Jace casts a spell in Magic: The Gathering

Wizards of the Coast is still hard at work on Magic: The Gathering Arena, a new take on the classic card game franchise that will tweak a few things from the physical version and offer a unique experience on digital platforms. The good news is that they're almost ready to dive into the beta phase and they're looking for plenty of players to get involved.

In case this is a little confusing, MTG Arena is actually different from the standard version of Magic, which already has a digital counterpart. But while Hearthstone or The Elder Scrolls: Legends are more streamlined takes on the genre, Arena is aiming to bring every bit of the depth from the tabletop series to a more robust digital platform. The standard version of digital Magic is fine to play, but not all that exciting to watch. WotC aims to change that with Arena, which will be free-to-play when it's ready to launch.

But that's putting the cart before the horse. Before Arena can become the next big thing on mobile, WotC needs to test it first. To prepare for that, they've posted an exhaustive rundown of early play activities, including the upcoming stress test and the closed beta.

The initial plan is to host a stress test on Nov. 3 and, assuming the game doesn't collapse under the load of actual play, the game will shortly move into the closed beta. The hope is to have the beta up and running as early as Nov. 30, so you folks waiting on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will have to make room in your lives for two games.

You can sign up for the closed beta directly from the WotC site but, even if you don't make it in during the first wave, the plan is to invite more and more players in as the weeks wear on. After signing up for the beta, all you have to do is wait for an email from the devs inviting you into the game. That's it.

As a heads up, the closed beta will be PC-only and participants will be under an NDA, so only share your thoughts in the official forums if you manage to get in. For those wondering about format, the beta will be a best-of-one constructed format using all of the cards from the new Ixalan set. But this is a beta, so don't expect to hold on to any cards you get while playing. A draft format is expected to be implemented at some point during the beta.

Finally, as for how long the beta will last, WotC isn't sure yet. So if you manage to get in, just keep playing until they let you know that the duels must come to an end.

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