Revamped Premier Play Coming in 2012

Posted in Feature on December 23, 2011

By Wizards of the Coast

Before the 2012 season begins at Grand Prix Austin in early January, Wizards of the Coast is announcing the following changes to the premier play tournament structure and Planeswalker Points system. These adjustments are a culmination of an extensive review to the changes we announced in September and November. Included in these changes are:

  • Modifications to Planeswalker Points multipliers and standings
  • The debut of the World Magic Cup
  • The launch of the new Pro Players Club
  • Review of Pro Tour invitations
  • Thresholds for Grand Prix byes
  • Renaming the 2012 World Championship to the Magic Players Championship

Details on each bullet point can be found below. For more information on the decisions behind these changes and how player feedback influenced the process, please read "Addressing Changes to 2012 Magic Premier Play" by Director of Organized Play Helene Bergeot.

Planeswalker Points

Several changes are being made to the Planeswalker Points system. Competitive Planeswalker Points will no longer directly award invitations to the Pro Tour starting with Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in May. The Competitive Points category is being split into two groups: Seasonal Award and Yearly Award. In addition, some multipliers are changing and the Professional Points category is being rebuilt to model the previous Pro Points system.

Seasonal Award points will be used to determine Grand Prix byes. The period of time for the current Seasonal Award season is December 26, 2011–April 1, 2012 (the same dates as what the Competitive season would have been under the old category names). Yearly Award points will be used to determine World Magic Cup Qualifier invitations (see below). As the Planeswalker Points system is adjusted with these new categories, the Yearly Award Standings will not begin until April 2012. Professional Points will be used to determine levels in the new Pro Players Club.

Here is a review of how the Planeswalker Point categories are being adjusted:

Along with changing category labels, some multipliers are changing. The multiplier changes listed in the chart below will go into effect for all events run after December 25, 2011, and will be reflected on the Planeswalker Points standings and information pages in late January. The events at the 12x multiplier level will only contribute points to a player's Lifetime Planeswalker Points total, not his or her Seasonal Award or Yearly Award totals. There will also no longer be an 18x multiplier for Top 8 finishes at Pro Tours.

For the 2012 Friday Night Magic Championship, the Friday Night Magic standings will not be retroactively adjusted to the 1x level. Friday Night Magic events run from September 5, 2011, to December 25, 2011, will remain with the 3x multiplier. Friday Night Magic events run after December 25, 2011, will have the 1x multiplier. The Friday Night Magic Championship will be held at Gen Con in Indianapolis (August 16–19), with the same invitation policy as previously announced. Competitors in the Friday Night Magic Championship will also be given a four-day badge to Gen Con.

As the evolution of the Planeswalker Points system continues, players will no longer be able to view their Elo ratings as of late January 2012.

World Magic Cup

The World Magic Cup will be a three-day, team-only event to crown the top nation in Magic each year. World Magic Cup teams will be made up of three winners of World Magic Cup Qualifier tournaments and the #1-rated player in that country based on Professional Points (based on events played from June 13, 2011, to May 13, 2012). The 2012 World Magic Cup will take place at Gen Con in Indianapolis (August 16–19). Previously known as the 2012 World Championships, the Magic Players Championship will be held later in the year rather than at Gen Con (for more information on the Magic Players Championship, see below).

Wizards intends to include a number of countries in the World Magic Cup similar to the number of national teams that participated in previous World Championships. That list can be found in the Premier Play Invitation Policy. Along with a prize purse of approximately $150,000, the World Magic Cup will award Professional Points based on finish order and the top four teams will earn invitations and airfare to the next Pro Tour. Participants who are Pro Club levels 6–8 will earn a $1,000 appearance fee in 2012. More information on the Professional Points award structure can be found here.

World Magic Cup Qualifiers

World Magic Cup Qualifiers will be run by Wizards Play Network locations around the world, with the winner earning a spot on his or her country's World Magic Cup team. There will be three World Magic Cup Qualifiers in each country, to be run April 21–June 9. These will be invitation-only events for all countries. Invitations will be based on reaching a threshold in the Planeswalker Points standings specific to the player's home country.

Because 2012 is a transition year, Wizards of the Coast needs time to realign the qualification windows on the calendar. Measuring a player's performance over a 12-month span is important in determining who earns an invitation, but the compressed time frame to launch the World Magic Cup in 2012 demanded a shortened season to set the qualification levels. Therefore, Seasonal Award points will be used for the season running December 26, 2011–April 1, 2012 to determine invitations to World Magic Cup Qualifiers in 2012. For invitations to World Magic Cup Qualifiers in 2013, the Yearly Award points will be used.

Invitation thresholds vary by country and are listed in the Premier Play Invitation Policy. Plane tickets will be awarded to the winners of each World Magic Cup Qualifier and the player earning the "top pro" slot. The Yearly Award season used to determine invitations to 2013 World Magic Cup Qualifiers will begin April 2, 2012 and end March 17, 2013.

World Magic Cup Qualifiers replace the National Championships and National Qualifiers system. More information on World Magic Cup Qualifiers can be found in the Premier Play Invitation Policy.

Pro Players Club

The new version of the Pro Players Club will use Professional Points to determine levels, following a scale very similar to the Pro Points system used in 2011. The levels are based on thresholds and have been streamlined to reward the top professional players each year.

  • Silver (15 points): Two-round bye at each Grand Prix, invitation to World Magic Cup Qualifier in your country
  • Gold (25 points): Invitations to all Pro Tours that year, three-round bye at each Grand Prix, invitation to World Magic Cup Qualifier in your country
  • Platinum (40 points): $3,000 appearance fee at Pro Tours, hotel and airfare paid for by Wizards of the Coast for each Pro Tour, $250 appearance fee at Grand Prix, $1,000 appearance fee at the World Magic Cup (if invited), plus all benefits provided to Gold level

Due to the timing of this transition and the change to the "end" of the Magic year, the stretch of time used to determine 2013 Pro Club levels will be June 13, 2011–May 13, 2012. Benefits earned by levels set at the May 13, 2012, cut-off will be honored immediately. Pro Club benefits earned in 2011 will be honored for the entire 2012 calendar year. Because of the overlap in benefit systems, a player will earn benefits based on the higher level of the two systems he or she has achieved.

Because the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 seasons have several significant differences in their schedules, the Silver, Gold, and Platinum thresholds for the 2012–2013 season will be reexamined and likely be higher. Those levels will be announced by May, 2012 (the start of the new season).

When the new levels kick in, Magic Pro Tour Hall of Famers will earn the equivalent of Gold level benefits along with a $500 appearance fee at Pro Tours and the World Magic Cup (if invited). If a Hall of Famer is earning Platinum-level benefits, the $500 will be in addition to the base appearance fee for Pro Tour and World Magic Cup participation.

A breakdown of Professional Points awarded by event can be found here. Complete information about the updated Pro Players Club can be found here. The Professional Point totals by player for the period of time from June 13 through the end of the 2011 season can be found here.

The graphic below illustrates the overlapping seasons for the next 18 months and the Planeswalker Points that feed each category. Mouse over the arrows to scroll left to right, and click on the arrows to increase the scrolling speed.

Download the schedule

Pro Tour Invitations

Starting with the Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in May, invitations at each Pro Tour will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Top 25 finishers at the previous Pro Tour (plus airfare)
  • Top 4 finishers at Grand Prix feeding the Pro Tour (plus airfare)
  • Pro Players Club members, based on their level benefits (plus airfare for top-level players)
  • Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame members (plus $500)
  • In-person Pro Tour Qualifier winners (plus airfare)
  • Magic Online qualifier winners (plus entrance into the Pro Tour Super Draft)

Invitations for Pro Tour Dark Ascension have been extended to the top 25 individual finishers and top four national teams from the 2011 World Championships to close the gap between the old invitation system and the new one. In addition, the top four teams at the World Magic Cup will earn invitations to the next Pro Tour.

Grand Prix

Grand Prix will award Pro Tour invitations to the top four finishers, starting with Grand Prix Austin. The system used to award Grand Prix byes will change from the "Top X" Competitive Planeswalker Points system launched in September to a threshold system based on Seasonal Award points. Byes for Grand Prix from January 1 through April 1, 2012, will be awarded based on the Planeswalker Points system announced in September.

The new thresholds are 300 Seasonal Award points for one bye, 600 points for two byes, and 1,200 for three byes. The threshold bye system will begin with the season starting December 26, 2011 (concluding April 1, 2012). Grand Prix Trials will continue to be run in Wizards Play Network locations and offer a three-round bye to the winner.

If a player crosses a threshold in the middle of a season, he or she will earn the byes for any Grand Prix left that season, and all Grand Prix the following season. Along with having an 8x multiplier for Planeswalker Points, Grand Prix will offer Professional Points for high finishes. For the breakdown of Professional Points awarded at Grand Prix, visit this page.

The Magic Players Championship

Previously called the 2012 World Championships and scheduled for Gen Con, the 2012 Magic: The Gathering Players Championship will take place between Gen Con and Pro Tour No. 3 at a location to be determined. It remains a 16-player event inviting the following players:

  • 2011 Pro Tour Player of the Year: Owen Turtenwald
  • Pro Tour Philadelphia Champion: Samuele Estratti
  • 2011 World Champion: Jun'ya Iyanaga
  • 2011 Magic Online Champion: Reid Duke
  • Pro Tour Dark Ascension Champion
  • Pro Tour Avacyn Restored Champion
  • Top-ranked player in each geo-region (North America, Europe, Japan, Latin America, APAC) based on Professional Points from June 13, 2011, to May 13, 2012
  • Top-ranked players based on Professional Points from June 13, 2011, to May 13, 2012 who are not previously invited to bring the total to 16 players

The Magic Players Championship will be a three-day event testing players across prominent Constructed and Limited formats. This event will have a $100,000 prize purse as previously announced. The only changes listed above are the inclusion of the Player of the Year as an invited player and a shift of the date range for qualification to align it with the new cut-off dates for the new Pro Players Club. Because of the unique nature of the Magic Players Championship, Professional Points will not be awarded directly by finish order. Instead, players will earn one Pro Point per match win and top finishers will earn additional Pro Points.

For more background information and reasoning behind these changes, please see the Helene Bergeot's article "Addressing Changes to 2012 Magic Premier Play." Director of Magic R&D Aaron Forsythe will also be addressing the Organized Play system, as well as looking back on many other facets of Magic in 2011, in his "From the Director's Chair" feature that will be published on the first week of January.

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