After an exhilarating time at my local WMCQ today (0-2 drop, thanks for asking) and talking to some of my friends I got to thinking more about the new PTQ system. Just so anyone unsure of what I am talking about, see the full details announced by Wizards here. Basically there are now less PTQ’s which invite more people at each one and these events are invitation only.
I should preface my feelings here by saying that I have no burning desire to qualify for the pro tour or try and live the ‘pro’ magic player life. I work full time and am married with 2 young future wizards. A younger, less fatherly version of myself was interested in such things, but for now I will leave that to others. Also my location is relevant, I live in Australia (down under, deadly animals, Steve Irwin etc) in one of the major east coast cities, Brisbane (here, have a map if your interested).
When the announcements were first made a few weeks ago, I didn’t take me long to realise how this change was going to affect me and others in a similar situation. I LOVE these changes! Whilst I don’t care for qualifying for the pro tour, I do care about playing live competitive magic. These changes are going to give me more access to competitive magic events that I can easily get to. Let me explain.
Under the old (or current if you prefer) system my choices for competitive magic events were PTQ’s, GP’s or GPT’s. Where I live, each season we would get 1 PTQ to play in, unless you were interested in driving 12+ hours or catching a plane (no thank you). One GP every 2 years (admittedly Australia does get 1-2 GP’s each year and flying to those isn’t the worst option). GPT’s never feel very exciting here as most of them are for GP’s which are in other countries (mostly Asia) which leads to most people fighting over second prize, so for most purposes I will ignore these.
Now we have a whole other level of events to compete in. There are 5 premier level stores within driving distance to me which means 5 PreTQ’s each season, or approximately one every 2-3 weeks! That is certainly going to give us a lot more options for competitive play. If I am willing to extend my driving range out to 2 hours, there are another 2 stores I could hit up for even more magic. This is just the kind of thing I am looking for, more options for competitive level events that I can easily drive to.
Having the prize at these events be relevant is also a big deal. Even if I am not fussed by qualifying for the pro tour, all of the local players who are will be competing in these events, which means that they will be attracting the best from my region who haven’t already qualified (which is next to nobody pretty much all the time). These people will also be bringing their a-game and best decks to these things, making the competition even more fierce.
I expect the level of competition at these events to be slightly less than the existing PTQ’s to start off with (as we won’t have the better players from interstate coming up to compete), but soon enough I expect that to change as more competitive events will naturally lead to better players overall. I expect this type of situation to be the case for most non-American locations. Increasing the skill level of the local players is going to be a big positive side effect of this structure change.
So thanks Wizards for this change. Many people have lots of concerns over these changes to organised play as they should, as not everyones situation is the same as mine. I will let them express their own views but from where I am sitting, this is looking great.