Welcome back to Grinding it Out. Your weekly guide to competitive Magic the Gathering. Every week we’ll break down all the latest local and global high-level tournament action. Whether it’s a Grand Prix Trial in Long Island or a Pro Tour Qualifier in Japan, you’ll be able to learn about it here. This week we’re going to take a look at the upcoming season of PTQ and Grand Prix events kicking off this coming weekend.

2015 Season I Pro Tour Qualifier Calendar

December 6-7

The first weekend of the new season kicks off with our first glimpse of the new Preliminary PTQ system. In the brave new world players will have to win one of these PPTQ events in order to qualify for a Regional PTQ. There are 31 RPTQ events worldwide, though most of them are in North America (more info coming soon). The top four or eight finishers (depending on attendance) at each RPTQ will earn an invitation to the Pro Tour. For this season, which runs through February, the Pro Tour in question is Vancouver from July 31st to August 2nd.

This weekend there will be two PPTQ events in the NYC area:

Unfortunately All In One Collectibles is too far via mass transit so you’ll need a car if you’re going to hit this one up. The drive is just over an hour but according to their website the tournament doesn’t start until 5:00PM. You’ll want to bring your Standard deck as that’s the format for this (and most) PPTQ events. Standard will also be the format on Sunday at Kings Games. If you’re a NYC Magic player you should be intimately familiar with this venue.

December 13-14

Next weekend it’s time to take your favorite form of transportation down to the Inner Harbor and check out Grand Prix Baltimore. The format is Khans of Tarkir sealed on day one and draft on day two. The event will be awarding invitations to Pro Tour Belgium which will feature Dragons of Tarkir. This is the last local Grand Prix until next season so you’ll want to try to make the trek. Card Titan is organizing this event which always means great things. If you’re not familiar, they’re the TO for Eternal Weekend and virtually every PTQ held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia (more on that venue later).

December 20-21

If you’re sad about the new PPTQ/RPTQ format then you’ll want to make sure you don’t miss any of the events for the last ever traditional PTQ season. These tournaments will maintain the old ways and award a single invitation to Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir. These events are all Standard Constructed and two of them are being held within driving distance on December 20/21.

I have to admit that I haven’t had the pleasure of playing at either of these venues but I’ve heard good things about Kirwan’s. I also believe that they will be hosting the Catskill RPTQ for Pro Tour Vancouver, so you may want to get familiar with the trip if you plan on winning a PPTQ but don’t want to go to the Philly RPTQ.

December 27-28

If you’re still in town for the weekend after Christmas you’ll have an exciting opportunity for a New York City PPTQ Double-Header:

  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ Get There Games, Staten Island, NY [12/27]
  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ The Uncommons, New York, NY [12/28]

Please note that even though the Wizards website says that the PPTQ at The Uncommons is on December 26th, it is actually on December 28th. I cringe to think about how many other tournaments they’ve gotten wrong but I can’t fact check the entire Wizards website (not without quitting my day job at least).

January 3-4

The first weekend in January brings us some options! Option A is to stick around town and hit up two Preliminary PTQ events:

Option B is to take a road trip up to Nanuet, NY for a traditional PTQ on Saturday and a PPTQ on Sunday:

  • Pro Tour Belgium Qualifier @ Toy Wiz, Nanuet, NY [1/3]
  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ Toy Wiz, Nanuet, NY [1/4]

You really can’t go wrong with either option. If you’ve never made the trip up to Nanuet I highly recommend it. I used to visit them regularly when I was still playing competitive Warhammer 40K (yes that’s a thing).

January 10-11

Fans of Legacy and the SCG Open series can rejoice as the amateur tour comes to our neck of the woods. The open series in 2015 will be modeled like Grand Prix tournaments and Legacy will be the featured format of this event in the City of Brotherly Love 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia near Valley Forge, so make sure you have a car ride lined up (thanks to local grinder Charles Hagaman for the info).

  • SCG Open @ Philadelphia, PA [1/10]

If that’s not your thing then you’ll want to make to check out the PTQ events going on a little closer to home.

On Sunday the 11th it looks like Ron’s Comic World is running a one-day PTQ double-header offering both a traditional PTQ to Pro Tour Belgium and a PPTQ. This is a great opportunity to have two shots at the Pro Tour in one day.

January 17-18

It’s prerelease weekend for Fate Reforged. Don’t miss it. I’ll be playing at Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn.

January 24-25

Of course if the previous weekend was the prerelease that means you’ll have plenty of release events to attend on the 24th and 25th. If that’s not your thing there’s a few PPTQ events within driving distance:

  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ Undiscovered Realm, Hartsdale, NY [1/24]
  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ HobbyTown USA, Nanuet, NY [1/25]

January 31-February 1

We close out the first month of 2015 with a full slate of PTQ tournaments:

  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ Brothers Grimm, Selden, NY [1/31]
  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ Montasy Comics, Forest Hills, NY [2/1]
  • Pro Tour Vancouver Preliminary @ TOGIT, Somerville, NJ [2/1]
  • Pro Tour Belgium Qualifier @ TOGIT, Somerville, NJ [2/1]

On Saturday you’ll want to head out to Long Island for a local PPTQ to warm up for a big day on Sunday. TOGIT, aka The Only Game in Town, is hosting its own double PTQ event with a traditional Pro Tour Belgium Qualifier and a PPTQ for Pro Tour Vancouver. You can take NJ Transit out to Somerville so there’s no reason not to make it out and kick off February in style.

February 7-8

The first full weekend of February brings us Pro Tour Fate Reforged. By popular demand this tournament’s format was changed from Standard to Modern so we’ll finally see if the Pros can really break that format down and bring it to its knees. In the meantime, the only local event is a PPTQ on Sunday in Queens:

February 14-15

It’s Fate Reforged game day at your local game store! Sleeve up the latest Standard tech and try to win some sweet prizes.

February 21-22

And finally we come to the last weekend of what was most assuredly an exciting season of competitive Magic. By now almost all the invitations to Pro Tour Belgium and the PT Vancouver Regionals have been handed out. But there are still four local invites to award:

On Saturday we’ll have one last double-header hosted at the PA Convention Center in Philadelphia. Get on the bus early and get ready for some cheese-steaks while you sling spells for one last chance at glory. If you oversleep and miss your ride don’t fret. You can head over to Twenty Sided in Brooklyn for a PPTQ which may have unexpectedly low attendance thanks to the major event in Philly. On Sunday the last event of the season will fittingly be in midtown Manhattan at Montasy Comics. After that, it will be on to Season 2…

Grinding it out is an occasional feature here at Hipsters of the Coast that covers the local tournament scene in New York City. This week’s edition was brought to you by former tournament grinder and current Magic journalist Rich Stein.

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