Anybody who has been playing Magic: The Gathering Arena will know that it has been a rather lonely experience.
Before this week you were able to queue up against random opponents but you weren’t able to challenge players to a game but now you can.
Direct Challenge is now live and as the name infers, it allows you to directly challenge another player to a game. There are however, a few stipulations to challenging another spell slinger.
Firstly, you will need another player’s name and the five-digit number associated with that account. Wizards has added a feature where clicking your name which is visible in the Direct Challenge Play Blade will copy your name and five-digit number so you can share it with mates over Discord or whatever other social apps you use.
To start a Direct Challenge, click the option in the main menu, fill in your name (which should autocomplete) and the name of your opponent. Display names that contain a space have a known issue but Wizards says you can simply click the name where the space should be and add the space.
After both players have been challenged you will be able to select a deck containing a minimum of 60 cards. Once each player has a deck you can start the game.
As for what formats you can play, that’s entirely up to you according to Wizards.
“Direct Challenge only requires players to have a constructed deck with a minimum of 60 cards that are currently in their collection. There is no maximum deck size. This allows you to play Standard, Singleton, Pauper, or even your own homebrewed variant. Please note that the current system only enforces the 60 card minimum deck. If you and your opponent agree to play Pauper and they play a Turn 3 Gigantosaurus, the system won’t stop them,” the developer explained in FAQs.
Much like Hearthstone, playing against a friend in a challenge does not contribute to daily or weekly quest progression and your player rank won’t be affected.
As for side-boarding, Direct Challenges are a Best of One so if you want to sideboard you’ll have to do that by editing your deck between games.
The developer says that it is working on bringing additional social features to the MTGA client but there is no set date for the release of these features.
Magic: The Gathering Arena is currently in open beta and is available to play for free.