Major changes are coming to the Magic Esports starting form 2020.
The popular card game started in 1993 will be focusing more on the esports-heavy format with Magic: The Gathering taking center stage as announced by Wizards of the Coast a subsidiary of Hasbro. The announcement was made public on Wednesday along with some major changes coming to the game and the format after the end of this year, starting from 2020.
Thoralf Severin won the 'Mythic Championship IV', and since then the players were suspecting the Mythic Championship is being phased out and the 2019 version was said to be the final installment in the competitive play. Well, the announcement didn’t exactly say the championship is going away, but the publishers’ announcement made one thing clear, there is going to be a balance between paper, and digital format of the game and people will be afforded new ways to rise up the ranks in the game.
Source: Hipsters of the Coast
In a conversation with Forbes, Elaine Chase, Vice President of Esports at Wizards of the Coast said, “This year’s Mythic Invitational was the most-watched Magicbroadcast ever, with three times the viewership of our previous best. So, one of the big changes you’ll see with our MTG Arena program will be the establishment of three Mythic Invitationals to serve as marquee moments in Magic.”
It is no surprise considering the fact the twitch streams for the game doubled since the Arena streams started. Arena is still expected to be in beta, but still, the game made the second-highest amount of money in the 2019 second quarter for company Hasbro. With that in mind, the company is moving more to the online competitive Magic instead of the tabletop. According to Elaine, in 2020, the company is stepping up even more into the esports model with the introduction of three Mythic Invitationals.
“With the addition of MTG Arena, we realized that Magic’s competitive structure on tabletop also needed to evolve,” Elaine said. “So we’re introducing a new regional tournament system that will offer more opportunities globally for players to participate and earn entry into top tournaments.”
The problem with Pro Tour last year was players needed to travel all over the world in a year to compete in particular tournaments, but the coming year the paper Magic will be regional-based which can allow more involvement and cutting in the traveling hassle for the players. The coming year Player Tour will allow players to compete easily and still make the tournament the second-highest format of play in the game.
Elaine also talked about new format coming to the Magic Pro League (MPL) where players will be given a path to make it to the pro. It was the common complaint of most of the players, there was no clear pathway to make it to the pro leagues, but it is all seemingly changing in the coming months.
Elaine said, “One of the coolest aspects of the establishment of Rivals is The MPL Gauntlet, a tournament that elevates the best Rivals League players to the MPL—and relegates the poorest-performing MPL players to the Rivals League,”
How it works is simple, the top 16 players of MPL season will automatically progress to the next season but the bottom four of the season will be relegated to the Rivals League. According to the company, Rivals league is a talent development league which “support up-and-coming talent and provide these high-level competitors a clear path to pro.” The top two players in Rivals League in both Arena and tabletop will receive MPL contracts. There will also be a gauntlet tournament held for the bottom four players and 3rd to 8th ranked players in Arena and 3rd to 8th ranked players in tabletop.
The last thing Elaine said was, “We see the World Championship as the pinnacle of Magic competitive play, so whichever format you prefer, you’ll have a chance to prove that you’re the best in the world.” It means both the format of the game, even though playing separately, will come together for a final face-off and players of both formats will be allowed the chance at the $1 million cash prize.
Magic is headed in a new direction, it is focusing more and more on the esports sector of the Magic games, but they are also not leaving behind the 25 years old legacy of the tabletop format. How it all shapes out in the end, we will need to wait till 2020 to see.