PTQ Seasons Commence!

Posted in Competitive Gaming on November 19, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

No time for small talk today, everyone. There's a lot to get into, and a whole lot of stuff coming up, so let's get to it!

Qualifying for the Pro Tour

Starting in December, you'll have not one, but two Pro Tours to qualify for! The Pro Tour Qualifier season that awards invitations and airfare to Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir kicks off at the same time as the Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier round that will start players down their path to qualifying for the Pro Tour in Vancouver, Canada that is set to take place July 31 to August 2.

As a reminder, the PTQ season for Dragons of Tarkir and the Preliminary PTQ round for Pro Tour Vancouver 2015 will be running concurrently. This means that from December 6, 2014 through February 22, 2015, players will have opportunities to compete in tournaments for the following two event types.

PTQs for Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir

Pro Tour Qualifiers (PTQs) are larger-scale events for players looking to jump straight onto the Pro Tour. Winners of these events will receive an invitation to compete in Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir , as well as a travel award that will ensure you get there.

These tournaments start running the weekend of December 6, 2014, immediately after the World Magic Cup concludes, and are just like previous PTQ seasons. The format for all of these is Standard Constructed, so bring your best decks containing cards from Therosblock all the way to Khans of Tarkir (and Fate Reforged once that set is released on January 23, 2015).

There are 200 of these events held globally, and only a handful of stores from each region is chosen to run one, so you'll likely only have one or two opportunities during the season to compete in one of these, unless you're planning a few weekend warrior adventures and are traveling more than a few hours to compete in a few more.

Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers—The First Round

While the PTQs for Dragons of Tarkir take place, players will also have the opportunity to compete in Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers (PPTQs). These events are more regularly seen in local stores, and the format is up to the organizer that is hosting the event, so be sure to check with the store that is hosting a PPTQ for information on what format the event will be.

This is the start of a qualifying round that earns winners of PPTQs an invitation to compete in Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers that take place April 25, 2015. Top finishers of those Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers taking place on April 25, 2015 will earn a travel award as well as invitations to the Pro Tour taking place in Vancouver, Canada July 31—August 2, 2015.

These events, unlike the PTQs that qualify winners for the Pro Tour, are more frequently run, and are events that—unlike PTQs for Dragons of Tarkir—can be run by any store that can also run a Grand Prix Trial. For the first Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifier round, over 1,500 stores will be running these events between December 6, 2014 and February 22, 2015. That means you'll have plenty of chances to qualify for this round's Regional PTQ.

Check with your local stores about PPTQ dates and format, and check out the current list of PTQs to see if one is near you. Good luck, and we hope to see you at the Pro Tour in April and August of next year!

Events Happening This Weekend

This weekend features Grand Prix Ottawa, where players looking to show off their Khans of Tarkir Limited knowledge get the chance to put their skills to the test. A minimum of $35,000 is up for grabs in the main event as well as Pro Points, so expect to see pros with a love for Limited in attendance.

However, aside from the main event, GP Ottawa will also feature a huge selection of side events starting Friday. Many of these events offer up a sweet playmat featuring the art from Ashcloud Phoenix (while supplies last), so if you're planning to go, be sure to enter one to pick up your own!

All players who make it to Day Two will receive the playmat too, and Super Sunday Series events at GP Ottawa will guarantee you a playmat as well.

Can't make it to Ottawa, but still want to follow the event? Never fear! The Magic Twitch channel will be providing live coverage for both days of Khans of TarkirLimited action, featuring Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, Hall of Famer Ben Stark, Brian David-Marshall, and Rusty Kubris. Coverage will begin on Saturday at 2 p.m. local time (ET)/11 a.m. PT/7 p.m. GMT, and will resume on Sunday at 9 a.m. local time (ET)/6 a.m. PT/2 p.m. GMT.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Mind Sports International will be hosting its first ever Mind Sports International World Championships, which will feature events for multiple games, including a two-day Magic event on Saturday and Sunday with a £10,000 prize pool. The event takes place in London at the ExCel, the location for London's Grand Prix from last year.

Artist Karl Kopinski will be on site Saturday and Sunday, and multiple Magic side events will offer flight and accommodations to Grand Prix Seville—Mind Sport International's first Grand Prix—as a prize to winners.

You can see a complete schedule of Magic events taking place the event here.

Worlds Week

We're officially less than two weeks away from the star of 2014 Worlds Week, featuring the 2014 World Championship and 2014 World Magic Cup ! The World Championship's first two days will be held on December 2 and 3, while the first two days of the World Magic Cup will be held on December 5 and 6. Both events will host their playoff matches and conclude on Sunday, December 7, starting with the World Magic Cup Top 8, followed by the Top 4 matches of the World Championship.

Leading up to the big week, we've been featuring profiles of the 24 competitors you'll find in the 2014 World Championship this year. Below is a list of published profiles up until this point, so if you'd like to learn more about the competitors playing in Magic's most prestigious event, click on the links below and get to know some of Magic's best players!

Patrick Chapin
Tom Martell
Raphaël Lévy
Willy Edel
Paul Rietzl
Lars Dam
Josh Utter-Leyton
Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa
Shaun McLaren
Reid Duke
William Jensen
Nam Sung Wook
Jérémy Dezani
Ivan Floch
Jacob Wilson
Lee Shi Tian
Shahar Shenhar
Stanislav Cifka

The Flashback

Two Constructed Grand Prix took place last weekend, each showcasing formats featuring a robust offering of cards from Magic's long and storied past.

Madrid

First up was Grand Prix Madrid, featuring Modern for the first time since the release of Khans of Tarkir. The big fear going into the weekend was of Jeskai Ascendancy, a card that generated a large amount of controversy upon release. However, the reality is that the deck made a very small showing.

What didn't make a small showing, however, was the new eternal format all-stars Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time (as well as Standard mainstay Siege Rhino, courtesy of players like Marcio Carvalho). Dig Through Time was a huge new addition to Scapeshift decks, and Grand Prix winner Immanuel Gerschenson was one of many Delver deck pilots in the room taking advantage of the powerful Treasure Cruise.

Full coverage of the event can be found here, but let's take a look at a few highlights:

Stitch Your Own Fate—Tobi Henke was on a mission to find some Jeskai Ascendancy in Madrid, as the elephant in the room turned out to be a chameleon among the players. His search ended with Eudoardo Sajgalik and Joao Choca, two Day Two pilots of the archetype featuring some interesting changes from the excepted deck line-up.

Delving With Ivan Floch—Oliver Gehrmann caught up with 5th-ranked player Ivan Floch on Day Two of GP Madrid to talk about his approach on the Delver archetype that has exploded in Modern popularity following the release of Khans of Tarkir.

New Jersey

Meanwhile, while Madrid was taking place, roughly 4,000 players converged in New Jersey last weekend to show their love for Legacy, the format featuring some of Magic's greatest hits. As it has been established in both the Legacy Championship and in other events in recent weeks, the big card of Legacy is Treasure Cruise, but while Delver decks sporting the draw-three effect showed up in droves, the format at the start of Day Two featured a wide spread of archetypes...and Day One, even more.

The fun part about these mega Grand Prix (events with 3,000 or more players) is the variety of Magic fans that it brings into a single convention center hall. From the wide range of pro players from both modern and historical Magic eras, to the Grand Prix first-timers coming out to experience the excitement of a big weekend in person, these events are always a blast.

Full coverage can be found here, but below are a couple of highlights:

Adventures in Big Magic—Adam Styborski talks to a sampling of the wide variety of people that were compelled to attend New Jersey's big event last weekend. The interviewees range from local artists to Legacy aficionados, who were thrilled to attend an event featuring their favorite format.

That Southern Drawl: Meet Tom Ross—In all fairness, I could highlight literally any one of Jacob Van Lunen's features from last weekend, and they all have their individual charms. As his fellow reporter Adam Styborski said after the event, "Jacob Van Lunen was on [explicit language] fire this weekend." That said, if there's one feature in particular that personally stands out, it is his interview with Tom Ross, who would go on to finish 2nd in the massive player tournament with one of his signature Legacy decks: Infect.

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