It’s fairly streamlined, if you have a newer device
Magic: The Gathering Arena has finally made its way to iOS.
It took Wizards of the Coast, what some refer to as a “small indie company,” nearly two years to move the game off of the exclusivity of the PC/Mac platform and onto mobile devices.
How did it turn out? Mostly positive, if you have a newer device.
So here’s an extremely mulligan-ready opening hand on PC:
And here’s what an opening hand looks like on iOS:
Next up, here’s what a board state looks like on PC:
And here’s a board state, with the same deck, on iOS:
Similar, right? The game plays in a 1:1 fashion, the only real info that is truncated is the giant avatars and the squished pets; which doesn’t impact gameplay at all. If you want your hand to pop out of the bottom of the screen, you just tap it. Cards work just like Magic, your account automatically interfaces with your PC edition and all your stuff is there. I can pick up and play on either one: but if you log into each, it’ll boot you out of the other one (with a generic “lost connection” message).
That’s pretty much all there is to it. Since there isn’t a different ecosystem to worry about, you can use all your decks and just play. There are some janky framerate problems, in my experience, on every device. But I’ve found that every match I’ve been in is playable. I’ve never once accidentally triggered something I wasn’t supposed to, as most of the taps are precise and the actions, deliberate.
It is important to point out that I am testing this on an iPhone 11. Note that not everyone shares this same experience. Some folks with older devices are having greater issues with the framerate specifically. Hopefully Wizards can smooth it out across the board, but thankfully, you don’t have to pay for the mobile port, or there would be a bigger problem.
It’s a great time to get into Magic: Arena. Jump in, use some of the starter decks, and resist the urge to spend any money. Acquire some wild cards (the means in which you unlock specific singles in Arena), and mull over some potential decks without spending them. The next season starts next month with Strixhaven: you can decide whether or not it’s worth pursuing then!