WotC announced their new plan for Organized Play, including the return of the Pro Tour! Mason breaks everything down and talks about what it can mean for you.
Today is the day that many Magic players have been waiting for with baited breath: the Organized Play announcement. If you haven’t read it, here is the link:
TLDR: it’s good!
This structure seemingly does the thing that I have always believed is the most important part of Magic: supporting local competitive play that feeds into a bigger system. If you didn’t click the link, here is the image they use to describe Organized Play going forward:
What do these words mean on a practical level? Essentially it breaks down like this:
Regional Championship Qualifiers = PPTQs from the old system.
Regional Championships = A mixture of an RPTQ and a GP.
Pro Tour is the same, as is Worlds
A system without Regional Championships is doomed to fail. If you can’t foster and have an entry to competitive play at the local level, then your system will have trouble funneling new players into the system, which is pivotal to growth. One of the huge problems with the old system is that getting into that system was near impossible. I would go as far as to say that Pro Magic returned today after having been dead for the last three years for the majority of players.
So what does this mean for you the player?
First: there are seemingly no Grand Prix that feed directly into the OP system. I expect there will be Grand Prix-like events that will feature the first stage of qualifiers, but currently that has not been announced.
Second: fairly soon, you’re going to want to reach out to your local game store and figure out where the events are near you. Currently this has all just been dropped, so they probably don’t know quite yet. But you’re going to want to know where the events are that you can play.
Third: you have clear and defined goals and bars to meet to progress in the system. If you don’t like the system that is fine, but ultimately having it all clearly laid out is super important.
Fourth: you need to start learning about Pioneer and working on your Limited game if you want to compete. Limited is a format that, while widely loved, had no real place in competitive Magic over the course of the pandemic.
Finally: it does seem like solid finishes will chain together, which is great news for you. As someone who has gotten a lot of 9ths that didn’t lead to or count towards anything, having less than first place help you work towards something is a great addition to the system. All the fine details haven’t been confirmed yet, but from what seems to be there, if you don’t win a Regional Championship you will still be qualifying for other events. It’s important to note that at the time of writing this article, everything is still fresh and there is still information trickling out.
What are you playing for?
Here is the breakdown of the Regional Championships as run by Dreamhack for North America. If you’re wondering about the prize structure, you’re battling for about $30,000. Nothing to shake a stick at. If you’re able to finish in the top 48 for the first year, you’re locking up an invite for the Pro Tour.
The system here is fairly reasonable, albeit a tad top heavy. But for an invite you qualify for that also works towards the World Championship – the pinnacle of competitive Magic – I think it’s more than reasonable.
Ultimately, this means it’s actually possible to get onto the Pro Tour and compete at the highest level. It’s by no means an ideal or perfect system, but one that can be built on and improved over time. If you’re a player who loves paper Magic and have always wanted to play on the Pro Tour, this is the best announcement in ages. I am hopeful for the future of competitive Magic in a way that I have not been in many years. It’s a great time to be a player.
So, are you excited to play paper Magic on the Pro Tour again? If so, make sure to check out this website weekly for strategy content, and follow me on Twitter @masoneclark for memes and decks – but not the two combined!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.