19, Mar, 24

MTG Players Pleased with Major Regional Championship Changes

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Article at a Glance

Soon after the Covid Pandemic hit, the structure of MTG’s competitive and professional level play would change forever. Rather than focusing on Pro Tour Qualifiers that created a single path to the Pro Tour, Wizards of the Coast introduced a series of events known as Regional Championships. Typically, players would compete in Regional Championship Qualifiers at their local game stores or other big Conventions, such as various SCGCon events.

From there, the top performing players at the conclusion of the Qualifier events would earn their entry into the Regional Championship associated with their geographic location. Qualifiers usually offer one or two invites to the Regional Championship.

These Regional Championship events happening across the world provided players with the chance to make it onto the big stage via Pro Tour invites. Performing well here offered the simplest path to the Pro Tour, but it was often quite difficult to achieve this goal. After all, not only do you have to win a Qualifier event, but you then have to travel to a large tournament and finish near the top there as well. Fortunately, given overall player feedback, Wizards of the Coast has announced a pretty big change with regards to the number of Pro Tour invites available at each Regional Championship. Let’s take a closer look.

More Invites Across the Board

Beginning with the upcoming Regional Championship in Dallas and all Regional Championships feeding Pro Tour Amsterdam, more invites to the Pro Tour will be given at each event. The most drastic change was made towards Regional Championships in the U.S. Given the typical massive attendance at these events, this isn’t too surprising. For reference, the last Regional Championship in Denver featured over 1,300 players competing for only 32 Pro Tour invites. In this sense, even players that finished 10-4 in the event mostly ended up missing the cut.

Beyond just the U.S. every other region was given additional invites as well. These were likely calculated based on the expected attendance at each Regional Championship. According to Wizards of the Coast employee William Jensen on the recent WeeklyMTG stream, they felt as though an increase in the number of players competing at the Pro Tour would not have much of a negative effect.

They mentioned that things were getting a bit too big during the last tabletop structure, so they decided to “ere on the side of caution” when creating the new Pro Tour structure. However, with the number of overlapping invites (some players earned invites in multiple ways, such as through strong performances at Pro Tour Murders at Karlov Manor and through Adjusted Match Points Standings), coupled with the general sentiment that each Pro Tour event could be a bit larger, the solution is simply to provide extra invites via Regional Championships.

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Player Reaction

Overall, players seem quite pleased with these changes. Players ultimately appear happy that these events are providing more invites, especially considering how top-heavy these Regional Championships are. This is both in reference to the fact that only top competitors get Pro Tour invites, as well as the fact that prize support is scaled heavily towards the top finishers. The ladder is an issue that plenty of players have complained about, and at the moment, it’s unclear if prize support will be increased to match the Pro Tour invite restructuring.

In addition to the changes for tabletop play, the path to the Arena Championship was altered. Qualifier Weekend events on MTG Arena were adjusted to make it a bit easier to earn an invite to the Arena Championship. The number of players that can compete in the Arena Championship is now also uncapped, rather than being limited to 32 players. If anything, these changes on Arena and in paper showcase Wizards of the Coast’s acknowledgment that invites were a little too restrictive.

Unfortunately, the one area these changes could certainly have gone further has to do with Magic Online play. Players have vocalized their frustration with the way Magic Online handles Regional Championship invites for a while now, and these changes only raise further questions about Magic Online’s future in feeding professional play.

After all, the Regional Championship tournaments (Qualifiers and Super Qualifiers) on Magic Online often boast upwards of 400 players (and sometimes more). This makes these events significantly larger than typical Regional Championship Qualifiers at local game stores, and the number of invites given are extremely unproportional as a result. There was a minor update increasing Regional Championship invites from 50 to 64, but this still isn’t ideal given the size of most Magic Online tournaments. It’ll be interesting to see if any further changes are announced, but for now, the addition of invites in tabletop play is a welcome surprise.

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