How Many People Play Magic: The Gathering in 2023?

Updated · Mar 06, 2023

Untap, upkeep, draw.

We’d now like to go to our first main phase as we welcome you to our set of Magic-related facts. Despite being so old, MTG only seems to be doing better.

Did you ever wonder how many people play Magic: The Gathering? Or perhaps how many cards there are?

Whichever question you might have about the world’s top card game, you’re at the right place.

Let’s go to combat and tackle all these stats!

Otherworldly MTG Statistics (Editor’s Choice):

  • The game has been around for almost 30 years.
  • MTG has over 40 million players.
  • In 2018, The total Magic: The Gathering prize money was around $10 million.
  • Black Lotus is the game’s most expensive card.
  • The Las Vegas Grand Prix usually has around 11,000 participants.
  • Magic has more than 23,000 unique cards.
  • Alchemy, a new Arena-only format, came out in late 2021.

Magic: The Gathering Info

For a long time now, Magic has been more than just a simple card game—it’s a brand, a long-lived trend, a common interest that brings people together.

There’s a lot of information regarding the famous game. But, if you don’t know much about it, a quick  Magic: The Gathering history lesson is well overdue.

Should we start with how long has Magic: The Gathering been around?

1. Made in 1993, Magic: The Gathering was the world’s first trading card game.

(Source: Guinness World Records) 

Yes, you’re reading it right. MTG came to life on August 5th, 1993, which means it’s the oldest modern collectible card game. It’s even older than the Pokemon TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh!

In 2018, Masters 25—a set celebrating two-and-a-half decades of MTG’s existence—brought some really powerful cards, both new and old.

We at Hosting Tribunal wouldn’t be surprised if something like Masters 30 came and raised the stakes even more!

2. Richard Garfield made MTG.

(Source: Magic: The Gathering)

Dr. Richard Garfield, a mathematician, is the father of MTG. He was still on the way to his doctorate back in 1993, but his unwavering love for board games was there since the early days.

Garfield contacted Wizards of the Coast (a game publisher that later became part of the Hasbro family) to see if it could bring his idea to life. Back then, the company only published role-playing games, but it took a chance on Magic—and it certainly paid off.

Garfield continues making board games to this day. The most recent one, Keyforge, came out in 2018.

3. There are 23,000+ unique Magic cards.

(Source: Medium)

But that’s only if we consider the cards that have a unique name, no matter how many reprints each one has.

If, however, we count each reprint as a unique card—which isn’t that crazy, considering each one belongs to a different Magic set and always shows design variations—the number goes all the way to 49,998.

So, all in all, how many Magic cards are there?

Well, if we also add the oh-so-shiny foils, the art cards, and the Japanese set, the count ramps up to  84,108.

That said, by the time you’re reading this, the count is probably even higher.

4. Magic made $581.2 million in 2020 alone.

(Source: Hasbro)Magic: The Gathering sales keep bringing in loads of money.

Back in 2019, Hasbro’s franchise brands segment reported a $2.45 million net revenue, meaning that this segment is bigger than the gaming brand, partner, and emerging units combined.

According to Hasbro's earnings report, Magic made 27% more money in 2020 than in 2019. The fact that Hasbro’s overall earnings were actually 8% smaller in 2020 makes this MTG surge even more impressive.

5. Estimates place the active MTG Arena player count at around 10 million in 2021.

(Source: MTG Arena Pro)

Naturally, the pandemic boosted the popularity of Magic’s digital version. And now, even if COVID-19 were to suddenly disappear, the game’s success in the eSports world pretty much secures its place for the foreseeable future.

According to MTG Arena statistics, a user opens four booster packs per day on average. 

Furthermore, the average gold expenditure per user is 3,800, whereas the average earnings per user are only 862. This goes to show that people draft a lot or even invest real money in the game pretty often.

Magic: The Gathering Players

MTG wouldn’t have been as popular if it weren’t for its overwhelming player base. It’s a game that works well for casual and professional settings, making it attractive for all player profiles.

Ready to find out who the world’s best MTG players are?

6. The Las Vegas Grand Prix usually has around 11,000 participants.

(Source: Geek and Sundry)

Boasting thousands of participants, these are the biggest open tournaments in the world.

This gives us a conservative estimation of how many people play Magic: The Gathering at least somewhat seriously. In general, though, the number of MTG players was around 40 million in 2021.

7. Jon Finkel and Kai Budde are the best Magic: The Gathering players of all time.

(Source: Gazette Review)

Both earned more than $420,000 in winnings and have more than 550 Pro Points. Opinions on who the better one is often differ.

Finkel seems to be the most popular of the two, but Budde is the one who holds more Grand Prix and Pro Tour wins.

Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better player than these two.

8. The last MTG Player of the Year was Luis Salvatto.

(Source: Magic: The Gathering)

Salvatto was tied with Seth Manfield for the most Pro Points in 2018. They had a playoff at Pro Tour Guilds of Ravnica, which Salvatto won, becoming the last Player of the Year.

Why was he the last one?

Well, in 2019, there was no award because of a point system restructure, and then COVID-19 happened.

9. In 2019, the prize money for Magic was around $10 milion.

(Source: eSports Earnings)

That amount included both Magic eSports and its tabletop counterpart. And it may sound like a decent amount but, for comparison, 

But now, three years later, the game is doing better than ever online, which means the stakes are quite high.

In 2021, there were 4,152 MTG Arena tournaments, which had an average $48,502.68 prize pool per tournament. This means the total prize money was actually above $200 million.

So, how many people play Magic: The Gathering in these competitions?

In 2021, the records show 21,526 active players, with the average earnings per player falling at $9,355.34. which is pretty good, considering Pro eSports players earn $5,000 on average.

MTG News

Against all odds, MTG remains relevant nearly thirty years in.

It has its fair share of streamers - and streaming it is quite easy - and a good tournament circuit.

But the main reason why the game just won’t die is because new things come out very often—be that new expansions, collectibles, or even new formats for Arena.

But what else is new?

10. Black Lotus is the most expensive Magic: The Gathering card.

(Source: Dicebreaker)

Although Magic cards are expensive, people still buy lots of them. In the case of rare cards, however, this goes to an extreme.

Take Black Lotus, for example. It originates from Alpha, the first Magic card set ever, and it’s one of the most powerful cards in the game.

Now, think about how many Alpha cards were probably printed back in 1993, and then think about just how many people play MTG nowadays. As you can probably guess, the card is incredibly rare and seriously coveted. 

The autographed Alpha Black Lotus is the world’s most expensive card. Signed by the original artist, Christopher Rush, it sold for $511,000 at an auction.

11. A new digital-only format, Alchemy, came out in 2021.

(Source: Dicebreaker)

December 9, 2021 marks the birth of a new MTG Arena format, Alchemy. It’s intended for players who are looking for new formats and/or a rapidly shifting metagame.

Here, you’ll see both cards with random effects and nerfed cards. That makes it look quite a bit like Hearthstone—Blizzard’s take on TGC for its World of Warcraft enthusiasts.

Again, this format is new, so we’ve yet to see how many people will play MTG this way.

12. There will be a whole lot of MTG releases in 2022.

(Source: TheGamer)

Nowadays, expecting a new Magic: The Gathering set every month or so isn’t at all unrealistic.

Many Standard and Commander sets came out in 2021, but the New Double Masters, Jumpstart, and Un-sets are also expected to hit the market in this year.

Plus, you can also expect quite a few Magic Secret Lair drops in 2022. These are specially curated sets of cards that are available for a short time only. They usually either offer new takes on existing cards or just bring something completely new.

Keeping the game fresh this way increases how many people play MTG without fail.

So far, Street Fighter, Fortnite, and Warhammer 40,000 Secret Lairs crossovers have all been announced for this year.

Wrap Up

Now that’s a lot of facts and stats for one combat phase.

As we go to our second main phase, there’s only one thing left to say before we end our turn: The game is now doing better than ever in the grand scheme of things.

Regardless of exactly how many people play Magic: The Gathering today, nearly thirty years after its release, the game is definitely not to be underestimated!

Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.