2016 and 2017 Premier Play Updates Announced at PTSOI

Posted in Event Coverage on April 24, 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.

Editor’s Note: Plans for the 2016-2017 seasons concerning Platinum appearance fees have been updated. To view the updates, click here.

As we near the completion of the third Pro Tour of the 2015–16 premier play season, we have turned our attention to 2017, and what adjustments we should make to ensure our offered programs continue excelling at what they supposed to do. One learning we have taken to heart over the last two seasons is to consolidate our announcements into specific weekends, so that changes to the Pro Tour and other Organized Play programs are packaged into one article rather than across multiple text pieces over multiple months.

Today, we announce the 2017 Pro Tours, the 2017 World Magic Cup, adjustments that will be made to the Hall of Fame and Pro Tour Players Club, adjustments to the 2016 World Championship, the 2017 World Championship, and the formats and adjustments to our in-store play programs that start you on your path to the Pro Tour and the World Magic Cup.

2017 Pro Tours and the World Magic Cup

First up is the answer to the biggest question: Where will be going next year, and what will the formats be?

The 2017 Pro Tour and World Magic Cup schedule, along with locations and formats, is as follows:

  • February 3–5, 2017: Pro Tour #1—Dublin, Ireland (Standard/Booster Draft)
  • May 12–14, 2017: Pro Tour #2—Nashville, Tennessee (Standard/Booster Draft)
  • July 28–30, 2017: Pro Tour #3—Kyoto, Japan (Standard/Booster Draft)
  • November 3–5, 2017: Pro Tour #4—Albuquerque, New Mexico (Standard/Booster Draft)
  • December 1–3, 2017: World Magic Cup—Nice, France (Team Sealed/Team Unified Modern)

The entirety of 2017 marks a true world tour with momentous returns and first-time visits to some brand-new cities. The schedule kicks off with the first Pro Tour taking place in Dublin for our second visit to Ireland.

Following that is our first United States stop, in Nashville—our second visit to Tennessee and our first stop in Nashville itself.

The third Pro Tour of the year is a big one, as we return to Kyoto, Japan, for the first time in over eight years. The fourth and final Pro Tour of the year will take us to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the first time.

The 2017 World Magic Cup returns to Nice, France, after three years to close out 2017, making this a year with premier-level flagship tournament across three different continents, including our return to Asia.

Additionally, 2017 is when we move Modern away from being a Pro Tour format. This has been a topic of much discussion, both in the community and internally, and we feel that this is the best course of action. Wizards will continue to support Modern through a variety of in-store play and premier play opportunities, and it will continue to be a prominent part of our Grand Prix main events. You can read more about the vision Wizards has for its formats in an article from Aaron Forsythe, which has been published today alongside this announcement.

Pro Tour Hall of Fame Changes

The Pro Tour Hall of Fame first began in 2005, and in the last decade, the program has expanded to include a Hall of over 40 players, and its induction rules and many of the benefits that come with a Hall of Fame induction have remained relatively unchanged since the program’s inception.

In order to ensure that the Pro Tour Hall of Fame is a sustainable program and an exclusive, special commemoration to the Pro Tour’s very best players, we will be making changes to the Pro Tour Hall of Fame starting with the 2016 class. Among those changes is the decrease in events in which appearance fees are awarded to Hall of Fame members, starting in the 2016–17 Premier Play season.

Those appearance fee adjustments will be as follows:

  • Hall of Famers will only receive an appearance fee of $1,500 for competing at the Pro Tour that features the Hall of Fame induction ceremony (previously $1,500 at all Pro Tours and the World Magic Cup)

Information regarding this year’s Pro Tour Hall of Fame voting will be announced in June.

Pro Tour Players Club Platinum-Status Changes

Starting with the 2016–17 Premier Play season, which begins after the conclusion of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, appearance fees for players with Platinum status in the Pro Tour Players Club will be decreased.

The adjustments to the Platinum pro player appearance fees, effective after the conclusion of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon, are as follows:

  • Platinum pros will receive an appearance fee of $250 for competing at Pro Tours (previously $3,000), an appearance fee of $250 for competing at the World Magic Cup (previously $1,000), and an appearance fee of $250 for competing at a World Magic Cup Qualifier (previously $500).

All other Pro Tour Players Club benefits remain unchanged.

These decisions were not made lightly, and were finalized only after much discussion about the goals of the Pro Tour Players Club. The appearance fees we awarded for Platinum pros were meant to assist in maintaining the professional Magic player’s lifestyle; upon scrupulous evaluation, we believe that the program is not succeeding at this goal, and have made the decision to decrease appearance fees.

Instead, we will be increasing the amount of prize money awarded at our biggest tournament of the year: The World Championship.

2016 World Championship Prize Pool Increases

The Magic: The Gathering World Championship is our flagship event of the year, showcasing the world’s very best Magic players as they compete for prize money and Magic’s greatest title in a high-stakes, multi-day tournament. In order to make this tournament the flagship program of Premier Play, we have decided to increase the prize money awarded at the World Championship, effective this year.

The 2016 Magic: The Gathering World Championship, which takes place September 1–4, 2016, in Seattle, Washington, will have its prize pool increased to $250,000. The prize payouts for the 24 top finishers are available below:

Place Amount
1 $70,000
2 $40,000
3–4 $20,000
5–8 $10,000
9–16 $5,000
17–24 $2,500
Total $250,000

The formats for the 2016 World Championship will be announced at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.

However, 2016 is just the beginning for the World Championship’s growth.

2017 World Championship Dates and Prize Pool

Next year, 2017, is where we’ll see the full effect of our initiatives to make the Magic: The Gathering World Championship the biggest tournament in premier play. The 2017 World Championship will take place October 6–8, 2017, and will feature a prize pool of $500,000, with first place walking away with $100,000.

The full prize payout structure is listed below:

Place Amount
1 $100,000
2 $50,000
3–4 $30,000
5–8 $20,000
9–14 $15,000
15–24 $12,000
Total $500,000

We will announce the methods for how you can qualify for the 2017 Magic: The Gathering World Championship at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.

In-Store Play Formats and Updates for 2017

We continue to look at ways to improve our in-store play offerings that offer you a first step toward the Pro Tour and the World Magic Cup.

Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers and Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers

We’ll start off this announcement with the formats for 2017’s Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers (PPTQs) and Regional Pro Tour Qualifiers (RPTQs), along with which Pro Tour they feed.

The Third Pro Tour of 2017:

PPTQ Formats: Standard and Sealed Deck

RPTQ Format: Sealed Deck/Booster Draft

The Fourth Pro Tour of 2017:

PPTQ Formats: Standard and Sealed Deck

RPTQ Format: Standard

The First Pro Tour of 2018:

PPTQ Formats: Modern and Sealed Deck

RPTQ Format: Modern

The Second Pro Tour of 2018:

PPTQ Formats: Standard and Sealed Deck

RPTQ Format: Standard

In addition, we will be making some tweaks to RPTQs, starting with the ones taking place May 28 through June 5, 2016.

For RPTQs feeding Pro Tour Eldritch Moon (which take place May 28 through June 5):

  • All RPTQs will offer 1st through 8th place invitations to the next round of RPTQs, regardless of size.

For RPTQs feeding Pro Tour Honolulu 2016 (which take place August 20–28) and beyond:

  • All offline RPTQs will award four invitations to the Pro Tour, regardless of size (Magic Online RPTQs will continue to award eight invitations).
  • We will add an RPTQ to Europe as a result of this change, bringing the total number of RPTQs run each round (offline) to 32. This RPTQ will take place in Italy, the region with the largest European RPTQ each round.

We will continue to monitor the attendance of all RPTQs and will act accordingly when action is needed.

We’ll be announcing more 2017 updates, such as a full Grand Prix schedule complete with format breakdowns, the 2017 World Magic Cup Qualifier dates and formats, and the 2017 PPTQ and RPTQ dates, at Pro Tour Eldritch Moon.

The rest of 2016 is going to be exciting, and as we continue to make our programs even better, we are even more thrilled as we look to 2017.

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