WMC and WMCQ Changes Announced at PT Oath of the Gatewatch

Posted in PRO TOUR OATH OF THE GATEWATCH on February 7, 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.

Since 2012, the World Magic Cup has become our most unique premier event, offering 73 countries—many of which have this one tournament each year to compete on the big stage—a thrilling tournament that is broadcast worldwide.

We've learned a lot in the four World Magic Cup events that we have run, and with each one we continue to look at ways we can improve the experience for players, viewers, and for those looking to play in the event through the World Magic Cup Qualifiers (WMCQs) that are offered in each competing country.

In note of those lessons we have learned, today we announce some changes to the World Magic Cup structure, its formats, and WMCQs.

World Magic Cup Structure

One of the largest pieces of feedback we wanted to address with the World Magic Cup is its structure. We wanted to find a tournament structure that was easy to follow, exciting to watch, and offered a better play experience than what the current Pool Play structure was providing.

After much deliberation, we have decided to change the tournament structure to the following:

Day One

Day One retains its seven rounds of Swiss. However, the Top 48 teams will advance to Day Two, up from the Top 32. These 48 teams will be pooled into eight groups of six teams for the start of Day Two.

Day Two

Day Two will consist of two phases, but there is one key change from most tournaments: there are no draws.

Each team will have 60 minutes to successfully complete a match. Once a team has two teammates win a match, that team wins. In the event time is called and there is no conclusion to the match yet:

  • The team with the most match wins after extra turns wins the match for the round.
  • In the event of a tied score between teams at 1-1, the deciding match will be determined by game count at the end of extra turns.
  • In the event the deciding match's game count is tied, the player with the highest life total wins the match, which then wins that player's team the match.
  • In the event the team match count, game count, and life totals are tied at the end of extra turns, the first change in life total will result in the player whose life total is higher after said change winning the match for their team.
  • In the event the game count becomes tied in extra turns, and a third game needs to be played, the match will be decided by the first change in life total, with the player whose life total is higher after said change winning the match for their team.

The structure for Day Two's phases are as follows.

Phase 1

The first round of the first phase of Day Two is a win-and-in match. The top two seeded teams of each pool will receive byes in this round, rewarding them for their strong Day One finishes. The remaining teams are matched up within their pools, highest seed that doesn't have a bye against lowest seed, and then the remaining two teams will face off.

Everyone who has a win at the end of this round will advance to the second round of Phase 1. The sixteen teams that do not win during this round are eliminated from the tournament.

After the first round, the first phase is left with eight groups of four teams competing in a modified double-elimination bracket within their pool to determine the two teams that advance to the second phase.

  • The first- and fourth-highest seeds in a pool and the second- and third-highest seeds in a pool face off in the second round of Phase 1.
  • The winners of the second round play each other, and the losing teams play against each other in the third round.
  • Once a team wins two matches in their pool, they automatically advance to the next phase (and receive a bye for the last round of the pool). This means that the sole team in each pool that has two wins after two rounds does not play the last round of Phase 1.
  • Once a team loses two matches in their pool, they are automatically eliminated from the tournament.
  • Because of the above rules, in the final round of Phase 1, only two teams from each pool will play, meaning each match in the final round of Phase 1 is an elimination match.

After Phase 1, only sixteen teams will be left in the tournament. The remaining teams will be pooled into four groups of four teams.

Phase 2

The second and final phase of Day Two will have the same structure as the second, third, and fourth rounds of the first phase, with a modified double-elimination bracket in each group determined which teams advance. Two wins in your team's group gets you and your team through to the Top 8. Two losses eliminates your team from the tournament.

World Magic Cup Format

Based on discussions and feedback, we will also be modifying the formats that are played for the World Magic Cup this year.

The first three rounds of the tournament will be a Team Sealed Deck using the twelve booster packs of the fall 2016 set, codenamed Lock.

The rest of the tournament will be Team Unified Modern Constructed. However, Unified Constructed will be undergoing a rules change. To build a legal deck for a Unified Constructed tournament, other than basic lands, no two decks on the same team may contain the same card.

This will replace the previous rule of only being able to use a combined 4 of any non-basic-land card in any of your team's decks. Modern Constructed is an expansive format, and we do not anticipate any shortage of options for teams playing in this tournament.

Additional details regarding team structure, rules regarding when teams can change which players are playing in a given format, and more will be announced when the event information for the 2016 World Magic Cup is published later this year, before the first World Magic Cup Qualifier of 2016 takes place.

World Magic Cup Qualifiers

With the changes to the World Magic Cup, we also looked at where we could improve the World Magic Cup Qualifiers (WMCQs).


We have decided to modify the previously announced formats for this year's World Magic Cup Qualifiers so that two of the WMCQs are Modern Constructed rather than one. The formats for each WMCQ are below, with the format change in bold:

June 18–19: Standard Constructed

July 9–10: Modern Constructed

September 17–18: Modern Constructed

Two-Day WMCQs

Last year, due to the size of World Magic Cup Qualifiers in various countries, we decided to require that certain countries run anywhere from one to three two-day WMCQs, depending on their region's size and projected attendance.

This change was meant to deliver a better experience to players; however, after receiving feedback from both stores and players, and looking at what the goal of this change was, we are no longer going to require two-day World Magic Cup Qualifiers.

Last Chance Trials

In 2015, we introduced Last Chance Trials before each World Magic Cup Qualifier. These events had the dual purpose of either giving a winner an invitation and/or a first-round bye in the next day's WMCQ.

This year, we are changing Last Chance Trials to instead be Last Chance Qualifiers. Players who are not qualified for their country's World Magic Cup Qualifier may participate in these events.

Byes for WMCQs, which were typically offered through Last Chance Trials, will instead be given out based on Planeswalker Points.

Byes at WMCQs

Starting this year, first-round byes will be awarded to players if they reach the appropriate yearly Planeswalker Point threshold, based on the criteria below:

PWP Qualification Level PWP Bye Level (1 round bye)
100 1500
200 2400
300 3000
500 4000

In the above example, if your country requires 500 Planeswalker Points for you to be eligible to compete in a World Magic Cup Qualifier, then you will need a yearly Planeswalker Points threshold of 4,000 in order to receive a first-round bye.

The byes that are currently awarded to players based on their Pro Tour Players Club level or Hall of Fame status will not change.

And finally...

WMCQ Promo

The 2016 World Magic Cup Qualifier promo card is Abrupt Decay.

Players who compete in a 2016 World Magic Cup Qualifier will receive this promo card for participating.

Residency & Eligibility Requirements

In order to play in a 2016 WMCQ in a country—and in order to represent a country as its 2016 National Champion—you must either have citizenship in that country or you must have been a permanent resident in that country since January 1, 2015.

In addition, if you decide to change your nationality to another country, that change will be permanent.

To view what country your nationality is set to, please login to planeswalkerpoints.com.

To request a change to your nationality, please contact Wizards of the Coast Game Support through the Wizards Help System at wizards.com/customerservice with "Nationality Eligibility Appeal" in the subject line.

The full details on eligible countries, the Planeswalker Points threshold per country to determine if you can compete in a WMCQ, and more are available in the current version of the Premier Event Invitation Policy. The Planeswalker Points required for an invitation by country, along with the points required for a first-round bye in that county, can also be found below.

Country Points Required
for Invitation
Points Required for
First-Round Bye
Argentina 300 3000
Australia 300 3000
Austria 300 3000
Belarus 100 1500
Belgium 300 3000
Bolivia 100 1500
Brazil 300 3000
Bulgaria 100 1500
Canada 500 4000
Chile 200 2400
China 300 3000
Chinese Taipei 200 2400
Colombia 100 1500
Costa Rica 100 1500
Croatia 100 1500
Cyprus 100 1500
Czech Republic 300 3000
Denmark 200 2400
Dominican Republic 100 1500
Ecuador 100 1500
El Salvador 100 1500
England 300 3000
Estonia 100 1500
Finland 200 2400
France 500 4000
Germany 500 4000
Greece 300 3000
Guatemala 100 1500
Hong Kong 200 2400
Hungary 200 2400
Iceland 100 1500
Indonesia 100 1500
Ireland 100 1500
Israel 100 1500
Italy 500 4000
Japan 500 4000
Latvia 100 1500
Lithuania 100 1500
Luxembourg 100 1500
Macedonia 100 1500
Malaysia 200 2400
Malta 100 1500
Mexico 300 3000
Netherlands 300 3000
New Zealand 200 2400
Northern Ireland 100 1500
Norway 200 2400
Panama 100 1500
Paraguay 100 1500
Peru 100 1500
Philippines 300 3000
Poland 300 3000
Portugal 300 3000
Puerto Rico 100 1500
Romania 100 1500
Russian Federation 300 3000
Scotland 100 1500
Serbia 100 1500
Singapore 200 2400
Slovak Republic 200 2400
Slovenia 100 1500
South Africa 200 2400
South Korea 200 2400
Spain 500 4000
Sweden 300 3000
Switzerland 200 2400
Thailand 200 2400
Turkey 100 1500
Ukraine 200 2400
United States 500 4000
Uruguay 100 1500
Venezuela 100 1500
Wales 100 1500

The World Magic Cup is an exciting event, and I look forward to seeing the teams that will be joining us in Rotterdam, the Netherlands November 18–20 later this year!