In their newfound love of transparency, Wizards has been making regular updates about the state of organized play across Magic the Gathering’s various levels of competition. Helene Bergeot, the director of organized play for Magic, presented the latest update ahead of Pro Tour Kaladesh.

There were, in total, a dozen changes included in the announcement. They ranged in importance from the very mundane to the very important. Three of them, in my opinion, are of extreme importance and will be covered in detail below. Before we get to that, let’s quickly gloss over the other changes.

First, electronic decklist submission is staying for Pro Tour Kaladesh with a deadline of 11:59 PM before the Pro Tour to submit decks. I approve. The community needs a centralized decklist submission/management tool and hopefully the Pro Tour will be the driving force behind creating one.

Second, Wizards still doesn’t approve of scouting, which was apparently a surprise to a lot of pro players. The measures to prevent scouting will remain. This means no names on pairings boards, players can’t use their phones once pairings go up, and online pairings will be posted once the round starts.

Third, Helene talked for a long time about trying to prevent players from conceding in rounds 15 and 16 of the Pro Tour. I didn’t understand everything she said but it’s definitely a problem and hopefully it gets addressed eventually. It won’t get fixed at Pro Tour Kaladesh is the main takeaway here.

Fourth, the new top-8 bracket that gives the 3rd and 4th seeds one bye and the 1st and 2nd seeds two byes is here to stay. I approve. There were too many matches being played in top-8 and now there’s a serious incentive to avoid draws in the final rounds.

Fifth, Platinum club now requires 52 pro points, up from 50, Gold club now requires 35, up from 33, and Silver club now requires 20, up from 18. I guess too many players are getting better at Magic?

Sixth, there will be a Grand Prix in Hong Kong (more accurately the event will be in Kowloon which is still cool but it’s technically not in Hong Kong proper).

Seventh and Eighth, Grand Prix Lille and Grand Prix Sydney are having their venues changed because playing in crappy venues is something we should all endeavor to put an end to.

Ninth, Grand Prix Las Vegas was scheduled to feature Legacy, Standard, and Modern but Standard is being replaced with Limited which is cool because now we can once again play Modern Masters in Las Vegas.

Now on to those bigger changes…

Super Sunday Series Discontinued for 2017

Thank the maker. Was there anything more annoying than signing up for the Super Sunday Series at 9AM on Sunday and then around 10AM learning that the event was going to last for roughly six thousand rounds of limited and you were only going to make top-8 if you won every single match so you open your pool and decide to just drop and save yourself the trouble of calling out of work the next day once you make it to round eight only to lose in round nine to someone who opened three Planeswalkers and curved out perfectly?

No, I don’t think there are many things more annoying than the Super Sunday Series and I’m thrilled it’s gone. I hope Grand Prix organizers can put together some good events on Sundays that will still attract players to return to the venue without having to stick around until the venue is being locked up for the night.

Even if nothing replaces this event no one will miss it. What was the prize for this anyways? A trip to Wizards HQ? A couple thousand dollars? I don’t even know and I couldn’t tell you because it doesn’t qualify you for the Pro Tour and honestly nothing else matters if you’re going to play a hundred hours of Magic after failing to qualify for day two of the Grand Prix.

Pro Tour Team Size Shrinks from Nine to Six

Since this whole team competition thing is new for Magic, I’m not sure what this change really means for the competitive world. My gut instinct is that nine was a lot of players. However, it seems that players from smaller regions argued that nine was an absurd amount of players and that it would be incredibly challenging to put together teams of nine.

So six is the Magic number (get it?) and I think that makes a lot of sense. It will certainly make it easier to put teams together and more teams from more regions means more fun and excitement for the fans of competitive Magic. I seriously cannot wait for team competition to begin.

Along with the change in team size came a few minor tweaks to the prize payouts and the number of players whose points are counted for things but all of that seems pretty straightforward. Just a reminder that none of this goes into effect until Pro Tour Aether Revolt, so you have a few months to put your team together (or figure out which three players you’re cutting from the team you already assembled).

World Championship Moving from Seattle to Boston

I did not see this one coming. I thought the combination of the Magic World Championship and PAX Prime was a great idea which gave Magic a fantastic stage from which to broadcast their marquee event of the year.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the Castle at Park Plaza is a gorgeous venue. I trust fully that Wizards is going to put on a great show, but will there be a live audience? Will people travel just to watch the World Championship?

The obvious benefit is that the event can draw Magic fans who aren’t interested in attending PAX Prime. The obvious drawback is that a whole lot of Magic fans already attend PAX Prime.

There isn’t a Magic the Gathering Convention the way Hearthstone has Blizzcon but perhaps the World Championship could become that kind of event? I really hope that this is the plan Wizards has.

If it isn’t, I hope they’re reading this and thinking to themselves that the Castle at Park Plaza could be a great backdrop for not just the World Championship but for an all-inclusive Magic the Gathering convention featuring meet and greets with current and former Hall of Fame players, an arena for viewing the competition, and all of the guests we’ve grown to love at events like PAX and Grand Prix such as members of the cosplay and artist communities.

One can only hope…

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. Each week we will take a look at the past seven days of major events, big news items, and community happenings so that you can keep up-to-date on all the latest and greatest Magic: the Gathering community news.

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