Don't Let League Players Slip Away
If you've got a good local game store, you've always got something to do. Casual afternoon drop-ins, the weekly ritual of Standard Showdown—part of Magic's appeal comes from that reliability. And players who rely on their LGS in that way bring more to the Magic ecosystem than those who don't.
Your goal with Magic League is to get newcomers into that habit. With Hour of Devastation League behind us, the question is, how do you keep new players on the trajectory toward full community membership?
After League, new players need clear direction on where to go next.
Starting now, your job is to provide that direction.
Let's look at the options.
League appeals to a player type that sometimes gets left out of organized Magic—the kind that loves quirky rares usually quarantined to the kitchen table, that will never know what "REL" stands for, that's purely interested in the social experience of Magic.
League fills a need for this kind of player, and many of them will be perfectly happy where they are. Great. If League represents the right level of engagement for them, give them another League.
After Amonkhet, a lot of stores just started over—they ran the exact same format again. You could simply run another Hour of Devastation League. Or choose an interceding product—maybe even something like Commander 2017—that you can use to create continuity between now and Ixalan.
Friday Night Magic
The best option is Friday Night Magic. League is a kind of rehearsal for FNM—it's the next stop on the event path, and one rung up in terms of competition. Plus, you can offer limited formats to help kickstart their collection, or Commander, which players can start with just one purchase.
Incentivize League players to try FNM. September brings an especially potent incentive: the promo is Fatal Push, among the most pivotal cards in Standard. Try guaranteeing one to any League player who makes the transition.
And remember, a typical League player isn't just looking for an event—they're looking for the social experience that the game promises. Get to know Third Place Theory and keep its principles in mind when you plan FNM.
Standard Showdown is focused on experienced players, but for newer ones who are drawn to the competitive side of Magic, it's a chance to evaluate and experiment with their cards, see what sort of decks are out there, and get a feel for the kind of strategies they're drawn to.
Transitioning a new player to Standard Showdown is a pretty straightforward: let them know it's an option and incentivize them to check it out. We generally recommend using Standard Showdown boosters to reward top performers, but if it'll help get a new player to come back, go for it.
The obvious caveat here is to set expectations: they're going to encounter players with much more experience and much larger collections. Take care to mitigate the inevitable losses.
Once a new player joins the in-store Magic universe, it's crucial that their first experiences are positive.
Whether it's a follow-up League, FNM, Standard Showdown, or something else entirely, getting newcomers into the habit of in-store play means delivering an emotional experience they'll want to come back for.
With Hour of Devastation League behind us, now's the time to guide players toward the experience that's right for them.