Coming March 2019: A New Path to the Pro Tour
When the Magic Pro Tour debuted in 1996, players qualified by calling a hotline. Today, tens of thousands of players compete for a handful of berths and great prize pools. And for a good percentage of those players, the path begins in their local game store.
This morning, Wizards announced some upcoming changes to the highest levels of competitive Magic, and the local game store remains a big part of it.
Here's what you need to know:
Coming March 2019: Direct Pro Tour Qualification Via WPN Member Stores
Starting with qualifier events for the Pro Tour in Dallas-Fort Worth (which begin March 2019), we'll launch a pilot program in which players can earn their Pro Tour berth with a single victory at a best-in-class WPN member store.
If you've been part of the WPN since at least 2015, this will probably sound familiar—it's a similar paradigm to the Pro Tour Qualifier (PTQ) system that we retired after Dragons of Tarkir. But we've made a few key changes that we believe will provide a better experience for players and organizers alike.
Some events will be limited and invite-only for a better play experience. The PTQs of old routinely drew upwards of 400 players. Going forward, players can earn invites to certain qualifier events and Wizards will limit attendance to keep event durations comfortable (specifics to be released later).
Players can earn invitations through play. Details will follow in later announcements. But, in contrast to PTQs, many new qualifier events will be invite-only, and they'll earn invites through play in stores like yours. (Other qualifying events will be open to the public.)
WPN member stores can formally apply to host a qualifier. Pre-2015, Wizards hand-selected WPN members to host PTQs. But soon, you'll have an opportunity to formally make your case as part of a pilot program (specifics will be announced later.)
You'll notice the absence of certain acronyms in the above. It's true: the current run of PPTQs and RPTQs (for the second Pro Tour of 2019) will be the last events of their kind.
Players can still qualify for the Pro Tour via Grand Prix—soon to be part of "MagicFest," and soon to be home of the Pro Tour itself—as well as open-to-all qualifier events hosted by select event organizers. Get details on these changes here.
What You Can Do Now: Prep Your Pitch
We are rethinking and reworking our entire competitive gaming system—from qualifying events all the way up through Grand Prix and the highest levels of play. We're excited to fill you in on how to apply, and we will—soon. Keep your eye on this website, your inbox, and the WPN Facebook group for further details.
But in the meantime, what can you do to get ready?
Prep your pitch. If you're interested in hosting a qualifying event, the best thing you can do right now is consider how you’d host and organize a qualifying event. How you could optimize your space. How you could organize your staff. We want these qualifier events to be the best possible competitive gaming experience. We can't wait to see what you've got in mind.