The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

Posted in Magic Digital on February 24, 2016

By Chris Kiritz and Lee Sharpe

Hello again, Magic Online players!

Today I'm excited to announce that Sealed Deck Leagues are officially launching next week with the downtime on March 2! Magic Online events have changed quite a bit in the last twelve months with the introduction of Play Points, the release of Constructed Leagues, updates to the Magic Online Championship Series, and the recent launch of the Pro Tour Gauntlet. Sealed Deck Leagues are the next major step in ensuring that Magic Online offers a variety of play opportunities that appeal to a wide range of players.

Let's take a look at the release plan, review what you can expect after launch, and check in with Lee Sharpe on the design of the League entry and prize structure.

Release the Hounds—er, Sealed Deck Leagues!

Much like our Constructed Leagues release last year, we'll be rolling out Sealed Deck Leagues in measured steps. During the downtime on March 2, the team will be updating Magic Online to support basic Sealed Deck Leagues. After the downtime, we'll have a single Oath of the Gatewatch-Battle for Zendikar Sealed Deck League available. The League will start with a player cap of 2,000 players, but as we verify everything is running smoothly, and as demand warrants, we will increase the player cap for the League at regular intervals.

This inaugural League runs until Shadows over Innistrad releases in April, when it will be replaced by a Shadows over Innistrad League. After Shadows is available, we'll also look at adding additional Leagues, such as a League where players can add additional boosters over time. That League will be aimed at our more casual players, and we'll share those details well before it starts. For more information on our launch League, check out Lee's section at the end of this article.

If you're unfamiliar with Sealed Deck Leagues in general, let's take a look at what this release means for you.

Sealed Deck Leagues and You

The primary goal of Leagues is to let players enjoy Magic Online on their own schedules, something that is currently difficult for fans of Sealed Deck play. Right now the best option is the eight-player Sealed Deck queues, but these events can take between three and four hours to complete and don't necessarily fit into a busy lifestyle without a lot of planning or the risk of interruption. Sealed Deck Leagues, however, let you break up this time requirement into manageable pieces. You can build your deck one day, play a match or two the next day, make edits to the deck over the weekend, and finish up the League a week later—a much more convenient experience for busy players.

Once the League is active, you'll be able to find the Sealed Deck League on the Magic Online Home screen in the Featured League section. As more Leagues are added, you can view all available Leagues by going to the Play Lobby, selecting Limited Tournaments, and then clicking the Leagues button.

After joining the League, you'll be taken to the deck-building screen, where you'll see your card pool and be able to build your deck, much like you would in a Sealed Deck tournament or in the Collection scene. Unlike a normal Sealed Deck tournament, however, there's no timer—you can take as much time as you want during this process. If you want to explore your options, you'll even be able to make several decks to choose from and switch between them before a match or even during sideboarding. You'll also be able to edit your deck or build new ones between each match and the next—just make sure to click "Save Deck" when you're done.

It's also worth pointing out that you won't be able to trade cards you're using in your Sealed Deck League until your course through the League ends or the League itself ends. You will have access to the cards via your Collection, however, and can use them to build Constructed decks which will be playable in both Open Play games and tournaments. After your League course ends, you'll be able to trade the cards from you League deck.

The process of finding a match is the same as a Constructed League. Clicking "Play" from the main League Details or from the Deck Editor puts you into a pairing queue, where Magic Online will try to find an appropriate opponent. As with the other Leagues, our primary goal is finding you a match quickly, so it is possible to battle someone with a different record, but when we can we'll try to find the best match.

Please note that you'll need to make sure you've selected the correct deck before clicking "Play." If you are not sure which deck you have selected, it will either be the one highlighted in the Deck Editor (as seen in the screenshot above) or can be seen on the Edit Deck button next to the Play League Match button on the League Details screen.

Once you finish your course through the League, you'll receive any prizes you've earned and can join the League again. As with all of our Leagues, the Sealed Deck League will include a closed period where no new players can join but current players can finish their courses. Once the League completes, all unplayed matches are lost, so make sure you get your games in before the League ends.

With a multitude of play options for all player types, there's never been a better time to be a Magic Online player. While Sealed Deck Leagues are nearly here, we're not done yet. We're going to continue to explore ways to improve Magic Online to meet the needs of our players, all while improving the general quality of the program. Stay tuned for an article from Worth in the coming weeks, and keep reading to see what Lee has in store for the first Sealed Deck League of 2016!

I look forward to seeing you in the Leagues. Have fun!

Chris Kiritz

Digital Product Manager

Magic: The Gathering


Just the Facts: Sealed Deck Leagues

Hello! Lee Sharpe here, talking briefly about Sealed Deck League event structures. As mentioned above, the initial Sealed Deck League structure will allow you to play up to five matches before your course ends. The initial prize structure is fairly top-heavy, with an intent to focus on our more competitive players at first. We'll be releasing a more casual structure later, once we deliver Leagues that allow you to add boosters to your League pool over time.

When designing the Sealed Deck League prize structure, we used the current Sealed Deck Daily Events as a baseline. The League will have one more match than the Daily Events and include all the advantages of Leagues, including spreading out your play over time, finding a new opponent immediately after finishing a match, and adjusting your deck between matches.

Another major consideration for the prize structure was adding Play Points. We want players to have the flexibility to use the Play Points portion of their prizes to either rejoin the Sealed Deck League or join a Booster Draft.

Here are the full event details of the first Sealed Deck League you can play in:

OATH OF THE GATEWATCH-BATTLE FOR ZENDIKAR SEALED DECK LEAGUE EVENT DETAILS

League Starts: Wednesday, March 2, after the downtime

League Closes to New Entries: Monday, April 11, at 10 a.m. Pacific

League Ends: Wednesday, April 13, at 7 a.m. Pacific

Location: Play Lobby -> Limited Tournaments -> Leagues

Maximum Active Players: Will start at 2,000, but will increase over time

Product: 4 Oath of the Gatewatch boosters + 2 Battle for Zendikar boosters

Entry Options:

  • 28 Event Tickets
  • 4 Oath of the Gatewatch boosters + 2 Battle for Zendikar boosters + 4 Event Tickets
  • 280 Play Points

Structure: Up to five matches, each lasting up to 50 minutes

Prizes:

  • 5 wins: 4 Oath of the Gatewatch boosters + 2 Battle for Zendikar boosters + 420 Play Points + 3 QPs
  • 4 wins: 2 Oath of the Gatewatch boosters + 1 Battle for Zendikar booster + 280 Play Points + 1 QP
  • 3 wins: 1 Oath of the Gatewatch booster + 140 Play Points

Players with three wins earn enough Play Points for half a League entry or all of a Booster Draft entry. Four wins provides enough Play Points to rejoin the League or join two Drafts. Five wins earns one and a half League entries, three Drafts, or one League and one Draft. And that doesn't even factor in the booster prizes!

With the release of Sealed Deck Leagues, we're also ending support for Sealed Deck Daily Events with the March 2 downtime. Since we used Daily Events as our baseline, we don't want to divide Sealed Deck players among similar event structures, and we believe Leagues provide a much better experience overall.

I hope you're excited about these events, and I look forward to seeing you in the new Sealed Deck Leagues!

Lee Sharpe

Digital Product Manager

Magic: The Gathering

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