Following a three-day downtime as part of its release out of closed beta, Magic: The Gathering Arena is now available as an open beta, though it's still due to roll out in some regions. At least for new players in North America, it should now be possible to download the game client directly from the official website, create an account, and try it out with plenty of free decks and cards. In my preview of the closed beta, published back in July, I was very impressed and excited for the future as I saw Arena establishing itself as the best online implementation of Magic: The Gathering after a long list of failures and half-successes.
The biggest change that comes with the open beta is that four expansion sets, namely Kaladesh, Aether Revolt, Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation have left Arena for a while. The remaining sets will be only those that are standard legal. As explained by Wizards of the Coast, "Each year, four Magic sets are released and added to Standard. Once per year, when the fall set releases, the four oldest sets in Standard rotate out." To replace those retired sets, a new expansion set, Guilds of Ravnica, is now entering Standard. In fact, the expansion will be available to play on Arena two days before its official tabletop release. The sets that are now available in Arena as part of Standard also include Ixalan, Rivals of Ixalan, Dominaria, and Core Set 2019.
Players who have been playing in the closed beta should expect an account wipe, meaning that both new and veteran players will now have the same decks and cards to start from scratch. Veteran players will also be reimbursed for all in-game currency or bundle purchased since the start of closed beta. According to Wizards of the Coast, the open beta is only the beginning. They promise more experimental event types, making player ranking and progression more meaningful, cosmetic items, and, more importantly, a better solution to what happens when you get a fifth copy of a card. Additionally, they'll be looking at how to handle set rotation and how to bring back those sets that have rotated out of Standard.
Have you tried Magic: The Gathering Arena yet? Which particular sets would you like to see included in future updates and/or events? Let us know in the comments below.