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Weekly Friday Night Magic events go online amid coronavirus pandemic

‘FNM at Home’

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Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Communities around the world are practicing social distancing, or, in some cases, are being ordered to shelter-in-place — all in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. In response, Wizards of the Coast is adding Friday Night Magic events — often a weekly ritual for Magic: The Gathering players — to Magic: The Gathering Arena, its new digital version of the game. It’s an effort to help players stay connected to their community and to local game stores. Wizards of the Coast announced its Friday Night Magic at Home program on Friday.

For the next three weekends (“and possibly beyond,” Wizards of the Coast said) players can convene in Magic: The Gathering Arena to participate. Stores that typically host Friday Night Magic events will be able to pass out reward codes to encourage communities to come together — Wizards of the Coast said its helping stores set up online communities if they don’t already have them, either on Discord, Facebook, or WhatsApp.

Here’s what to expect from the events, straight from the company:

March 27 — Challenger Decks

  • Choose between the four preconstructed 2020 Challenger Decks and jump in to challenge others.

April 3 — All Access

  • Build a deck with any cards in Standard, whether they’re in your collection or not. Play others, build more decks, play again. Rinse. Repeat.

April 10 — Historic Brawl

  • Build a 60-card Brawl deck with your Standard and Historic cards, and battle!

The rewards for connecting with your community are “special sleeves” for Magic: The Gathering Arena.

“There is so much more we’re working on to connect players to their local stores and communities, and we’re hoping this is a strong first step in laying the groundwork for more in the future,” Wizards of the Coast said in a news release. “Local stores, like so many other small businesses, are going to need our help during this time.”

Magic: The Gathering Arena is free-to-play on Windows PC and Mac. Besides the Friday Night Magic at Home events, Wizards of the Coast has also added more live events over the past week.

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