Companion Launch

Posted in Magic Companion Updates on July 15, 2020

By Bill Stark

The day is finally here! After a year of outstanding effort by a great development team, we're finally able to introduce you to Magic: The Gathering Companion, the official app for tabletop Magic play. Companion helps you organize Magic events (make sure to follow local guidelines for meeting with groups!), join the events hosted by participating Wizards Play Network stores, record match results, view pairings, and track life totals, all directly from your phone. Before I dive into the what, here's the where:

You can download Companion for iOS here.

You can download Companion for Android here.

Joining events with Companion

Companion was created to help make your experience playing in Magic events go as smoothly as possible. Now you can join events from your participating WPN retailer directly through the app (you'll still pay entry fees directly to your retailer) receive your pairing and seating assignment, record match results, and check standings. To access these features, you'll need to log in to your Wizards Account. Don't have a Wizards Account yet? You can sign up for one directly in Companion, or at this website. A quick note: this is a different account than your DCI # but will soon be the primary account you'll use in order to access events, tools, and products from Wizards of the Coast.

When you attend an event at a Wizards Play Network retailer who is participating in our global access open beta for EventLink, our new event management software, you'll see an event code for joining the event.

Event Code from EventLink

If there's an entry fee, make sure to pay event staff, then simply click "Join" from the bottom navigation of Companion.

Join event

Enter the code in this prompt.

Join event code prompt

You're free to use your phone to do other things while you're waiting or grab a quick game of Commander before your round begins. If you minimize your event and need to rejoin for any reason, you can easily do so in the event lobby, the first screen that loads in Companion and shows all active events you're participating in.

Event Lobby with Active Events

Note: Companion is an awesome way to make accessing tournaments faster, easier, and more accessible. However, if mobile apps aren't your thing, that's okay! You never have to use Companion to play Magic at your favorite store or event; it's simply a value-added experience that works on top of the organized play experience you're already familiar with.

Tournament information in Companion

At the start of each round you'll receive your pairing directly through Companion. If you have push notifications turned on, we'll even send you a reminder directly to your phone when it's time to play again. Here's what your pairing will look like:

Pairing example

Your pairing includes your seating number so you can quickly find where you need to go to play and also serves as your match slip. With Companion, you never have to worry about crawling through a crowd of players to find who you're playing against or worry that your opponent incorrectly recording your match results. To fill out a match slip, tap the win/loss prompts the appropriate amount to properly reflect the results. In this case, I defeated my opponent 2–1:

Match Slip Filled Out

To ensure you don't make a mistake when submitting a result, you'll see a confirmation screen that looks like this:

Submit match slip confirmation screen

If your opponent is using Companion, they'll be able to see the result you've submitted, so make sure to report accurately. Just like the old system for results entry, once a player has submitted a result it can't be changed by either player unless they involve tournament staff to get to the bottom of why a change must be made and ensure tournament integrity. Unlike the old system, however, Companion ensures both players can verify what the submitted result was at any time until the next round begins. This is brand-new functionality that wasn't available previously and ensures a player can't cheat their opponent by submitting a false report. This is a big improvement over the options previously available for submitting a match result and was shown during our testing to make events run much more smoothly. It was also a big improvement over our original design which required both players to confirm a match result. While that approach didn't significantly decrease match-slip errors, it did significantly delay tournaments by doubling the number of players who needed to remember to take action to submit the slip. Now when you submit a result, your opponent will see this screen:

Submit match slip report from opponent's perspective

You can also view the standings of the event to see how you're doing in Companion. Simply click on "Standings" to see.

Standings screenshot

Remember: standings for a round are calculated once all the results from that round are submitted and the next round is ready for pairing. That means if you've submitted your match result for round five of your event, you can see how you ranked through the first four rounds of the event, but you won't be able to see standings from round five until everyone has completed the round.

Tracking your life in Companion

Even if you don't use the tournament portions of Companion, the app still offers you functionality for everyday Magic play! Our life tracker allows you to track important game stats for up to four players. Simply select the "Track" icon to open the life tracker. You'll see the settings screen, which looks like this:

Life tracker settings screen

Here, you define important things about your game like what format you're playing and how many players you want to track life results for. For example, if you pick the "Legacy" format, your life total will automatically start at 20 life and your game tracking options while you use the app will include mechanics specific to the Legacy format. Here's a look at the game elements you can track during a Legacy game in life tracker:

Life tracker Legacy game trackable items

You can select some or all these trackers to manage how much mana is in your mana pool, what the storm count is, how many poison counters a player has, and more. If you select the "Commander" format, you'll be able to track commander damage across as many as four players. Here's what that looks like:

Life tracker commander damage

We will continue refining how life tracker works based on your feedback after launching. We'll also be evaluating it to examine any adjustments to tournament policy to support its use. At the end of the day our goal with Companion and the life tracker feature is to make sure it works for players and makes playing Magic easier and more accessible.

Hosting Your Own Event

While preparing to build Companion, we did a lot of research to understand what features players wanted to see inside it. That research revealed a gap in functionality that players really wanted to see: an easy way to organize and keep score of their own events. Enter the "home tournament organizer" functionality for Companion! To run your own event, launch the tool by clicking the "host" button.

Host Button

If you're logged into your Wizards Account, you'll be able to host events with up to 16 players and advanced settings that allow you to adjust the tournament type to something like a Booster Draft or change the tournament structure from Swiss to single elimination. If you're not logged in or don't have a Wizards Account, you can still run a Swiss event up to 8 players. Once you've determined the structure of your event, you can add players in one of two ways. If they're using Companion as well, simply give them your event code, and they can add themselves automatically:

HTO event Code

If your players aren't using Companion, that's okay too! You can manually add them by typing in a name for them here:

HTO manual name entry

Once you've got everyone entered and your tournament is underway, players can report their match results directly through Companion. For manual entry, adjust match results like this:

Manual HTO results entry

While we don't have tournament history available just yet, meaning you can't track your events over time, we are hoping to roll that feature out a little further down the road.

Closing Thoughts and What's Up Next

I'm really excited to share the work our team has been doing for the past year. Companion is available for free download now, but we're not done! Expect to see improvements and new features rolling out in the app about every two weeks. You can also provide feedback directly to us on any issues you experience or features you'd like to see added directly through the Companion app. I read every single comment that comes through, including that one guy who claimed, "Your mom is still disappointed in you for playing Turbo Stasis." (She's not, I checked.) Use of Companion for entering and managing events is available at participating Wizards Play Network retailers who are using our new event management software EventLink during its open beta. If your retailer isn't participating in the playtest yet, you can encourage them to do so by sending them to the article here for more information.

Finally, it'd be remiss of me NOT to thank the incredible team for all of the hard work they've done in making Companion a reality: Cindy, CJ, Richard R., Max, Ben, Yael, Shikha, Dakota, Nathan, Dave, Henry, Shaunte, Ryan, James, Sai, Leah, Vicki, Brandon, Patrick, Safa, Thach, Richard S., Hodgins, our offshore team, and the many players, judges, retailers, and fans who took the time to provide feedback during our playtests of the application.

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