Magic: The Gathering Arena

Wizards of the Coast have announced that there's a new free-to-play multiplayer card combat game set to appear later this year called Magic: The Gathering Arena. The game is an answer to the current crop of card games tearing up the market at the moment, such as Blizzard's Hearthstone and CD Projekt Red's Gwent.

The news came out of the recent live-stream of the Magic: The Gathering Grand Prix taking place in Washington, D.C., which is being broadcast from the Magic Twitch channel. The Wizards of the Coast announced that the new free-to-play CCG is currently taking closed beta registrants over on the official Magic website.

The game is scheduled to launch later in the year but it doesn't yet have an official release date. IGN also recently posted some footage for the upcoming free-to-play title, covering about 20 minutes worth of gameplay.

The video reveals some fairly fast-paced card combat, where players attempt to control the battlefield by putting down guard cards, attack cards and buffs. It's possible to stack various cards for additional bonuses or re-order the deck to take advantage of certain card bonuses.

Much like other CCGs out there, the object is to dwindle your opponent's health bar until it reaches zero. Both players start at 20 health points and can use different cards to dish out some massive damage.

As a free-to-play title, Magic: The Gathering Arena looks about par for the course for a typical game, but it's not quite as aesthetically dense as Hearthstone nor as visually distinct as games like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Star Crusade or Mabinogi Duel. Even still, if you're fan of the way the original Magic: The Gathering games are played, you'll likely find yourself enjoying the upcoming Arena.

This is just another in a long line of top brands that have also been looking to get into the CCG arena, especially after the success of Gwent and Hearthstone. Valve has even stepped in with the upcoming Dota 2 card game, which caused a huge backlash from gamers who felt as if the card game had taken away resources from Valve finishing Half-Life 3.

In this case, though, gamers aren't too displeased with the Wizards of the Coast dipping into the free-to-play card game category. Some, of course, compared it to other titles currently on the market, while also hoping that all the rules from the standard Magic games will be applicable on the board.

Speaking of the standard Magic: The Gathering game... there are plans to release a new expansion pack for the game called Magic: The Gathering -- Ixalan. The new expansion is set to arrive on September 29th for PC gamers. This is also in addition to another RPG being in the works based on the property, which should drastically raise the stock of Magic's brand, giving gamers a lot more of what they want from the series.

Of course, fans who want to test out the new free-to-play title can sign-up on the website by simply entering the date of birth and an e-mail address.

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