It's not a great time for physical games. While us videogames lot are enjoying more time than ever to play, it's practically impossible to run a weekly board or card game meet when all the shops are shut and any human interaction could lead to contracting a (potentially deadly) virus. In an effort to keep the magic alive, Wizards Of The Coast are running three weeks of special Friday Night Magic events to help MTG communities stay alive online with Magic: The Gathering Arena.
At a time like this, the last thing people want to be doing is sitting within sneezing distance of another human. Fortunately for Wizards Of The Coast, they've got a perfectly good online version of their tentpole card game in Magic: The Gathering Arena. Better still that it's been built in such a way that more recent physical cards can be copied straight into the game's digital collection.
What better venue to keep the Magic alive, then? For three weeks, Arena is playing host to Friday Night Magic. Traditionally a format for store and hobby organisers to run events for their communities, FNM At Home reimagines the event as a series of themed event nights on Arena's digital tabletop.
The first of these Friday Night Magic events took place last night, letting players try out any one of four pre-constructed 2020 Challenger Decks. Next week is All Access, letting you build a Standard format with any card you like - whether you own them or not. And on Friday, April 10th, Historic Brawl will have you putting together a 60-card deck with cards from both your Standard and Historic collections.
These events are open to anyone playing M:TGA, whether they're coming from a brick and mortar or their own bedroom. But for local communities, Wizards are reaching out to store owners and group organisers to let them give exclusive rewards out to their players - even going so far as creating a template for long-time card-shufflers who aren't as clued up on this computer lark.
Wizards suggest there may be more events - and more rewards - beyond these three weeks, depending on how the whole coronavirus situation plays out. They're also working on other avenues of connection between players and their local communities. For now, those plans are kept well-hidden in Wizards' hand.