Magic Online (abbreviated MOL, previously Magic: The Gathering Online, MTGO, or MODO) 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. Magic Online has slightly different formats than paper Magic. New types of formats introduced in Magic Online include the Pauper Deck Challenge.
- 1 Sets
- 2 Avatars
- 3 DCI-sanctioned tournaments
- 4 Community Cup
- 5 Championship Series
- 6 Prizes
- 7 Event tickets
- 8 MOPR
- 9 Issues and controversies
- 10 Magic Digital Next
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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 prior than 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 in 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).
The following sets are exclusive to Magic Online:
- Masters Edition
- Masters Edition II
- The “Enchantress Rubinia” and “Deathdancer Xira” Commander Theme Decks
- Masters Edition III
- The “Boltslinger” and “Exiler” decks of the short-lived Magic Online Deck Series
- Momir Basic Event Deck
- Masters Edition IV
- Vintage Masters
- Tempest Remastered
- Legendary Cube
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.
- Library of Congress: a special card that R&D uses to quickly set up a game state.
Avatars are graphical representations of the player's persona or character. Avatar cards were used in casual Vanguard format games. 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. Avatars show damage; they wear away to a skeleton as the owner loses life points.
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: with the exception of 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.
- Constructed Leagues.
- Duel Commander
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.
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.
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). 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.
Magic Online's economy's primary currency is the event ticket. 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.
The Magic: The Gathering Online Player Rewards program (MOPR, ) offers players the chance to earn digital promo cards for their monthly Magic Online activity. These include both standard non-foil versions, as well as premium foil versions.This activity includes playing in tournaments of a sufficient size, as well as making purchases in the Magic Online Store. Starting August 30, 2017, instead of awarding promo cards directly, the program award Player Rewards Packs that could be either traded or opened. They contain a single promo card. Some of these also appear in Treasure Chests, and may feature new art.
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.
Due to a mistake, the entirety of Judgment was spoiled via Magic Online when the set was released on the software too early. This had 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". 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 several types of high-profile types of events which have been slowly phased back in since.
As a response towards the problem, the MOCS, along with Pro Tour qualifiers, and other Premier Events, was later suspended for almost half a year. Which during that time they dropped the older client and will use the new client which was launched in July 2014. The MOCS and Magic Online PTQs were not resumed until September before WotC set up a backup plan if similar cases happened again in 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.
Magic Digital Next
Magic Digital Next (MDN) is Wizards' internal umbrella term for the entire landscape for Magic: The Gathering experiences around digital games. The WotC-designed game Magic: The Gathering Arena was developed under this new umbrella, succeeding Magic Duels. In September 2017, it was revealed that Magic Online and MTG Arena would exist independently. However, MTG Arena quickly gained in popularity, and the survival of MTG Online was brought into question. When Magic esports were introduced in 2019, it was based on MTG Arena, and Magic Online was not mentioned. 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.
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- Magic Online Vanguard
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- Cardhoarder:MTGO Beginner's Guide
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- mtggoldfish (Sep 01, 2017). "New Magic Online Promos (New Art)". MTGGOLDFISH.
- Brian Kibler (November 11, 2013.) "The Magic Online Championship Series Should Not Exist", Star City Games.
- Worth Wollpert (November 13, 2013). "Changes to Magic Online Events". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Worth Wollpert (November 26, 2013). "Magic Online Update". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Chris Kiritz (July 16, 2014). "Magic Online: New Beginnings". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Worth Wollpert (February 23, 2015), Magic Online 2014 Executive Summary. Magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Robert Schuster (August 13, 2014). "Policy Update for Magic Online Events". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jeffrey Steefel (February 17, 2017). "Magic Digital Next". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Jeffrey Steefel (June 13, 2017). "Magic Digital Next Update". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Chris Kiritz (September 7, 2017). "Magic Online Moving Forward". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Florian Koch (December 3, 2018), "MTG Arena Is Killing Magic Online". ChannelFireball.com
- Elaine Chase (December 6, 2018). "The Next Chapter for Magic: Esports". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Chris Kiritz (December 14, 2018). "State of Magic Online". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Online Official Site
- SaffronOlive (August 17, 2015). "The Complete History of Magic Online". mtggoldfish.com.
- Trick Jarrett (April 01, 2013). "Announcing MTGO Buddy!". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast. (April Fools)
- Trick Jarrett (June 12, 2013). "Magic Online Wide Beta Spotlight". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Gaby Spartz (April 6, 2016). "How to Get Started on Magic Online". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.