First off, happy new year and welcome to 2018. I hope it’s a healthy and happy one for you and your friends and your loved ones. We’re very excited here at Hipsters of the Coast to kick off a new calendar year in the Magic community. I’ll be keeping today’s column short and sweet and highlighting five days in the upcoming year that I’m particularly excited for.

Apr 21: Dominaria Prerelease Weekend, Your Local Game Store

When was the last time an expansion set had this much hype attached to it? All apologies to Rivals of Ixalan, but let’s be honest, you’re a speed-bump in the way between Magic players worldwide and stepping foot on the beloved plane of Dominaria for the first time since Future Sight (and no, that little bit with Liliana in Magic: Origins does not count).

Also, it isn’t like Wizards of the Coast has been shy with previews for Dominaria, already releasing a fairly large number of pieces of key art to the public hinting at the return of legendary characters like Jaya Ballard, Jhoira, Teferi, Karn, and more. On the one hand it’s a bit surprising to see these reveals before Rivals of Ixalan is out, but on the other hand it signals just how much hype there’s going to be around Dominaria’s release.

Jun 8: StarCityGames Open Series Season One Invitational, Roanoke

The SCG Open Series is easily the premiere amateur competitive circuit in the world. 14 open events held in the first half of 2018 will feed into the first invitational of the year. The invitational features a $100,000 prize pool including $20,000 going to first place. While the Pro Tour has certainly caught up, the SCG Invitational has long been a source of innovation with respect not only to tournament organization but also tournament coverage.

The open series is also a great way to scout up-and-coming talent for the Pro Tour, as many players who excel on SCG’s tour are soon making waves on the official WotC tournament circuit. This is definitely an event you won’t want to miss.

Aug 3: Pro Tour 25th Anniversary, Richmond

Magic the Gathering turns 25 this year and in case you weren’t aware Wizards of the Coast is engaging in a year-long celebration of all things Magical including a Pro Tour to celebrate the occasion. As if that wasn’t enough, the format for Pro Tour 25th Anniversary will be Constructed Team Trios, meaning one player pilots Standard, one player pilots Modern, and one player pilots Legacy, creating a true celebration of 25 years of Magic.

While it’s the third Pro Tour on the schedule, if you’re only going to watch one Pro Tour this year make it the 25th Anniversary Pro Tour. In addition to the amazing return of the team Pro Tour format, this will also be the event that concludes the first season of the Pro Tour Team Series. This stands to be a star-studded affair and hopefully Wizards of the Coast and their partner Twitch can give it the treatment it deserves.

Sep 21: 2018 Magic World Championship, Las Vegas

What is there to say about the World Championship that hasn’t already been said? This year the event migrates to the desert home of many of Magic’s top pro players. It’s been six years since the format for the World Championship was revamped and the event seems to get better every single year. In addition to naming the 2018 World Champion, we’ll also crown the inaugural Pro Tour Team Series champions as well.

One of the 24 invitations to the 2018 Magic World Championship has already been given out with Seth Manfield, the winner of the 2015 Magic World Championship, securing a seat at the table for winning Pro Tour Ixalan. Will he be able to repeat as the World Champion or will one of 23 other to-be-named competitors take home the most prestigious hardware in the game?

Nov 9: Pro Tour “Spaghetti”, Atlanta

I wanted to highlight Pro Tour Spaghetti for two main reasons. First, while Pro Tour Dominaria will have been the first set with input from the new¬†Play Design¬†team, Spaghetti will have been the third meaning we will have a better idea of just how impactful Dan Burdick’s team has been. Standard will be on the menu for this event so the spotlight will be shining on the format’s health.

Second, the new season of the Pro Tour Team Series will kick off at Pro Tour Spaghetti and I’m already excited to see what the next season will look like. We haven’t even gotten halfway through the first season and I’m already looking ahead! 37 teams are in this year’s competition. How many will be there next year? 40? More? I can’t wait to find out!

Rich Stein is a retired Magic player, an amateur content creator, and a Level 2 Social Justice Sorcerer. He hopes to eventually become a professional content creator and a Level 20 dual class Social Justice Sorcerer/Bard but he’s more than content to remain a retired Magic player. You can follow his musings on Twitter @RichStein13.

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