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State of Magic Online - Transition to Daybreak

Posted on Oct 11, 2022


We are excited to announce that Magic Online will be moving to Daybreak Games's servers next week—the final step in a year-long transition process intended to help ensure long-term Magic Online growth and continued service for our game's many fans. Whether your favorite format is Modern, Commander, or one of many others, you can rest assured knowing that the online game you've loved for 20 years will be in capable hands.

If you want a nuts-and-bolts walkthrough of what Transition Day will look like next week, please visit the Transition Details article, then come back here for an introduction to the team, discussions of our future goals with the game, as well as top offerings for the rest of this year.


Executive Producer Chris Kiritz
Executive Producer Chris Kiritz, Magic Digital, Wizards of the Coast

While on vacation in August of 2008, my manager called me to tell me that my current team, ecommerce and product management for Wizards's fledgling digital initiatives, had been restructured and that I would officially be joining the Magic Online team. I'd already been supporting MTGO's store for about a year, back when it was a separate web-based experience, and I'd also worked with the team to ensure that the in-game store was ready for the v3 launch. What I couldn't know at the time I started down that new path, however, was how much impact Magic Online, the people who built it, and the players who loved it would impact my life from that point on.

In a few short years, we tripled the size of the business. We evolved how we thought about the product with an eye on trying to find ways to engage as many kinds of Magic players as we could. While not all of our changes stood the test of time, a quick (and by no means chronological or comprehensive) accounting includes Swiss Draft queues, two-player queues, PTQs and Super Qualifiers, daily events, the Magic Online Champions Showcase (and its Championship Series predecessor), Cube Draft, Chaos Draft, Supreme Draft, the Community Cup, the Planeswalker format, the first Commander decks, Masters EditionVintage Masters, Treasure Chests, Play Points, updated Leagues and trophies, a complete UX overhaul, four-player events, Pauper, and Magic Online Live events, all while supporting every premier release and some ancillary releases as well. This list also leaves out the myriad of internal improvements made over the years to reduce downtimes by more than 80%, improve how we deliver card sets, simplify how we manage events, improve stability, overhaul our ecommerce, improve the client, and more.

It wasn't easy; few really rewarding things are. We were not perfect, as long-time fans are able to point out, but we constantly improved the product and how the team worked to try and address missteps and changing player needs. I am confident that MTGO is better now than when I first joined the team and am proud of everything we accomplished during that time.

It feels fitting then that fourteen years after joining the MTGO team at the pivotal launch of v3, I'm writing this at the cusp of another big transition as Daybreak Games takes over full-time publishing duties next week. As a leading developer and publisher of multiplayer online games, Daybreak Games is a great fit as a partner, and we're embarking on this new journey together to build upon the legacy of MTGO. I'm excited to see what this team can do in collaboration with Daybreak Games and its history of supporting established and dedicated game communities.

Speaking of community, you'd be hard pressed to find a group of players with more passion than MTGO players. Whether you're spending your time earning League trophies, having heated debates in the community, or publishing a plethora of user-generated videos, articles, and websites, your engagement over the years is impressive. I've been lucky enough to get to know some of you over the years and am constantly awed by your dedication.

Similarly, you'd also be hard pressed to assemble a team who cares more about the product they were working on than the MTGO team. Demonstrated over the years with a cast of characters too large to list, this passion lives on with the team who's moved over to Daybreak Games to continue to develop the game. These folks continually did the improbable, and the last 20 years of MTGO would have been impossible without them.

While I'll miss the direct day-to-day interaction with MTGO after living it for so many years, I have had the pleasure of working closely with both Ryan and Tony on MTGO over the years and am confident in their ability to shepherd this new era of Magic Online and add to its legacy.

Good luck and have fun,
Chris Kiritz
Executive Producer, Magic Digital
Wizards of the Coast


Daybreak Game Company is a global publisher and developer of large-scale multiplayer online games, best known for blockbuster hits and franchises such as EverQuest® and EverQuest® IIPlanetSide® 2, and DC Universe Online. Daybreak also publishes The Lord of the Rings Online™ and Dungeons & Dragons Online®. At Daybreak, the Magic Online team is led by Executive Producer Sarah Parsons.


Sarah Parsons
Executive Producer Sarah Parsons

Hi, I'm Sarah Parsons. and I'm excited to join a robust community and a passionate, veteran development team. I've been in the games industry for over eight years with Daybreak's sister company Big Blue Bubble. I've focused on several titles, including My Singing Monsters—a critically acclaimed, top-grossing game on the App Store and Google Play Store, with more than 115 million players worldwide.

As a fan of the Magic universe, I am looking forward to collaborating on a wish list of features and driving continued growth in our game for years to come.

To that end, here is another key voice of our game development team—our Creative Director Ryan Spain.

Ryan Spain
Creative Director Ryan Spain

Hi, everyone! Ryan Spain here. When I left the Limited Resources podcast in 2011 to join Magic R&D at Wizards of the Coast, my role was to advocate for Magic Online within R&D and throughout the company while providing design and vision support for the MTGO team. We brought a lot of improvements to the game during the five years I spent on it, including the introduction of Cube Draft, the reintroduction of League play, and a complete client redesign. It was an honor to work on the video game I have put more play hours into than any other!

When I left the Going Optimal stream earlier this year to join the Magic Online team at Daybreak Games, it was to take on the role of creative director, and I'm excited to be back! While the game is under new management, my role on the team is similar: provide product vision and design direction, and work with the incredible Magic Online team to support and improve the most authentic digital expression of the tabletop game for years to come!


So, where do we want Magic Online to go in the next one to three years? We want an improved game by all measures. There's a lot on the list we want to get to, but here's the current thinking on our upcoming initiatives to improve the quality of life for both the players and the folks working on the game.

  1. Multi-Factor Authentication: Players and staff alike have wanted this for a while. Because Magic Online has tradable objects, account security is important, and multi-factor authentication will provide a powerful layer of security.
  2. Improved Metrics and Tools: Less visible to the players, but vital to those making the game. We need a better understanding of what players are doing to understand what features need prioritization and updating, and to make those updates happen, we also need to make sure our team has the right development and support tools for the job.
  3. Play Rewards: A great game of Magic is certainly its own reward, but we want to introduce some no-risk incentives for playing beyond the fun of the game.
  4. Battlefield Automation: We want to incorporate more tools for auto-tapping and auto-passing to reduce the number of clicks needed to play out a turn, and other improvements to the gameplay experience.
  5. Onboarding: With an improved user experience to share, we will need to make things friendlier for new-to-MTGO players—some hand-holding and direction will go a long way toward keeping folks around who give Magic Online a try.
  6. Commander Update: One of the unique aspects of Magic Online is the support for multiplayer, but there are a lot of things that can be done to make the experience quicker and clearer. We want to make Magic Online the Commander destination, and the experience needs improvement before that can happen.

This is not an exhaustive list, and the sequencing and contents could change, but I wanted to share our current view on future improvements with you all, and we will be listening to our players closely as we adjust our course.

Now here's our Product Manager Tony Mayer to take you through what's happening over the next several months.


Tony Mayer
Product Manager Tony Mayer

For the remainder of this year, we are focused on making the transition as smooth as possible for you, our fans, as well as delivering The Brothers' War (and its Commander decks) on November 15.

A unique-to-MTGO offering tied to that set's release will be our TRANSFORMERS Bundle—all 15 of the double-faced cards found in The Brothers' War Collector Boosters featuring your favorites, but in a single digital package for just $24.99. This Bundle will be available in the MTGO Store for a limited time only starting November 15, and the cards inside it won't be in Treasure Chests.

Magic 30 Token

Another highlight this fall is the upcoming Magic 30 Cube offered in conjunction with the biggest ever celebration of this great game—the Magic 30 Festival in Las Vegas! As part of the Festival's Virtual Ticket, purchasers get a course of Cube Draft League (active account required). Like all Magic Online cubes, players can use Event Tickets or Play Points to join in the fun alongside Virtual Ticket holders. Magic 30 Cube debuts on October 26.

We also want to make it easier for new players to dive into both competitive and casual formats, so we will be offering the Pioneer Challenger Decks starting on November 9, less than a week after their tabletop release. Then on December 2, we will begin selling the Starter Commander Decks on MTGO. Both products allow you to pick up a deck and jump right in!

Two of our most popular programs—All-Access and Vintage Cube—return to Magic Online in late December and run through the holidays. We'll also feature another Week of Super Qualifiers leading up to New Year's Day.

Our team is pleased to report that the backlog of Commander cards waiting to get into the game has been shrinking since the summer. We will hack away at that queue incrementally over time as our team grows.

With that said, there are some products we know are not returning to MTGO—specifically, Secret Lair drops. Also, due to technical hurdles, we do not currently plan to release Unfinity or the Warhammer 40,000 Commander decks as full products. Individual cards within them that impact their formats' metagames most will be looked at for bringing into the game (similar to the backlogged Commander cards)—but not with The Brothers' War.


Our team has attempted to be more responsive to pain points identified by our community over the last few months.

  • We have continued our battle against win-trading in our smaller Leagues and found success with removing the extraneous Join Match button.
  • A solution presented itself to improve card availability for Pauper this summer, and we were able to deliver on that.
  • The Treasure Chest revamp with Dominaria United was received well and helped get a lot of key cards into the game.

How can you get in touch with us to provide feedback? Our Twitter account and the r/mtgo Reddit community are reviewed on a daily basis, and you can also provide thoughts at our new support site.

We will also have forums available by October 21st. They will be the best place to log issues where our team can see them, and you can upvote/like existing issues like our previous systems. You'll also log into the forums with your MTGO username and password—just like the support site.

We hope to have additional methods for contacting us available soon. As always, check out for the latest information.


As we begin our game's third decade, we want to take a beat and tell you just how much we appreciate our loyal fans. Our Game Production team continues to manage change in a dynamic way, and we look forward to showing you what this game can truly do.

We also welcome our newest fans in to enjoy our shared passion for Magic Online—we'll see you on the battlefield!