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3 ways to enjoy tabletop Magic: The Gathering from home

It’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on tabletop Magic. With local game stores closing their doors for the time being, and social distancing practices in place, getting together to enjoy tabletop Magic seems almost impossible. However, I’m here to tell you that there are still ways to play Magic without actually gathering.

In this article, I’ll be going over some fun ways you can still enjoy tabletop Magic from home!

Magic: The Gathering Arena

This one is a no-brainer. Arena has been out for a while now, and is going to be the future of Magic. It is a beautifully made game which features all the aspects of Magic: The Gathering.

Magic has always had the issue of being overwhelming to some new players. However, this isn’t the case with Arena. Arena automates so many aspects of the game, and is perfect for newer players learning how to play.

tabletop magic

The biggest downside to Magic Arena is that it doesn’t include every card from Magic’s history. This means that players who enjoy formats like Modern, Legacy, or Vintage won’t be able to play their decks in Arena. With that said, Arena does compensate for this through a butt-load of events. For example, Wizards of the Coast recently introduced Player Draft to Arena, allowing users to finally draft against humans instead of bots!

Why should you try Magic: The Gathering Arena

  • It’s perfect for players who mainly enjoy Standard, Draft, and 1v1 games.
  • Very intuitive UI and noob-friendly.
  • Free to download and play. Cash purchases can speed up the collection process, but it is very possible to build a large collection through completing quests and doing well in draft.

Magic: The Gathering Online

One of the main reasons why players gather to play tabletop Magic in the first place is because of Commander. This multiplayer format is loved by many people in the community, and is one of the best ways to enjoy a more casual Magic experience. Unfortunately, Commander fans can’t enjoy the same experience through Arena, since the feature hasn’t been added by the developers yet. However, Magic Online can include several players in one game and is perfect for the Commander. Also, it’s very common for Commander decks on Magic Online to be bought for a fraction of the price of paper decks.

tabletop magic

Magic: The Gathering Online isn’t just good for Commander, but for every format. The game has pretty much every card ever printed in Magic, so every format is an option! Although it is not as easy to navigate as Arena, it is fairly easy to wrap your head around after a few hours.

Purchasing decks on Magic Online is cheaper than paper, however Magic Online isn’t free. There is a one-time payment of $9.99 to create an account.

Why should you try Magic: The Gathering Online? 

  • The best option for those who want to play Commander!
  • Access to every format imaginable in Magic. This makes Magic Online a great way to dip your toes into older formats.
  • Cube draft is awesome, and something I recommend every player to try at least once.

Webcam Magic

One of the reasons why I love playing tabletop Magic is because I enjoy the physical aspect of the game. Shuffling, tapping, and slamming down creatures is a feeling that no online version of Magic can completely replicate. Being able to talk to my friends and see their reaction when I resolve Expropriate is all part of the experience.


There are a few things to keep in mind with webcam Magic. First, make sure that you used a playmat or table that will allow your cards to be easily seen. Second, try to change your deck so that it limits the amount of interaction you need to do with your opponent’s deck. For example, Aura cards that enchant your opponent’s creatures can be hard to keep track of.

Finally, have fun and be more casual! It’s not as easy to keep track of things over webcam, and your friends will probably make a misplay here and there. Letting them take back some plays should be allowed and welcomed.

With technology constantly improving, playing Magic through a simple webcam is the best alternative to simulate tabletop Magic. Discord, Google Hangouts, and Zoom are all great platforms to try it on. Many local game stores have moved Friday Night Magic to webcam Magic. So if you’re looking to try webcam Magic, go check out what your local game store has to offer!

Why should you try webcam Magic?

  • It’s the best way to simulate the tabletop Magic experience. Playing against faceless opponents gets boring after a while. Part of the fun of Magic is interacting with friends and seeing them react to your cards.
  • You still get to use your cards, sleeves, dice, and accessories.
  • Easily accessible and can be quickly set up for free!
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Paul Dudsdeemaytha

Paul Dudsdeemaytha is a Vancouver, BC-based writer and content creator at SQUAD. Paul specializes in creating guides for Magic: The Gathering and Legends of Runeterra. When he's not writing, you can probably find him throwing frisbees nearby.
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