League Updates

Posted in Magic Digital on April 5, 2016

By Lee Sharpe

Leagues are one of, if not the, most popular ways to experience Magic online, at your pace, during your time, wherever you're comfortable. They've really changed how people play Magic Online.

And now we're making them even better.

I've got a lot of League updates today, so let's just dive right in!

SEALED MULTI-STAGE LEAGUE

We announced the return of Leagues not too long ago, and since then, players seem to be very happy with them. Now you can play a match of Sealed whenever you want. You can jam through them quickly, or you can stop and play another match days later. They're a great way to play whenever works for your schedule!

Many players have asked for Leagues where you get to add boosters to your pool over the course of the League. The Leagues team has been hard at work on these, and you'll get to play in them soon!

Here's how these Leagues will work: You choose an entry option, get your card pool, and build a deck like normal. The League will be divided into three stages, each of which includes three matches (for a total of nine matches). After you finish your matches in each stage, you'll be given prizes based on your record in that stage.

As the next stage begins, you'll have the option to upgrade your pool with an additional booster! You can upgrade with the booster itself, Event Tickets, or Play Points. This upgrade is completely optional. If you decide against upgrading immediately, you can decide to upgrade at any time until your League course is complete. The new cards will pop up in a "New Cards" window so you can easily see what your new options are.

Players will move through the League at their own pace, so at any given time different players will be in different stages. Matchmaking will only occur within a stage, so players will have had the same number of opportunities to upgrade. (Whether a player chose to upgrade is not a factor in matchmaking.) So players in Stage 2, for example, will only match against other players in Stage 2. The exception to this is the last couple days of the League, once it has closed to new entries. During this time, you can check a box to choose whether or not you're willing to be matched with someone in a later stage to get a match in more quickly. (You're assumed to be willing to be matched with someone in an earlier stage if they have checked the box.)

After your League course has finished, you'll get any prizes earned for your ending stage, plus your overall number of wins in the entire League. Your cards will be eligible for trade, and (assuming the League hasn't closed) you can join the League all over again! Here's the structure for the first League, which will start Monday, April 18, right after Prereleases for Shadows over Innistrad end:

Sealed Friendly Multi-Stage League

League Start: Monday, April 18, at 10 a.m. PT

League Closes: Monday, July 25, at 10 a.m. PT

League Ends: Wednesday, July 27, at 10 a.m. PT

Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments -> Leagues

Structure: Three stages, each of which consists of three matches, for a total of nine matches, each up to 50 minutes

Format: 6 Shadows over Innistrad boosters, with an option to add a Shadows over Innistrad booster after Stage 1, and another option to add a Shadows over Innistrad booster after Stage 2.

Initial Entry Options:

  • 28 Event Tickets
  • 6 Shadows over Innistrad boosters + 4 Event Tickets
  • 280 Play Points

Prizes at the End of Each Stage:

These prizes are based on the matches that occurred only in that stage:

  • 3 wins: 40 Play Points
  • 2 wins: 30 Play Points
  • 1 win: 20 Play Points
  • 0 wins: 10 Play Points

Upgrade Options:

  • 4 Event Tickets
  • 1 Shadows over Innistrad booster
  • 40 Play Points

Final League Prizes:

  • 9 wins: 3 Shadows over Innistrad boosters + 200 Play Points + 3 Qualifier Points
  • 8 wins: 2 Shadows over Innistrad boosters + 200 Play Points + 2 Qualifier Points
  • 7 wins: 1 Shadows over Innistrad booster + 200 Play Points + 1 Qualifier Point
  • 6 wins: 200 Play Points
  • 5 wins: 100 Play Points
  • 4 wins: 50 Play Points

The existing Sealed League concentrates prizes in the top finishers, which we call "competitive." Conversely, this new multi-stage League has a "friendly" prize structure that distributes prizes to more players instead. We expect different people will have different preferences here, and that's okay. Neither is superior to the other—it's a matter of what appeals to you as a player.

When you combine the final prizes with the stage prizes, eight and nine wins give you enough prizes for your next League's entry options as well as the upgrade options. For seven wins, remember that since you get your stage prizes before you upgrade, you'll be able to combine those with these prizes to get through your next full course as well. At six wins, you'll have enough for your initial entry option for the next League. No matter how you finish, each win in this League will always earn you more Play Points.

COMPETITIVE CONSTRUCTED LEAGUES

Above I talked about the differences between competitive and friendly prize structures. Constructed Leagues currently are only offered with friendly structures, and so while creating these structures, we also explored what friendly and competitive structures would look like for Constructed.

Because we wanted to ensure the two structures felt different and attracted different players, here were our goals for the competitive League:

  • Competitive Leagues will have higher entry options and award more prizes.
  • Prizes for the competitive League will only be awarded to players with winning records, while friendly Leagues will award prizes to most or all players.
  • Prizes for competitive Leagues will be more heavily in boosters, while friendly Leagues have more of their prizes in Play Points.
  • Initially, we will be keeping Qualifier Points the same for both, but in the future we intend competitive Leagues to be the place to get Qualifier Points.
  • For formats where there is both a competitive League and a friendly League, we'll only be publishing decklists from the competitive League.

Here's the details for the competitive Constructed Standard League:

League Start: Wednesday, April 13, after the downtime

League Closes: Monday, July 25, at 10 a.m. PT

League Ends: Wednesday, July 27, at 10 a.m. PT

Location: Play Lobby -> Constructed Tournaments -> Leagues

Structure: Five matches, each up to 50 minutes

Format: Standard

Entry Options:

  • 12 Event Tickets
  • 120 Play Points

Prizes:

These prizes are based on the matches that occurred only in that stage:

  • 5 wins: 10 boosters + 120 Play Points + 3 Qualifier Points
  • 4 wins: 6 boosters + 120 Play Points + 1 Qualifier Point
  • 3 wins: 120 Play Points

Initially, prizes will be a mixture of Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch boosters. On April 18 at 10 a.m. PT, the prizes will be updated to award Shadows over Innistrad boosters. Watch the @MagicOnline Twitter account to confirm when the change has occurred. Prizes will be awarded based on when the course ends.

We're going to examine how this League performs before committing to any further plans for competitive Leagues. If things go well, Modern will be next. We are also scheduling the closing of the friendly Legacy League for June 13 at 10 a.m. PT and ending June 15 at 7 a.m. PT, for the possible conversion of the Legacy League to a competitive structure. This timing is right before the release of Eternal Masters.

When this competitive Standard League begins, we will also removing Standard Daily Events and the Standard eight-player queue to focus play in the Standard Leagues.

TIMELINE OF EVENT CHANGES FOR SHADOWS OVER INNISTRAD

We know questions will emerge about the timing of changes to Magic Online events, so here's everything all in one place:

Monday, April 11, at 10 a.m. PT

  • Each League currently in progress closes to new entries

Wednesday, April 13, at 7 a.m. PT

  • Each League currently in progress ends

Wednesday, April 13, at downtime

  • Standard rotates. Khans of Tarkir and Fate Reforged become illegal in Standard
  • Shadows over Innistrad becomes Constructed-legal
  • Banned and restricted changes to Modern and Vintage take effect
  • New competitive Standard League begins
  • New friendly Leagues for Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Pauper begin

Friday, April 15, at 10 a.m. PT

Monday, April 18, at 10 a.m. PT

  • Shadows over Innistrad becomes available in the Magic Online Store
  • Prerelease Sealed League closes to new entries
  • Prerelease Swiss drafts end
  • Booster prizes in Constructed events are updated to Shadows over Innistrad boosters
  • Competitive Sealed League and new multi-stage friendly Sealed League for Shadows over Innistrad begin
  • 8-4 Single Elimination, 4-3-2-2 Single Elimination, and Pack-Per-Win Swiss drafts for Shadows over Innistrad begin

Wednesday, April 20, at 10 a.m. PT

  • Prerelease Sealed League ends

Whew! That was a lot to get through. But, we are happy to bring you these new offerings and hope they improve your Magic Online experience! Have feedback? You can direct feedback to the official Magic Online Twitter account, my personal Twitter account, or the Magic Online Tumblr, or through email at MagicOnlineFeedback@wizards.com.

Lee Sharpe

Digital Product Manager—Magic Online

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