The 2013–2014 Pro Points season is nearing its halfway point. For most of the European players, this Grand Prix and the one in Barcelona next month are the last remaining events before Pro Tour Born of the Gods which concludes the first half of the season. I talked to two players who have already made some news on the Grand Prix scene and are now on the hunt for additional pro points to reach the Gold and possibly even the Platinum level.
Valentin Mackl of Austria currently sits at 24 points, with most of the points coming from his three Top 4 results at Grand Prix and his Top 75 finish at Pro Tour Theros (each of which is worth five points). "My goal is definitely Platinum, for which I need to get to 45 points," said Mackl. "However, Gold is the minimum of what I expect to finish the season with. If I don't get there with this start—that would be extremely frustrating."
The number of points needed for Gold level is 35, so with 24 under his belt with hardly half the season over, Mackl appears to be in astonishingly good shape. "But nowadays only the best five Grand Prix results count toward your season total, which is especially sad from my perspective. I think I already have like three Grand Prix finishes that are simply gone from the record, and I need a Top 32 to even get any additional points at all," Mackl complained.
Of course, this makes the Pro Tour all the more important. "A Top 16, I believe, would lock me in for Platinum, but my minimum goal for Pro Tour Born of the Gods is to place in the Top 75. That way I'd be on schedule for Gold," said Mackl. He then spotted fellow Silver-level pro Wenzel Krautmann and added: "Actually, I don't care too much, just as long as I finish the season with more points than Wenzel!"
Wenzel Krautmann's story is a similar one. The GP Warsaw champion began the weekend at 21 points, missing 14 for Gold, 24 for Platinum. Like Mackl, he too got most of his points through Grand Prix and was concerned for the nigh-impossibility of getting any more that way. "I love traveling to Grand Prix, but the current system really disincentivizes such behavior," said Krautmann. "I'll probably still go to a lot of Grand Prix, simply because they're such great fun, but I feel like there should be some reward point-wise for doing so too. Maybe even a ranking-based rather than point-based level system would be better," he mused.
As for his goals regarding the near future, he said, "I want to finish in the Top 25 in one of the next two Pro Tours to be safe for Gold. I have a good team and will be doing a lot of testing. Gold will then qualify me for the all-important fourth Pro Tour. Apart from that, I intend to have as much fun as I can possibly have. I'm pretty optimistic about that, at least."