Revisions to 2013–14 Premier Play Changes

Posted in Feature on May 9, 2013

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.

After absorbing and analyzing feedback on the wide-ranging changes to Premier Play announced on April 25, we are adjusting two important pieces.

New Platinum Threshold

The first change is to reduce the Pro Points required for Platinum level in the 2013–14 season to 45 from the previously announced 50-point threshold.

When determining the new threshold, we did both a wide-angle statistical analysis of past play rates and results along with a more focused review of how a pro might perform on average. The additional points coming from a fourth Pro Tour, plus the incremental advantage at Grand Prix for players with third-round byes, led us to raise the threshold. Upon further review, we thought we should have weighed the downside of a few changes—notably how more Silver-level players at Pro Tours will make the field more competitive, and the limiting of pro points a player can earn at Grand Prix—more aggressively when determining the new threshold. Thresholds for Silver (20 points) and Gold (35 points) remain the same as announced.

Silver-Level Pro Tour Invitations

The other change regards the timing of when a Silver-level player earns his or her Pro Tour invite. As many members of the pro community have correctly identified, providing that invite for the first Pro Tour after a player reaches Silver can create the wrong incentives to play, as the player tries to maximize the moment he or she reaches the Silver level. That level of cost-benefit analysis shouldn't be a part of competitive play—if you want to play in an event, the system shouldn't suggest otherwise, and if you do play in an event, you should be incentivized to try your best each round.

To address this concern, we're changing when a Silver-level Pro Tour invitation is granted to be aligned with the next Pro Tour a player is not currently invited to. Silver-level invites for a given Pro Tour will be awarded at the conclusion of that Pro Tour's qualifier round. That timing allows Silver-level players to attempt to earn an invitation at PTQs or Grand Prix that comes with airfare while still having the Silver invite in their back pockets. It also makes it so a player who achieves Silver status in the weeks immediately prior to a Pro Tour, but cannot attend due to travel costs or a scheduling conflict, doesn't "lose" his or her invitation.

Here's how it will work. At the beginning of each pro season, each player who earned enough points during the last season to become Silver level will get one Silver invite. During each pro season, when a player first earns enough points to become Silver level, he or she will get one Silver invite. A player may have more than one Silver invite at a time, but all Silver invites expire at the end of each pro season. For 2013–14, the pro season ends with the Core Set Pro Tour.

At the end of each qualifier round, if a player has a Silver invite and is not otherwise invited to the upcoming Pro Tour from any source, that player will use one of his or her Silver invites and will be qualified for the upcoming Pro Tour. Note that using Silver invites is not optional, it is just something that happens whenever the player who has a Silver invite is not otherwise qualified.

If a player with a Silver invite is already qualified from another source at the end of a qualifier round, nothing happens. That player's Silver invite(s) are retained, to be used later that season or to expire at the end of the season if never used.

Example: Player X is Silver at the end of the 2012–13 season and wins a PTQ for Pro Tour Theros. He would normally get a Silver invite to Pro Tour Theros, as it is the first Pro Tour of the year, but it is deferred to Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Player X goes on to finish 8th at Pro Tour Theros, earning 20 Pro Points, which makes him Silver for the current year as well, earning him a second invite. He is invited to Pro Tour Born of the Gods because of his Top 25 finish at Pro Tour Theros, so both Silver invites are deferred. He finishes last at Pro Tour Born of the Gods. He uses his first Silver invite to Pro Tour Journey into Nix, where he finishes last again. He uses his second Silver Pro Tour invite to the Core Set Pro Tour, where he finishes last again. The 2013–14 season ends with Player X receiving no other Pro Points, making him Silver for the 2014–15 season. He receives an invite to Pro Tour "Huey" for being Silver at the start of the 2014–15 season.

The Premier Event Invitation Policy and the Pro Club guidelines have been updated to reflect these changes and can be found here.

We feel that these adjustments will help accomplish the goals outlined in the original announcement; we also want to take this opportunity to reiterate that we are committed to continue monitoring player feedback very closely and look at opportunities to constantly improve our organized play system.

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