The Magic: The Gathering Arena mobile app finally launched for Android and iOS devices, so players can now enjoy the best digital card game in the world in their mobile and tablet devices, but is the app better than its original PC version? Does it need more improvements to make it worth playing?
But first, let's watch the launch video of the MTG Arena mobile app:
Shortly after MTG Arena was released for Android and iOS in March 2021, I decided to test the game on my iPhone X Pro Max. I used the same Wizards account I use for the PC version, and didn't have any issues logging in. If you're interested in playing it on mobile or tablet, make sure you check the supported devices and minimum requirements. The mobile app shares the same play blade as the PC version, and it features almost everything you can find on PC, so it's easy to navigate if you're familiar with the original, but it's disappointing to see the lack of best-of-three modes in both Constructed and Limited since sideboarding is currently not an option in the mobile version.
However, we expect Wizards of the Coast to add that feature in the near future since sideboarding is an essential part of the gameplay.
Since MTG Arena mobile app is available for cross-play with PC players, finding a ranked or casual match is easy. The main difference in controls is that you tap on screen and drag the cards with your finger if you want to play a card, instead of mouse-clicking cards on PC. While it can be sometimes difficult to pick the card if you have a lot in hand, it's easy to control overall. There were times when I picked the wrong card, or clicked the card in hand instead of the library (when trying to check how many cards I have left in my library), which can be a bit frustrating, but it only took me a few seconds to re-click and get it right. I can imagine that it might be harder with a smaller mobile device, and it might be easier with the any i-Pad model.
While tapping on individual cards in hand can be sometimes frustrating, there seems to be no issue tapping cards on the battlefield or checking graveyards. Passing turns or priority is easy, but I can't seem to find the option for full control. It's also easy to take a closer look at the cards if you want to read their rules text.
You can also use the same kind of emotes but instead of selecting them in the center, you click your avatar on the lower left part of the screen for the emotes menu to pop up.
Building a deck is a bit harder on mobile since the horizontal scroll can be harder to control than how it's done in the PC version, so if I want to build a new deck or edit, I'd probably use the PC. It's also possible to import/export decklists, but it can be more time-consuming for the mobile user.
I had a few connection issues where the game lagged for a few seconds, but I'm not sure whether it's my internet connection's fault or the game's. I've had the same connection issues on PC.
The mobile app shares the same social features as the PC version, so that means you can challenge your friends, and chat with them, but you can't chat with your opponents, which is one of the five features I mentioned in 5 New Features Magic: The Gathering Arena Should Add.
Long-time PC players and most competitive players would most likely prefer playing the PC version of MTG Arena over the mobile app, but having the option to grind in best-of-one games on your bed, couch, or wherever you chill makes MTG Arena more convenient for players. I was able to make it to Diamond rank in Constructed on my mobile app, and I'm not even a big mobile gamer, so having both is nice, but I wouldn't delete MTG Arena on my PC just because I can play it on mobile. Of course, streamers would rather play this game on PC than mobile or tablet, just like most other games. You can watch me play MTG Arena on my Facebook page.
Overall, I think the developers did a fantastic job bringing MTG Arena to mobile and tablet devices. Sure, it's lacking best-of-three, but it shouldn't take that long for them to add it. If you love Magic, download MTG Arena app now.