April 2015 Event Changes

Posted in Magic Online on March 16, 2015

By Lee Sharpe

Greetings!

It’s me again, Lee Sharpe, Magic Online digital product manager for events. Recently, we made some big changes to the Magic Online Events schedule, detailed in my last article. After looking at the data, and hearing player feedback on that update, I’ve got a few event changes to announce, so let’s just jump right in.

Unless otherwise stated below, each change listed below will take effect starting with the April 1 downtime. No fooling!


Goodbye to Some Queues

One of the things we try to do is avoid regret. We don’t like offering things that players try to join, only to find out it was a false hope, that their event isn’t going to happen, and so they leave. A decent number of the queues we offer currently fit that description. Not only did they fire rarely, but a large percentage of the time when a player joined them, the player left the queue rather than getting to play in the event.

Additionally, too large a number of offerings or too many offerings can create a choice-paralysis for players coming in who don't have a firm idea of what they want to play. Balancing this against a desire for experienced players to have a wide variety of play available is a tricky task, but right now we are on the “too many queues” side of the scale.

The sealed queues being removed are:

  • Magic 2015 4-Booster Sealed
  • Theros Block 4-Booster Sealed

The Phantom Sealed queues will remain up for those wanting a sealed experience in these formats.

The constructed queues being removed are:

  • Khans of Tarkir Block 5-3-2-2
  • Legacy 5-3-2-2
  • Vintage 5-3-2-2
  • Pauper 5-3-2-2
  • Momir Basic 5-3-2-2

Players have shown a clear preference for the shorter and faster 2-player queue structures over the 8-player queue structures. Standard and Modern have enough of a player base to support the operation of both queues simultaneously, but these formats do not. These 8-player queues are being removed.


Encore Draft Queue Changes

A good place where the data shows us we are dividing a small audience is with the Encore formats, that is, those formats involving Standard-legal sets but also aren’t the current Limited environment, such as Theros Block and Magic 2015. So we wanted to reduce these down to one queue per format.

So far, we have tried two approaches to offering events in the Encore formats. The first has been only offering the 4-3-2-2 queue. While this makes some sense as the “middle” queue in terms of how top-heavy vs. flat the prize structure is, it also forces players into the least popular when all three queues are up.

The second approach is the inverse of this, to removing only the 4-3-2-2 queue and leaving the 8-4 and Swiss queues up. This helps, but still divides a smaller audience between two queues. Given this, we sought to combine the best features of all of the queues and are introducing the 6-2-2-2 queue!

The 6-2-2-2 runs 3 Swiss rounds, and awards 6 boosters for going 3-0, and 2 boosters to each of the three players who go 2-1. You can win quite a bit by taking down the whole queue, and if you finish 2-1, you’re not that far away from your next draft. If you get a rough loss in round 1, you can still compete for a good prize. This does have a potential drawback in that the two 0-2 players have nothing to compete for in round 3, but the drop rate of these players in the regular Swiss queue (when they could still play and try to win a pack) suggests that this isn’t as valuable to players as the other factors the 6-2-2-2 queue looks to support. We hope you like the new queue! You can get your first taste of it when the Rise of the Eldrazi Flashback Drafts use this structure beginning after the Wednesday, March 18, downtime.

The existing Magic 2015 and Theros Block draft queues will be going away on April 1 in favor of 6-2-2-2 versions, detailed below. Khans of Tarkir/Fate Reforged will be getting a 6-2-2-2 queue (details below) when Dragons of Tarkir Release Events begin on Monday, April 6.


Rebranding of the “Swiss” Draft

Currently, we refer to the queue that runs as Swiss and awards one booster pack for each win a “Swiss." While it is a Swiss Draft, the new 6-2-2-2 queue being used for the Encore formats, as described above, is also Swiss. Using the term “Swiss” to describe a prize structure isn’t really accurate or helpful. “3-2-1” sounds like only 6 boosters are being awarded, and “3-2-2-2-1-1-1” is a little obnoxious both to say and write out, so we are now going to be rebranding this as the “Pack Per Win” queue. Nothing about details of the queue are changing; it just has a new name.


Small Daily Event Schedule Changes

Taking a big stab at something like the Daily Event schedule is a pretty huge undertaking. Constantly trying to modify it is not something we’re going to be able to do all the time—we would never get the opportunity to look at the other areas of the event offerings. Additionally, the ability of players to predict the schedule is important and goes away if we change it too much. That said, after the big schedule change we wanted to take a look at the Daily Event data after the new schedule had been running for several weeks, combined with player feedback, and see if we could make a couple of small improvements.

The first change is that we're going to remove all of the Khans of Tarkir Block Daily Events. It's been some time since one of these events fired. In general, the Block Constructed format has lost steam on Magic Online as more sets entered the block, resulting in a format without a player base large enough to fire a Daily Event at any of the multiple times offered. Block Constructed fans still looking to find an opponent can continue to use the 2-player queue to play.

The second change is that we think Legacy can support another event-per-day compared to what is currently being offered. We're going to add one back in, and at a time that player feedback has indicated was greatly desired. The new Legacy Daily Event will be at 10:30 a.m. Pacific on Mondays and Tuesdays; 11:30 a.m. Pacific (UTC-7) on Thursdays (no event Wednesday due to downtime); and 12:30 p.m. Pacific on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

The last of these three conflicted with a New to Magic Online Standard event, so that event is being moved to 1:30 p.m. Pacific on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Additionally, this new Legacy time ran too close to another Legacy time, so that time is being pushed back an hour to: 2:00 p.m. Pacific on Mondays and Tuesdays; 3:00 p.m. Pacific on Wednesdays and Thursdays; and 4:00 p.m. Pacific on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

You can see the adjusted schedule below. Remember that all times shown are U.S. Pacific Time. If you have any feedback on these changes or other issues related to Magic Online events, please do not hesitate to reach out to @MagicOnline or, @mtg_lee on Twitter, or to magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com. Thanks!

Lee Sharpe
Digital Product Manager, Magic Online Events

Daily Event Schedule as of Wednesday, April 1

Note: Sealed Daily Events will not be run from April 3-22, due to Dragons of Tarkir Prerelease and Release Events. All Sealed Daily Events listed below become Dragons of Tarkir Sealed Events after Dragons of Tarkir Release Events come to a close on April 22.

All times are Pacific (UTC-7)

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
12:00 AM Standard Standard Standard Sealed Modern Modern Modern
12:30 AM New to Magic Online New to Magic Online New to Magic Online
1:00 AM Standard Sealed Sealed Sealed
1:30 AM
2:00 AM Modern Modern Standard Standard Standard
2:30 AM
3:00 AM Sealed Sealed Modern
3:30 AM
4:00 AM Standard Standard Sealed Modern Modern Modern
4:30 AM
5:00 AM Legacy Legacy Standard Sealed Sealed Sealed
5:30 AM
6:00 AM Legacy Standard Standard Standard
6:30 AM
7:00 AM Sealed Sealed Legacy Legacy Legacy
7:30 AM Modern Modern Modern
8:00 AM Standard Standard DOWNTIME Sealed
8:30 AM New to Magic Online New to Magic Online New to Magic Online
9:00 AM Pauper Pauper Standard Sealed Sealed Sealed
9:30 AM
10:00 AM Modern Modern Pauper Standard Standard Standard
10:30 AM Legacy Legacy
11:00 AM Sealed Sealed Modern Pauper Pauper Pauper
11:30 AM Legacy Vintage Vintage Vintage
12:00 PM Standard Standard Sealed Sealed Modern Modern Modern
12:30 PM Legacy Legacy Legacy
1:00 PM Standard Standard Sealed Sealed Sealed
1:30 PM New to Magic Online New to Magic Online New to Magic Online
2:00 PM Legacy Legacy Standard Standard Standard
2:30 PM
3:00 PM Sealed Sealed Legacy Legacy
3:30 PM
4:00 PM Standard Standard Sealed Sealed Legacy Legacy Legacy
4:30 PM New to Magic Online New to Magic Online New to Magic Online
5:00 PM Modern Modern Standard Standard Sealed Sealed Sealed
5:30 PM Vintage Vintage Pauper Pauper Pauper
6:00 PM Sealed Sealed Modern Modern Standard Standard Standard
6:30 PM Vintage Vintage Vintage
7:00 PM Legacy Legacy Sealed Sealed Modern Modern Modern
7:30 PM
8:00 PM Standard Standard Legacy Legacy Sealed Sealed Sealed
8:30 PM New to Magic Online New to Magic Online New to Magic Online
9:00 PM Standard Standard Legacy Legacy Legacy
9:30 PM
10:00 PM Modern Modern Standard Standard Standard
10:30 PM
11:00 PM Sealed Sealed Modern Sealed Sealed Sealed Sealed
11:30 PM

Magic 2015 6-2-2-2

START TIME Wednesday, April 1, after downtime
LOCATION Limited Queues
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1 Option 2
14 Event Tickets 2 Event Tickets, plus product
PRODUCT 3 Magic 2015 booster packs
SIZE 8 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss
FORMAT Draft
DURATION 10 minutes deck-building time. Three rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
PRIZES
Match Wins Prizes QPs
3 Wins 6 Magic 2015 booster packs 1
2 Wins 2 Magic 2015 booster packs 0

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Return to Schedule

Theros Block 6-2-2-2

START TIME Wednesday, April 1, after downtime
LOCATION Limited Queues
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1 Option 2
14 Event Tickets 2 Event Tickets, plus product
PRODUCT 1 Theros booster pack, 1 Born of the Gods booster pack, and 1 Journey into Nyx booster pack
SIZE 8 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss
FORMAT Draft
DURATION 10 minutes deck-building time. Three rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
PRIZES
Match Wins Prizes QPs
3 Wins 2 Theros booster packs, 2 Born of the Gods booster packs, and 2 Journey into Nyx booster packs 1
2 Wins 1 Theros booster pack and 1 Journey into Nyx booster pack 0

Return to Top

Return to Schedule

Khans of Tarkir/Fate Reforged 6-2-2-2

START TIME Monday, April 6, 10:00 a.m.
All times are Pacific (for UTC, add 7 hours)
LOCATION Limited Queues
ENTRY OPTIONS
Option 1 Option 2
14 Event Tickets 2 Event Tickets, plus product
PRODUCT 2 Khans of Tarkir booster packs and 1 Fate Reforged booster pack
SIZE 8 players
PLAY STYLE Swiss
FORMAT Draft
DURATION 10 minutes deck-building time. Three rounds, each round up to 50 minutes.
PRIZES
Match Wins Prizes QPs
3 Wins 4 Khans of Tarkir booster packs, and 2 Fate Reforged booster packs 1
2 Wins 1 Khans of Tarkir booster pack and 1 Fate Reforged booster pack 0

Return to Top

Return to Schedule

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