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Santa Cla…err, Wizards are coming to town!

December 23, 2011

I think most of you have read the news regarding the future of Organized Play before you are reading this entry. If you haven’t, you might want to do that…like right now. It’s a lot to take in all at once but it’s worth plowing through and read thoroughly.

Overall it’s good news from start to bottom. The revamped Planeswalker Points-system is great, the reinstatement of the team competition (now officially called World Magic Cup) is off course nothing but amazing, bringing back the Pro Player Club is great, I’m digging the revamping of the Pro Tour invitation system and off course I’m not saying no that the number of PTQs worldwide is going to increase from 200 to 220 by season 3 next year. And last but not least the fact that it seems like Wizards is going to push estimately an extra 600k$ (!) into Organized Play next year, in cash prize only! That’s not even counting all the extra plane tickes they are going to hand out to qualified player to Pro Tours, the World Magic Cup and the Magic Players Championship and a bunch of other things.

That’s pretty fantastic.

To not sound too much like a kid on Christmas morning, if I am to put on the cynical glasses and have to criticize something about the announcement it’s the new World Cup Qualifiers (that are going to replace Nationals) that I’m looking at.

Playing at Nationals always felt a little special and there was just something about being able to call your self the national champion that were unprecedented by any other event of the year. There is also a thing about Nationals when you talk about the game to people who doesn’t play the game that I’m going to miss. If you try to explain to them that you won a PTQ, it’s a good chance that they won’t understand the implications and grandeur of that feat. However, it’s easier for them to relate to the feat if you say that you won Nationals instead.

I’m a little sad that the exact feeling that Nationals had won’t be replicated in the future but I think I will be at peace with the World Cup Qualifiers. Partly why is if you are cynical on the other hand of the spectrum, Nationals felt time to time just like a massive PTQ to me. So in that regard, if you exchange the “super PTQ” with 3 smaller ones, that’s fine by me.

Another interesting issue with the World Cup Qualifiers are the logistics. I would assume they are going to work well in smaller countries like the ones in Europe but if we look at the US instead there might be some difficulties. It’s funny because the whole fall a lot of people has berated Wizards to heavily support the US by the large number of Grand Prix etc. but this change probably is favoring the US the least.

It’s true that flying out to a one-slot qualifier (and potentially two more) compared to a single Nationals event is a lot harder to motivate for someone living in a country as big geographically speaking as the US. As a guy who doesn’t live in the US or haven’t at some point in my life it’s hard to relate to this issue but from where I’m standing, it seems like the problem is unpleasant but dealable. To me, it seems only fair that for “once” the Americans have to adjust to the global system and not the other way around.

So, is the new system perfect? No, I’m not that naive to go out and say that. There is always room for improvement. The changes are though a great leap towards what at least I think Magic Organized Play should be in the future and I off course think that is awesome. That the changes were released the day before Christmas (in Sweden, Christmas is mainly celebrated on the 24th instead of the 25th as in the US) can’t help me to think it’s a Christmas miracle. 😛

Jokes aside, merry Christmas.

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