Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Organized Play Announcement

Posted in News on August 2, 2016

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.

The following article is part of the Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Organized Play Announcement, which is comprised of three parts.

2017–18 Pro Tour Players Club Updates

As mentioned in the State of Organized Play update that we published back in June, today we are unveiling the updates to the Pro Tour Players Club that will be effective during the 2017–18 season. Please note that this does not impact Pro Club benefits that are accrued during the 2016–17 season; it will only impact players who have status for the next season, which people will be playing for starting with next week's Grand Prix.

The intent of the Pro Tour Players Club is to provide an avenue for people who want to become players professionally. The benefits accrued in the Pro Club provide a baseline for players in awarded cash as well as heightened opportunities to attend premier-level events, increasing their visibility within the space. This is why we award appearance fees for Platinum players who compete in Pro Tours, and provide travel awards to get players to and from these events. The Pro Club provides an outlet for ensuring professional representation at our biggest events.

With that said, the only updates we will be making to the Pro Club for 2017–18 are the following changes concerning Platinum:

Platinum players will receive a $500 appearance fee for the first six Grand Prix main events that the player competes in in the current season (currently, Platinum players receive a $250 appearance fee for each Grand Prix main event that the player competes in).

Why are we making this change?

When we instituted a cap on Pro Points earned at a Grand Prix to count only a player’s Top 6 Pro Points finishes, the intent was to avoid the burnout players felt when they were incentivized to attend as many Grand Prix as possible. However, the current appearance fee we award to Platinum players—$250 per Grand Prix, for as many Grand Prix as they choose to attend—incentivizes the opposite behavior of the cap, making it a bit counterintuitive. After discussing it with our pro group, we decided to mirror the cap on Pro Points with a cap on appearance fees earned at Grand Prix. We have also doubled this appearance fee—to $500— to offset the drawback, meaning this benefit will have a greater positive impact on a Platinum player's return on investment.

This change is also being made to continue to give our Platinum players reason to travel to Grand Prix, while also avoiding making them feel like they’re losing out on money by not attending as many as possible. The previous incentive structure has, many of our pros have told us, led to them feeling burned out by the frequent travel. We would like to offer the appropriate incentives for all of our Platinum players to travel to at least six Grand Prix each year. While this change, if it were effective in this current season, would be a net negative in benefits for five Platinum players, we also believe some of that active participation is a result of other rewards that have inflated incentives to travel to more than a dozen Grand Prix.

We hope this change will result in more Platinum players competing in Grand Prix, and that is a net positive for the majority of our Platinum players once it is in effect.

In addition to that, we are making one more adjustment.

Platinum players will no longer receive hotel accommodations for each Pro Tour during the 2017–18 season.

This is a decision we reached after discussing with the pro player group mentioned in the State of Organized Play article in June. The consensus was that the hotel benefits we were providing our Platinum players could be better spent elsewhere. As many of our players already pool their resources together and rent extended stay accommodations, we started to look at how this benefit could be repurposed into something that provides our players with cash instead.

After looking at the bigger picture, we have decided to cut this benefit starting with the 2017–18 season. In turn, we are filtering that budget into something new that will kick off in the same season these changes go into effect.

The Magic Pro Tour Team Series

Editor's Note: Updates to the Pro Tour Team Series team sizes and scoring were made following the Organized Play announcement on October 6, 2016.

Some of the most exciting stories in Pro Tour history have centered around the testing teams that are often composed of Pro Tour Hall of Famers, future Pro Tour Champions, and aspiring pro players.

While our pro players have naturally gravitated toward teaming up to take on new formats, it is hard to question the excitement that a team of friends adds to the Pro Tour and the impact it has had not only on the storytelling of the Pro Tour, but also on how players take on new formats at a Pro Tour. It is because of this that we are making teams an official part of the Pro Tour that players will be able to partake in.

The Magic Pro Tour Team Series is a new addition to the Pro Tour that will officially roll out with the 2017–18 premier play season (starting with Pro Tour Albuquerque 2017). It is an optional program that players may choose to participate in starting with the first Pro Tour, and it awards a prize pool of just over $200,000 to the top-performing teams at the end of the season.

Registration

To register for the Team Series, a team needs to consist of nine players, with one player designated as team captain to be the communication link between the team and Wizards. Once a player has been registered for a team for that season, they are locked on that team roster for the entirety of the season and cannot join another team for participation in the Team Series for that duration.

Registration must take place before a specified date six weeks prior to:

  • The First Pro Tour of the season, or
  • The Second Pro Tour of the season

These are the only Pro Tours in which a team may register, and once a player is registered to a team, they're listed as part of that team and cannot accrue points for another team for the remainder of that season. Likewise, once a team has submitted their roster, it cannot change for the rest of the season.

More details regarding registration will be revealed later this year.

Team Structure

Teams that opt to participate in the Team Series will have a designated number of their team members' top Pro Points earnings added to their team's score at the end of a Pro Tour. Pro Points as the method of scoring lets us use an already existing, balanced point system that rewards a team for having a successful Pro Tour without introducing too much variance into the system.

The breakdown of Pro Point earnings from players that will be added to a team's score at the end of a Pro Tour will be as follows:

  • Team's First Pro Tour—All nine team members' Pro Points will be added to the team score
  • Team's Second Pro Tour—The top six team members' Pro Point earnings will be added to the team score
  • Team's Third Pro Tour (if the team participated in the first PT of the season)—The top six team members' Pro Point earnings will be added to the team score

After the third Pro Tour of the season, we will cut the competing teams down to the Top 8. The team members registered with those eight teams will be given invitations and a travel award to compete in the fourth Pro Tour of the season.

At the fourth and final Pro Tour, we will combine the nine team members' Pro Points from each team and add that to their team's score.

Team Playoffs and Prizes

The team members for the Top 4 teams will receive invitations and a travel award to compete in the first Pro Tour of the next season (regardless of whether or not they remain on the team they played with).

The Top 2 teams will be invited to compete in a team playoff final at the World Championship to see which team walks away with a cash purse of more than $100,000 and the title of Team World Champion.

The Top 4 teams will receive prize money payouts as follows:

Place By player By team
1st place $11,600 $104,400
2nd place $5,550 $49,950
3rd place $2,550 $22,950
4th place $2,550 $22,950
Total   $200,250

Soft Launch

While the Magic Pro Tour Team Series will not officially kick off until the first Pro Tour of the 2017–18 season, we will be conducting a soft launch of this program in the 2016–17 season for players who are interested in participating.

The soft launch is slated to begin at Pro Tour Aether Revolt in Dublin, Ireland, February 3–5, 2017, and will follow the same point structure for each Pro Tour as proposed above, with teams earning points based on the Pro Points earned by each team member at their first Pro Tour, followed by the Pro Point earnings of the top six team members at the team's second and third Pro Tours (there will be no Top 8 cut during the soft launch). Teams that wish to join after that Pro Tour will have a window to do so before Pro Tour Nashville 2017.

Please note that the soft launch's premier date is tentative. In the event the soft launch is pushed back to Pro Tour Nashville 2017, the information stated above will be adjusted accordingly. We will confirm the beginning of the soft launch when the official rules for the Team Series are posted later this year.

The Top 4 teams will earn invitations and travel awards to the first Pro Tour of the 2017–18 season (thus giving that team a chance to compete in the official launch together if they so choose). The Top 2 teams at the end of the 2016–17 season's soft launch will be invited to the 2017 World Championship to compete for a $50,000 prize pool with prizes paid out as follows:

Place By player By team
1st Place $4,000 $36,000
2nd Place $1,600 $14,400
Total   $50,400

During the soft launch, we will be closely monitoring all feedback with regard to the Team Series to determine if any adjustments need to be made before the official launch with Pro Tour Albuquerque 2017. We encourage participants and players to share their thoughts with us on social media.

We will have more information regarding how teams may register for the soft launch, along with the official rules and guidelines of the Magic Pro Tour Team Series, posted in the fourth quarter of 2016, so check back then for all of the details.

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