Premier Play Changes for the 2015-16 Season

Posted in on August 2, 2015

By Helene Bergeot

Hélène Bergeot started her career with Wizards of the Coast in France in December, 1995; afterwards, she spent a few years in the European headquarters based in Belgium and eventually relocated to the Renton office. She is currently the director of organized play and trade marketing.

In an effort to allow our players to begin planning for 2016, today we are announcing some changes that will take place in the 2015-16 Premier Play season, along with the 2016 schedule for Grand Prix and Pro Tour-level events.

PPTQ/RPTQ Improvements and 2016 Schedule

After observing how the first rounds of Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers (PPTQs) and Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers (RPTQs) went, we are going to implement the following changes next year:

  1. We are tightening the schedule to reduce the amount of time between the beginning of a given Preliminary PTQ round and the Pro Tour it qualifies for.

 

Preliminary PTQ rounds will last from twelve to fourteen weeks. Regional PTQs will occur after a break of approximately five to eight weeks following the end of the PPTQ round, with the Pro Tour taking place six to nine weeks after the Regional PTQs.

This schedule should still allow players who qualify to make arrangements to attend their Regional PTQ and the Pro Tour.

In order to follow that cadence, we will need to create a nine-week break between the Preliminary PTQ round tied to the second Pro Tour of 2016 and the round tied to the third Pro Tour of 2016. This break will coincide with the holiday season, and the revised schedule will kick off in February.

Second Pro Tour of 2016:

  • PPTQs: August 22, 2015—November 22, 2015 (Standard/Sealed)
  • RPTQs: February 20 and 27, 2016 (Standard)

Third Pro Tour of 2016:

  • PPTQs: January 23, 2016—April 17, 2016 (Standard/Sealed)
  • RPTQs: May 28 and June 4, 2016 (Sealed)

Fourth Pro Tour of 2016:

  • PPTQs: April 23, 2016—July 10, 2016 (Standard/Sealed)
  • RPTQs: August 20 and 27, 2016 (Standard)

First Pro Tour of 2017:

  • PPTQs: July 16, 2016—October 9, 2016 (Modern/Sealed)
  • RPTQs: December 3 and 10, 2016 (Modern)

Second Pro Tour of 2017:

Editor's Note: The end date for this round of PPTQs was modified, as the previously announced weekend end date fell on the Aether Revolt Prerelease weekend.

  • PPTQs: October 15, 2016—January 8, 2017 (Standard/Sealed)
  • RPTQs: Q1 2017 TBD (Standard)
  1. Regional PTQs will be held during two consecutive weekends, in order to offer more flexibility to players.

Those events will be scheduled regionally, so that players can decide to play both in their local Grand Prix and attend the Regional PTQ if they want to.

As an example, if there's a Grand Prix in Japan on February 20, the local Regional PTQ will be the weekend after (February 27).

  1. Starting with the round tied to the second Pro Tour of 2016, Regional PTQ organizers will have the option to host a Last Chance Qualifier that grants winners entry into the Regional PTQ taking place that weekend. Details on those Last Chance Qualifiers, including the time they take place, their entry fee, and more will be determined by each Regional PTQ organizer.
  1. We are adding two Magic Online Regional PTQs per round

 

We have been listening to feedback from players living in remote areas about the difficulties they face in order to participate in the new qualifier system, as they have to take long flights to attend a Regional PTQ.

To address this, and starting for the round tied to the second Pro Tour of 2016, we will run two Regional PTQs per season on Magic Online (one RPTQ per weekend). More details will be posted later this year. These events will take place in February.

Thank you to Tor Bieker who made this excellent suggestion!

2016 World Magic Cup Qualifiers

World Magic Cup Qualifiers for 2016 will take place on the following dates next year:

  • June 18, 2016 – The format for this WMCQ is Standard
  • July 9, 2016 – The format for this WMCQ is Modern
  • September 17, 2016 – The format for this WMCQ is Modern

Series-Style Events Run by Independent Organizers

In order to better integrate Series-style events run by independent organizers, we are adjusting the Planeswalker multiplier for those events.

Qualifiers will award a 2x Planeswalker multiplier, and Finals events will award a 4x multiplier.

This modification reflects the level of competition in these events, and will provide more opportunities for players to accrue Planeswalker Points to get byes—especially for those who win a Preliminary PTQ early in a round and therefore can no longer play in any more PPTQs during that round.

Additionally, if a Series is comprised of more than 20 qualifying events, we will consider awarding a Pro Tour invitation to the winner of the culminating event.

Though some changes may be noticed immediately, full implementation of this re-styled program will not occur until January of 2016.

Grand Prix 2016 Updates

After years of very aggressive growth, we are approaching 2016 as a year of stabilization. 2015 has demonstrated how much players enjoy participating in premier-level events. However, the growing number of Grand Prix has created some conflicts that have been detrimental to a few of the events.

We are therefore looking at slightly reducing the number of Grand Prix as a way to make sure every single one of them remains a unique experience to all attendees and also receives the attention that it deserves. At the same time, we want to maintain a great geographical spread as a way to secure accessibility to a Grand Prix for players all over the world.

The Grand Prix schedule will consist of 48 events, to be dispersed in the following regions as listed:

Asia Pacific: 10

Europe: 12

North and Latin America: 26

Another goal next year will be to group Grand Prix run the same weekend more naturally under the same theme. For example, we are working to make sure that all GPs hosted during a weekend are the same format.

We also want to continue offering a variety of formats to players. Below is the breakdown of GPs we'll run per format:

  • Team: 5
  • Limited: 11
  • Standard: 20
  • Modern: 9
  • Legacy: 3

This schedule will give us the opportunity to provide the right amount of focus for each Grand Prix, while also following the lessons we learned from Modern Masters Weekend as we begin planning another event of that magnitude. Modern Masters Weekend required fifteen months of preparation, and we want to offer players an even better show next time.

We are also taking this opportunity to update the prize payout. The revised payout per number of players will be as follows:

  • Up to 2,999 players: $50,000
  • 3,000+ players: $75,000

The breakdown of the prize payout will also be revisited, becoming more top-heavy in order to recognize the impressive performance of the top finishers. The detailed breakdown will be announced later this year.

Additionally, all players who will earn a Pro Tour invite at a Grand Prix will also be granted a travel award to the Pro Tour that the Grand Prix is tied to. Travel awards will no longer be restricted to only players who finish in the Top 8.

Starting in 2016, cut for Day Two will also be modified: All players with an X-3 record at the end of Day One will have the opportunity to continue playing on Sunday. This change was suggested by some players, as for many Grand Prix attendees, playing in Day Two if they are out of contention for the Top 8 is a big achievement by itself. Grand Prix are all about enjoying the thrill of the competition; we are therefore happy to follow this suggestion.

The full schedule for Grand Prix in 2016 can be found at the bottom of this article, and will be available on the Premier Event Schedule by August 3.

2016 Pro Tour Schedule

Last but not least, we're happy to announce where the Pro Tour will take us next year.

  • February 5–7, 2016: Pro Tour #1—Atlanta, Georgia (Modern/Booster Draft)
  • April 22–24, 2016: Pro Tour #2—Madrid, Spain (Standard/Booster Draft)
  • August 5–7, 2016: Pro Tour #3—Sydney, Australia (Standard/Booster Draft)
  • October 14–16, 2016: Pro Tour #4—Honolulu, Hawaii (Standard/Booster Draft)

After well more than a decade, we're returning to Australia!

We are planning to run the 2016 Magic World Championships in Seattle, Washington during PAX Prime next year. We will have more information on this when the dates for PAX Prime 2016 are confirmed. The formats for the 2016 World Championship will be announced at a later date.

Finally, the World Magic Cup will be in Rotterdam, Netherlands on November 18–20, 2016. The formats for the 2016 World Magic Cup will be announced at a later date.

The Premier Event Schedule will highlight every Grand Prix, Pro Tour, and the major moments in Magic premier play through 2016 by Monday, August 3. Until then, check out the Grand Prix schedule for 2016 below!

Editor's Note: The 2016 Grand Prix schedule was updated on September 10, 2015 with finalized dates. For the full schedule, please refer to the following article

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