So here we are. It’s been awhile since we presented our Top 100 Professional MTG Player rankings. The immediate response was incredibly positive and we’re very happy with the work we’ve done so far. But, we know we can do so much more.

In the course of creating the rankings and reviewing all of the data that Wizards of the Coast provides in their event archive, we realized that what needed to be created was an easier way to compile, sort, and search the 20-year history of professional Magic tournaments. So we’re going to provide this to the community. The Magic Pro Tour Database (MTGPTDB) is going to be a massive undertaking by Hipsters of the Coast, but in the end we feel it will be an invaluable tool for players, fans, commentators and analysts of the game. The archive will be comprehensive and provide powerful ways to look at the information.


The MTGPTDB will be built on three pillars of data. The first is a complete list of every event in the history of the game that has awarded Pro Points. The events will contain plenty of information making them easy to search through and sort. Here are a few examples of the kind of searches you will be able to perform on the events stored in the MTGPTDB:

  • Limited format Grand Prix events held between specific dates
  • Pro tournaments that took place in North America in 2011
  • Mixed format events from 2008-2010
  • Standard Constructed events while Time Spiral was Standard legal

That is just a small subset of what you’ll be able to search through once the events data has been compiled and archived. By combining interesting meta-data such as when specific sets rotated in and out of formats, or when specific cards were banned and unbanned, you’ll have an unprecedented ability to look at groups of events like never before.


The next pillar of data in the MTGPTDB is the player registry. While Wizards has the DCI to keep track of individual player results, that information is not search-able by the public. Instead of scouring DCI information, we will build a new data store containing every player who has ever been awarded even a single Pro Point while playing Magic. The Player data will be important for normalizing the results that Wizards produces in its archive. Today, many players are represented by different varieties of how to spell their name. Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa alone has been reported in results over the past two years with no less than four different spellings.

Creating a player registry will allow us to easier track individual player performance over multiple events in WotC’s archive. By adding additional data such as country of origin (when available) we’ll be able to search the player registry in meaningful ways. For example, how many North American players are gaining Pro Points in Grand Prix events outside of North America and vice versa. This is information we previously never had access to.


The final, and most important, pillar is the results database. This is the list of every player at every event with their final standings rank and number of Pro Points earned. This is the largest data cache and is where we will finally see some of the most important information when it comes to building the Top 100 Pro MTG Player rankings. Combing all three pillars of the MTGPTDB will create the ability to generate the Top 100 rankings in new ways, allowing us to account for the problems inherent in the Grand Prix system for example. By building an historic data store, we can test new algorithms against the 20-year history of the Pro Tour, looking for trends and consistency in the results. Ultimately this will give us better and more accurate ways to rank Professional Magic Players.

Concluding Thoughts

The combination of Pro Tour event, player and result information will allow the Magic Community to view and analyze data about the Pro Tour in unprecedented ways. While it’s always been common to accept that certain players dominated the Tour for periods of time, such as Kai Budde, Jon Finkel and so on, we’ll know be able to see empirical data backing up or refuting these claims. Additionally, we’ll have access to all new data. Which players excelled in limited events? What about constructed? Or even team and mixed format events? Who was winning Standard events before and after Jace, the Mind Sculptor was banned from the format? The combinations of ways to look at the data will be many, and the value of these analyses is yet to be determined.

We’ve gathered a lot of information from comments in the past, but as always, please leave your feedback or requests for the MTGPTDB. We look forward to the next few months as we begin rolling out the interface for this archive.

The Top 100

From now on, updates to the Top 100 Rankings will come out on Wednesdays. This is because it is becoming a large effort to match all the names of finishers against previous entries in the database. So, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed for the list and you’ll know as soon as it’s been updated this coming Wednesday. For some more PTHOF links, check below in the Quick Hits section.

The Quick Hits

  • Darwin Kastle kicked off the week with a great look at what Wizards could do to fix the Grand Prix problem. [Gathering Magic]
  • Adam Styborski is a little late to the game, but here are his PTHOF ballot selections. [Gathering Magic]
  • Extended is dead. This format used to be great but it was preventing Modern from ruining our lives. [DailyMTG]
  • In honor of Richard Garfield’s 50th birthday, Mark Rosewater wrote all about the father of Magic. [Making Magic]
  • John Medina is stepping away from Magic to sort out his personal life. Hipsters wishes him all the best. [LegitMTG]
  • Heather Lafferty will also be leaving LegitMTG to write for Gathering Magic. [LegitMTG]
  • Here’s an interview with PTHOF candidate Mark Herberholz. [Inside the Magic Studio]
  • Adam Yurchick also published his PTHOF ballot this week. [TCGPlayer]
  • The fun continues with Sheldon Menery’s PTHOF ballot. [StarCity Games]
  • Our very own Monique Garraud stirred the pot with her review of bad player habits. [Grinding it Out]
  • A look at The Hero’s Journey trope as it applies to Theros. [DailyMTG]
  • Somewhere at the end of this Modern review is Melissa DeTora’s PTHOF ballot. [TCGPlayer]
  • Matt Sperling’s snark returns after taking June off! [Sick of it All]
  • LegitMTG’s farewells come to a close with Corbin Hosler’s sign-off. [LegitMTG]
  • Conley Woods discussed the process of finding value in cards. [Channel Fireball]
  • Giaco got a cat. This marks the first time I am linking cat pictures in my life. [The Scrub Report]
  • Finally, remember when FNM promos didn’t suck? Me neither. It’s been awhile. [Magic Arcana]

Wallpaper of the Week

It’s definitely been a while since we had as creepy a wallpaper as this one. The deep purples are really eye-popping and the lack of symmetry is always appreciated. I’m still not a huge fan of the way Liliana is represented. It’s very traditional fantasy female artwork. She’s a necromancer, so armor isn’t really a concern, but the style is still very much the industry standard. Of course, the scarring all over her body definitely makes for a change from the norm.

Grade: B+

The Week Ahead

It’s World Championship time and I have most of the weekend free! Time to see how Wizards’ coverage is shaping up.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. The goal is to take some of the events and articles polluting the Magic world, strip out the chaff (tournament reports, game theory, economics) and give you our superior opinion. Complaints are encouraged.

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