League Event Structures

Posted in Magic Online on August 31, 2015

By Lee Sharpe

Two weeks ago, Chris Kiritz’s article described our plan for rolling out constructed Leagues. I’m excited to incorporate them into our event offerings, just as I’m sure many of you are excited to play in them. Since Standard is the most popular constructed format, we’ll be starting there, but we’re certainly planning to build on this as we move forward.

This article describes what to expect when you play in a League, provides an explanation of the philosophy behind the structure and prizes of Leagues, tells you the details of the first League you’ll be able to play in, and finally ends with a variety of answers to questions we expect players may have about how Leagues work.

How do I play in the League?

In the Leagues area of the Play Lobby, you’ll select the League you want to join and choose an entry option to use to enter.

Joining a League starts your course and you can start looking for opponents. Your course through the League allows you to play a fixed number of matches, depending on the League’s structure. When you’re ready to play you can click the “Play League Match” button at any time and you’ll enter the matchmaking system. Once matchmaking system has paired you against someone, both of you will be prompted to confirm you’re still ready to play. As soon as both players have confirmed, the match will begin!

Once you’re done with your match, you can immediately rejoin the matchmaking system and play again. Or if you’re done for the time being, you can do other things on Magic Online or log off. Your current place in the League will be saved and ready next time you want to play a match! Leagues will last weeks or months, even through a downtime, so you have plenty of time to play.

As long as you have time, all of your matches are available to you regardless of your record. You can’t change your constructed deck during your course, though obviously between games of a match you can use your sideboard normally.

As soon as you finish the last match, your course through the League will complete and you’ll be awarded prizes based how matches you have won. If the League isn’t at its maximum number of active players, you can pay an entry option to start over with a whole new course through the League! You can use the same deck or another one, and this new course will award prizes based on how well you do in it.

Philosophy of League structure and prizes

Leagues are all about being able to play whenever you have time for a match, and being able to maintain your record without having to play all of your matches in one sitting. Because of this, we are primarily targeting players who don’t have a lot of time to play Magic Online. Many of them might not play events at all now because the time commitment requiring them to play more than one match in a single session is too much.

We’ve designed Leagues to have a flat prize structure compared to our other events. This means that every win gets you more prizes, so there’s always a reason to keep playing until you’re done with your matches, regardless of your record. Also, these constructed Leagues let you play more matches of Magic when compared to the size of the entry than any of our regular constructed offerings. They’re a great way to get a lot of Magic in!

We are interested in expanding to other constructed formats as well as Leagues with more competitive and top-heavy prizes structure, but we need to make sure the Leagues are performing in a way that meets player expectations at every step before moving to the next one. For similar reasons, we’ll be increasing the League’s maximum number of players over time to ensure the system is handling player growth correctly.

What are the exact details of the first League available to the public?

League Start: Wednesday, September 9, after the downtime
League Closes: Monday, October 5, 10:00 a.m.
League Ends: Wednesday, October 7, 4:00 a.m.
All times are Pacific (for UTC, add 7 hours).
Location: Constructed Leagues
Entry Options:

  • Option 1: 8 Event Tickets
  • Option 2: 80 Play Points

Size: The minimum number of players is 32. The maximum number of players will be increased over the course of the League as we continue to monitor the League’s stability and performance. It will start at 1000.
Structure: Up to 5 matches
Format: Standard


Match Wins Prizes QPs
5 Wins 2 Magic Origins booster packs and 150 Play Points 3
4 Wins 1 Magic Origins booster pack and 120 Play Points 1
3 Wins 80 Play Points 0
2 Wins 40 Play Points 0
1 Wins 20 Play Points 0
0 Wins 10 Play Points 0


Each win gets you an increasing number of Play Points. Once you’ve hit three wins, you’ve got enough to enter another League. Getting to four or five means you’ll get booster packs and qualifier points to reward your excellent finish!

What is the closed date and why is it a couple days before the end date?

The closed date represents when players can no longer join the League. Players who have a course in progress can still continue normally.

We want to make sure we aren’t offering a “false experience” where someone joins and doesn’t have a reasonable chance of completing their matches before the end date. While some players will go through all of their matches in one day, others will take considerably longer. We believe two days is the right balance to close the League for now, but we’ll monitor and adjust going forward as we see how players behave in Leagues.

What is the end date and why was it chosen?

After the end date, the League will not let any more matches for the League begin. Once any matches in progress have completed, the League will end all courses that haven’t finished and award those players prizes based on their current number of wins. Make sure you get all your matches in by the time the League ends!

This initial League’s end date is when Battle for Zendikar is added to Magic Online. Standard will rotate at this time, and we don’t want to a player to have deck in a Standard League that is no longer legal in Standard. Further, we don’t want Leagues to last indefinitely, so our current plan is to cycle them with the downtime before prereleases of each Standard-legal set on Magic Online. Most of the time, this means the Leagues will last approximately three months.

How does someone’s course end and when do they get prizes?

A course can end in of three ways:


  • The player completes all of their matches. They’ll immediately receive their prizes based on how many matches they won.
  • The player chooses to drop from the League. They can do this at any time. As soon as they drop, they will receive prizes based on how many matches they have won.
  • The League reaches the end time. Once the League ends, all players with a course in progress will receive prizes based on how many matches they have won. Make sure you play all of your matches before the League’s end time to give yourself every opportunity to increase your prizes.


What do the minimum and maximum players mean for a League?

The League won’t allow matches to be played until the number the minimum number has been reached and it is after the League start time. This is to help make sure that the matchmaking system will have enough players to give everyone a match in a reasonable amount of time. The maximum players refers to the number of active players (you can see the current number in the League Details view), which is the number of people who have started their courses and still have matches left to play in them. It doesn’t matter whether they are currently logged in or not. Players who have finished courses and aren’t currently in one do not count toward this number.

If the number of active players is at the maximum number of players, no more players can join until players already in the League finish their courses and bring the number of active players down.

What if I encounter a bug or other technical issue in my League match?

Unfortunately, bugs and technical issues can happen. If you do encounter one, we encourage you to contact our Game Support team through http://mtgo-support.wizards.com.

Within a League, our Game Support representatives have the ability to “nullify” a match where you were impacted by a bug or other technical issue. A nullified match no longer counts toward your record or the number of matches you’ve played. The next League match you play will take its place.

Be assured that a nullified match is only nullified for the player who contacts Game Support. If you win a match and your opponent contacts Game Support who nullifies the match for that player, the match will still count as a win for you.

Note that sometimes instead of nullifying, Game Support will instead return the entry option used to join the League.

Can I be in a given League multiple times at once?

No. You can only be in a given League no more than once at any given time. Once your current course ends by you completing your matches or dropping, you are free to join again (as long as the League is not at the maximum active players).

Once we are offering multiple Leagues, you can be enrolled in each of the Leagues, though still no more than once at a time in any single League.

Can I trade my deck’s cards while I am in the League?

No. Like constructed events currently, once you join, the cards used in your deck become “locked” and cannot be traded. Once your course through the League has ended (when you complete your matches, you drop, or the League ends), then those cards will again be able to be traded.

These cards will be marked with a red number in the Collection scene so you know they can’t be traded. While you are in a trade, they won’t show up to your trade partner as they view your binder.

Are Wizards team members eligible to play in Leagues?

Yes. The Wizards Play Policy will allow Wizards team members to compete in Magic Online Leagues in the same way that they can compete in Magic Online queues.

We hope you enjoy all Leagues have to offer and are excited to be bringing them to you! As always, you can leave feedback to the official Magic Online Twitter account, my personal Twitter account, the Magic Online Tumblr, or through email at magiconlinefeedback@wizards.com.

Lee Sharpe
Digital Product Manager—Magic Online Events

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