From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
Wizards of the Coast chose an eSports convention to make an announcement about Magic’s organized play system. This choice of event should have been prescient but many were still surprised when Magic Arena was announced as an equal part of the competitive scene in 2019.
There will be a $10,000,000 prize pool, split evenly between paper Magic and Arena. This means paper play is worth about the same as in 2018, while Magic Arena will deliver $5,000,000 more. The game is still in beta, so this is quite the statement of confidence in this new product.
In contrast, Magic Online had existed for years before competitive play pathways were introduced.
Naturally this has caused some consternation among Magic Online players, for whom the writing on the wall is now large enough to see. Wizards since clarified that the current competitive play structure on Magic Online will remain in place in 2019, but there’s nothing new being added.
Arena isn’t officially out yet, but already seems to have more players than Magic Online ever achieved. Most players won’t enter the competitive pathways, but the way is open for those who want to explore this side of the game.
Wrapped up in the announcement was news that the top 32 ranked players would received professional player contracts. Further details haven’t emerged yet, but there have been rumblings of discontent from pro Magic players over the past couple of years. Hopefully this will at least provide clarity, if not total satisfaction.
Magic’s competitive scene will bear watching over the next 12 months.