On January 21st, Wizards of the Coast released their monthly "State of the Game" article for Magic Arena. This game update article contained a plethora of new aspects to Magic: The Gathering's online interface. Perhaps the more notable of the two major updates is that Magic Arena will be coming to Android phones on January 28th, 2021. However, while Kaldheim releasing to Arena is more of an expectation than newsworthy, the application of the new mechanics from the set bears mention.
Foretell is a mechanic with many sneaky applications, and the article on DailyMTG went into great detail about how players will utilize the new ability. At present, any card with Foretell can be foretold at any time (much like the timing to flip cards with morph face-up), to be cast on a later turn using normal timing for the Foretold spell.
This presents a potential issue for Magic Arena. Similarly to how Scute Swarm bogged games down with multiple triggers resolving, although not quite as game-breaking, Foretell being usable at any time means that players will be given priority with a card with Foretell in hand at every possible opportunity they have to Foretell that card. Ergo, games will be quite a bit slower as Player A waits for Player B to decide to pass priority or Foretell their card from hand. However, if the developers of Magic Arena have learned from the Scute Swarm fiasco, they'll have found a way to mitigate this problem while staying true to the same functionality as Foretell in paper Magic.
Meanwhile, Boast seems like a far more reasonable ability to see on Magic Arena. Nevertheless, without skipping a beat, the article explains how to use Boast as well.
The final mechanic mentioned for Kaldheim on Arena is the inclusion of Snow Lands in the land slot of Limited boosters and normal boosters. Players will have access to all the Snow Lands in their Limited pool when drafting, but whether that means only the Snow Lands from the three rounds of pack drafting or six packs of Sealed (versus an unlimited supply of their drafted Basic Snow Lands) remains ambiguous as per the article. However, our bet is on the unlimited supply.
This brings us to the mobile update for Magic Arena: On January 28th, the same day as Kaldheim launches for the interface, Android users will have early access, provided their phone has the necessary specifications to support Arena. Lower-spec Androids, iOS phones, and tablets will see support later in the year.
Players will have access to the same account as they had on their computers, and thus the same card pools and collections. Cross-platform functionality is mentioned in the article, and that bodes well for the interface.
A notable concern that the developers of the Magic Arena app claim to have addressed is the mobile battlefield's smaller resolution. The touchscreen of a mobile phone is tiny when compared to full-sized computer screens, and as such, some liberties needed to be taken by the mobile developers to make sure this wouldn't be a major issue for players. The ability to show and conceal some parts of the game state are also present, to allow a better view of the board.
The article concludes by stating that Arena will be continuing support for Historic in the coming year as well as release five new Standard-legal sets this year. We will keep you informed as future updates roll out!