Usually when playing a video game, there is always a goal or achievement to attain. Be it to finish a storyline, to level up a character to the max or to beat a raid event. Therefore, for certain games that have no set goals like card games or some multiplayer online battle arenas, a player might burn out sooner or later.
One of the perks of playing Magic the Gathering is that there are a lot of tournaments and competition to drown yourself in, like your local tournaments or the Grand Prix Circuit. Then there is the Pro Tour Circuit, which is just like any physical sport or e-sports, where fame and fortune awaits. In light of the Pro Tour Amonkhet happening at Nashville, USA starting today, I will be talking about the Pro Tour for Magic the Gathering. What is it about and how do you get to play in it?
The MtG Pro Tour is the highest level of tournament or competition where a player requires to be invited to play in it. A player can also win invites through certain Qualifiers to be able to compete in this highest form of competition the game provides. We will talk about the Qualifiers later on. The Pro Tour typically are held four times a year, two to three weeks after the release of a new main set.
The format of the Pro Tour used to be in a variety, being from either Modern, Extended, Limited and/or Standard but has been standardized to be Draft and Standard. The players who have qualified and invited shall compete in three days with there being a cut off of players at the end of Day One and a Top 8 cut off at the end of Day Two. They will play both formats on both Day One and Day Two but for Day Three but will play only the Standard format for the Top 8.
Why is it such a big thing? It is because the competitiveness nature of the Pro Tour Circuit and the difficulty of getting an invite (we’ll discuss this later on). The players go to the Pro Tour with the intention to win, therefore a lot of them would prepare themselves days or even weeks ahead in order to give their best. There are even many players who team up together to build decks, test the decks among themselves and learn from each other in order to better themselves before the main competition. Thus we can see the reason why winning a Pro Tour is a large achievement for a player.
So how do you obtain an invite? Well, currently there are two stages of tournaments to win in order to get an invite. First is the Pro Tour Qualifier Qualifier (yes, there is a qualifier for the qualifier) which most shops can run once for each Pro Tour. After winning that Qualifier, a player will be qualified and are sent to play in the main Qualifier which are held regionally, with each region only having one main Pro Tour Qualifier. Again, it can be seen that it is hard to get into the main Pro Tour Circuit competition and that there is already an achievement by playing in it.
All this hard work is of course being paid off with the winner will receive USD50,000 and the Top 8 receiving an almost equivalent amount. Pro Points will also be distributed based on the standings that will entitle the players to join the Pro Player Club, in which the winner with no Pro Points will obtain Silver level in the Pro Player Club. It is because of the Pro Player Club and its tremendous benefits that most players will chase after; one of the benefits is automatically qualifying themselves to go onto another Pro Tour.
In a way, a player can possibly make a living by being good in the game and earn from these tournaments. But even then, getting invited is already such a difficult feat that playing at the Pro Tour circuit is an achievement in itself and a success that most players are proud of. It is regarded as one of the highest standings among peers at a game store. Plus, being in the Pro Player Club solidifies the player’s position as a professional Magic the Gathering player and will be looked upon by other players as role models.
There are many names that most players would recognize as having won many Pro Tours and would look to for advice or as a role model to improve their own games. Some of these Pro Players even use their influence and fame to teach and reach out to the players to help them get better. We can see that being a Pro Player gives you some influence, fame, and when you win, fortune. Even you should follow one of these Pro Players if you grow to like one of them. I assure you, I have one, and I used to follow him rigorously to learn and improve myself.
If you interested in the Pro Tour and am still wondering “what is it about?” You can have a watch of the latest Pro Tour Amonkhet happening tonight, tomorrow and the Top 8 on Monday morning (the real timing you can find on the Wizards of the Coast main website).
So have a watch, keep slinging those spells to get better, and if you want to play in the Pro Tour, remember, Fortune Favors The Bold.