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Wizards might ban your MTG Arena deck for sucking too much

Magic: The Gathering fans have discovered that MTG Arena will now block Brawl decks if they don't reach a minimum threshold for quality.

MTG Arena will now ban your Brawl deck if it thinks it’s not up to scratch, Magic: The Gathering fans have discovered. Turns out the game gives each card a ‘weighting’, and if your completed deck doesn’t rank above a certain level, it simply won’t let you queue for a game. Canny players have used this discovery to reverse engineer the game’s matchmaking system.

Fear not, however. If you’re playing around with some low power, janky MTG Brawl deck, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be barred from having fun. The system only really seems to trigger for decks with an abnormal number of land cards.

The secret was cracked on May 28, 2024, when a player tried to create a Brawl MTG Arena deck running just two real cards. The deck’s plan was to use Treasure Hunt and Splendid Reclamation to create an absurd amount of mana, and then use its MTG commander Roalesk, Prime Specimen to conjure game-ending creatures.

The MTG alchemy card Roalesk Prime Specimen

But, while players have been able to run gimmick decks like this in the past, when Reddit user lieyanqzu tried to queue up on Saturday, they got an error message: Invalid Deck: Deck validation failed.

Digging into the game log they found an intriguing error: DeckWeightTooLow. It turned out their deck was judged to have a ‘weight’ of -333, while the minimum weight is listed as zero.

Like most makers of online games, Wizards of the Coast has left the MTG Arena matchmaking system fairly opaque. But while fans have speculated for months about a ‘hell queue’ which pits terrifyingly powerful commanders against one another, this is the first time fans have collected real, concrete evidence about how the game judges specific cards and decks.

Keen to capitalize on this new source of information, fans have used the error log to create a comprehensive spreadsheet of card weightings. By comparing the weight of a Brawl deck with 99 lands and the commander to decks with 98 lands, the same commander, and one other card, the value of every card can be definitively found.

For more Magic: The Gathering content, check out our guide on how to build an MTG Commander deck (the advice applies to Brawl too). Or check out our archive of all existing MTG Arena codes.