Magic: The Gathering Arena Amonkhet Remastered Preview: Blue

On Thursday, Magic: The Gathering Arena will shake-up its Historic format by bringing Amonkhet block back to the game. Amonkhet Remastered is a curated set that features cards from the Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation sets. As our exclusive Blue preview shows, that's not all it includes. Two Blue cards from other Magic: The Gathering sets will be a part of Amonkhet Remastered. One is familiar to fans of the Amonkhet block. Pact of Negation first appeared in the Future Sight set but was also included in Amonkhet block as one of the Amonkhet Invocations. Jace, Unraveler of Secrets is another story. The Planeswalker card is from Shadows over Innistrad. Its inclusion in Amonkhet Remastered finally gives this Gatewatch member a presence in the Amonkhet block, and with brand new art from Kieran Yanner.

ComicBook.com corresponded with Amonkhet Remastered product architect Mike Turian to find out more about the design ideas behind Amonkhet Remastered. Keep on reading to see what he had to say, and to see the new Jace, Unraveler of Secrets artwork.

Pact of Negation by Titus Lunter Amonkhet Remastered Magic the Gathering MTG Arena
(Photo: Titus Lunter, Wizards of the Coast)

When in the design process, did you realize you wanted to add some non-Amonkhet cards to Amonkhet Remastered and why?

Mike Turian: We came to the decision to include non-Amonkhet cards in this set pretty early on in the design process. With MTG Arena initially focusing on Standard, we know there is a huge backlog of amazing Magic cards that our players want to have access to that weren't originally available. We searched for cards that were good fits for Amonkhet Remastered and MTG Arena.

For instance, Jace, Unraveler of Secrets was a great opportunity to show Jace with an Amonkhet theme. In the story of Amonkhet, Jace travels to the plane along with the Gatewatch, but in the Amonkhet/Hour of Devastation card sets, he wasn't featured until now.

Other good examples of cards that we looked towards for inclusion were select Amonkhet Invocations. These cards were available in the original Amonkhet but very infrequently. We took a look at ones that would be interesting for Limited gameplay and be welcome inclusions for MTG Arena's constructed formats.

Why did you choose to include Pact of Negation in Amonket Remastered?

Pact of Negation was one of the original Invocations in Amonkhet. With Amonkhet Remastered, we looked to pull in a few cards from Magic that were originally available in Amonkhet block. We liked that they already had Amonkhet-themed card art and would be interesting for Limited gameplay and be welcome inclusions for MTG Arena's constructed formats.

Another great thing about Pact of Negation is that its digital implementation can be a lot cleaner than in tabletop. As the original lead designer for Future Sight (where Pact of Negation first appeared), one of my worries in tabletop was the unforgiving nature of forgetting to pay 3UU and losing the game because of it. With MTG Arena, we can do a lot more to make sure that players don't accidentally lose the game.

Jace, Unraveler of Secrets by Kieran Yanner Amonkhet Remastered Magic the Gathering MTG Arena
(Photo: Kieran Yanner, Wizards of the Coast)

What were the overall design goals you had for Blue in Amonket Remastered?

For Amonkhet Remastered as a whole, we wanted to bring the great Limited experience that Amonkhet-Hour of Devastation offered and build on that format to create a best-of feel for Limited. For Blue, this meant looking at the original Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation cards and themes and blending them to create new novel gameplay. For instance, Blue/Red spells and Blue/Green ramp were both fan favorites; we wanted to make sure that we could include those themes and put them in the right spot.

On the Constructed front, this set offered us the opportunity to expand the card pool players would have access to in MTG Arena. With the Pioneer Masters set expecting to come out by the end of 2020, we wanted to bring in cards that would complement those upcoming cards as well. Blue has been players' favorite color for as long as I can remember, so we wanted to bring as many favorite blue cards from Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation to MTG Arena.

As the first set of its kind in MTG Arena, what unique or unexpected challenges did you face in designing Amonkhet Remastered?

One immediate challenge that comes to mind is that we knew we were taking a set that had an excellent reputation for its Draft format and shaking up that experience. How would players react to a reformulated Draft and the high expectations that naturally come along with it? Having drafted the Amonkhet Remastered set, we quickly realized that both Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation are filled with cards that lend themselves towards great Limited gameplay. There is a great depth of strategies, fun creatures, and the right balance of tricks and removal.

Another place where we spent a good deal of time working out the details would be set structure. For instance, we considered just including all the cards from the original two sets and making one mega-set. After discussion on the idea, we wanted to bring a more refined and streamlined experience to MTG Arena. For our enfranchised player, we wanted to offer an experience that tapped into their nostalgia for Amonkhet but had just the right dash of newness and excitement above and beyond their original experiences with the sets.

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Amonkhet Remastered launches on Magic: The Gathering Arena on Thursday, August 13th. Check out the full list of Blue cards in the set, included below.

  • Aerial Guide
  • Ancient Crab
  • As Foretold
  • Aven Initiate
  • Cartouche of Knowledge
  • Censor
  • Champion of Wits
  • Commit /// Memory
  • Compelling Argument
  • Countervailing Winds
  • Cryptic Serpent
  • Curator of Mysteries
  • Drake Haven
  • Essence Scatter
  • Eternal of Harsh Truths
  • Floodwaters
  • Hekma Sentinels
  • Hieroglyphic Illumination
  • Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
  • Kefnet the Mindful
  • Labyrinth Guardian
  • Lay Claim
  • Naga Oracle
  • New Perspectives
  • Nimble Obstructionist
  • Ominous Sphinx
  • Pact of Negation
  • Pull from Tomorrow
  • Riddleform
  • Seeker of Insight
  • Seer of the Last Tomorrow
  • Shimmerscale Drake
  • Slither Blade
  • Spellweaver Eternal
  • Strategic Planning
  • Striped Riverwinder
  • Supreme Will
  • Trial of Knowledge
  • Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
  • Unquenchable Thirst
  • Vizier of Many Faces
  • Vizier of the Anointed
  • Vizier of Tumbling Sands
  • Winds of Rebuke