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Magic Online
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Magic Online (abbreviated MOL, previously Magic: The Gathering Online, MTGO, or MODO[1]) is an official means of playing Magic: The Gathering over the Internet. Wizards of the Coast launched it on June 24, 2002, with the release of the two-year-old Invasion set and has since added each new set to the game as well.

Description[ | ]

Magic Online has slightly different formats than paper Magic.[2][3] New types of formats introduced in Magic Online include the Pauper Deck Challenge.

Magic Online uses digital cards.[4] They are sold in digital booster packs, just like physical packs in stores.[5] Several Magic Online sets and cards are not available in paper Magic.

MTGO booster

MTGO booster

Cards can also be obtained through Treasure Chests, which are prizes for events. While technically the amount of booster packs are infinite, the currency is not, and as such it develops an economy much like the paper card market. Only so many copies of any card are in circulation, and so singles command prices that are usually not as high as the peaks in real life but still can cost more than boosters. Supply is often done through trade bots, and naturally players can trade with each other.

Sets[ | ]

All cards from core sets after Seventh Edition and expansions after Alliances are fully featured in Magic Online (This included cards in Reserved List, as the reprint policy does not apply in non-paper medium). For cards before that and some special sets after Magic Online's launch (like Conspiracy), they are featured in Magic Online exclusive sets or as a part of Treasure Chests instead.

Core sets and expansions are sold until the sets are rotated out from Standard within the game. The other sets are sold on a selected time basis (including, but not limited to, as a provided product via limited events).

Recent sets are usually released a week after the paper version's release. Starting from Amonkhet, however, released a week before the paper version's official release date (the same date of prerelease).

Online-only[ | ]

The following sets are exclusive to Magic Online:

Cards[ | ]

The following cards are Magic Online-only:

  • Gleemox: a promo card that was given away with the announcement of the Gleemax project. They were distributed on Magic Online by Gleemax. The card only exists on Magic Online. It doesn't show up on the Gatherer because it's not a real-world card.[6]
  • Library of Congress: a special card that R&D uses to quickly set up a game state.[7]

Avatars[ | ]

Avatars are graphical representations of the player's persona or character. Avatar cards were used in casual Vanguard format games.[8] You would add one of them to your deck before playing, and at the start of the game, the avatar card from your deck would start in play for you and applied the modifications listed on it. Since Zendikar, rules text and starting hand size/life total modifiers for Vanguard avatars have been discontinued. However, players may continue to play the vanguard format with previously released avatars. Both old and new avatars can still be used to represent you in-game.[9][10][11] Avatars show damage; they wear away to a skeleton as the owner loses life points.[12]

DCI-sanctioned tournaments[ | ]

Magic online holds DCI sanctioned formats. Some of these are only sanctioned on Magic Online.

  • Modern: all sets and cards from Eighth Edition and Mirrodin are allowed. The format was subsequently officially codified two months after its introduction.
  • Freeform: all sets and cards are allowed. Regular deckbuilding rules are relaxed.
  • Classic: all sets and cards are allowed. Normal deckbuilding rules do apply. Was retired in June 2014 after the introduction of Vintage.
  • Pauper: all cards that have been printed as common at least once are allowed.
  • Prismatic: each deck must contain at least 250 cards, including at least 20 cards of each color. Was retired in February 2014.
  • Singleton: except for basic land cards, a player's combined deck and sideboard may not contain more than one of any individual card.
  • Tribal Wars: emphasizes creature combat: one-third of every deck must be of a single creature type.
  • Momir Basic: based on the “Momir Vig” Vanguard avatar.
  • Cube Draft: played with an especially selected pool of cards.[13]
  • Constructed Leagues.[14]
  • Duel Commander[15]
  • Brawl
Legacy Cube booster

Magic Online Cube booster 2014

Community Cup[ | ]

The Magic Online Community Cup is a yearly invitation-only tournament, first held in 2009, in which a group of Wizards of the Coast compete against a group of eight or twelve Magic players selected via a voting system in Magic Online.

Championship Series[ | ]

The Magic Online Championship Series (MOCS) is a tournament series taking place on Magic Online. Each year, 16 players earn invitations via the MOCS to the Magic Online Championship, an event with a $200,000 prize purse and a (roughly) one-year period Platinum status special promotion (in paper play) to the winner.

Prizes[ | ]

In 2015, By far the largest change to Magic Online event structures was the introduction of Play Points, the conversion of most Constructed events to award Play Points as the primary prizes, and the acceptance of Play Points in most events (both Constructed and Limited).[14] Wizards of the Coast made these changes to move away from awarding prizes entirely in boosters, which were mainly of interest to Limited players, primarily to allow Constructed players to more easily use their prizes to rejoin Constructed events.

Event tickets[ | ]

Magic Online's economy's primary currency is the event ticket.[16] Event tickets, or "tix" as they are commonly known, have only one official in-game use—paying part or all of an event's entry fee. However, trading bots (computer programs that exist to perform specific actions) typically operate on a credit system—if you buy or sell cards for fractions of an event ticket, they will save your credits for the next time you trade with a bot using that same credit system.

MOPR[ | ]


MOPR Booster

The Magic: The Gathering Online Player Rewards program (MOPR, ) offers players the chance to earn digital promo cards for their monthly Magic Online activity.[17] These include both standard non-foil versions, as well as premium foil versions.This activity includes playing in tournaments of sufficient size, as well as making purchases in the Magic Online Store.[18] Starting August 30, 2017, instead of awarding promo cards directly, the program awards Player Rewards Packs that could be either traded or opened.[19] They contain a single promo card. Some of these also appear in Treasure Chests, and may feature new art.[20]

So far, more than a thousand promos have been released online.

Issues and controversies[ | ]

Invasion block shortage[ | ]

As Invasion block was one of the first sets released on Magic Online, cards of the block are in short supply as the user base was very small at the time.

Judgment spoiler[ | ]

Due to a mistake, the entirety of Judgment was spoiled via Magic Online when the set was released on the software too early. This led to the release of sets on Magic Online to be several weeks after the release of the physical product. Since Amonkhet, sets are released and become tournament-legal on Magic Online simultaneously when the prerelease event of the physical counterpart has launched.

Instability and suspension of premier events[ | ]

In November 2013, after suffering a tournament loss by experiencing technical issues on Magic Online, Hall of Fame member Brian Kibler aired his frustration in an article on Star City Games entitled "The Magic Online Championship Series should not exist".[21] As this server instability and the inability to restore Magic Online Tournaments to certain states had been a longstanding issue, this led to the suspension of several types of high-profile types of events[22] which have been slowly phased back in since.[23]

As a response to the problem, the MOCS, along with Pro Tour qualifiers, and other Premier Events, was later suspended for almost half a year. During that time they dropped the older client and will use the new client which was launched in July 2014.[24][25] The MOCS and Magic Online PTQs were not resumed until September before WotC set up a backup plan if similar cases happened again in the future. The suspended MOCS' seasonal make-up events during that Pro Tour season were played between October and December.

Bribery, prize splitting, and collusion[ | ]

In August 2014, WotC issued bribery, prize splitting, and collusion guidelines that were included in the Magic Online User Agreement.[26]

Magic Digital Next[ | ]

Magic Digital Next (MDN) was Wizards' internal umbrella term for the entire landscape for Magic: The Gathering experiences around digital games.[27] The WotC-designed game Magic: The Gathering Arena was developed under this new umbrella, succeeding Magic Duels.[28] In September 2017, it was revealed that Magic Online and MTG Arena would exist independently.[29] However, MTG Arena quickly gained in popularity, and the survival of MTG Online was brought into question.[30] When Magic esports were introduced in 2019, it was based on MTG Arena, and Magic Online was not mentioned.[31] Not long after, Wizards of the Coast stressed that the MTGO team was committed to providing a home for players who were looking for Magic experiences that MTG Arena couldn't provide, with a focus on Modern and the other non-rotating formats.[32]

Daybreak Games[ | ]


In December of 2021, it was announced that Daybreak Games, a global publisher and developer of multiplayer online games, would enter into a long-term license agreement with Wizards of the Coast to develop, provide live service and publish Magic: The Gathering Online.[33] [34]

Magic Online officially transferred from Wizards of the Coast's servers to Daybreak's servers on October 18, 2022.[35][36] Henceforward, redemption sets for Standard-legal expansions are offered on a while-supplies-last basis only, and have a higher overall price.

References[ | ]

  1. Short for "Magic Online with Digital Objects" Wizards of the Coast (October, 2004). "Ask Wizards - October, 2004". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Clayton Kroh (December 16, 2013). "Magic Online 101". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mike Turian (December 16, 2013). "Balancing Act". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. John Doyle (February 25, 2002). "Security and Stability". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (August 05, 2013). "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Magic Arcana (December 09, 2008). "Ask Wizards: Gleemox and Elves of Deep Shadow". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Ryan Dhuse (June 16, 2008). "Coding Shadowmoor". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Monty Ashley (December 08, 2010). "Avatars of 2010". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Magic Online Vanguard
  10. Monty Ashley (May 17, 2012). "Magic Online Avatar Art". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Monty Ashley (October 15, 2012). "New MTGO Avatars". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Magic Arcana (November 11, 2008). "Necro's Got Legs!". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Randy Buehler (November 3, 2014) The New Magic Online Legacy Cube., Wizards of the Coast.
  14. a b Lee Sharpe (November 12, 2015). "State of Magic Online Events". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Magic Online (July 13, 2024). "Duel Commander Joins Magic Online July 24". Magic Online.
  16. Cardhoarder:MTGO Beginner's Guide
  17. Magic Online Player Rewards.
  18. Vorthos Mike (2014). "2014 Magic Online Player Reward Program?".
  19. Lee Sharpe (July 31, 2017). "Magic Online Player Reward Change".
  20. mtggoldfish (Sep 01, 2017). "New Magic Online Promos (New Art)". MTGGOLDFISH.
  21. Brian Kibler (November 11, 2013.) "The Magic Online Championship Series Should Not Exist", Star City Games.
  22. Worth Wollpert (November 13, 2013). "Changes to Magic Online Events". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Worth Wollpert (November 26, 2013). "Magic Online Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Chris Kiritz (July 16, 2014). "Magic Online: New Beginnings". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Worth Wollpert (February 23, 2015), Magic Online 2014 Executive Summary., Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Robert Schuster (August 13, 2014). "Policy Update for Magic Online Events". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Jeffrey Steefel (February 17, 2017). "Magic Digital Next". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. Jeffrey Steefel (June 13, 2017). "Magic Digital Next Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  29. Chris Kiritz (September 7, 2017). "Magic Online Moving Forward". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Florian Koch (December 3, 2018), "MTG Arena Is Killing Magic Online".
  31. Elaine Chase (December 6, 2018). "The Next Chapter for Magic: Esports". Wizards of the Coast.
  32. Chris Kiritz (December 14, 2018). "State of Magic Online". Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Chris Kiritz (December 15, 2021). "2022 Magic Online State of the Game". Wizards of the Coast.
  34. Daybreak (December 23, 2021). "Daybreak Games and Wizards of the Coast Enter License Agreement for Magic: The Gathering Online".
  35. Wizards of the Coast and Daybreak Games (October 11, 2022). "State of Magic Online: Transition to Daybreak". Wizards of the Coast.
  36. Tony Mayer (October 11, 2022). "Magic Online Transition Details". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]