Playing with the Pro Tour

Posted in Competitive Gaming on June 15, 2017

By Scott Larabee

Scott Larabee started at Wizards of the Coast in 1998, having organized premier Magic tournaments since 1996. He is currently the E-Sports and Premier Play Programs Design Manager. He enjoys Commander and board games.

As you might have noticed this week, we've been doing a lot of looking into the future for the 25th anniversary celebration year that we have planned. We've talked about new (old) worlds, new products, and digital initiatives. This upcoming year is going to be a banner year for the Pro Tour as well. We're going to be announcing dates, formats, and other updates in July for the Grand Prix and Pro Tour, but I wanted to make sure we were answering a few questions that might arise from this week's news as we gaze into the 2017–18 season.

While we're not ready to release the full schedule yet, I do want to let you know that we will be unpinning the Pro Tour dates from the set releases, and we're planning something special for the Pro Tour associated with the core set that rhymes with "teams." (It's teams.)

Unpinning the Pro Tour

While we're still finalizing the Pro Tour dates after Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan, we have decided to move away from always having the Pro Tour take place two weeks after a set releases to give us more flexibility in our scheduling.

We're going to see the first test of this with Pro Tour Ixalan. Then, Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan will still take place two weeks after the set releases (Feb. 2–4, 2018), but the Pro Tours for the rest of the year will not.

We are still finalizing the remainder of 2018's Pro Tour dates, but will share them in July.

For years now, Pro Tours have come closely on the heels of a set's release and have set the Standard metagame. But one thing we'd like to try is giving us, again, more flexibility in doing what's best for our players, our viewers, and the game. We're going to try a few new things in 2018, and this is one of those experiments. We'll certainly be looking for feedback on the experience of untethering the Pro Tour dates from where they've traditionally sat.

The 25th Anniversary Pro Tour Will Be a Special Team Trios Event

As Mark Rosewater discussed on Monday, we are moving back to printing a core set every year, but we won't be treating the core sets exactly like non-core sets. Similarly, we won't be treating next year's Pro Tour like any other Pro Tour—we're holding a special 25th Anniversary Pro Tour where the format will be a team competition!

This is separate from the Pro Tour Team Series, as groups of three players will compete together as a team for just this event! Stay tuned for more info on how your team of Magic buddies can qualify for this special event, but our goal is to make this event a culmination of the 25th anniversary celebration, so we expect it to be awesome!

It will be our first team trios Pro Tour since Charleston in 2006, and we're excited to share more information very soon—but we're not quite ready yet. In the meantime, share with us via @magicprotour what kind of team Pro Tour would make you excited as we put the finishing touches on the format for the team Pro Tour and how players can qualify!

As always, we welcome any and all feedback. You can contact us on Twitter through @wizards_magic or @magicprotour. We'd love to hear your thoughts on where the Pro Tour can and should go from here.

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