in the mobile version of MTG Arena? What about the controls?
In the January 2021 MTG Arena State of the Game, Wizards shared screenshots of mobile gameplay for Magic: The Gathering Arena as well as descriptions of how the controls are different compared the original PC version. Mouse clicks become taps, and scrolls become swipes.
The developers changed the battlfield layout to balance playing on the smaller and slightly more rectangular aspect ratio that mobile devices use, such as changing the location and size of player avatars. The gameplay is similar to the desktop version, but the mobile version has touch controls. Wizards provided an example: "When determining your opening hand, you tap the respective button to keep or mulligan, and if you choose the latter, you tap to select and drag cards to your library from your hand."
"Tapping each respective zone (graveyard, library, exile, etc.) will bring up a browser that will allow you to inspect any known cards, as well as to see the current number of cards in that zone," Wizards added.
To give players a better view of the battlfield, your hand may appear "tucked". They will re-appear if you tap the cards in your or your opponent's hand, making them easier to read and select. Tapping and holding a card lets you examine it in detail (like mousing over a card when playing on the PC). Tapping the battlfield will tuck them away again. Wizards said that there are also automatic tuck and untuck behaviors, where MTG Arena will do the work for you. "Our goal was to make it feel relatively natural once you start playing with it, however, you always have the option to tuck or expand your hand as you deem fit," they added.
Here are the other notes Wizards shared:
During the combat phase, you select the creatures you wish to attack with by tapping them. When declaring blockers, tap your creatures, then tap the creature you wish to block, or tap and drag from your creature to the creature you wish to block.
ADDITIONAL GAMEPLAY SETTINGS
Tap your avatar to use emotes and view your timeouts or select and hold your avatar to enable or disable full control. Tap your opponent's avatar if you wish to mute them or see their timeouts. When applicable, an arrow labeled "undo" will appear on the top right of the screen that you can tap to undo certain actions.
Additional gameplay options are available under the settings menu, which you can access by tapping the cog wheel in the top right.
Viewing your collection and deck building is very similar to the experience on desktop, with the previously mentioned changes for touch controls. You swipe left or right to browse through your collection, tap cards to add or remove them from your main deck, and tap the sideboard button to toggle between your deck and your sideboard.
You will be able to sort your collection using all the tools available on desktop, including search or advanced filters. When deck building on a mobile device, we currently only support the layout as shown (two rows of cards when viewing your collection, list view of your deck).
MTG Arena Drafts on Mobile Devices
During the MTG Arena draft, tapping the card once will select it as your current pick. You can confirm your pick by either quickly double-tapping the card or selecting a card and dragging it to your list. However, the Early Access for Android devices won't make sideboarding available during the draft portion of the Draft events. All cards will appear on the mainboard, but Wizards notes that they will add the ability to sideboard during an in-progress Draft events at a later date.
The MTG Arena developers are focused on bringing the game to mobile devices this year. In the developer road map they revealed, the iOS Early Access will be arriving soon.
Is there a way I can play MTG Arena on mobile now?
If you can't wait to play MTG Arena on mobile, there are unofficial ways to do it, and EpicDroid released a YouTube video (embedded above) to show us one way. However, it requires a Steam and Steam Link downloaded to make it work. Once you have Steam and Steam Link downloaded, the first step is to add Magic Arena to the Steam library. Then you can use Steam Link on your mobile device to stream games directly from your computer. It turns out that Arena works great with the app's Touch Control. EpicDroid suggests to go to the advance menu and hit the "Start Streaming Desktop" to optimize the game. Then you have to change the Graphics settings in Arena to make sure that the game appears well on the mobile device. EpicDroid suggests you select "Direct Cursor" as an option for controls.
Of course, this is not the best way to play MTG Arena on mobile, so let's just wait for the release of the official mobile version
We'll keep you updated here on EpicStream once we get more details for the mobile version of MTG Arena, so be sure to bookmark this page.