The Metagame Loop

The concept of the Metagame in this article specifically relates to the cycle of player decisions and actions leading up to, and during, any given competitive constructed tournament. I refer to this in the article as a single metagame cycle. This cycle is format agnostic. The steps within this cycle may or may not be executed consciously by the players, but all players in a given tournament execute this fundamental gameplay loop.

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What Makes a Healthy Metagame?

What makes a healthy metagame? Just like any organization or society, the answer is one word: Diversity. In Magic, that means deck diversity. Magic: The Gathering is a sprawling game, in the last 27 years it has spawned over 20,000 unique cards, and those cards have translated into diverse strategies that allow players an array of options to win a match against one or more opponents. From the pro-tour to the kitchen table the game carries the promise that “you can win with the cards you’ve bought.” While that statement is a gross simplification of how tournament magic unfolds, I’m going to use it in my definition of what makes the game both engaging, and in particular, fun.

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Getting Started

Today, I want to take the next step, and provide a quick and dirty guide on how to get from “I want to try this” to jamming games on the Discord server as quickly as possible. Of course, the easiest way to get a deck together is to go on the Discord, grab a list from a league or weekly tournament, and try it out. However, this may take you a large amount of wild cards, or even worse, gems. If you have the inclination and resources to do that, by all means go for it, and you should be slinging cards in as little as 5 minutes. However, a how-to guide on importing decklists into Arena would be a pretty dry (though mercifully brief) read, so I am presenting this so that you can dive right in with my favorite easy brewing technique. I call it…

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What Makes Gladiator Unique?

For those of you just beginning your quest for Gladiator greatness on MTG Arena, getting started and finding your footing on the blood-soaked sands might be a little tricky, or even intimidating. What makes Gladiator unique? What’s the easiest way to build a deck? What is the metagame like? How much do I need to spend? What resources are there to help me? In the coming weeks I’ll be writing a series of articles that will help increase your baseline understanding of the format, make informed decisions about card choices, and get started having fun playing the best online format Magic: The Gathering has to offer.

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State of the Format: July 2020

There’s been a number of huge updates for our beloved format since the last state of the format.
Key items:
Core 2021, Jumpstart, Historic Anthology 3 released into the metagame.
The creation of the Gladiator Council and the banning of Field of the Dead.
Growth of the Gladiator Discord to over 4,000 players.
Creation of the Gladiator Arena League.

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13 May 2020 | North American G:AS Tournament Report

Talk about a tournament! 92 players met on a Wednesday night to do battle, and some surprising things emerged! While the weekend tournaments were dominated by UGX strategies, and midrange value decks seemed to be everywhere, this tournament saw more aggressive strategies attacking the still fluid meta game. Outstanding showing from Gruul decks, and it still appears that green is the most powerful color but other strategies were equally represented in the 4-1 lists. Big tournaments this weekend so sharpen your decks and check your mana bases!

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State of the Format – May 2020

It’s been a period of rapid growth for the Gladiator, which is a testament to both the awesomeness and the accessibility of this new community driven singleton format. Since the creation of the discord server on 22 April 2020 to present (12 May 2020), we’ve grown to 2,200 players active in the discord. There have already been 5 competitive tournaments in which 190 players participated from North American Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. The format is generating interest throughout the wider magic community via word of mouth, streaming, and social media, and it is all because we, the players, are driving the community, whether it be through discussions, deck building, content creation, or just playing.

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09 May 2020 | North American Tournament Report

It’s still pretty early in the format, and the meta game is slowly coalescing, however no truly dominant archetype has emerged. GX decks in both two and three color combinations have a large presence in the metagame, but if you compare the results of the European (early) and North American (late) Tournaments today, you still see aggro decks going undefeated, and diverse strategies from Jeskai Superfriends (below) to The Rock going 3-1. Player diversity is possibly also a factor, as not everyone has been grinding on the platform to have the ability to rapidly switch decks into new archetypes. We’ll continue to track tournament results and see what develops.

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Dealing With Planeswalkers

There are currently 2,857 cards on Magic Arena, and 98 of those are planeswalkers. With only 205 of these game winning bombs made in the 25 year history of the game, in gladiator the density of playable planeswalkers is higher in our format than in any other. With War of the Spark in the format it’s essential to ask when deck building: how does this deck answer planeswalkers?

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24 April 2020 | Gladiator 26 Player Arena Tournament Results

Excellent impromptu tournament, the format still looks wide open!

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