Alongside a slew of other announcements about Magic: The Gathering’s future at Gen Con 2023, Wizards of the Coast revealed that the long-awaited Pioneer Masters set will finally be coming to MTG Arena in 2024.

Don’t miss our coverage of the other announcements made at Gen Con: The Angel-themed Secret Lair Commander deck, Jurassic Park, Fallout, Assassin’s Creed, and Final Fantasy are all coming to Magic in the next two years, plus Magic’s 2024 (!), 2025 (!!), and 2026 (!!!) sets were revealed.

“At the end of 2024, our plan is to reach what we’re calling ‘tournament Pioneer,’” said Arena Executive Produce Chris Kiritz. That means “making sure that all of the cards that are relevant for tournament-caliber Pioneer play are available for players to add to their decks at the end of 2024.”

“To help us get there,” Kiritz continued, “We’re going to deliver Pioneer Masters, a draftable set that fills in those remaining archetype gaps while being a fun experience on its own.”

But Pioneer support won’t stop there. “For Pioneer players who are looking for something a little less spikey,” Kiritz said, “We’ll continue to add fun and iconic cards through things like Anthologies or booster pack inserts as we can because we want to support both tournament play and causal, fun play.”

Pioneer Masters, Three Years Later

You’re not alone if you’re getting a sense of déjà vu regarding the prospect of Pioneer coming to Arena via a set called Pioneer Masters. In fact, it was almost exactly three years ago—in July 2020—when Wizards announced that they would bring the (at the time) 10-month-old Pioneer format to Arena by the end of 2020 with a set called Pioneer Masters and a series of “remastered” sets from before Arena’s release.

Unfortunately, Wizards was unable to keep that promise as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to upend the world and disrupt how people work. They ended up releasing two remastered sets—Amonkhet Remastered and Kaladesh Remastered—before Pioneer Masters was delayed until 2021 and then put on an indefinite pause in July 2021 so that Wizards could focus on the new MTG Arena-only Historic format, which was introduced just a few months before Pioneer in June 2019.

Pioneer on Arena was given a glimmer of hope last year when Wizards introduced the Explorer format. One of the stated goals of the format was to eventually cease to exist and become Pioneer: “Consider [Explorer] the first leg of our Pioneer journey,” Wizards said, “where one day Explorer will be ‘retired’ as a format, and we simply call it…Pioneer.”

With the revival of Pioneer Masters and its expected arrival by the end of 2024, it would seem that Explorer’s days are numbered and that Pioneer will finally arrive on Arena…four years after we initially thought it would.

Other MTG Arena Notes from Gen Con

MTG Arena’s Fifth Anniversary

Arena’s fifth anniversary (counting from the game’s Open Beta) is next month and Kiritz said that Arena will have “a few tricks up our sleeve to share next month.” One of those updates will be “improved duplicate protection,” which Kiritz implied could involve some sort of cross-set duplicate protection.

It’s hard to believe that Arena has been playable for five years already. It was initially revealed in September 2017, then entered Closed Beta in two months later, which became an Open Beta on September 29, 2018. It then exited Beta for a full release nearly a full year later on September 26, 2019.

No More Remastered Sets on Arena “For a While”

Wizards announced two new Remastered sets at Gen Con—Ravnica Remastered and Innistrad Remastered—but Kiritz revealed that neither of those would be coming to Arena. “Shadows Over Innistrad will be the last Remastered set on Arena for a while,” he said.

Khans of Tarkir Will Come to Arena This Year

Though no more Remastered sets are planned for Arena’s near future, Khans of Tarkir will get a full release by the end of 2023. Since it won’t be a Remastered set, it won’t include any cards from the rest of the Tarkir block (Fate Reforged and Dragons of Tarkir).

Arena Will Get Fallout Cosmetics, Not Cards

Fallout is one of the next third-party IPs to get the Universes Beyond treatment in Magic with four new Commander decks. Unfortunately, none of those cards will be coming to Arena. Instead, Arena will have Fallout-themed cosmetics.

2025 May Bring a PVE Experience and Multiplayer

Surprisingly, Wizards gave quite a bit of information about what they were planning for 2025 and beyond. For Arena, Kiritz emphasized that “things are not set in stone” and that these things are “what we’re trying to do…as we look at 2025 and beyond.”

A Potential PVE Experience?

“We think there is an opportunity to better serve players who might be intimidated by jumping into a free-to-play, player-vs-player experience right out of the gate,” Kiritz said. “So we’re actively discussing how we can address that—how can we give players a sandbox where they can have fun and have fun and be comfortable building their magic skills without the pressure of winning and losing, particularly in front of other players.”

This sounds a lot like a potential player-vs-environment, or PVE, experience for Arena—but we’ll have to wait and see.

How Will Arena Do Multiplayer?

“We know there are a lot of types of Magic players,” Kiritz said. “Currently, Arena is addressing a specific portion: those that are big fans of the 1v1 experience.”

“[Arena] doesn’t support two or more players,” he continued. “How do we get three or more players at the table?”

Kiritz proposed a few different possibilities: continuing to add on to the existing Arena client, and even potentially separate clients that support different play styles.

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