The 2018–19 Pro Tour season is going to be a transformative, monumental season. We'll be making a host of changes to the Pro Tour itself, qualifications, Nationals, the Pro Club, the Team Series, and more that propel us into a transformed experience for players from the store level all the way to the World Championship.
As such, we're going to be rolling out three staged announcements on the incoming changes between today and the upcoming months (more on why this is being done in stages below). Today, we'll cover a few changes that are mostly housekeeping and driven by the need to announce them during this time. The next announcement will cover the bulk of the Pro Tour 2018–19 season, and in a third announcement, we're going to be unveiling something entirely new and entirely exciting.
Here's what we'll cover today:
- The first Pro Tour in 2019 will be February 22–24 in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The format will be announced eight to twelve weeks prior to the tournament.
- Achieving a level in the Pro Club will now grant you that level for two cycles, rather than one.
- Team Series rules have been posted here, including updates to invites for the Top 8 teams.
- The full Pro Tour schedule will be announced in early September on Weekly MTG.
- We will be hiring three pro players as advisers to help us work on more details for next season and beyond.
Let's go a bit more into detail on each of these.
Pro Club Lifestyle Improvements
We've heard a lot of feedback over the past year about the uncertainty caused by Pro Club status lasting just one cycle (three months). Like the Grand Prix attendance caps of recent years, we're looking to help alleviate some of these difficult lifestyle choices players have to make, so we're increasing the duration of member benefits from three months to six months.
This change starts with statuses gained by the end of the 2017–18 season. So, if a player achieves Platinum by the end of this season (in September), that status will last for the next six months into March 2019. This is a small improvement we believe will immediately help players, and we'll be looking at potential longer-term changes to the Pro Club system in the future. Until then, we wanted to make sure to do what we could to alleviate some of the issues pros have been having with the cycle system.
Team Series Rules
You can find updated Team Series rules posted here. There are two items in particular we want to highlight.
The Top 8 teams after the third Pro Tour in the 2018–19 season (the second Pro Tour of calendar year 2019) will receive invites and airfare to the fourth Pro Tour of the season. This is not actually a change in rules, but we wanted to call it out because the Top 16 were invited this past season due to the special nature of Pro Tour 25th Anniversary.
Finally, the Top 8 teams after the final Pro Tour in the 2018–19 season will receive invites and airfare to the first Pro Tour of the 2019–20 season.
First Pro Tour of 2019
We'll be rolling out the full schedule for Pro Tours in 2019 in September. In the meantime, we can say that the Pro Tour will be taking its talents to Cleveland, Ohio, United States, February 22–24. So, mark your calendars!
The format will be determined at a later date after consultation with our new Pro Player Advisers. What are Pro Player Advisers? Glad you asked!
Pro Player Advisers
We are currently in the process of reviewing pro player candidates to work with Wizards of the Coast as consultants and help us shape the future of the Pro Tour and Magic pro gaming. These players will be direct conduits to the pro community but will work with us at Wizards of the Coast to provide a consistent, open feedback loop to make our competitive gaming experience awesome at all levels. We will be selecting up to three players to come work on the Pro Tour and the Pro Club structures with us. This will not affect those players' eligibility for the Pro Tour.
This is part of the reason we are staggering our announcements about the 2018–19 season. Aspects of that season will be discussed with these players, and we want to provide space for those players to give some level of input before we announce final plans. While the bulk of their work will be looking beyond that season, we want to get those players inside the door before we make any final announcements.
The Best Is Yet to Come
With so much transition coming and with the announcements coming in stages, we expect quite a bit of discussion, debate, and thought put into the 2018–19 Pro Tour season. Big things are coming, and we hope players reserve final judgment until the full picture is known. We're very excited for the changes coming down the pipeline, excited about what it means for the future of pro Magic, and excited to shape the future with the very players who make the Pro Tour the event that it has become over the past 25 years.