WotC Announce Major eSports Investment for Magic: The Gathering

In terms of press releases and review product for Magic: The Gathering it’s been a little quiet here at the ATGN office.  For about 24 months now we’d barely heard a peep from the Wizards of the Coast team.  We were starting to get a little worried to be honest.  Turns out though that WotC had been keeping their cards close to their chest for this one epic announcement.  They’ve obviously been very busy behind closed doors, saving pennies and making plans.

We don’t normally just copy/paste press releases either, but… this one is important so here it is in it’s entirety –

SYDNEY, NSW – DEC. 07, 2018 – Today Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast unveiled Magic Esports, a completely restructured competitive program coming in 2019 for Magic: The Gathering and Magic: The Gathering Arena, which boasts a $10 million prize pool. Wizards of the Coast took to the stage at the Game Awards to announce the biggest news in Magic’s history live to millions of online viewers and passionate gamers.

“Today is an extremely important day for Magic: The Gathering as we announce our commitment to esports and our Magic players by introducing a new tournament structure with a $10 Million prize pool.” said Chris Cocks, President of Wizards of the Coast.” We have worked diligently to create a program that will establish Magic as a major player in esports, particularly with Magic: The Gathering Arena in the collectable card game category.”

With over 20 Million Magic players in over 70 countries around the world, the 2019 Magic Esports season is designed to appeal to a wide audience of card game players and offers an open platform to allow all Magic players the opportunity to compete. Magic Esports consists of 10 tournaments called Mythic Championships plus partner-run events, with $5 million in prizes dedicated to MTG Arena and $5 Million for tabletop Magic. The MTG Arena esports program kicks off with a $1 Million invitational Mythic Championship at PAX East 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Magic Esports also heralds the launch of the Magic Pro League, which includes the 32 top ranked Magic players. Magic Pro League members are automatically qualified for each Mythic Championship, and in addition to vying for a piece of the massive prize pool, will receive competitive pro contracts. Players outside of the Magic Pro League will have the ability to qualify for Mythic Championships, with more details on how to climb the ranks and battle the pros to be revealed in 2019.

“The past 25 years of Magic competition has led us to design this comprehensive esports program that would support Magic: The Gathering Arena, while increasing our investment in tabletop Magic,” said Elaine Chase, Vice President of Esports at Wizards of the Coast. “Magic Esports will catapult the game to new heights while providing support to the players by giving them the platform to build their brand and bring Magic to a broader audience.”

I’m really pleased to see that the prize pool is divided equally between the physical tabletop game and the new digital Arena title.  While obviously there is a heavy focus on the digital space, it’s good to see that WotC haven’t forgotten their existing player base.

It’s also great to see WotC addressing the issue of Pro Player funds, something that Pro Player Gerry Thompson actually protested by refusing to play recently.  While 32 available ‘spots’ is fairly limited it at least gives players something to strive for.  No doubt though WotC will be looking to get the most value for their dollar so I’d expect to see more pro players streaming Arena very soon.

What are your thoughts on this announcement and these upcoming changes?  Is this for the better or worse? Let us know in the comments below.

Check out the official announcement video here –

Link

Check out the official ‘Competitive Magic’ website for more information here.

Looking for a local store to play Magic: The Gathering? Head to the WotC store locator here.Want to get started with Magic: The Gathering Arena? It’s free! Head to the official site here.

Need some help with a deck for Magic: The Gathering Arena? Check out Keith’s Dinosaur Aggro here.

Keith is often streaming Magic: The Gathering Arena on our Twitch Channel. You can check that out here.

Wanting to buy some physical Magic: The Gathering products? Head over to the Vault Games store here.

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