Organized play in Magic: The Gathering is shifting away from esports only while still providing digital players multiple paths toward competing at a Magic World Championship.
Digital competitive Magic organized play is getting a permanent upgrade for players who wish to compete via MTG Arena. Both Magic Online and MTG Arena major tournaments will feed into the overall organized Magic play system, showcasing tabletop gameplay at its highest levels of competitive play.
WotC has added Play-In events as another means to qualify for Qualifier Weekend tournaments, in conjunction with Ranked ladder standings. Players who perform well at a Qualifier Weekend event will advance to an MTG Arena Championship that takes place every four months, and a Pro Tour event for the chance to compete at the Magic World Championship.
MTG Arena Play-In events and Ranked ladder qualifications
Invitations to Qualifier Weekend events will now include two pathways: Ranked ladder standings and Qualifier Play-In events. An MTG Arena Play-In event is open to any player upon paying an entry fee, no matter their rank. The entry fee for these new events is 20,000 gold, 4,000 gems, or 20 Play-In points.
Players competing in Constructed and Traditional Draft events will have a chance to earn Play-In points. Qualifier Play-In events are single-day tournaments offered in best-of-one and best-of-three formats. Rewards are given no matter the wins, but players who achieve six wins in best-of-one and four wins in best-of-three will earn an invite to an MTG Arena Qualifier Weekend tournament.
In addition to earning Play-In points via Arena events, players can earn them based on their ladder standings. All players who finish in the top 1,200 (not including the top 250) via Constructed or Limited will earn points. This will go into effect in May 2022.
Players who finish a Ranked season in the top 250 via Constructed or Limited will automatically earn an invite to a Qualifier Weekend tournament. And players who reach a total of six, seven, or eight match wins during day two of an Arena Open will also earn a direct invite to the next Qualifier Weekend tournament.
Qualifier Weekend MTG Arena tournaments
Qualifier Weekend tournaments will include qualified players via the Ranked ladder and Play-In events. A total of four Qualifier Weekend tournaments will take place per each Arena Championship, which occurs every four months. Tournaments will still last two days, with players needing a total of seven wins during the first day of a Qualifier Weekend to advance to the second day.
Players who win seven matches during day two of the Qualifier Weekend earn an invite to an Arena Championship. And, starting in September, players who have seven match wins during the second day will also earn an invite to a Pro Tour tournament. Invites to an Arena Championship based on seven wins during the second day of a Qualifier Weekend tournament will start with the event taking place on May 28 to 29.
All Arena Championships will feature a total of 32 players. Should more than eight players per Qualifier Weekend tournament earn seven wins, WotC has a contingency plan in place. All players will still advance and WotC will increase the total prize pool for that Arena Championship.
WotC has not determined whether the Arena Championships will get played digitally or via tabletop. Each championship will have a total prize pool of $200,000 and feature a minimum of 32 players.
Competitors who win an Arena Championship earn an invite to the Magic World Championship. In addition, the two runners-up will also earn a direct invite to Worlds.