Yesterday we talked about the 2017-18 Pro Tour Season which made sense because it’s here, it’s now, it has begun! Today we’re going to talk about the 2018-19 Pro Tour Season which makes sense because it’s here, it’s now, it has begun! Yes, the Ixalan Pro Tour Cycle is upon us!

Okay maybe that doesn’t make sense, but I assure you that if you have long-term aspirations of being a pro Magic player, or you are a fan who just wants to have a clue as to what’s going on in the world of your favorite collectible card game, you want to fully understand the Ixalan Cycle in all of its glory.

The Ixalan Cycle began on Monday and will end on November 12th. During this time, players will get to accumulate pro points that will be good for the entirety of the 2017-18 season as well as the “Spaghetti” cycle which begins in September 2018 and will last for approximately 13 weeks. But what does it all mean? Why should you care?

Basically, the Pro Tour is changing. The traditional 12-month-long seasons we’re used to are going away and being replaced by 13-week-long cycles starting with the “Spaghetti” cycle more than a year from now. Personally I’m excited for the change and the impact should be immediate.

Players will have to juggle the fact that on top of the normal requirements of the 2017-18 Pro Tour Season they have to deal with the requirements of the 2018-19 season as well. For example, the current season only allows for six Grand Prix finishes to count towards a player’s total.  But, the next season will count the top three events in each cycle, which potentially means 12 Grand Prix will count.

Yes, things are a bit different, so let’s look at the schedule and see what we can expect!

August: Grand Prix Extravaganza

  • August 5th: GP Minneapolis (Standard)
  • August 12th: Grand Prix Birmingham & Sao Paulo (Modern)
  • August 19th: Grand Prix Denver (Standard)
  • August 26th: Grand Prix Indianapolis & Metz (HOU Limited)
  • August 28th: Banned & Restricted Updates
  • September 2nd: Grand Prix Washington DC & Turin (Standard)

We get off to an exciting start with back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back Grand Prix weekends featuring the new and improved Standard format as well as a Modern and Limited weekend thrown in as well. Also, the next B&R update will come in at the end of August, just before the release of Ixalan (which is weird perhaps).

Remember that three event cap per quarter? In this five week span we’ll see four North American GPs, three European GPs, one Latin American GP, and zero Asian GPs. Keep that in mind.

September/October: Nationals, Ixalan, and the World Championship

  • September 9th: Nationals Weekend (Standard/Limited)
  • September 16th: Nationals Weekend (Standard/Limited)
  • September 23rd: Ixalan Prerelease Weekend
  • September 29th: Ixalan Release Date (BFZ, OGW, SOI, EMN Rotate)
  • September 30th: Grand Prix Providence & Shizuoka (Team IXL Limited)
  • October 5th: 2017 World Championship
  • October 14th: Nationals Weekend (Standard/Limited)

We move away from Grand Prix, except for one Team Limited weekend, and move towards the National Championships. These don’t award too many points, but they’ll be the first opportunity anyone in Asia has to snag some pro points during the cycle.

October kicks off with the World Championship which will likely result in a solid pay day for most if not all of the 24 competitors. It will certainly help set them up for success in the rest of the 2017-18 season as well as the “Spaghetti” cycle.

Grand Prix Shizuoka, at the end of September, will be the first major Asian event of the cycle (excluding Nationals).

October/November: Pro Tour Ixalan

  • October 21st: Eternal Weekend (No Pro Points but Explains the Gap in the Schedule)
  • October 28th: Grand Prix Liverpool, Phoenix, & Hong Kong (IXL Limited)
  • November 3rd: Pro Tour Ixalan (Standard/Limited)
  • November 11th: Grand Prix Atlanta, Warsaw, & Shanghai (Standard)

The final four weeks of the Ixalan Cycle go out with a bang starting with Eternal Weekend and continuing with two global Grand Prix weekends sandwiching Pro Tour Ixalan.

Grand Prix events in Hong Kong and Shanghai will help provide three major events to Asian players looking to get as many points in the Ixalan Cycle as possible. Unfortunately outside of Grand Prix Sao Paulo back in September, and Nationals, Latin American events are at a premium.

I expect the Ixalan Cycle to result in a pretty large disparity between those few who do well at the World Championship and the Pro Tour and those who are only able to compete in a handful of Grand Prix events.

Either way, we’re looking forward to starting to piece together the future of Pro Tour coverage following the new Cycles.

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