Magic: The Gathering Arena stress testing starts in November, closed beta coming soon

Magic: The Gathering Arena, the digital version of MtG that was announced in September, will begin closed beta testing "as early as November 30," Wizards of the Coast's Digital Games Studio announced today. Ahead of the beta, stress tests and "play days" will be held to ensure that the systems are up to handling the demand. 

The first stress test will take place on November 3, with invitations to take part being sent out to "closed beta priority access holders." Assuming it isn't a complete bust, "a few thousand fans" will be invited to participate in follow-up play days, "to help us further calibrate the game before opening the gates to a greater number of fans." NDAs will be required, and streaming will be prohibited during this time. 

The start date of the closed beta is a little mushy, but if the stress testing goes according to plan, it'll begin "as early as November 30," with initial invitations going to players who took part in any of the previous rounds of testing. "After that, we'll send frequent invites to more players based on our server requirements and capabilities. During this period, we'll be collecting feedback and adding updates, expanding the features, and adding key cards from Kaladesh and Amonkhet blocks." 

The closed beta will also have an NDA, but it will be lifted "as soon as our team feels the closed beta experience is ready for the spotlight," Wizards said. The number of people admitted to the stress tests will be relatively small—developers expect it will be "in the thousands, rather than the hundreds of thousands"—but closed beta numbers will be larger, with invitations sent out in waves.   

You can sign up to take part in the closed beta at, which also has information on gaining priority access: You'll need to have attended the Ixalan prerelease event, or played Magic Duels or Magic Online during the week of September 25.  

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.