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| 29. January 2021

Magic the Gathering Arena — Available on Android [Early Access]

The wait is over — Magic the Gathering Arena is finally available on Android! Well, it’s still in early access, but the point stands nonetheless! If you’re into MTG and have a strong enough Android phone, then this is like Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled up into one!

Hardware-wise, Wizards of the Coast recommends at least 4GB of RAM, along with one of the following chipsets: Kirin 970, Snapdragon 845, or Exynos 9810. This is pretty much top-tier when it comes to mobile hardware. Still, if you’re lucky to have a device that’s packing such internals, you’ll be good to go! WotC plans on lowering the hardware requirements (and, by proxy, the list of supported devices), but that’s still a ways off. Again, MTG Arena is still in early access, so don’t expect a flawless experience!

And, if you don’t have a beastly mobile phone, don’t despair just yet! There’s already a workaround for those whose devices aren’t officially supported!

Magic the Gathering Arena | Android Workaround

First of all, you’ll need to download MTG Arena from this link. Basically what you’re doing is you’re downloading an extracted (and perfectly safe and validated) .APK file and installing it on your device. APK stands for Android Package and is the file format used by Android for distribution and installation of apps and games. When you can’t download an app from the Google Play Store (because your phone isn’t supported or because you’re from another region), then you can always just download the original .APK file and install it yourself. This also means that you have to manually update the application (download the brand-new file and install it over the existing one) whenever there’s an update ready, but hey — at least you’ll be able to game!

Also, this is perfectly fine and legal. No one’s doing anything wrong here — we’re literally just installing the game and removing the Google Play Store from the equation (the middleman standing in the way between us and MTG Arena).

Now, the file you’re downloading is a .ZIP archive and it contains both the .APK and the .OBB file. That second one is hugely important because that’s where all the game files are (the content). Normally you’d just download ±40MB, install MTG Arena, and then the game would automatically copy those same files from WotC’s servers onto your phone. But because we can’t do that, we have to download both at once and then extract them accordingly.

Extract the archive using a file manager, then install the .APK and start the game. You’ll be greeted with a message telling you your phone isn’t supported, but we already knew that much. Now go back to the file manager and copy the .OBB file to the MTG Arena folder. The path should be as follows: /Android/obb/com.wizards.mtga/

Now start the game again and it should automatically start downloading another ±500MB from WotC’s servers and you’ll be good to go! It’s really that simple. And, by the looks of it, the game is surprisingly smooth! Early access releases are often pretty rough when it comes to gameplay and user experience. But it seems as though WotC has a winner on their hands! If the baseline is this good, then things will only get better over time!

In any case, it’s an exciting time to be alive if you’re both a CCG fan and someone who’s into mobile gaming! We have Hearthstone, Legends of Runeterra, and now even MTG Arena in their full, untarnished glory! Hopefully WotC’s hard at work on the iOS port as well!