The 25th Anniversary Team Pro Tour is in the books and it was a tournament for the ages. Standard, Modern, and Legacy all shone under the spotlight in Minneapolis as the top prize of $150,000 went to Hotsauce Games winning trio of Allen Wu, Ben Hull, and Gregory Orange. Each member of the team will walk away with their share of the pot as well as a sweet championship trophy.

The community engagement level also seemed to be through the roof as evidenced by social media interactions. All this was despite concurrently running events at GenCon and Evo, and the release of a new Hearthstone Expansion. So what’s with the increased excitement?

Fans. Love. Team. Competition. This simple fact can’t be understated. People want to feel like they’re part of a team and they want to support a team, not just individuals. Sure, the competition itself is very much still individual one-on-one matches (no one’s advocating for a two-headed-giant pro tour) but the fan experience is very much team-driven. Which leads us to the obvious question:

What if every Pro Tour was a team Pro Tour?

While it’s entirely possible that the novelty could wear off rather quickly, it’s an interesting idea that I think should be worth investigating. I think the first and most obvious challenge is: what about limited play?

We just had a Pro Tour that was 100% constructed and if you’ve followed along my analysis of Grand Prix Twitch metrics you know that constructed events draw much larger audiences than limited events. I think the biggest factor there isn’t that fans are more interested in constructed (they are but not by that wide a margin) but simply that limited as a format is more difficult to cover.

Here’s my quick-and-dirty outline to expanding the Pro Tour to full team-only competition:

  • Expand teams from three players to six players
  • Three players will play constructed all weekend
  • Three players will play limited all weekend
  • Two events each year will feature Team Trios
  • One event each year will feature Team Unified Standard
  • One event each year will feature Team Unified Modern
  • The limited format will always be the latest drafting format

To make things more interesting, there will be seven rounds of constructed and six rounds of drafting on day one. The coverage schedule would be staggered to feature the two drafts but none of the rounds of limited play. Highlights can be sprinkled throughout the coverage of the constructed rounds. Lunch breaks between the two sides would also be staggered so that play was continuous.

The top 128 teams (practically every team) by combined record (total constructed match points plus total limited match points) would move on to day two of the competition which would be a single-elimination bracket where all six members of a team would go head-to-head against another team for five team drafts and five rounds of constructed competition until only four teams remained.

The final four teams would return on Sunday for two more head-to-head rounds including two team drafts. In the case of a draw between two teams, a tie-break process would be put in place. My preferred tie-break procedure is flip-it-or-rip-it but I’m sure we could come up with something better.

Even if this all sounds great to you, and maybe it does, but more likely it’s just got your head churning with ideas (which I’d love to hear) there’s still a trickle down impact to Grand Prix, RPTQ, and PPTQ events that we haven’t even begun to address. However, if the future of the Pro Tour is team competition, I think it would be a very bright future indeed.

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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