04/15/2010 TWTW: "2012 Tournament and Event Structure Q & A"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's The Week That Was, which goes live Friday morning on magicthegathering.com.

Very exciting, I'm looking forward to getting to know more about the changes to the pro player's club structure. Also Worlds-like PTs where you get to play all the rounds sounds fun =)
Sene, Matsmatsmatsmatsmats and AkademikaRector on MtGO.
The guy who thinks LGS's can handle the volume of a regional pre-release has never stepped foot in a LGS.
Does this mean we will have to have prereleases in stores, with less product. Because, at least here (DC/Maryland area), there aren't exactly a ton of stores that would all be hosting prereleases if we didn't have on big one. It would just mean we would get 100+ people at an in-store event, which from experience, is pretty miserable.

On the other hand, more GPs is awesome.
These changes make a some sense to me. My biggest question is about the PT. Why would you want to keep playing if you are out of contention? Will the prize structure change at all?

Hopefully the Pro Tour will be linked to a GP so you can play in one either the weekend prior or during the week and then play in the GP on the weekend in the same city.
These changes make a some sense to me. My biggest question is about the PT. Why would you want to keep playing if you are out of contention? Will the prize structure change at all?

Hopefully the Pro Tour will be linked to a GP so you can play in one either the weekend prior or during the week and then play in the GP on the weekend in the same city.

I don't know how the exact cutoff worked previously, but I think if you were X-3 at the end of day 1, you wouldn't make day 2.  But by going X-3, if you win out Day 2, you have a good chance of making top 16 and maybe even sneaking into top 8.
I don't know how the exact cutoff worked previously, but I think if you were X-3 at the end of day 1, you wouldn't make day 2.  But by going X-3, if you win out Day 2, you have a good chance of making top 16 and maybe even sneaking into top 8.


Say you did well in constructed, but you bombed in draft and now youre X-4. Previously you could drop and there were tons of side events and things to do, if your friends were still in the main event. Now, nothing.

For name players like LSV that's no issue, but for local players who Q for a Pro Tour only now and again and never board the train that's a major bummer.

The solution is obviously to pair the smaller, private PT with a GP. That way all the players and coverage people are already in town. You could play the event over a couple of days during the week and broadcast the top 8 either during primetime once people get home from work/school or on the sunday after the GP was done.

Even if the PT was the weekend before, as long as it's in the same town you could make a trip out of it.

As someone with no desire to play in a Pro Tour but who loves watching the coverage for them, I enthusiastically support the plan for better coverage.  The burden's on them to actually do it now, of course.


We plan on holding the same number of Pro Tour-style events in 2012 as we did in 2011.

(emphasis added)

Anyone else consider that an interesting bit of phrasing?

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

In 2011 we had Magic Weekends that included Grand Prix's, 100's of side events, artists, etc., with the Pro Tour event. For the 2012 Pro Tours, they are going to the opposite extreme. You can't even watch it in person if you happen to live near by.
Even if the PT was the weekend before, as long as it's in the same town you could make a trip out of it.

Depends on the philosophy about locations. Since the "Pro Tour-style events" are not going to be open to the public, it doesn't really matter where they take place. I suspect they will choose a location that is the least expensive.

Does Wizards have a meeting room on site in Renton that's large enough for 300-400 players? Maybe they will all be held locally. That would certainly cut down on travel expenses for event staff. And, if a large enough percentage of the players are from the USA, it could save them some on international travel.

So now I can no longer go to a PT for side events as those are provided at GPs. But isn't the point of the GP to be a large scale event that anyone can play in, so if I go to a GP why would I play in side events when I can play the main event.
Does Wizards have a meeting room on site in Renton that's large enough for 300-400 players?

No, they don't.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

2. Pro Tours will become private events, with less of the convention fanfare and public events the likes of which we saw at Magic Weekend Paris. The high level of play we have seen over the past seasons will remain the standard, combined with expanded online coverage of the Pro Tour. Players looking for public events, spellslinging, and artist signings will be able to fulfill those needs with the increased Grand Prix schedule, as those attractions become more of a regular feature at Grand Prix.



I can only imagine that the far superior video coverage of SCG Open Series and the GGSLive show from the last GP finally forced WOTC to improve.

They've been embarassed by "amateurs" for a long time now. It's been amazing to see how Rashad & co manage to give a live video feed from regular swiss rounds, while WOTC can't even show the quarterfinals of a PT live! (not to mention their text coverage usually lags 2 hours behind during the swiss)

pcjr, I don't think you're quite seeing it through my eyes.  When the label says your food is "beef-flavored", that means it's not really meat.  If it was actual beef they'd just say "beef".


When the Program Manager says "Pro Tour-style events" I get the same vibe.  If they literally mean "Pro Tour", why didn't he just say "same number of Pro Tours"?  I think that might be a sign that this is only step 1 and the Pro Tour itself is going to change.  Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm on the edge of my leather-like chair waiting to find out.


WOTC can't even show the quarterfinals of a PT live!

I don't think that was really their fault.  The facility didn't have enough space for 4 feature tables plus cameras.  Paris being as old as it is I imagine it was difficult to get enough space as it was.  That doesn't excuse their shoddy coverage in many other ways, but in that one instance I'm cutting them some slack.

If you're on MTGO check out the Free Events via PDCMagic and Gatherling.

Other games you should try:
DC Universe Online - action-based MMO.  Free to play.  Surprisingly well-designed combat and classes.

Planetside 2 - Free to play MMO-meets-FPS and the first shooter I've liked in ages.
Simunomics - Free-to-play economy simulation game.

Killing large prereleases? I really, really hope that's restricted to North America as the announcement says it is. But I doubt it.

I'm one of many players for whom a large prerelease is my only taste of "larger communal Magic experiences". A prerelease is an awesome time of getting to play with new cards, in a Limited setting (i.e. no need for a £500 deck), and experience the "big hall of Magic players" vibe in London. If they shut down the big London prerelease, I fear I'll cease all contact with the DCI at all.

I've been to local prereleases. 20 players in a scout hut is nowhere near as much fun as 200 players in a conference centre. There isn't the critical mass of players who'd like to draft on the side rather than play sealed. There isn't the fun things on the side - artists and traders with huge 30p rare boxes and so on - that economies of scale allow.

You say we should go to a Grand Prix instead? I can't see that being fun enough to justify the journey and the time away from family. A prerelease manages that level of fun, but I don't think a GP will. Perhaps I'll give it a go once, but I've played in DCI constructed Magic tournaments 3 times in the past 12 years, and it doesn't seem likely the frequency will increase. 

Sigh... It'll be sad to put an end to my 12-year-long prerelease habit. It was one of the marks of the calendar year. I'll keep going to London for as long as the large prereleases happen there, and I really hope they continue and this announcement really is restricted to North America. But if the large prereleases stop, I fear I probably will as well.  
The biggest negative that I see is the end of the pre-releases.

Local stores will not be able to handle the volume of players that want to attend these events.

Given the local stores in my area, they will still want the revenue, so they will cram people onto inappropriate playing areas, inadequately ventilated and serviced areas (with not enough lights/bathrooms, etc), which will in turn push many of the casual players away.  It will also be split up amongst a dozen stores rather than one central location, which will remove the only chance that casual players have to play in the "large tournament" environment, as well as the 3 or 4 times a year that they get to see friends they have been connecting with for years as each prerelease came up.

 I would like to know the reasoning behind this decision.  If it is because the Wizards Network sites have complained about the lack of attendance at the anticlimactic release parties, it is a shame that Wizards caved in to that pressure, instead of doing something creative like rotating control of the prerelease licences or something similar to share the revenue.

For me, it will mean an end to non-online magic.  I have played in GP's, PTQ's and Regionals in the past, as well as almost every prerelease since Alliances, but with a family now my only excursions have been for pre-releases an hour away.  I'm not going to a) play at my local store with the same 20 guys, none of whom are good magic players or b) drive an hour to pick a larger local store crammed with people playing on top of milk crates and boxes full of comics.

Obviously I am not the target demographic here, but I am very disappointed. 
I think I'm more concerned with the ~3-month lead time to event announcements, vs. the full year announced at once. Having only around 3 months in advance makes it more difficult to prepare travel, will incur more costs for travel and lodging, as it's generally cheaper to book far in advance, in addition to getting time off of work, etc. I don't understand why the change there...
Going to agree with the others who see the loss of the regional prerelease as a strong negative. Without retreading too much ground already covered above, I want to add my voice to the voices of those who went to regional prereleases for the exact reasons they didn't go to local stores; the size, the atmosphere, the playerbase, everything enabled by the larger venues. Very, very sad this is going away.
One small question.

Is WotC expending an equal amount of energy/resourses on casual magic or is history destined to repete itself.
pcjr, I don't think you're quite seeing it through my eyes.  When the label says your food is "beef-flavored", that means it's not really meat.  If it was actual beef they'd just say "beef".

When the Program Manager says "Pro Tour-style events" I get the same vibe.  If they literally mean "Pro Tour", why didn't he just say "same number of Pro Tours"?  I think that might be a sign that this is only step 1 and the Pro Tour itself is going to change.  Maybe I'm paranoid, but I'm on the edge of my leather-like chair waiting to find out.


Doesn't the Pro Tour change every couple of years already? For example, the way they cut to the second day, and mixing constructed with limited. This year they had "Magic Weekends". Next year, they will let you play both days no matter your record.

With a closed and private event, they will have a bit more flexibility. They can hold them all in the same location. They can get a much smaller venue. They might also "invite" more players. Team scouting will be more difficult. Who knows what else they might change next year.


What I'm wondering is if they will still have Worlds and if it will also be private.

I think I'm more concerned with the ~3-month lead time to event announcements, vs. the full year announced at once. Having only around 3 months in advance makes it more difficult to prepare travel, will incur more costs for travel and lodging, as it's generally cheaper to book far in advance, in addition to getting time off of work, etc. I don't understand why the change there...



It's actually a 6-month lead time, not sure why he stated 3 month as he goes on to explain that everything through June will be known at the beginning of the year.

And yes, the removal regional prereleases is major flaw in the plan.  They already tried that once, it bombed horribly and they brought them back.

Scott would be a lot better off stating the following explicitly, "Banning regional prereleases will put more money in the pockets of store owners, even though fewer players will participate in total, rather than the BS statement of "what the players want". 
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
Killing big prereleases is a terrible, terrible idea. A lot of people go to those who have absolutely no interest in going to a GP, because they consider themselves exclusively casual players. Yes, a prerelease is a tournament too, but that's not all it is. It's your first chance to play with the new cards, and that alone is enough to excite a lot of people. It's a place to go where there are tons of other players, tons of people to trade with. There's no way a local store can replicate that experience. A GP might be able to, but unless it's really close by, who wants to go to a GP that they don't intend to play in?

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind there being more GPs. I am still peeved about missing the last one in Toronto, and if we get another Limited* GP here sooner rather than later, that's awesome. But you guys should be smart enough to realize that GPs and prereleases appeal to different groups of players.

* Or Constructed, so long as it's a hypothetical format where good decks cost reasonable amounts of money. But I don't think we'll be seeing that format anytime soon.
blah blah metal lyrics
Killing big prereleases is a terrible, terrible idea. A lot of people go to those who have absolutely no interest in going to a GP, because they consider themselves exclusively casual players.



Even bigger is the number of casual players who dislike or hate playing in game stores but like seeing the new cards in hotels or conference centers.
4. Don't speak dumb, or you'll be struck dumb. Remember, the name of the game is heads I win, tails you lose.
The idea that more GPs are going to fulfill the large event needs is ridiculous.  Areas with regional pre-releases MIGHT get a GP every year or two, and that will cover it?  This only works for the prominent but overall minority of players who travel several hours to multiple PTQs and GPs.

Even with the regional pre-releases, some of the LGS's around here are filled with pre-registered players days before the event.  I guess I'll have to trek to the suburbs just to get a good pre-release.

This was already tried a few years back and the reception was negative enough for Wizards to admit their mistake.  I don't think we'll be that lucky this time around. 

The local game stores could potentially band together to pick up the slack though. I know that my LGS has had to start renting out a nearby church gym to be able to fit the 60+ prerelease attendees, and i feel that, while far smaller than a regional prerelease, one lgs alone via a similar method could easily handle 100 people. If they were extremely enterprising, they could even band together with the other local releases, and have a larger one. Will it happen? Knowing human tendency for slackness, likely not.

A co-worker and myself have just gotten back into magic around Zendikar. We've been attending every Prerelease since then. We love the atmosphere and they idea that we don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on a deck to have fun just pick up some packs and see what happens. He esp. likes the artists and gets something signed and print and he has them all hanging up in his home. We are both upset to see regional prereleases go the stores here are few and far between I mean I travel 45 minutes just to go to a FNM every once and a while and it's super crowded just at that, not to mention an internet gantulet. This is a heavy hit to casual player. More GP's and no Regional Prereleases do not equal out at all. Like it has been said before you are looking at a different demographic.
It makes me a little sad to see people complaining about losing their Regional prerelease.  I remember back when I had a regional prerelease in my area (it was killed in the first round of changes).  I had a streak of prerelease attendance that lasted thirteen sets, but I have missed the last five in a row.  It's unlikely I will attend another prerelease.  I'm just too old to cram into a dirty, sweaty game store full of twelve-year-olds dropped off by their parents for a poorly run four round tournament.  It's a pity -- the buzz and excitement of my first big prerelease (held in a huge convention center room) really brought home how big Magic was and made it feel like a legitimate hobby.  I doubt I'd play at all now if I had attended an in-store prerelease instead.

It's been amazing to see how Rashad & co manage to give a live video feed from regular swiss rounds, while WOTC can't even show the quarterfinals of a PT live! (not to mention their text coverage usually lags 2 hours behind during the swiss)


Just one thing to keep in mind -- Rashad has worked on WotC's live event coverage for many years, so any criticism of WotC's coverage is still criticism of Rashad as well (and makes one wonder why he couldn't advocate successfully for any internal changes previously).

Since the "Pro Tour-style events" are not going to be open to the public, it doesn't really matter where they take place. I suspect they will choose a location that is the least expensive.


Historically, WotC's philosophy regarding Pro Tour locations has not matched this attitude.  They mandate one event in each of North America, Europe, and Japan.  They also typically choose one "exotic" location that is attractive as a tourist destination (e.g. Hawaii, Rome, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, etc.).  The point of the Pro Tour is promote Magic, in part by creating a dream for competitive players to aspire to.  Flying out to Tokyo or Prague is a lot more alluring (from my American perspective) than getting a quarterly flight to Seattle.

It's actually a 6-month lead time, not sure why he stated 3 month as he goes on to explain that everything through June will be known at the beginning of the year.


No, it's a 3 month lead time for earliest announced events.  Around January 1, they will announce the events from April 1 (three months later) to June 30 (six months later).

Since the "Pro Tour-style events" are not going to be open to the public, it doesn't really matter where they take place. I suspect they will choose a location that is the least expensive.

Historically, WotC's philosophy regarding Pro Tour locations has not matched this attitude.  They mandate one event in each of North America, Europe, and Japan...

I think its quite clear that WotC's philosophy regarding Pro Tours is changing quite a bit. Currently, they are a big public relations event that attracts anyone interested in Magic. That won't be the case for 2012.

Imagine if they held a 2012 Pro Tour in New York. They would have to hire lots of extra security to turn away all of the Magic fans that came expecting to watch/play/trade/buy/sell! You think those fans would be happy? Especially the ones who rode a 4-hour train to get there and booked a hotel room. That would be a bad way to promote the game.

They are much better off holding them in a location that's not exotic and has great internet connectivity. They'd probably get a great deal near Seattle if they booked the same a venue for 5 weekends a year!
I think its quite clear that WotC's philosophy regarding Pro Tours is changing quite a bit. Currently, they are a big public relations event that attracts anyone interested in Magic. That won't be the case for 2012.



On the other hand, they do reach a lot more people through the website's coverage than those that are on site. Also, if you're at a Pro Tour, you'll usually know less about what's actually happening at the PT than if you were reading the coverage. The PT is was a strange beast - you had 300, 400 people playing Magic in side events, and not quite as many playing in the actual PT. To me, losing the event character of the PT is not that bad if the Grand Prix get beefed up - more trader booths, longer artist sessions, better award ceremony, better stage design.

If the GPs become the event tournaments and the Pro Tour an exclusive/more private place for professional play, I'm okay with that. The "PT lifestyle" would become the "GP lifestyle", where you'd be event-hopping for the fun of it.
Killing large prereleases? I really, really hope that's restricted to North America as the announcement says it is. But I doubt it.

I'm one of many players for whom a large prerelease is my only taste of "larger communal Magic experiences". A prerelease is an awesome time of getting to play with new cards, in a Limited setting (i.e. no need for a £500 deck), and experience the "big hall of Magic players" vibe in London. If they shut down the big London prerelease, I fear I'll cease all contact with the DCI at all.

I've been to local prereleases. 20 players in a scout hut is nowhere near as much fun as 200 players in a conference centre. There isn't the critical mass of players who'd like to draft on the side rather than play sealed. There isn't the fun things on the side - artists and traders with huge 30p rare boxes and so on - that economies of scale allow.

You say we should go to a Grand Prix instead? I can't see that being fun enough to justify the journey and the time away from family. A prerelease manages that level of fun, but I don't think a GP will. Perhaps I'll give it a go once, but I've played in DCI constructed Magic tournaments 3 times in the past 12 years, and it doesn't seem likely the frequency will increase. 

Sigh... It'll be sad to put an end to my 12-year-long prerelease habit. It was one of the marks of the calendar year. I'll keep going to London for as long as the large prereleases happen there, and I really hope they continue and this announcement really is restricted to North America. But if the large prereleases stop, I fear I probably will as well.  



My wife and I enjoy playing 2HG togeather and these regional pre-releases were really the only places we had to do it. It was bad enough the TO only managed to get it to fire 50% of the time, but now that format is gone which is a shame.
My personal opinions:

- I won't miss the Pro Tour, I would never qualify, and it holds no interest to me. 

- I'd love to see the Pro Tour phased out, in favour of just GP events

- if individual GP's get big enough, they could be split into 2 separate but simultaneous events, one limited, the other constructed

- Big prereleases were fun, but I will give organized play the benefit of the doubt and see how this move plays out.

- I still like regionals/nationals/worlds concept

- I like WOTC supporting casual play by providing foils and other prizes to stores
Blarg! You know the way throughout this announcement they used "in North America" phrasing? Like "The release for New Phyrexia will be the last events to feature to large regional Prereleases in North America?"

It turns out that's because they've already banned Regional Prereleases in Europe!!

The Games Club in London have been told by WotC Europe that they're not allowed to hold a large Regional Prerelease in London - for New Phyrexia!

I'm very, very unimpressed with this move. What on earth are we Brits meant to do for a large, multifaceted, casual-friendly tournament setting now?

FrownCryYell CryFrown
Blarg! You know the way throughout this announcement they used "in North America" phrasing? Like "The release for New Phyrexia will be the last events to feature to large regional Prereleases in North America?"

It turns out that's because they've already banned Regional Prereleases in Europe!!

The Games Club in London have been told by WotC Europe that they're not allowed to hold a large Regional Prerelease in London - for New Phyrexia!

I'm very, very unimpressed with this move. What on earth are we Brits meant to do for a large, multifaceted, casual-friendly tournament setting now?

 



Grand Prix?  (which is their excuse)

I all seriousness though, I agree with you.  Getting rid of regional prereleases is a bad idea since there are likely a lot of people that won't ever set foot in a serious tournament higher than an FNM but like the atmosphere of a large prerelease.

IMAGE(http://pwp.wizards.com/1205820039/Scorecards/Landscape.png)
Blarg! You know the way throughout this announcement they used "in North America" phrasing? Like "The release for New Phyrexia will be the last events to feature to large regional Prereleases in North America?"

It turns out that's because they've already banned Regional Prereleases in Europe!!

The Games Club in London have been told by WotC Europe that they're not allowed to hold a large Regional Prerelease in London - for New Phyrexia!

I'm very, very unimpressed with this move. What on earth are we Brits meant to do for a large, multifaceted, casual-friendly tournament setting now?

FrownCryYell CryFrown



But... in the pre-release primer, wasn't there mention of the regional prerelease?

I hope you're mistaken since it's been a small dream of mine to go down to London and play in the pre-release where all the action is.

It seems the regional prereleases for NPH are only for North America :'(

Not cool, WotC. Dropping (proper) prereleases for North America with a few months' warning... well, that's not a good thing at all either, but it's up to you. But surreptitiously dropping proper prereleases for the rest of the world with no warning at all? Seriously, seriously not cool
Alex,

Let me rephrase my previous post. There was talk of the regional LONDON pre-release in the pre-release primer.

"I know that I'll be having a blast at the London Prerelease, playing all comers for prizes for much of the day, and then battling in Two-Headed Giant for laughs."

bottom paragraph:
www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.a...

So I think you're (thankfully) mistaken but you still have me worried.

Where did you hear that UK regional pre-releases are being dropped and does that include the big London one?
Ha. That'd be nice if it were true...

But I heard directly from The Games Club, who usually run the London "regional" prerelease. Their website about the prerelease says:

11:00am - Doors open
12:00pm - Tournament start
11:00pm - Doors close
 
And the only listed Side Events are drafts, not Open Duelling, Spellslinging etc. There's no mention of 2HG for NPH anywhere on The Games Club's site.

A friend emailed them to ask about 2HG, and the reply came:

"Wizards of the Coast (Europe) have told us that we are no longer allowed to hold a "Regional" style pre-release as these events are not run in Europe. Because of this we will not be running "Flights" and we are awaiting confirmation on whether we can offer a 2HG tournament alongside a single Sealed Deck tournament."

So much as I'd like to believe there's been some crossed wires somewhere, it does look like New Phyrexia isn't getting a Regional prerelease in London (i.e. anywhere in the south of England) at all...
Or, indeed, anywhere in the UK I think.

Though I live in Glasgow and it's a long journey for me, I was genuinely looking forward to the day when I could make the trip...

:-( :-( :-(

Well, I'm guessing it's still a bigger, flashier event than what happens up here so if I can combine the date with a visit to friends, I will. But it doesn't sound like it's all that worth it...

In any case, I'm confused by the claim that London isn't in Europe...
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