Who loves qualifying events?
Wizards has now made it necessary to win two qualifying events to end up at the Pro Tour.
Wizards announced something called "Regional PTQs" and smaller, preliminary PTQs that you have to do well at to qualify for said Regional PTQ. The entire Top 4 of the Regional PTQ heads to the PT, not just the winner. This actually may save some time since the Top 4 is much more likely to prize split now.
Well, how does all of this work?
Kind of like this.
It looks like two things are going to happen here.
One obvious consequence is that it's going to be much, much harder to qualify for the Pro Tour. It could have something to do with a ton more people playing the game lately, but there could also be something else at work. Giving Hooter Stumpfuck from Moosefart, Saskatchewan a plane ticket and PT invite because he won a 3 round PTQ so he can go 2-11 at the PT has worked OK in the past, but the PT should mean a bit more than "I got lucky at one event". Winning a PTQ isn't easy, but qualifying for the PT shouldn't be THAT easy. The lucksackery involved with winning a PTQ is now mitigated by forcing those players to play well at a Regional PTQ and prove it wasn't a fluke.
The other consequence is that sub-PTQs are going to be handled by smaller stores. This is great for smaller stores! It doesn't take a TO to handle these events so the LGS really benefits from this arrangement. The TOs can still handle the Regional PTQs (and small vendors can go vend them and have a much better day) and the Regional PTQs will be huge events, which will be great.
Regional PTQs Summary (from the Mothership)
- These will be run by hand-selected advanced and advanced plus WPN stores, based primarily on accessibility and the ability to host over 100 players.
- Regional PTQs are planned to be held at least four weeks after the end of the Preliminary PTQ season (the first one ends in February).
- 31 Regional PTQs will take place worldwide, and qualified players may choose which they compete in.
- Each competing player will receive an exclusive participation promo card.
- Top 4 of Regional PTQs receive invitation and airfare to the qualifying season's Pro Tour; 5th–8th receive invitations to the next Pro Tour's Regional PTQs. If attendance is over 128 players, Top 8 receive airfare and invitations to the qualifying season’s Pro Tour.
Is this ultimately good for the game? I think so because it makes the PT harder to qualify for, increasing the quality of player at the PT. It also adds more events to the schedule giving people more of a choice of local event so traveling 8+ hours isn't the only option. You can play local Magic every single weekend and that is very, very good for the people who don't win a PTQ.
It's likely to get tougher to qualify, but I think it should be.