Magic: The Gathering Arena Patch Makes Changes To Ikoria Premier Drafts

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The long-awaited addition of player-to-player drafts in Magic: The Gathering Arena hasn’t gone as swimmingly as the game’s developer had perhaps hoped. Shortly after the release of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths earlier this month, players noticed that certain modes, despite being labelled as free-to-enter prior to the set’s launch, required folks to pony up an eye-watering 10,000 gold in order to enter.

Wizards of the Coast promptly responded to the criticism by labelling the blunder as an oversight on its part, though it now appears other formats have been experiencing further issues. Deployed late last week, the bulk of patch 1.07 largely deals with applying fixes to wonky card interactions and miscellaneous bug fixes, though one particular amendment pertains to Premier Draft and a number of unintended behaviours therein.

The first of two major fixes have to do with MTG Arena‘s matching algorithm in Premier Draft and how it would often match players of wildly different ranks together in the same match. The developer’s note reads as follows:

As some of you may have noticed, there were certain scenarios where you were being matched against somebody with a much higher (or lower) Rank than yours – this should address that issue. Regardless, players were still being properly matched on their current W/L record (Ranked draft formats use both your rank and your win/loss record when searching for an opponent).

Adding to that, a small but impactful tweak to best-of-one Premier Drafts has been rolled out which aims to make drawing a dud first hand much less commonplace. As before, see below for official commentary explaining the adjustments and why they needed to be made:

We intend for best-of-one formats to use a modified opening-hand algorithm which pulls multiple potential opening hands and chooses one; Premier Draft was operating contrary to that, and we have fixed it accordingly. To stave off any conspiracy theories, it was previously using our best-of-three opening hand rules (which pulls one, and only one opening hand).

Welcome changes all round, then, though it remains to be seen if those implemented have their intended effect of enticing players new and old into giving the format a chance. Standard remains the most popular Arena mode by a wide margin due to its ease of access that provides all newcomers several free starter decks to get stuck in straight off the bat.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is out now for Magic: The Gathering Arena and includes over 300 new cards. For a rundown of all the new mechanics – including the best cards to look out for – see here.

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