The Road To The Pro Tour

Ruckman has created an all encompassing guide to navigating your way to the Pro Tour through both the digital and paper paths

Next Year will see the return of the Magic: The Gathering Pro Tour, and players all over the world are itching to punch their ticket to this historic event. For the game’s newer players though, the path to the Pro Tour is filled with a lot of confusing twists and turns making it difficult to understand. So, with Regional Qualifiers kicking off the Pro Tour Season starting up, PlayingPioneer thought it would be helpful to make a guide for this seemingly daunting process.

Tabletop Route

Step One – Regional Championship Qualifiers

Regional Championship Qualifiers (RCQs) will be the first stop many take on their journey to reach the Pro Tour. In the past these were known as Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers (PPTQs), long time players will also remember the old Pro Tour Qualifier (PTQ) system but for today’s purposes the PPTQ system is our best comparison. This portion of the journey is pretty plain and simple: Win an RCQ and you receive an invite to your Region’s Regional Championship (RC).  Of course this time around Wizards is giving their Regional Organizers (ROs) a little more leeway in which events can act as an RCQ, and even RCs for that matter, but more often than not these will simply be events held by your local game store. For this piece I will be focusing on the USA Region being organized by Dreamhack, so make sure to check your RO’s website to learn more about any differences that will be discussed here. For the sake of convenience I have included the Region list and their corresponding RO website:

Not only are the RO websites important to helping you understand the Organized Play structure in your region, they’re also your guide to finding all the RCQs in your area. Of course this requires your RO to be on top of the ball in posting their schedules. For example at the time of writing this piece Dreamhack has still yet to post the full list of events for the USA Region. Thankfully stores are also able to list their events in Wizards Event Locator, but that service is also experiencing growing pains. So when it comes to trying to find out what events are near you I’d be sure to just check directly with your primary LGS and any others that you’re willing to travel to in order to find their schedule. Even if you already know the RCQ schedule for your area I would make it a habit to call the host, or check social media listings, of any events you intend to play in to find out if there are player limits. If there are, be sure to pre-register and reserve your seat if possible, as you don’t want to show up and not be able to play.

Something else players should make note of when looking over the RCQ schedule is the format of the event being held. In another break from the previous PPTQ system, stores are not limited to running their events as either the Regional/PT format or Limited. This means stores can run their events as either Pioneer, Standard, Modern, or Limited (again this is for the USA Region, and could vary by location). So don’t expect to just roll up to the LGS and jam some Pioneer and earn your chance at glory. Lastly, in a final departure from the PPTQ system – once a player qualifies for their RC they are still allowed to compete in other RCQs, but the invites will filter down should a player win multiple events, meaning that multiple invites do not stack. 


In Summary:

  1. Check your Regional Organizer’s website for a better understanding of any differences between your Region and others.
  2. Use all options available to find out the RCQ schedule for your area.
  3. Make sure you verify the event format and player caps.
  4. Win your event and move onto the next round!
  5. Invite secured and you want to keep playing? Feel free to do so.

Step Two – Regional Championships

  So you’ve taken down your local scene and are on to the next step, the Regional Championship. These invite only events will be stacked with all levels of competition and feel more akin to the Grand Prix of old, except for potentially a slightly smaller player pool. However, don’t think this field is going to be a walk in the park; here’s who all you’ll be facing:

  • Store Qualifier Winners
  • Players qualified for the Pro Tour, which is fed by the corresponding Regional Championship
  • Members of the Magic: The Gathering Hall of Fame are invited to one Regional Championship and Pro Tour per season. Those events must be in the same round and cannot be in the same round in which they played in a Regional Championship Qualifier.
  • Magic Online Qualifiers
  • MTG Arena Qualifiers

Additionally, for the 2022–23 season only, Wizards are also inviting the following:

  • Members of the Magic Pro League and Magic Rivals League from 2021–22 will be invited to the three Regional Championships.
  • The Top 16 Challengers from 2021–22 World Championship Qualifying Points Standings who were not invited to Magic World Championship XXVIII will be invited to the three Regional Championships. (Return of the Pro Tour: Details, 2022)

That’s some pretty stacked competition, but luckily there are more PT invites than just to first place. It’s not clear just how many invites each region will receive, at least in the amount of research I was able to do, but for the 2022-23 season there will be a 50% increase in the amount of invites available. And, just as with the RCQ’s, invites will filter down in the case of players earning multiple invites.

One last thing I think is important to note for our American readers is that the region’s one Regional Championship is going to be held at Dreamhack Atlanta. This is of course a far departure from the PPTQ/RTQ system where players had multiple events to choose from across the country. Because of this, players should start planning out their finances and travel now should they qualify. Also, because the RC is at a Dreamhack event anyone traveling with those qualified will need to purchase a one-day/weekend pass to enter into the venue, qualified players will receive a weekend pass to Dreamhack Atlanta. Having just recently gone to Dreamhack Dallas, and full disclosure I attended as an invited content creator, the event was loads of fun so even those not qualified should consider going. The $99 weekend pass might be a little much for players used to not paying venue fees, but the cost is well worth it and at least for Dallas players who purchased a weekend pass received two $25 event vouchers.

Step Three – The Pro Tour

Welcome to Pro Tour, if you’ve made it here you’ve done something most Magic players only dream of. All we know about the first Pro Tour of the 2022-23 season is that the constructed portion will be Pioneer, everything after that from dates to location are currently up in the air. Well, maybe not everything else since we do know how to stay on the PT train once you punch your first ticket:

  • Finish with ten or more wins at the previous Pro Tour
  • Finished 9–7 at Pro Tour (2022-23 Season only)
  • Finish with 39 or more Adjusted Match Points from the previous three Pro Tours (rolling)

So if you manage to make the mainstage this first go round, be sure to try and hit that 9-7 target to keep on the train.

Digital Route

Magic Online

Magic Online (MTGO) features two main inroads that drop players directly into the Tabletop ecosystem either at the RCQ or the PT level depending on the events players qualify with. The most direct route to the Pro Tour, and also the hardest, is to earn a spot in one of the end of season eight player Showcase finals events; all players in this event will earn a seat at the PT. So go grind out the leaderboard, spike a Showcase Qualifier, or take down a Showcase Open. On the other side of the spectrum Format Qualifier and Super Qualifiers are being shifted to giving top finishers invites to RCQ’s instead of sending players directly to the Pro Tour. Be sure to keep an eye on the MTGO event schedule to find out when any of these events are and start practicing, but remember these events now feed directly back to the tabletop.

Arena

Things get a little different for the Arena side of the digital aisle. While the Mythic Championships will no longer exist, their spirit carries on in the 32 player Arena Championship events that will now be taking place, highlighting the best players Magic’s premiere digital platform has to offer.  The Qualifier Weekend events are going to remain relatively the same, with four taking place for every Championship/PT season:
 
Players who earn seven match wins in a Day One event of a Qualifier Weekend advance to Day Two
Players who earn an additional seven match wins during Day Two will Qualify for the corresponding Arena Championship
Starting in September 2022, players who earn seven match wins during Day Two of a Qualifier Weekend will also qualify for the designated Pro Tour in addition to the Arena Championship
 
Clearly the big difference here is that Qualifier Weekends become a big deal starting in September, letting players qualify for both an Arena Championship AND the Pro Tour in one event. Because of the double qualifier nature, I wouldn’t pass the events up if you have an opportunity to play in one.
 
No matter which route players decide to take, there are plenty of options available to hop onto the long vaunted Pro Tour Train. With Wizards pushing an across-the-board 50% increase in normal invites for this season, players should take all the opportunity they can to make it happen. So to all of our readers I wish you the best of luck this season; and for our US readers I hope to see you in Atlanta.
 
References
 
Return of the Pro Tour: Your Path to Playing Magic at the Highest Level. (2022, March 31). Magic.gg. Retrieved July 5, 2022, from https://magic.gg/news/return-of-the-pro-tour-your-path-to-playing-magic-at-the-highest-level
Return of the Pro Tour: Details. (2022, March 31). Magic.gg. Retrieved July 5, 2022, from https://magic.gg/news/return-of-the-pro-tour-details 

  • Editor-In-Chief

    Having started playing Magic shortly before the release of Return to Ravnica, Ruckman’s Magic lifespan covers the breadth of the Pioneer format. Despite not being a stranger to the Top 8 tables of the old IQ and PTQ systems, most of his competitive experience comes from the other side of the event space, where he served more than five years as a level-two judge, only hanging up the black shirt for good at the beginning of 2022. Currently, you can find him making Pioneer content for Crew3 on your favorite podcasting platform or on Twitch/YouTube.

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