If you've ever dabbled in the world of collectable trading card games you know Magic: The Gathering, either because you played it or because Magic fans were constantly saying your chosen TCG is terrible in comparison. I've always been tempted by MTG but can't quite face buying into its expansive and expensive ecosystem, and if you feel the same then there's good news.
Magic the Gathering: Arena is in development at Wizards of the Coast's new Digital Game Studio, and is a free to play version of the game incorporating the latest rules and mechanics. Alongside this the plan is to update the roster of cards alongside the physical card game.
It looks like Wizards of the Coast is putting a lot of effort into making a polished and contemporary Magic video game and, frankly, not before time. There have been many decent Magic video games but they've invariably had limitations on deck and card selections, when a huge part of Magic's ongoing appeal is the sheer range of options and playstyles available. And you can't ignore the competition; nothing Magic-branded has come close to the production values, scope and flair of a Gwent or Hearthstone. Hopefully MtG: Arena can hit this kind of standard, because there's no question that the underlying game is of the highest quality.
More than anything, it'll be great to properly sink my teeth into the basics without having to spend a fortune on decks and boosters. If you want to register for MtG: Arena's closed beta, you can do so here.