MTG Arena Historic season tracking lower gameplay than expected

Even competitive players have time restraints.

MTG Jace planeswalker
Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering

Data from the last several weeks of the Historic Anthology season in MTG Arena shows less gameplay in best-of-three queues than Wizards of the Coast expected. 

WotC launched the first season of Historic Anthology in MTG Arena on Nov. 21. The new format was designed toward competitive Magic players, specifically a best-of-three tournament-style format. But according to recent data, more players are competing in best-of-one queues instead. 

“Overall play in Historic is tracking slightly lower than we’d like to see, which largely seems to be coming from players preferring to play best-of-one over best-of-three,” says WotC. “Somewhat surprisingly, we saw about three times the rate of games played in the Historic launch event (best-of-one) than we do in the Historic Ranked Queue (best-of-three). 

WotC suspended four cards in the Historic format today. But the organization doesn’t feel these problematic cards are the full reason behind less best-of-three gameplay. According to WotC, the data suggests that MTG Arena players would prefer a focus on best-of-one matches over best-of-three regarding future changes made to the Historic format. 

“This [data] suggests that while best-of-three is the most competitive way to play, the majority of our players still prefer best-of-one,” said WotC. “And this holds even in the Historic format, which we expected to attract more competitive-minded players. With this in mind, we’re looking at expanding the importance of best-of-one play in future Ranked Historic periods.”

The first Historic Anthology season in MTG Arena runs from Nov. 21 to Jan. 15. Any future changes to the format are expected to take place sometime in 2020.